Article written by
Shanti RyleContent Writer
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
Every compound in cannabis plays a vital role in its overall effects, and trans-nerolidol is an essential piece of the entourage effect as THC or CBD. And while it may not be as well known as other common cannabis terpenes such as myrcene, alpha-pinene, and limonene, there are plenty of reasons to learn about this terpene.
Trans-nerolidol, or simply nerolidol, is a terpene found in many plants with intense aromas, such as tea tree, rose, lemongrass, and some cannabis cultivars. It features a complex floral scent mixed with fruit and apples and is often used as a food additive or fragrance. It may have neuroprotective (brain protecting) effects and potential as an antimicrobial.
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What Is Trans-Nerolidol?
Nerolidol is a sesquiterpene naturally produced by plants to protect them from insect attacks. It exists in two different molecular structures — trans-nerolidol and cis-nerolidol –and the term nerolidol encompasses both versions.
The cannabis terpene produces a floral, woody aroma that features notes of citrus and melon. It’s commonly found in plants such as neroli, jasmine, ginger, tea tree, lemongrass, lavender, and (of course) cannabis. Due to its complex aroma and flavor, trans-nerolidol is often used in cosmetic and skincare products and food as a flavoring agent.
Health Benefits and Uses
Researchers have discovered various potential therapeutic uses for trans-nerolidol, particularly in its antibacterial, anti-parasitic properties. Still, more clinical trials are needed to understand the full medical benefits of the terpene. Here’s what we know so far:
A 2007 study found trans-nerolidol was an effective antifungal agent against skin fungus in guinea pigs. Additionally, trans-nerolidol is a significant component of many plants that exhibit the ability to protect themselves from fungi.
A study in 2016 discovered that nerolidol showed antioxidant properties in animals: the terpene protected rodents against oxidative stress, demonstrating potential usefulness in neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.
Anti-anxiety and sleeping aid
Anecdotally, many patients have pointed to nerolidol as an herbal remedy for calming anxiety and achieving sleep. A 2016 study on mice found that trans-nerolidol had an anti-anxiety effect on mice, while another test on rodents found that the terpene also produced sedative effects in an open field test.
The nerolidol terpene may affect certain strains of bacteria, making them more susceptible to antibiotics, according to a 2003 study. Another study published in 2007 showed that trans-nerolidol could be a potential aid in fighting malaria when used with other medicines.
Trans-nerolidol has demonstrated potential usefulness in preventing tumor growth in specific cancers. A 2017 study showed that nerolidol induced cell death and inhibited cell growth in liver cancer in human subjects, pointing to further potential anti-cancer benefits.
Current research suggests that trans-nerolidol may help topical medicines better penetrate the skin in fighting various dermatological conditions. A 2007 study showed that nerolidol allowed topical agents to work better on skin lesions, but further research is needed to discover its impact on human skin conditions.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
Currently, there are no known risks or side effects to using trans-nerolidol. However, more clinical research is needed to understand better how trans-nerolidol may negatively interact with the body.
Strains High in Trans-Nerolidol
As a minor terpene, it’s somewhat tricky to find cannabis strains specifically high in trans-nerolidol. However, there are a few recognizable cultivars with the terpene, identifiable by their woody, floral aroma:
- Sour Kush
- Skywalker OG
- Sweet Skunk
- Jack Herer
- Blue Dream
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is trans-nerolidol good for?
Its woody, floral aroma and presence in orange blossom and tea tree oil make trans-nerolidol useful in developing lotions and perfumes. The terpene is also a component of ginger, so it’s often cooked or baked within various recipes. The food industry often uses nerolidol as a flavoring agent in many products such as candy or chewing gum.
What does trans-nerolidol smell like?
Trans-nerolidol features a floral and woody aroma with hints of citrus, melon, apples, and lemongrass.
How does trans-nerolidol make you feel?
Anecdotally, trans-nerolidol produces sedative effects and soothes anxiety when consumed as part of cannabis’ entourage effect.