top of page

Beyond Super Class Terpenes: Bisabolol

Updated: Apr 9, 2023

This article is brought to you by the new Higher Learning LV Core Cannabis course.

 

A variety of both favorable medicinal efficacies as well as potential adverse effects have been identified in the major cannabinoids, including CBD and delta-9 THC. To better understand the adverse effects of THC, see C3 Podcast No. 33.


In Higher Learning LV's Super Class Terpenes series, the eight most common (and therefore, most important) terpenes produced by North American cannabis cultivars are described. But what about the other terpenes? What about those that have been significantly investigated by science, despite the fact that they are less common in cannabis?


Although their commonality in cannabis and hemp might be low, many of these terpenes are produced in significant volumes by other botanical species.


Cannabis Terpene Basics

Terpenes are one of the three major groups of wellness molecules produced by cannabis/hemp/marijuana (in addition to cannabinoids and flavonoids). While cannabinoids are exclusive to the cannabis plant (they are made by no other plants in nature), terpenes are the polar opposite: No terpene is exclusive to cannabis.


More than 20,000 plant species in nature produce more than 40,000 varieties of terpenes. These molecules serve to protect the plant by attracting pollinators and dissuading pests and predators.

In fact, more than 20,000 plant species in nature produce more than 40,000 varieties of terpenes. These molecules serve to protect the plant by attracting pollinators and dissuading pests and predators. Terpenes deliver both aroma and flavor (flavonoids, despite their name, deliver zero flavor and are all about pigmentation and color).


More than 200 terpenes are programmed into the genome (DNA) of the cannabis plant species. However, a small subset of this group actually manifests in an individual chemotype or sample of the plant. Nerolidol is one of the 200.


Bisabolol Basics

Bisabolol, also called levomenol and alpha-bisabolol, was first isolated in 1951 from the essential oil of chamomile (some examples of which contain up to 50 percent α-bisabolol in weight by volume). In isolation, this minor terpene conveys a subtle and sweet aroma that is floral in nature, with possible hints of nut or pepper.

German chamomile produces the terpene bisabolol


In addition to cannabis, it is made by the Candeia tree, German chamomile, sage, and South African candela tree. This terpene has been employed in various topical treatments and cosmetics for centuries based on its reputed ability to heal skin.


The potential medicinal efficacy of this terpene includes anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer, skin healing, and analgesic (pain reducing) properties. Cultivars (strains) of cannabis purported to produce bisabolol in discernable volumes include AC/DC, Harle-Tsu, Headband, Headmaster Kush, OG Shark, Oracle, and Pink Kush.


A 2015 study entitled "Evaluation of Bisabolol as a Promising Agent Against Leishmania Amazonensis" that was published in the journal Experimental Parasitology investigated the potential medicinal efficacy of the terpene bisabolol for the parasitic disease found in tropical and subtropical regions, including Southern Europe.


The study concluded that bisabolol is a promising treatment for leishmanial because it "can act against the promastigote forms and is able to penetrate the cell."

The study concluded that bisabolol is a promising treatment for leishmanial because it "can act against the promastigote forms and is able to penetrate the cell."

The bisabolol molecule


A 2004 study entitled "α-Bisabolol, a Nontoxic Natural Compound, Strongly Induces Apoptosis in Glioma Cells" that was published in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications explored the ability of bisabolol to kill a common type of brain tumor called a glioma.


The peer-reviewed study explored the ability of bisabolol to kill a common type of brain tumor called a glioma. Johns Hopkins Medicine estimates that gliomas constitute "about 33 percent of all brain tumors."

The peer-reviewed study explored the ability of bisabolol to kill a common type of brain tumor called a glioma. Johns Hopkins Medicine estimates that gliomas constitute "about 33 percent of all brain tumors."


The research found that bisabolol exhibited an extremely high efficacy against the tumor cells. "Glioma cells treated with high concentration of α-bisabolol (10 μM) resulted in a 100 percent cell death," reported the researchers. The study’s authors concluded, "α-bisabolol may be considered [to be] a novel compound [that is] able to inhibit glioma cell growth and survival."


Are you a cannabis industry professional? Check out Higher Learning LV's Deep Dive Subscription that features dozens of long-form articles based on the latest peer-reviewed scientific research. Priced to accommodate personal and enterprise training budgets.

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page