Article written by
Ruth LemonVP of Operations
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
Guaiol is a terpene found in cannabis that produces a distinctive pine, woody, and rose aroma.
But guaiol offers a lot more benefits than just its smell. This tiny molecule can deliver anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-parasitic, and tumor-fighting properties.
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What Is Guaiol?
Guaiol is a lesser-known terpene and produces a distinctive scent with pine, wood, fruit, and rose notes.
You can find guaiol in certain cannabis strains (more accurately called “cultivars”) and in the wood of some pine varieties and the tropical guaiacum plant.
Guaiol has some interesting characteristics that differentiate it from most other terpenes, including that while terpenes are typically oil-based, guaiol has a liquid structure.
Health Benefits of Guaiol
While inflammation is an essential bodily process, it can lead to pain, reduced range of motion, swelling, and redness when it goes awry. Anti-inflammatories can, therefore, play a role in helping to keep you functioning at your best.
Research into the anti-inflammatory properties of Myrtaceae leaves found that guaiol, one of the critical components found in the leaves, managed to reduce the migration of specific inflammatory activity significantly. This tells us that guaiol is likely to induce anti-inflammatory effects. Myrtaceae is a plant family that includes myrtle, clove, guava, allspice, and eucalyptus, among many others.
A 2010 study investigated the compounds in the weeping paperbark plant, looking specifically at whether any compounds in the plants have antioxidant activity. Researchers identified guaiol as the main component and demonstrated significant antioxidant capacity.
Antioxidants are essential to help keep your cells healthy and functioning. Free radicals can damage our cells as they bounce around, looking to pair with an electron to match their unpaired electron. Antioxidants contain an electron that they can donate to free radicals and neutralize them, stopping them from damaging your cells.
It turns out that guaiol may also be able to help you fight off parasites! A 2016 study found that guaiol and other essential oils were an effective treatment against L. amazonensis, a parasite often spread through sandflies. L. amazonensis can cause ulcers and even death. This study highlights the potential anti-parasitic properties of guaiol.
Impressively, guaiol may even be able to help fight cancer. One study found that guaiol could significantly inhibit cell growth of non-small cell lung cancer cells. Guaiol was also able to regulate the expression of RAD5, a gene that is often seen expressed in higher amounts in lung cancer. While research into the cancer-fighting properties of guaiol is still in the early stages, this study highlights its potential to help improve the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.
Guaiol may also help you to keep certain insects at bay. One study found that guaiol showed abilities to deter aphids and fumigate against larvae. Combined with the pine-like scent of guaiol, this terpene could help you avoid insects and their bites, although more research is needed to understand just how effective guaiol may be.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
One possible side effect of guaiol consumption is an increase in anxiety. Research has found that this terpene may induce anxiety, as it is found in cannabis strains with the least anxiolytic strains and none of the most effective.
If you suffer from anxiety or want to avoid a potential increase in anxiety, you might want to stay away from cannabis strains high in guaiol.
Another possible side effect of guaiol is the blocking of pain relief. A 2018 study found that the terpene may have anti-analgesic effects, meaning that it might block the pain-relieving effects of CBD, other cannabinoids, and pharmaceutical pain killers.
If you’re suffering from pain and have used some kind of pain relief, you might want to stick to cannabis strains that don’t contain guaiol. However, as it is a rare terpene found in small amounts in cannabis, it may not overcome the pain-killing effects of CBD and THC.
Cannabis Strains High in Guaiol
Interested in the benefits of guaiol? These are the cannabis strains that you want to look for to get a dose of the terpene guaiol:
- Golden Pineapple
- Blue Kush
- Agent Orange
- Sour Diesel
- Liberty Haze
It is important to note that guaiol isn’t a significant terpene, so you will likely only come across it in smaller doses in the cannabis strains where it is present.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What does guaiol taste like?
Guaiol is said to have a sweet, fruit-like taste.
What are the effects of guaiol?
Research has found that guaiol may help reduce pain, restrict inflammation, kill parasites, protect your body from free radicals, kill insects, and even help protect you from cancer growth.