Terpene of the Month: Bisabolol

 In Cannabis Education, Dispensary Dish, Plant Science, Research

Each month we highlight one of the 200+ volatile aromatic compounds called terpenes that create the unique flavors and aromas of different cannabis strains. Terpenes generally enhance the health benefits of cannabis while reducing the intoxicating effects that can cause anxiety. Additionally, each terpene has unique therapeutic properties. This month we’ll discuss the terpene bisabolol.

Primary Aromas

Bisabolol has a warm, fragrant floral aroma similar to honey, apples and chamomile.

Botanicals Containing Bisabolol

Only a few plants are notable for their high levels of bisabolol – chamomile, the candeia tree and cannabis. Chamomile is popular in cosmetic products because of its skin-soothing properties and because it facilitates penetration of other compounds across the transdermal barrier.

Cognitive Effects

Chamomile has been widely used in traditional medicine for its calming effects.

Therapeutic Effects

Bisabolol derived from natural sources has been extensively studied for its ability to reduce skin inflammation. Research shows that bisabolol is highly effective for reducing inflammatory response both in cultured cells as well as in topical applications to the skin thanks to a tendency to bond with inflammatory proteins and reduce the production of inflammatory cytokines. Further research has revealed that bisabolol is effective against inflammation caused by irritants but is not effective against inflammation caused by histamines from an allergic reaction. The same research also showed that bisabolol is anti-nociceptive (it reduces the perception of pain) by reducing inflammation. This indicates that it can be used as an analgesic for pain relief if the pain is caused by inflammation.

In addition, bisabolol has anti-fungal and antibiotic properties. Research shows that bisabolol is particularly effective against Candida albicans. Another study found that both bisabolol and a synthetic version, dragosantol, are effective against the bacterial infection Staphylococcus aureus, as well as against a number of common fungal infections. Research has also shown that bisabolol is just as effective as common reference drugs against the liver and spleen parasite Leishmaniasis.

Bisabolol has been found to have gastro-protective qualities as well. Research has revealed that bisabolol protects the gastric lining from induced ulcers in mice, resulting in reduced injury caused by the ulcers. Perhaps most importantly, research has shown that bisabolol effectively promotes apoptosis (cell death) of acute leukemia cells in humans.

Boiling Point

314°C/597°F (For more information, see Leafly’s The Avid Dabber: My Favorite Temperatures for Dabbing Cannabis Concentrates).

Cannabis Families with Abundant Bisabolol

To identify strains rich in bisabolol, use your nose or select strains that are listed as having a sweet, floral aroma similar to chamomile. Terpene levels vary from harvest to harvest, but some strains consistently produce high levels – particularly strains in the Kush and Headband families. According to the most recent tests of our concentrated terpene extracts, our strain with the highest level of bisabolol is NYC Diesel, followed closely by Kali Mist.