Your sense of smell is intricately linked to emotion and memory centers in the brain, establishing a potential cause and effect between the pleasant lavender floral scent of the terpene, linalool, with a relaxed and improved mood.
Cannabis produces a wide array of terpenes, but today we’re focusing on linalool due to its emerging therapeutic benefits of linalool. Linalool doesn’t stick around in your body for long and doesn’t accumulate like the cannabinoids that get stored in your fatty tissues in the body and brain. In these tests, mice exposed to linalool vapors spend more time in fear-inducing environments, and they’ll continue to work to escape a seemingly hopeless situation. Interestingly, the authors reasoned that this protection was mediated by linalool’s ability to activate the body’s parasympathetic response, which is activated when the body is resting and digesting food, thereby fitting with linalool’s anti-anxiety effects.
How Does Linalool Affect the Brain?
Studies indicate that linalool’s behavioral effects may largely be mediated by its effects in the brain.
Additionally, linalool may be muscle-relaxing and have pain-relieving effects through additional distinctive mechanisms. Linalool reduces the signaling strength of acetylcholine, a brain chemical that’s required for muscle contraction and movement.
Some of linalool’s pain-relieving abilities can be ascribed to its elevation of adenosine levels, an inhibitory brain chemical that is notably blocked by caffeine.
These effects provide foundational support for linalool’s benefits in pain therapy. Further, the morphine needs of those in the lavender group were nearly half that of the control group, together suggesting that linalool can reduce the need for post-surgery opioid-based pain treatment.
Linalool’s Potential Benefits in Alzheimer’s Disease
Perhaps the most exciting therapeutic use for linalool is its emerging potential as a novel Alzheimer’s disease treatment.
A promising study published in 2016 points to linalool as a potential Alzheimer’s treatment. In a genetic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, linalool reversed many of the behavioral and cognitive impairments associated with the disease. These Alzheimer’s studies together with previous studies demonstrating benefits in pain, anxiety, and depression point to the importance of continued investigation into the therapeutic benefits of linalool and other terpenes in cannabis.