Terpene Tuesdays: Everything You Need to Know About Geraniol Flavor, Fragrance, and Health Benefits

In this post:

Terpene Tuesdays: Everything You Need to Know About Geraniol Flavor, Fragrance, And Health Benefits

In this post:

  • What do terpenes like geraniol do?
  • Terpenes and the entourage effect
  • Geraniol research and benefits
  • Do terpenes get you high?
  • Sources of geraniol in nature
  • Cannabis strains with geraniol


Did you know that there was once such a thing as edible deodorant?

In 2012, a U.S. company called Boneo developed a deodorant candy called Deo Perfume Candy. The premise was that eating four candies a day would make your skin ooze a pleasant smell of rose, eliminating the risk of clogged pores and stains of standard deodorant.

What does personal hygiene have to do with cannabis, you ask? Well, it turns out the central ingredient in Deo Perfume Candy was geraniol— a multifaceted terpene known for its rose and citrus hints in cannabis strains like Agent Orange and Black Cherry Soda.

It’s not as prevalent in cannabis as other terpenes like myrcene, but geraniol can be found in small amounts in over 200 strains and over 250 different essential oils.

In addition to fragrance, geraniol provides a host of health benefits. It has anti-cancer, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and— it’s even a mosquito repellent.

Read on for the best smelling Terpene Tuesday ever.

Geraniol Infographic - ACS Laboratory


What Do Terpenes Like Geraniol Do?

Unlike animals, plants can’t run away from a predator. They need another defense mode, which comes in the form of terpenes. When bugs or overzealous herbivores come along, plants release terpenes to create a particular scent that wards them away. In other scenarios, plants release terpenes to attract bees for pollination and protect plants from UV damage.

In cannabis, different terpene profiles give strains their unique smell, taste, and color. Geraniol is one of over 150 cannabis terpenes, although that’s present in low quantities across most strains. Additionally, you can find geraniol in a wide variety of beauty products, from skincare to lip gloss to shampoo.


Geraniol Terpenes and the Entourage Effect

The “entourage effect” represents a common theme in our world today: we are stronger together.

In cannabis, it’s no different. For a long time, researchers thought that the psychoactive and health benefits of cannabis were primarily due to one isolated cannabinoid–THC. But as research evolved, experts developed a new theory.

They called it the entourage effect–a term to describe how all cannabis compounds, including cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes, work together to create a more significant effect than any compound alone. Additionally, researchers theorized that different strains have varying effects not just because of THC content but because of their entire botanical profile.

As a result of the entourage effect theory, experts believe full-spectrum cannabis products can deliver more therapeutic power than isolated extracts. Full-spectrum means that as many as possible of the native compounds in a strain are kept during the extraction process. More interactions are possible with a higher amount of the native ingredients, giving these products a more significant effect on the system.

Geraniol Research and Benefits

  • Geraniol extract is an effective insect repellent. In addition to mosquitoes, geraniol protects against sandflies. Also known as “no-see-ums,” these critters feast in hordes, and after they bite, people typically wake up the following day with clusters of bites that itch worse than that of mosquitoes. In other words, geraniol is a lifesaver.
  • It’s not just large multicellular organisms that geraniol can defend against— it fights the small ones, too. One study showed that geraniol extract was a powerful antimicrobial agent against a host of different bacteria, including E. coli, L. monocytogenes, and S. enterica.
  • Another study showed that when sprayed as an aerosol, geraniol extract had a significant antibacterial effect on respiratory pathogens like influenza and pneumonia.
  • Numerous studies have exhibited preventive effects of geraniol extract on all kinds of cancer, from lung to colon to pancreatic cancer. Broadly, geraniol affects the signaling pathways of tumorous cells, preventing them from replicating at a malignant rate.
  • Terpenes like alpha humulene and linalool are well-known for their anti-inflammatory effects. Geraniol is not as powerful in this regard, but one study found that it reduced the inflammation of blood vessels in hamsters with atherosclerosis.
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Do Terpenes Like Geraniol Get You High?

Geraniol and terpenes generally cannot get you high. They are not psychoactive, so they can’t affect you the same way THC will. However, geraniol can elicit a sense of vibrancy, spark, or being uplifted because of its citrusy rose scent.


Sources of Geraniol in Nature

  • Given its scent of rose, geraniol is easily found in rose oil. There is also a species of grass called Indian geranium that, when extracted, becomes palmarosa oil, which has a similar rosy scent.
  • Although lavender is most known for its linalool content, you can also find geraniol hiding in this flowering plant.
  • The legendary spices of thyme, coriander, and basil all carry geraniol.
  • Citronella oil, extracted from lemongrass, is another common natural insect repellent that contains geraniol.


What Cannabis Strains Have the Most Geraniol?

  • Agent Orange: a sativa-dominant strain with a sweet and citrusy orange flavor, Agent O produces a cerebral, uplifting high ideal for shifting moods.
  • Black Cherry Soda: an aesthetically gorgeous strain with an expected berry scent, BCS creates a potent but pleasant high with tingling in the body.
  • Harlequin: a popular medical marijuana strain with essences of mango, Harlequin is an effective pain reliever due to its 1:1 THC and CBD ratio.
  • Lemon G: a lemony and piney-smelling strain, Lemon G is an intensely energetic high that leaves people feeling euphoric and creative.
  • Strawberry Diesel: a true hybrid strain with a sweet, fruity flavor. Strawberry Diesel elicits a very calming effect that is great for anxiety or stress.


The Bottom Line

Geraniol is incredibly multifaceted.

Its ability to be an insect repellent, an antibacterial agent, and a preventive against cancer growth genuinely make it a fascinating compound.

Try looking out for geraniol in your conditioner or soap or even in one of your natural food products.

If you purchase cannabis products, you can look for geraniol in the strain you’re buying by checking out its Certificate of Analysis (COA).Most COAs list the major terpenes and cannabinoids in a product and quantify their content. This is essential knowledge because it allows you to understand how different compounds affect you. If you’re having trouble finding the COA, look for a QR code on the packaging or ask your budtender to show you— it’ll give them an opportunity to geek out about cannabis science.

At ACS Laboratory, we test for a total of 38 terpenes, including myrcene, linalool, and, you guessed it— geraniol. Although terpene testing is not part of the mandatory statewide panel for cannabis or hemp, reputable brands typically test for terpenes to help you navigate the complex road of cannabinoid science.

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