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Terpene Highlight: Bisabolol

Bisabolol is a minor terpene usually present in very small amounts in the cannabis strains present in the Canadian market. What are the effects of inhaling/smoking Bisabolol?

Terpene Highlight: Bisabolol

Terpenes are aromatic chemicals that determine the smell of many plants and herbs.

Bisabolol is a well-known skin-soothing agent widely used in the cosmetic industry. It comes in two different structural forms: alpha-bisabolol, derived from chamomile and other plants (although it can also be lab-created) vs. beta-bisabolol which is found in cotton and corn. The terpene found in cannabis is the alpha form, the same used in beauty products. The alpha-bisabolol is part of a group of naturally occurring compounds derived from plants. 


Where else do we find Bisabolol?

Bisabolol is extracted from German Chamomile plants (Matricaria chamomilla or Matricaria recutita) and from the bark of the Brazilian Candeia tree (Vanillosmopsis erythropappa).


How do we synthesize Bisabolol?

Bisabolol can be synthesized in the lab by using molecular engineering. The process involves using yeast or bacteria with human enzymes to create the nature-identical molecule, usually through fermentation. This process has hopeful implications for sustainability as there’s no need to cut down trees.

There is also a chemical method to manufacture bisabolol synthetically, but with a petroleum-based carbon source that results in lower purity levels of bisabolol.


What Makes Bisabolol an Active Botanical? 

Bisabolol is part of a large group called sesquiterpenes, which make up a large class of terpenes known for their biological activity. 


What are the known effects of Bisabolol?

The bisabolol molecule is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties. All the following effects have been shown in studies, making alpha-bisabolol a regular ingredient in skin care products:

  • Anti-inflammation
  • Improved healing
  • Increasing prostaglandins (chemicals secreted by the body) that soothe the pain
  • Inhibiting bacterial growth
  • Inhibiting oxidative stress and damage from free radicals
  • Enhancing skin penetration of other molecules
  • Interfering with melanin production


Some research has shown some effects related to anti-anxiety and improved gastrointestinal effects, likely why drinking chamomile tea is traditionally recommended for stomach ache and stress relief. 


What are the effects of inhaling/smoking Bisabolol?

There are no known studies on the effects of inhaling/smoking Bisabolol-containing herbs, but smoking anything can be harmful to some extent. And yet through time, humans have burned, smoked and inhaled medicinal plants to cure illness. But to the best of our modern medical knowledge, the ethnopharmacological aspects of natural herbal products combustion for therapy and health care have not been studied. The reported benefits and effects of bisabolol are mostly for studies performed in animals, for topical solution (skin contact), aromatherapy (essential oils) and indigestion of teas. 


Strains that are high in Bisabolol

Bisabolol is a minor cannabinoid that’s rare in the cannabis strains available to the Canadian market, usually present in very small amounts if any. According to the 2022 State of Weed, out of a database of over 1800 strains, there were less than 70 bisabolol-containing flowers. Some high Bisabolol-containing strains are Black Widow CBD by DIVVY, A-Mint by Truro, and Wedding Singer by Msiku.


Bisabolol Properties

Bisabolol has a sweet and floral aroma profile, and it vaporizes at 153 °C (307 °F).


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