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What Is Geranyl Acetate?

geranyl acetate

Geranyl acetate, a natural organic compound, is a monoterpene that presents a solid fruity rose aroma that may be compared to the pleasant smell of roses and is mainly used to provide fragrance and aroma for perfumes, oils, soaps, and cosmetics. Cannabis cultivars high in geranyl acetate exude a soft, floral, fruity scent.

Additionally, geranyl acetate has historically been a cure-all in traditional Chinese medicines, and it has been used to treat conditions ranging from swelling to stomach problems and colds. Because of its historical use as a medicinal agent, it has attracted the attention of scientists wanting to discover its medicinal properties and therapeutic benefits.

More recently, studies have shown that geranyl acetate may provide therapeutic benefits for various health concerns. Preclinical studies on geranyl acetate may have shown positive effects on the treatments of many different health concerns such as fungal, viral, bacterial infections, inflammation, and even cancer treatment.

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Health Benefits of Geranyl Acetate

Research on geranyl acetate is generally quite scarce, with minimal studies demonstrating the therapeutic effects of geranyl acetate on different health concerns. However, in the studies conducted, geranyl acetate has shown promise in acting as an antimicrobial agent for bacteria, fungi, and viruses and producing anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects.


In a 2018 pre-clinical study using cancer cell lines, scientists determined that geranyl acetate exhibited an anti-cancer effect on colon cancer cells using many actions that induced apoptosis (cell death) in the colon cancer cells tested.

However, one thing to note was that this study used a combination of geranyl acetate and geraniol, a monoterpene alcohol.


As terpenes are generally antimicrobial, geranyl acetate should display antimicrobial activity against bacteria and fungi. Many studies also showed that geranyl acetate was effective against bacteria, fungi, and certain viruses.

In a study of the essential oil of Helichrysum italicum, geranyl acetate, which makes up a large percentage of the essential oil, showed antimicrobial activity, mainly against the fungal strains tested. Additionally, in combination with the other compounds in the essential oil, geranyl acetate was found to be effective against a range of bacterial strains.

In another follow-up study, geranyl acetate effectively killed multiple strains of fungi, including Microsporum gypseum, which is mainly known for causing skin infections.

An in vitro study conducted in 2019 found that some essential oils containing geranyl acetate showed antiviral activity for a few viral strains such as HSV-121.


In addition to showing antimicrobial and anti-cancer effects, geranyl acetate acted as an anti-inflammatory. An animal study conducted in 2014 found that the essential oil of rose geranium, which contains geranyl acetate, was an effective anti-inflammatory agent, which even showed potent inhibition of the inflammatory response on the skin.  

Unfortunately, due to the limited number of studies on geranyl acetate, research in this area is in the early stages, with only preclinical in vitro studies or animal studies. Additionally, many of these studies were of essential oils containing geranyl acetate and not the compound on its own. Because of this, more research is needed in this field to determine if geranyl acetate is as effective as it seems.

Potential Risks and Side Effects

Geranyl acetate is considered a safe compound, but some side effects of its use have been reported. The main side effects reported have been eye and skin irritation when in contact with geranyl acetate. However, nausea and vomiting have also been reported with inhaled geranyl acetate.

Geranyl acetate was also identified as acutely hepatotoxic with long-term use in animal studies.

Cannabis Strains High in Geranyl Acetate

Many cannabis strains (cultivars) contain geranyl acetate. What makes these particular cannabis strains unique is the sweet floral, and fruity aroma of geranyl acetate.

Some strains high in geranyl acetate include:

  • Zkittlez
  • Clementine
  • Hawaiian Haze
  • Sour Space Candy
  • Electra
  • OG Kush

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is geranyl acetate used for?

Due to the pleasant aroma of geranyl acetate, it has been widely used in the beauty industry. It is mainly used to provide fragrance and aroma for perfumes, oils, soaps, and other personal care products due to the fruity and floral scent similar to roses.

Where does geranyl acetate come from?

Geranyl acetate comes from various sources, almost all from fruit, plants, or vegetables. Examples of sources of geranyl acetate are lemongrass, geraniums, carrots, coriander, cannabis, lemon, tomatoes, almond, coffee, nutmeg, and ginger. It is found in several varieties of cannabis.

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