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 secondary cannabis terpene cineole.
Cineole has a unique spicy, cooling herbal aroma similar to eucalyptus, mint or tea tree oil.
Botanicals Containing Cineole
Cineole is also known as Eucalyptol, and is the dominant essential oil in eucalyptus trees. It is also commonly found in tea trees, basil, mugwort, rosemary, bay leaves and cannabis.
Cineole has traditionally been used to improve memory and alertness, which is consistent with research into its effects on cognition. Research shows that cineole can decrease the inflammation caused by the amyloid beta plaques responsible for Alzheimer’s disease, indicating that it may be a treatment option for the disease. Additional studies of rosemary oil, which has abundant cineole, have found that it benefits memory and cognition, resulting in improved performance on math tests.
Cineole has been widely studied for its many therapeutic properties, including its antibacterial effectiveness. Research indicates that plants such as Artemisia, which has abundant cineole, can be effective against numerous bacteria inluding E. coli and Stapphylococcus aureus. Other research shows that cineole is toxic to a wide variety of fungal plant pathogens including Fusarium, Aspergillus, Alternaria and Penicillum species. The presence of cineole may therefore help some cannabis strains resist fungal infections.
Cineole also offers potent anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to its reduction of inflammation in the brain, studies have found that it is effective in reducing inflammation caused by Rhinosinusitus (inflammation of the sinuses), Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Crohn’s disease. In addition, numerous studies have been conducted which confirm its effectiveness in reducing respiratory inflammation associated with asthma, leading to a “notable improvement in lung function” as well as reduced dyspnea (difficulty breathing). Research also suggests it as a possible treatment for sinusitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Research also indicates that cineole can effectively combat the growth of certain types of cancer. A 2002 study found that cineole caused apoptosis (cell death) in human leukemia cells, but was ineffective against stomach cancer cells. Further research in 2013 found that cineole significantly inhibited colon cancer, reducing the spread of the cancer by causing apoptosis. Another study found that in addition to inhibiting cancer cell proliferation, cineole reduced synthesis of cholesterol, which is associated with heart disease and stroke.
Cineole has a moderate boiling point of 176°C/348°F – so the best way to take advantage of its benefits is by using a customizable temperature vaporizer such as the Argo. (For more information, see WikiLeaf’s Customize Your High By Controlling Your Vaporizer Temperature).
Cannabis Families with Abundant Cineole
To identify strains rich in cineole, use your nose or select strains that are listed as having a spicy, cooling aroma. Terpene levels vary from harvest to harvest, but some strains consistently produce high levels. According to the most recent tests of our concentrated terpene extracts, our strain with the highest level of cineole is Exodus Cheese.