Bisabolol: Terpene effects in cannabis - Cannactiva

Bisabolol: the sweet, floral terpene of chamomile, also in cannabis

On this occasion, we will delve into the world of bisabolol, a terpene present in cannabis that captivates our senses with its soft and sweet floral aroma. It is often associated with chamomile, because it is the major component of its essential oil. We invite you to discover this aromatic touch of CBD buds inthis post, and to learn more about the aroma, effects and properties of bisabolol in cannabis.

Bisabolol: What is it and what effect does this terpene have on cannabis?

Introduction to bisabolol terpene and its aroma

A day of hectic work came to an end. The night was already very dark, the sofa was crying out for company, and the desire for dinner was scarce. With the stomach between shrinking and churning, and the mind tired, an infusion was imposed to give way to rest. A chamomile. Today, please!

Calmness appeared even before drinking the herbal tea from that steaming cup that gave off a warm, sweet fragrance. The steam from the infusion filled the room, permeating the air with its soothing aroma. How easily could the stress of the day be put to rest? So simple, yes, but also so complex. The secret behind the calm and intoxicating aroma of chamomile lies in bisabolol, the terpene with soothing properties in this post.

What is bisabolol?

Bisabolol, or alpha bisabolol, is a terpene, an organic element that we do not see, but we do smell. Imperceptible to the eye, it imparts aroma and flavor to certain plants, including cannabis. And like the rest of terpenes, beyond being the aromatic responsible for certain varieties, it is an active compound that presents benefits in itself, and also positive effects when combined with other terpenes and cannabinoids.

Bisabolol has a distinctive, mild, sweet, floral aroma, often compared to chamomile and honey.

The function of bisabolol in plants is to act as a defense, a kind of “chemical weapon” against pests or predators. In cannabis, it is not one of the most abundant terpenes, but contributes as an undertone in the aroma and flavor profiles of strains, providing sweet floral notes.

Its properties include skin healing, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is therefore a terpene commonly used by the cosmetic industry not only extracted from plants naturally, but also from synthetic replicas.


Bisabolol, α-bisabolol, or levomenol, belongs to the sesquiterpene family. Sesquiterpenes are terpenes consisting of three isoprene units of 5 carbons each, and in the case of α-bisabolol, it contains an alcohol group in its structure. Its 15-carbon composition makes it a consistent and heavy terpene.

It is therefore less susceptible to degradation than a monoterpene such as limonene or myrcene (lighter, more fragile). Being heavier than other lighter terpenes, bisabolol is more subtle to the sense of smell: it is less volatile than a monoterpene, and to identify its aroma it is necessary to sharpen the sense of smell.


Bisabolol emits a sweet aroma with a floral profile. It is a gentle, welcoming fragrance, without discordant overtones. A uniform smell with no bitter or spicy surprises. To decipher the characteristics of this sesquiterpene, the easiest way is to think of a steaming chamomile. Does a sweet aroma reach your nose? With a blooming spot, dry? And in that enveloping fragrance, isn’t there something that reminds you of honey? These organoleptic profiles of chamomile tea are the result of bisabolol.

Where is bisabolol found?

Bisabolol is a terpene found in several plants and trees of very different species. Regarding plants that produce bisabolol, the best known is chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), which contains about 40% of alpha-bisabolol in its essential oil.

It is also found in lesser known plants, such as the candeia tree(Vanillosmopsis erythropappa), the shrub Myoporum crassifolium, the black laurel tree(Nectandra megapotamica), Laserpitium zernyi and Plinia cerrocampanensis (1).

Bisabolol is also found in cannabis. More specifically, it is produced in tiny structures called trichomes.

Bisabolol-rich cannabis varieties

Rarely do we come across a cannabis strain that smells like chamomile. Yes or no? It would be difficult to find a cannabis specimen that reproduces the aroma of Matricaria chamomilla because bisabolol is not usually the predominant terpene of any variety. In cannabis, this sesquiterpene is found at low levels, which translates into some undertone notes.

When we perceive a sweet and floral fragrance in some buds, it is probably due to the presence of bisabolol. But there will always be some nuances. Of course, cannabis breeding is advancing so fast and focusing so much effort on the terpenoid profiles of strains that it is only a matter of time before we recognize chamomile in some future hybrid.

Bisabolol-rich CBD flowers

The CBD strains richest in bisabolol from Cannactiva are the following:

Bisabolol-rich marijuana strains: the enriching nuance of legendary North American genetics

One strain with relevant levels of bisabolol is the North American Headband. This indica-dominant hybrid, the result of crossing OG Kush and Sour Diesel, is a highly acclaimed genetics among lovers of “gasoline” aromas. Kush .

How many connoisseurs do not chase that strong smell, herbaceous at first with some citrus notes later, and gasoline at the end, which has made so many connoisseurs loyal over the years. With Headband, that fragrance is softened with the floral and sweet notes of bisabolol.

Something similar happens with the Master Kush, the OG Shark or the Pink Kush, and, obviously, with the precursor of all of them: the OG Kush. All these strains produce levels of this sesquiterpene above 0.12%.

It may seem an insignificant percentage, but if we take into account that a cannabis variety rich in terpenes presents levels between 2 and 4% in total, we will understand that 0.12% is not a very high amount, but it is significant.

What effect does bisabolol have on cannabis?

