Meet the Terpenes: Linalool

Lavender in August. Photo Credit: Courtesy Gretchen Clark

Meet the Terpenes: Linalool

Lavender and Lavender – one is a fragrant smelling herb, and the other is a cannabis strain with an amazing scent, but they have a lot in common because of one terpene in particular: Linalool. It provides a light floral odor with some spicy overtones, and helps both plants contribute to feelings of calm and relaxation.

Roughly half of the herbal lavender’s essential oil is linalool. Not surprisingly, it is also the terpene that the Lavender cannabis strain has in highest concentration. There are a few other plants whose oil is high in linalool: Ho leaf – 95 percent; rosewood – 80-85 percent; freesia – 80 percent; and basil and coriander – 50 percent. But linaloe wood, which linalool derives its name from, contains only 30 percent .

Our bodies are very sensitive to linalool. Humans are able to detect its odor at levels of 1 part per million. This mean if we have a million molecules, only one of them has to be linalool for us to smell it. For this reason, many doctors’ offices request that patients do not wear scents with lavender in them. If someone is allergic, it doesn’t take much to set off a reaction. We are also able to absorb linalool through our skin, making it ideal for use in massage oils to help us relax further. As if we need to relax even more during a massage!

Back in “Intro to Terpenes,” we talked about linalool being responsible for the calming effect of lavender. It is sedating enough to be an excellent sleep aid. This terpene also reduces inflammation and depression.

As with many other terpenes, linalool works with several cannabinoids in the “entourage effect” to provide more medicinal benefits. Along with THC, it becomes a local anesthetic and an even more potent sedative. In synergy with CBD, linalool takes on anticonvulsant and analgesic properties in addition to acting as a psychotropic anxiolytic, a medication that inhibits anxiety.

Some folks add a little lavender herb to their cannabis or tobacco to add or boost the effect of linalool. You may find that a good alternative to a high linalool strain if you are in a state where finding such a strain is not so easy. I am fortunate enough to live in Oregon, so if I have a choice about which lavender to smoke, I’m going to go with a cannabis strain like Lavender, Pink Kush, Skywalker OG, Headband or Ingrid.

What have you tried? Do you prefer lavender in your weed or weed like Lavender?