Terpenes (general)

Terpineol: Sources, Common Uses, & Health Benefits

Written by Derek Johnson

From cannabinoids to terpenes, cannabis is a treasure trove of phytochemicals that have the potential for great benefit. An example is terpineol, a compound that has proven to have many benefits for humankind. Terpineol is the name given to five different isomeric monoterpenoids: α-, β-, δ-, γ-terpineol, and terpinen-4-ol. [1]

Terpineols are not only found in cannabis but in other plants including saffron, green tea, lilac trees, clary sage, lemon, star anise, and eucalyptus. The most common of the terpineols is α-terpineol. Its lilac aroma is well-known and pleasantly fragrant. For this reason, it is used extensively in hygiene products like soaps and lotions. It is also used in cleaners found in many households. Additionally, α-terpineol is used to flavor food products such as condiments and beverages.

The desirability of α-terpineol doesn’t end with its fragrance; the substance may have beneficial effects against a host of medical conditions that ail humans and animals.

For example, when exposed to α-terpineol, a small cell lung cancer cell line (NCI-H69) showed notable sensitivity to the terpenoid through the suppression of NF-kB signaling. [2] The terpenoid also proved to be effective against leukemia cell lines.

Additionally, α-terpineol showed preliminary promise in the treating opioid addiction. In a study from Iran, morphine-dependent mice were given the terpenoid which resulted in reduced jumping behavior, a common characteristic during withdrawals. At higher doses, the terpenoid also helped prevent tolerance to morphine analgesia. Both results suggest that α-terpineol may be a useful, natural tool for the treatment of opioid addiction. [2] α-Terpineol may also reduce blood pressure and pain sensitivity in addition to acting as an antioxidant and sedative. [1]

Legal cannabis brings to the world another source of this beneficial compound. With further study, especially in the medical field, terpineol may prove to be an invaluable tool in the fight against many conditions.

Image source: Karolina Grabowska, Pexels


  1. Khaleel C, et al. α-Terpineol, a natural monoterpene: A review of its biological properties. Open Chemistry. 2018;16(1):349-361. [Impact Factor:1.216; Times Cited:35 (Semantic Scholar)]
  2. Russo EB, Marcu J. Cannabis pharmacology: The usual suspects and a few promising leads. Advances in Pharmacology. 2017;80:67-134. [Impact Factor: n/a; Times Cited:62 (Semantic Scholar)]

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Derek Johnson

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