Terpene Profiles: Eucalyptol, The Cannabis Plant’s Cooling Menthol Medicine

One of the things we love about the cannabis plant is its endless ability to surprise us. Just when we think we’ve unlocked its properties and its secrets, it drops something new on us.

If you follow our blog, you’ve no doubt noticed that we’ve been focusing on one of those surprising and ever-unfolding aspects of cannabis: Its terpenes. As savvy cannabis consumers, you’re likely familiar with the fragrant hydrocarbons (or essential oils) that give different strains of cannabis—and many other plants and natural substances—their distinctive aromas and flavors.

Today we’re going to focus on eucalyptol (also known as cineol), a terpene with a distinctive menthol aroma. It’s not as prevalent as the ten most abundant of cannabis’ roughly 200 known terpenes, but it has an important role to play in keeping cannabis (and perhaps our bodies as well) free of unwanted microbes. If you’ve ever detected a pleasurably cooling scent in cannabis— reminiscent most strongly of eucalyptus but also mint, sage, and tea tree oil—you might be picking up on its eucalyptol content.

But there’s more to the story. A growing body of evidence suggests that terpenes do much more than provide cannabis strains their characteristic scents; they’re also partnering with our body to create some medically useful interactions. And in the case of eucalyptol, this terpene has a lot to give.

Eucalyptol - cannabis plant

What Does Eucalyptol Do For Us?

While eucalyptol isn’t nearly as abundant as myrcene or humulene, this lesser terpene makes up for its relative scarcity—typically around .06% of a given strain’s terpene profile—with powerful analgesic (or pain-fighting), and antibacterial qualities. As with everything in the world of cannabis, research is still ongoing, but here are some things we know about this potent terpene.

Pain Relief: Researchers have known for nearly 20 years that eucalyptol has the potential to fight pain by acting as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Since then, studies have suggested the terpene’s effectiveness in combating sinus and colon inflammation.

Anti-Inflammation: On a similar note, eucalyptol may have a role to play in treating asthma, a common inflammatory disease. A study published in 1998 and a more recent one both point to the terpene’s effectiveness in this widespread disease, which currently afflicts some 1 in 13 Americans.

And while definitive results are likely years away, it appears that eucalyptol’s potent anti-inflammatory quality may combat Alzheimer’s disease, both by reducing neuroinflammation and possibly even by improving cognition and memory.

Anti-Bacterial: In a roughly similar fashion as tea tree oil—which it superficially resembles in aroma—eucalyptol exhibits powerful anti-bacterial effects, having shown itself effective against  E. coli, Enterobacter, and Staphylococcus. As the threat of antibiotic-resistant microbes grows, natural alternatives such as eucalyptol may find themselves with an important role to play.

Eucalyptol - trichome closeup on bud

How to Get Eucalyptol from Cannabis

Because it's comparatively less common than other terpenes, it’s more difficult to identify strains with a great deal of eucalyptol.

Super Silver Haze is a famous and popular sativa strain, typically characterized by piney, citrusy and of course eucalyptus aromas. It does tend to be buzzy and energetic, and some find it causes distracting “racing mind” effects. On the other hand, it’s beloved by many creatives for its energizing and inspiring qualities.

GSC (formerly known as Girl Scout Cookies) is a potent high-THC strain also known for a robust CBD and CBN content. Be forewarned: The high is an enjoyable experience, but not one noted for high productivity!

If you have thoughts, questions or deep know-how about eucalyptol, don’t hesitate to drop us a line; we’d love to hear what you’ve got to share!

When you shop at our Oakland Dispensary, you’ll find that our cannabis products aren’t separated into the more common sativa-indica-hybrid groupings. Rather, we focus on terpenes and effects so you can more easily find the strain or product that can help you achieve your desired effect! Stop by ECO Cannabis and check it out for yourself!