Terpene University: Part 7 – Linalool

When extracting knowledge from the world of terpenes, it quickly becomes clear that many of these plant-synthesized hydrocarbons have similar benefits and properties. Anti-inflammatories, anti-tumor, and aromatics are just a few benefits many terpenes have in common.

Linalool is a common monoterpene that has been proven to display many benefits across a host of applications, both commercially and medicinally. And what’s great is that we know quite a bit about this terpene as it’s been studied since 1875. The floral and spicy aroma of linalool has been used for thousands of years, especially in ancient Egypt and countries in the Mediterranean region.

What Is Linalool?

Linalool is an immensely popular compound found in over 200 varieties of plants including cannabis. In fact, linalool is one of the primary terpenes that contribute to the scent most people associate with marijuana. The most popular, aromatic plants containing linalool are lavender and its relatives in the Lamiaceae family. This includes flowering plants such as:

  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Coriander
  • Motherwort

Linalool is used as a fragrance in perfumes and as an aromatic ingredient found in commercial products such as soap, shampoos, and essential oils used in diffusers.

Linalool Isomers

Nearly all terpenes and cannabinoids have isomers. That is to say, they are molecules that have the same chemical formula and are built from the same atoms. And terpene compounds are typically labeled chiral isomers. These are molecules that are mirror images of each other and cannot be superimposed over each other, even if rotated.

Linalools terpenes are also called enantiomeric isomers. For additional clarity, let’s define these two terms:

Enantiomeric molecules = Molecules that are mirror images of each other.

Chiral = Mirror-image molecules that cannot be rotated and superimposed over each other.

To better explain this, we need only look at the term “chiral” itself. The term is derived from the Greek and means hand. That said, consider your hands. When you look at them, they are mirror images of each other, but no matter how you rotate or reposition your hands, you cannot place one on the other in an identical fashion. The left hand and right hand appear identical, but they are not. You cannot (comfortably) place your right hand into a left glove.

This is the case with linalools chiral isomers and explains their unique scents. And generally speaking, chiral isomers can have a significant effect on how a compound influences and interacts with our biological processes.

Linalool Isomer Structures
Linalool has two isomers, (R)-(-)-linalool and (S)-(+)-Linalool. The two structurally mirror images of each other. Despite being mirror images of each other, each chiral isomer has a distinct aroma.

The significance of R-linalool and S-linalool being chiral isomers is that their unique structures result in unique aromas. For example, R-linalool has a woody, lavender scent and can be naturally extracted from lavender plants and basil. While S-linalool has more of a sweet, floral aroma and can be naturally extracted from coriander.

Practically speaking, linalool is synthesized in a lab to meet the high demands of today’s commercial manufacturers.

Where Can You Find Linalool?

Linalool is naturally occurring in hundreds of flowering plants and herbs. The most popular source of linalool is, of course, lavender and coriander. Because linalool is heavily used in many retail industries, you will also find linalool in:

  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Laundry detergents
  • Many plant-based food products (organically or as a flavoring agent)
  • Herbal medicines and lotions
Coriander Contains Linalool
The herb cilantro is the Spanish name for the leaves of the coriander plant. Cilantro is an excellent source of linalool and is used for both its aroma and calming effects.

Linalool is indeed everywhere, as are many of the terpenes found in cannabis. And if you’ve used lavender oil or a lavender-based product – you’ve likely been reaping the benefits of linalool unawares.

What Are the Benefits of Linalool?

Linalool has a substantial foothold in a wide range of applications and businesses. Cilantro and one of its essential oils, linalool, is used to help alleviate:

  • Seizures
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Inflammation

And as we mentioned, commercially, linalool is widely used as:

  • A flavoring agent for food products and beverages
  • An antibacterial and odor agent for soaps and household cleaners
  • Perfumes
  • Insect repellant, pesticide

Although these benefits can be observed in both isomers of linalool, (R)-linalool is sought after for its lavender scent. The essential oil is extracted or synthesized and then used in diffusers and ointments to improve one’s mood. it was also found that linalool’s anti-inflammatory effects are enhanced when administered with the terpene, pinene!

Cannabis Strains Containing Linalool

Linalool isn’t hard to find in the world of cannabis. Here are just a couple strains that are traditionally known for their higher concentrations of linalool. And of course, where you find linalool, pinene is often close by. An added benefit due to their positive synergy.

  • Amnesia Haze – This strain is a cross between the popular strain “Haze,” and cannabis plants native to South Asia and Hawaii. It’s Sativa dominant and usually contains very low levels of CBD. Linalool adds to Amnesia Haze’s ability to mitigate pain and uplift the mood of its users.
  • Diablo OG – The devil is in the details of this strain. This Indica strain boasts an entourage effect that encourages relaxation, to the point of couch lock. If the goal is to relax, destress, and unwind – Diablo OG is a strain that consistently biosynthesizes the terpene-cannabinoid combination you’re looking for.
  • Jack Frost – Linalool shines as one of the top three terpenes offered by this strain. Jack Frost has the appearance of frost-glazed plants and leverages linalools sedative effects to help alleviate anxiety and depression.
  • Zkittlez – This cannabis strain falls right in line with linalools signature benefits. Users generally experience a euphoric, calming high before settling into a relaxed state. Zkittlez is often cultivated for its medicinal and therapeutic benefits.

It’s fun to see that the creativity and innovation within the cannabis cultivation community flow all the way to the names they label their plants. If you’re looking for linalool, feel free to start your search with the strains above.

A Closing Look at Linalool

One could argue that linalool is one of, if not the most versatile terpene used around the world. With both strong therapeutic characteristics, as well as a host of household applications, it’s no wonder linalool is synthesized to meet the quantities used each year. Let’s take one more look at the high points of this terpene:

AromaFloral and spicy aroma, fresh lavender scent
Foods Containing LinaloolOrange peels, coriander, and dozens of other herbs and spices
Natural OccurrencesLavender, rosemary, motherwort
Common BenefitsAnti-inflammatory, sedative, insect repellant, and anxiety relief
Popular Cannabis StrainsAmnesia Haze, Bruce Banner, Jack Frost, Zkittlez

Although linalool is only one of over 100 terpenes found in cannabis, it’s a star player that often takes the limelight. Its aroma blends well with pinene and caryophyllene, and together, their benefits and therapeutic qualities are enhanced.

Given all the benefits terpenes like linalool have to offer, one may wonder where these terpenes have been all our life. And the answer is, they’ve been right here with us all along. In the herbs we cook with and in the flowers we use to make perfumes. And we’re observing what makes cannabis so special. It’s not just the THC, but the wide range and concentration of terpenes the plant has to offer as well.

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