I am sure by now, you are familiar with the obvious skunky ‘weed smell’. While some of this is due to the terpene known as myrcene, another contributor to the classic aroma of weed is geraniol.
Geraniol is a terpene found in various species of plants including geranium, lemons, and tobacco. Not only does this potent smelling compound contribute to the well-known smell of cannabis, but it also exhibits significant medical potential for a long list of conditions and illnesses.
Geraniol is commonly used as a flavoring ingredient in foods, including sweets and ice cream. It is also well known in the cosmetics industry, as it is used in skincare products and perfumes.
Like almost all other major terpenes in cannabis, geraniol has powerful antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes geraniol potentially useful for a variety of therapeutic applications, as supported by various scientific studies.
Among the most promising medicinal uses for geraniol is its conceivable contribution to cancer treatment. There is scientific evidence that the natural antioxidant properties of this terpene discourage tumorous cell growth in a number of cancers.
A 2005 study published in Biochemical Pharmacology demonstrates how geraniol inhibited the proliferation of MCF-7 breast cancer cells. A recent study published in 2016 in the Journal of Cancer Medicine displays that geraniol was able to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells by altering the expression of master genes involved in cell proliferation. This prevented cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body.
Geraniol holds powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat and prevent infections. It has also shown to ultimately inhibit the growth of certain fungi. Additionally, its antiviral properties instill it with a balanced course of therapeutic abilities. These dynamic properties exhibit geraniol as a potential compound in the treatment of a wide variety of symptoms and conditions: from the common cold to inflammatory disorders.
A study in the Journal of Neuroscience Research showed that geraniol also works as a neuroprotectant, which means it helps preserve the structure and function of nerve cells. This would make geraniol particularly useful for the treatment of neuropathy in people with diabetes.
Neuropathy is a condition where damage to the nerves can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the limbs. The study concludes that geraniol “may be a promising therapeutic candidate in the management of DN [diabetic neuropathy] in humans”.
Cannabis strains that are rich in linalool, which is another major terpene, are usually also high in geraniol. These strains include Afghan, Amnesia Haze and Skunk genetics.
Research regarding geraniol and other terpenes is continuous, and we have much more to learn about their in-depth therapeutic and healing potential. Nonetheless, with every new study, the evidence continues to show that terpenes have as much therapeutic promise as the two main active cannabinoids found in cannabis, CBD and THC.