Chemistry

Guaiol

Petar Petrov
Written by Petar Petrov

Guaiol is a sesquiterpenoid alcohol that occurs in certain cannabis plants, and in trees like cypress pine and especially guaiacum. Naturally, its known for its distinct piney aroma, reminiscent of the smell of pinene.

While it’s still surrounded by relative mystery, it has demonstrated some promise in certain realms, especially in botanical medicine.

History

Guaiol’s history isn’t as an individual terpene by rather entwined with guaiacum. After discovering Santo Domingo, the Spanish brought back the plant to Europe as it was believed to cure syphilis, as well as to stimulate menstruation and thus was used as an abortifacient.

Some of its other archaic applications were in treating ailments like a sore throat, gout, rheumatism, constipation.

Contemporary Applications

In more recent times, scientific research has pinned down different applications of this terpene. One of its most pronounced effects is its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which a 2007 study discovered. (1)

Guaiol is also a key component of the Calycorectes sellowianus leaf essential oil which has strong anti-inflammatory capabilities. (2) The terpene is also a major constituent of the essential oil of the Xylopiasericea fruit which has respectively showcased some anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties, further supporting the findings of the 2007 study. (3)

Another study from 2016 found that guaiol has anti-cancer potential as it inhibits the growth of non-small lung cancer cells and also targets their root causes. (4)

Guaiol has another famous application which is worth mentioning despite not being too relevant to medical cannabis users. In 2013, a study found that the terpene can work as a natural insecticide. (5)

Cannabis Varieties with Guaiol

Some of the famous varieties which have guaiol are Chocolope, Liberty Haze, and Blue Kush. In general, the type of plants known for this distinctive piney aroma are the Gorilla, Berry, and Diesel varieties, and Royal Gorilla, Sour Diesel, kali Dog, and Haze Berry in particular.

Boiling Point

Guaiol’s boiling point is relatively low at 92oC, which is why a vaporizer, set at a low temperature setting, works best if you happen to target this particular terpene.

Even though guaiol is far from the most popular terpene, it nevertheless has a variety of useful properties, both inside and outside of the medicinal realm. This is promising news not just about this particular terpene and its possible other, yet-to-be-known properties, but also about terpenes in cannabis as a whole, as scientists keep finding a myriad of beneficial applications for what were once considered to be fairly insignificant molecules.

References:

  1. Cloudhary MI et al, Microbial transformation of (-)-guaiol and antibacterial activity of its transformed products,J Nat Prod.,2007, 70(5):849-52. [Times cited = 17, journal impact factor = 3.281]
  2. Apel MA et al, Anti-inflammatory activity of essential oil from leaves of Myrciaria tenella and Calycorectes sellowianus, Pharm Biol., 2010 Apr;48(4):433-8. [Times Cited = 11, Journal Impact Factor = 1.241]
  3. Mendes RF et al, The essential oil from the fruits of the Brazilian spice Xylopia sericea A. St.-Hil. presents expressive in-vitro antibacterial and antioxidant activity, J Pharm Pharmacol.,2017, 69(3):341-348. [Times Cited = 2, Journal Impact Factor = 2.405]
  4. Yang Q et al, (-)-Guaiol regulates RAD51 stability via autophagy to induce cell apoptosis in non-small cell lung cancer,Oncotarget,2016, 7(38):62585-62597. [Times cited = 9, Journal Impact Factor = 5.168]
  5. Liu T et al, Guaiol–a naturally occurring insecticidal sesquiterpene, Natural Product Communications, 2013, 8(10):1353-4. [Times Cited = 15, Journal Impact Factor = 0.809]

About the author

Petar Petrov

Petar Petrov

Petar is a freelance writer and copywriter, covering culture, art, society, and anything in-between that makes for a nice story. And as it so happens, cannabis is a great element to add to each of those conversations.

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