We’re very big on terpenes. These fragrant hydrocarbons—or “essential oils”—are a powerful component of the cannabis plant, and they’re an extremely useful way to characterize different strains of weed. There are over 200 of them in cannabis, and as we’re learning, they contribute much more than distinctive and appealing flavors and aromas. Plus, terpenes contribute a great deal to the cannabis plant’s medicinal qualities.
We’re not suggesting you should forget everything you’ve learned about the cannabinoids, which include THC, CBD and over 100 others. Those plant-based compounds are still an extremely useful and convenient way to interpret cannabis strains and predict their effects.
But today we’re going to stick with terpenes for the moment. Today we’re going to focus on geraniol, one of the ten most important of the terpenes in cannabis and one found all over the natural world. In addition to contributing to the characteristic aroma of the geranium flower, this terpene brings all kinds of intriguing and powerful medical effects to bear on our bodies.
What Does Geraniol Smell and Taste Like?
Geraniol is found all over the plant world. In addition to helping define the scent of geraniums, it’s found in roses, citrus peel, blueberries and carrots. Like many other terpenes, it’s often used as an all-natural ingredient in cosmetics and soaps, and as a natural flavoring in confections like ice cream.
Many describe the scent of geraniol as broadly and intriguingly floral, with sweet notes of citrus and fresh-cut fruit like apples. If you’ve ever smelled citronella—a natural compound derived from lemongrass—that’s a great example of the characteristic scent of geraniol.
What Can Geraniol Do For Us?
Many terpenes are helpful in fighting our bodies’ inflammatory responses to injury and pain, and geraniol is no different. As a 2016 study demonstrated, it has an anti-inflammatory effect. Another paper published the preceding year found that geraniol helped inhibit fibrosis, a related effect in which tissues become thickened and scarred due to injury.
But geraniol’s medical uses go further, all the way into the realm of potential cancer treatments. While a foolproof cure for cancer is still years away, initial studies like this one published in 2005 indicated that geraniol can inhibit the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells. And more recently, a 2016 study showed that the terpene had much the same effect on prostate cancer cells, and prevented them from spreading further into the body.
How to Get Geraniol from Cannabis
This powerful terpene is relatively easy to find in cannabis; some of the more readily available strains include:
Master Kush: This potent high-THC strain elicits instant relaxation without the mind-numbing effects associated with similar strains. Some fans describe a heightened sensory awareness that enhances most any activity.
Lavender: Cannabis containing geraniol often contains linalool as well; no surprise, then, that a strain named after nature’s most recognizable source of linalool would contain a hefty dose of geraniol too! It’s highly relaxing, with moderate sleepy and euphoric effects as well.
Amnesia Haze: As the name suggests, this strain may inspire deep forgetfulness! With a notably euphoric onset, the generally happy, uplifted and relaxed effects make this a venerable and well-loved cannabis.