The bisabolol produced by cannabis has the same effects as when the terpene is produced by chamomile or other plants. Only in the case of the alpha bisabolol of marijuana or hemp, it can enhance the effects of the other active ingredients of the plant (other terpenes and cannabinoids) as a result of the entourage effect of cannabis .

As it has been scientifically proven by the chemist Raphael Mechoulam that cannabinoids and terpenes exert synergies with each other, we can deduce that bisabolol will improve the response of our endocannabinoid system to the active principles of cannabis.

However, there are still no scientific studies that indicate which terpenes and which cannabinoids bisabolol is able to potentiate. But one thing is clear: bisabolol will enrich your cannabis experience.

Because a single compound offers fewer benefits than a strain with all its active ingredients in total. To paraphrase the title of the study The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain by Ethan Russo, M.D., Neurologist and Psychopharmacology researcher, to underline that when a certain chemotype of cannabis is used with all its variety of compounds, its effects are amplified.

Properties and benefits of bisabolol

Bisabolol is a sesquiterpene with anticancer, neuroprotective, cardioprotective and antimicrobial properties (1). In addition, due to its anti-inflammatory and healing properties, it is a very common compound in many cosmetic products. cosmetic products (try typing bisabolol in Google and you will see what “creamy” results the search engine gives you).

It is such a common element in popular industries such as cosmetics and perfumery because it is a fully regulated ingredient for human use. In fact, and prior to its cataloguing, the scientific literature already states that bisabolol has been a terpene used for years in traditional medicine, although in this case the active compound was not extracted from cannabis, but from chamomile.

For the skin

Bisabolol is present in the formulation of numerous creams, both for pharmaceutical and cosmetic use, for its properties to reduce skin inflammations, and for being a possible effective agent for dermatitis problems, melasma (skin spots) and eczema.

The anti-inflammatory property of bisabolol for the skin is due to its ability to reduce the production of cytokines (immune system proteins that cause inflammation in the skin), as reported in several studies (2).

In addition, the benefits of bisabolol have also been proven to treat dark spots or hyperpigmentation of the skin, melasma, that imbalance in skin pigmentation whereby exposure to the sun causes skin spots resulting from inflammatory skin disorders. During this clinical study (3) a cream containing alpha-bisabolol was applied to 28 women with this problem and after 8 weeks it was found that the skin spots had lightened considerably in all of them.
The benefits of bisabolol, in combination with other active ingredients such as glycerin or zinc (depending on the formulation of the cream used in the study), were also reported in a clinical study where the benefits of bisabolol in combination with other active ingredients such as glycerin or zinc were demonstrated. improvement of skin irritation in children with atopic dermatitis problems (4).

For pain

Another studied property of bisabolol is its soothing effect, used both for skin conditions and gastrointestinal ailments. Who hasn’t had a chamomile tea for a tummy ache?

This is due to the analgesic properties of bisabolol and its ability to reduce pain perception (antinociception). In preliminary studies of chronic pain, α-bisabolol has been shown to reduce pain sensitization and relieve pain. In addition, it has been observed that it could have positive effects in reducing inflammation associated with chronic pain (1).

All of this raises the potential of bisabolol as a valuable component in products for pain relief from a variety of causes, and we may see it increasingly present in pain creams .

Other properties of bisabolol

Bisabolol is also being studied for its potential as a neuroprotectant in neurodegenerative diseases, a field that is still a great challenge for science today. Its antioxidant, anti-aggregating and anti-apoptotic properties may help preserve neuronal integrity and function.

Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, potentially useful in a wide variety of conditions, have also been observed. And of course, its gastroprotective properties, closely related to the traditional uses of chamomile, have also been proven in some studies.

However, relevant research is still ongoing to understand all the mechanisms of action of α-bisabolol.

So much for this visit to one of the organoleptic temples of cannabis. As usual, the name bisabolol may sound foreign, but you can see that it is very present in our daily lives. We invite you to experience it in our cannabis strains!

  1. Eddin LB, Jha NK, Goyal SN, Agrawal YO, Subramanya SB, Bastaki SMA, Ojha S. Health Benefits, Pharmacological Effects, Molecular Mechanisms, and Therapeutic Potential of α-Bisabolol. Nutrients. 2022 Mar 25;14(7):1370. doi: 10.3390/nu14071370. PMID: 35405982; PMCID: PMC9002489.
  2. Maurya AK, Singh M, Dubey V, Srivastava S, Luqman S, Bawankule DU. α-(-)-bisabolol reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine production and ameliorates skin inflammation. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2014;15(2):173-81. doi: 10.2174/1389201015666140528152946. PMID: 24894548.
  3. Lee J, Jun H, Jung E, Ha J, Park D. Whitening effect of alpha-bisabolol in Asian women subjects. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2010 Aug;32(4):299-303. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2010.00560.x. PMID: 20642768.
  4. Licari A, Ruffinazzi G, DE Filippo M, Castagnoli R, Marseglia A, Agostinis F, Puviani M, Milani M, Marseglia GL. A starch, glycyrretinic, zinc oxide and bisabolol based cream in the treatment of chronic mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis in children: a three-center, assessor blinded trial. Minerva Pediatr. 2017 Dec;69(6):470-475. doi: 10.23736/S0026-4946.17.05015-0. PMID: 29181960.

Jásminka Romanos
Periodista especializada en comunicación para el sector del cannabis

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