Therapeutic Benefits of Terpene Linalol
Linalool is not specific to cannabis. Its characteristic lavender scent with a hint of spiciness is common to more than 200 types of plants. In fact, it is so common that even those who do not consume cannabis end up consuming more than two grams of linalool each year through their food. This may seem like a lot, but there is very little risk of adverse effects. Linalool does not stay in your body for a long time and does not accumulate like cannabinoids that are stored in the adipose tissue of the body and brain.
The therapeutic benefits of Linalool
Why would so many different plants produce linalool? Its antimicrobial properties protect the plant and represent a potential therapeutic use in humans. It is not known whether it has been used as an early antibiotic, but linalool (often in the form of stems and leaves of lavender or peanut) has been used in traditional medicine practices for its sedative and antiepileptic properties.
Odor exposure of Linalool induces anxiolytic effects in mice
Mice exposed to linalool vapors exhibit reduced levels of anxiety and lower depressive behaviors. During these tests, mice exposed to linalool vapors spend more time in environments of fear and they will continue to work to escape a seemingly desperate situation. It's not exactly like testing for anxiety and depression in the clinic, but in these well-validated measures, linalool seems to help.
Linalool also makes the immune system more resistant to the destructive effects of stress. Stress causes a change in the distribution of white blood cells in the body (that is, cells of the immune system); the percentage of lymphocytes decreases and the neutrophils increase. In rats, linalool prevented this change and thus prevented stress-induced changes in the way that rat DNA was expressed. Interestingly, the authors felt that this protection was due to the ability of linalool to activate the body's parasympathetic response, which is activated when the body rests and digests food, which is consistent with the anti-anxiety effects of linalool.
How does Linalol affect the brain?
studies indicate that the behavioral effects of linalool can be largely influenced by its effects on the brain. One of the solutions is to block the receptors of the main excitatory brain chemical, glutamate, which may explain the potentially antiepileptic properties of linalool in some forms of epilepsy. This terpene also has the ability to increase the effect of other sedatives, such as pentobarbital.
In addition, linalool can relax muscles and have analgesic effects through additional distinctive mechanisms. For example, linalool reduces the signaling force of acetylcholine, a brain chemical that is needed for contraction and movement of muscles. Linalool can have anesthetic effects by reducing the excitability of spinal cord cells that transmit pain signals to the brain.
Some of linalool's pain-relieving abilities can be attributed to its elevated levels of adenosine, a brain-inhibitory chemical that is specifically blocked by caffeine. Together, this multitude of nervous system targets contribute to its sedative, anxiety-reducing and pain-relieving effects.
These effects provide fundamental support for the benefits of linalool in the treatment of pain. In one study, obese patients who underwent gastric band surgery were exposed to linalool-rich lavender oil vapor or an unscented control. Only 46% of patients who inhaled lavender oil required postoperative opioids, compared to 82% of the control group. In addition, the morphine requirements of the lavender group were nearly half those in the control group, suggesting that linalool may reduce the need for opioid-based pain treatment after surgery.
Potential Benefits of Linalool in Alzheimer's Disease
The most interesting therapeutic use of linalool is perhaps its emerging potential as a new treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and currently irreversible disease caused by the accumulation of brain plaques and cellular entanglements that lead to degeneration of the brain. This degeneration causes severe disorders of memory and cognitive disorders. There is currently no treatment for Alzheimer's disease and current treatment strategies are largely ineffective in recovering function. This has led scientists to look for techniques to reduce plaque and entanglement in order to reverse the course of the disease and restore normal brain function.
A promising study published in 2016 indicates that linalool is a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease. In a genetic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, linalool reversed many of the behavioral and cognitive impairments associated with the disease. In addition, this has reduced the number of brain plaques and cellular entanglements that define the disease and contribute to brain degeneration.
Terpene linalol still has many obstacles to overcome before entering the clinic. But these studies on Alzheimer's disease, combined with previous studies demonstrating beneficial effects on pain, anxiety and depression, underscore the importance of continuing research on the therapeutic benefits of linalool and other terpenes in cannabis.