Lesson: Cannabis Terpene: Linalool

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Lesson Objective

Cannabis Terpene: Linalool

Lesson Plan

  • It is believed to promote relaxation and calming effects.

  • It usually has a floral aroma.

  • Its potential effects are said to be mood enhancement and sedation.

  • Its potential therapeutic value is as an aid to the treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, inflammation, and neurodegenerative diseases.

  • It is also found in Lavender and the bark of the birch tree.

  • popular strains with Linalool include:

  • Zkittlez

  • Do-Si-Dos

  • Kosher Kush

An overview of cannabis terpenes

The aromatic compounds, called terpenes, found in the cannabis plant now have a more and more recognized role in the medicinal benefits of the plant. These aromatic terpenes fall into a different class of organic molecules than cannabinoids, like the well known compounds Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). Terpenes have gained significantly less research attention till now, perhaps for this reason.  So, when you’re looking to buy weed online, make sure the strains you order are full of rich terpenes. The same applies to CBD, it doesn’t matter if you’re looking for the best CBD oil or CBD lube.

 

Terpenes are now thought to directly influence brain processing by modulating brain cell behavior. Traditionally, terpenes have been thought to merely add to cannabis's subjective experience by enriching its scent and taste. More recently, the advent of the ‘Entourage Effect’ has drawn attention to terpenes, indicating that the therapeutic effects of cannabis are strengthened by the addition of multiple cannabinoids and terpenes relative to the effect of a single cannabinoid on their own. This indicates that the strength of the individual cannabinoids on brain and body targets can be modulated by terpenes. But the entourage effect does not prohibit the terpenes themselves from specifically acting on distinct body targets.

The idea that terpenes significantly influence brain function seems rather clear to some, but it was difficult for many years to discern the direct effect of terpenes on brain function from its indirect effect on mood and subjective state through olfactory processing modulation, i.e., your sense of smell. Your sense of smell is closely related to the centers of emotion and memory in the brain, producing a probable cause and effect relation between the sweet floral lavender fragrance of the terpene, linalool, with a relaxed and improved mood. Although olfactory sensation could well make a contribution to the effect of the terpene, it is now thought that by modulating the activity of the brain cells, terpenes directly influence brain processing.

A broad variety of terpenes are built up by the cannabis plant, but today we concentrate on linalool because of its potential therapeutic benefits. What is linalool & what does this cannabis terpene do?

The Flavour Of Linalool

Linalool is not cannabis-specific. In over two hundred types of plants, its distinctive lavender fragrance with a touch of spiciness is prevalent. It is actually so widespread that even those who do not use cannabis end up eating more than two grams of linalool per year through their foods. This may seem like a ton, but the likelihood of severe ill effects is very small. Linalool does not hang around for long a period in your body and does not accumulate like the cannabinoids that get stuck in your fatty tissues.

 

Cannabis Strains Containing Linalool

very few strains of cannabis contain significant amounts of linalool; it rarely makes it to the top three most concentrated terpenes of any strain. But below, there are a couple of strains with linalool as the third most abundant terpene:

  • Do-Si-Dos

  • Scooby Snacks

  • Zkittlez

  • Kosher Kush

A greater percentage of linalool is present in the Do-Si-Dos strain, even though it is still only the third most common terpene in its profile overall.

Linalool’s potential benefits

Why would Linalool be developed by so many different plants? Its antimicrobial properties protect the plant and reflect the potential for human therapeutic use. It is not known whether it has been used as a relatively early antibiotic, but linalool (often in the form of lavender or peanut stems and leaves) has been used for its sedative and anti-epileptic properties in traditional medicine practices.

Mice exposed to linalool vapors demonstrate decreased levels of anxiety and lower behaviors similar to depression. Mice exposed to linalool vapors spend more time in fear-inducing environments in these tests, and they continue to work to escape an apparently hopeless situation. It may not be exactly like in the clinic testing on anxiety and depression, but linalool appears to help in these measures.

Linalool also seems to make the immune system more resistant to stress-related destructive effects. Stress causes the distribution of white blood cells in the body (i.e., immune system cells) to change; the percentage of lymphocytes decreases and the number of neutrophils rises. Linalool prevented this shift in rats and thereby avoided stress-induced changes in how the DNA of the rats was expressed. Tellingly, the authors argued that this protection was induced by the tendency of linalool to activate the parasympathetic response of the body that is activated when the body rests and digests food, thus further aligning with the anti-anxiety effects of linalool.

How Does Linalool Affect The Brain?

Research suggests that the behavioral effects of linalool may be largely modulated by its function within the brain. One way is to block the receptors for glutamate, the primary excitatory brain chemical, that could account for the potentially anti-epileptic properties of linalool in some forms of epilepsy. The ability of this terpene also increases the effect of other sedatives, such as pentobarbital.

In addition, through further dissimilar mechanisms, linalool may be muscle-relaxing and have pain-relieving effects. Linalool, for example, decreases the signal strength of acetylcholine, a compound from the brain needed for muscle contraction and movement. By lowering the excitability of cells in the spinal cord that propagate pain signals to the brain, Linalool may produce anesthetic-like effects.

 

Some of the pain-relieving abilities of linalool can be attributed to its role in the elevation in adenosine levels, an inhibitory chemical in the brain that is disrupted by caffeine for example Together, this multitude of different potential targets in the nervous system contributes to its sedative, anxiety-reducing and pain-relieving benefits.

These positive effects provide proper support for the positive effects of linalool in pain therapy. In one study, either linalool-rich lavender oil vapor or unscented control were assigned to obese patients who underwent gastric banding surgery. Only 46 percent of the patients who inhaled lavender oil needed opioid medicine after surgery, compared with 82 percent in the control group. In addition, the morphine needs of those in the lavender group were almost half that of those in the control group, suggesting that, together, Linalool may decrease the need for post-operative opioid-based pain treatment.

Potential benefits of using Linalool to combat against Alzheimer's disease

Perhaps the most interesting therapeutic use of linalool is its emerging potential as a new treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disease caused by the accumulation of brain plaques and cellular tangles that lead to brain degeneration, which is currently irreversible. Severe memory and cognitive impairment are caused by this degeneration. Currently, no cures for Alzheimer's disease are available and current treatment strategies are largely ineffective for functional recovery. In an effort to reverse the course of the disease and recover normal brain function, this has set scientists on a quest to identify techniques that reduce plaques and tangles.

 

Linalool as a potential Alzheimer's treatment is highlighted in a promising study published in 2016. Linalool reversed several of the behavioral and cognitive impairments associated with the disease in a genetic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. In addition, the number of brain plaques and cellular tangles defining the disease and contributing to brain degeneration was reduced.

Before it makes its way into the clinic, Linalool still has many obstacles. However, these Alzheimer's studies, together with previous studies showing benefits in pain, anxiety, and depression, point to the importance of continuing research into pain, anxiety, and depression.


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