This is the ninth installment in our weekly series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes,” published every Monday. For more information, read the introduction to this series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes: A Guide For Medical Marijuana Patients.”

Bisabolol (also known as α-Bisabolol or levomenol) is a cannabis terpene that delivers a delicately sweet and floral aroma with hints of citrus and spice. Strains that are known to display high levels of bisabolol include Harle-Tsu, ACDC, Pink Kush, Headband, OG Shark, Rockstar, and Master Kush.

Besides its powerful medicinal effects and promising properties, alpha-bisabolol is also considered a relaxant, which can contribute to overall well-being, especially for those who struggle with depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

For hundreds of years, bisabolol has been used in cosmetics as a soothing and scent-enhancing agent, but a lack of research regarding this terpene’s medicinal properties has limited its therapeutic applications. 

However, in 2009, two long-awaited studies completed in Korea and Brazil definitively proved that bisabolol effectively reduced pain and inflammation in mice. A few years later, another study showed promise that bisabolol could be used as an antimicrobial agent in addition to being an anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive medication. The study confirmed tea tree oil as the more promising antimicrobial topical solution of the two, but when combined with bisabolol, its effects were strengthened. These findings led researchers to believe that bisabolol provides a synergistic effect that can strengthen the medicinal value of other terpenes.

Bisabolol may contribute to the soothing effects of cannabis, and is often a major constituent in various cannabis-infused topicals. The anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of bisabolol can potentially treat a variety of skin conditions. 

Bisabolol also acts as an antioxidant, contributing to the overall medicinal benefits cannabis may provide.

A 2010 study explored bisabolol as an anti-cancer agent by inducing apoptosis in acute leukemia cells.  A 2014 study demonstrated bisabolol’s cytokine inhibiting activity to potentially treat skin inflammation. A September 2015 study examined the potential of bisabolol as a topical treatment for chronic venous leg ulcers.

It must be mentioned that Bisabolol is a secondary cannabis terpene, not a primary terpene like alpha-pinene, myrcene, limonene, beta-caryophyllene, or linalool which play a bigger part in a cultivar’s smell and effects. This means the mere presence of alpha-bisabolol in a cultivar doesn’t guarantee palpable anxiety relief, for example. Nevertheless, further research could demonstrate which cannabis compounds alpha-bisabolol forms the strongest “entourage effect” with and the combinations and concentrations in which this terpene can be most useful.

Commonly found in German chamomile and the South American candeia tree, bisabolol is widely used in cosmetics, fragrances, and skincare products.  

Understanding individual terpene characteristics can play a key factor in selecting the ideal strain. Whether inhaled or used aromatically or topically, Bisabolol proves to be a key component in the broad spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids that maximize the therapeutic effects cannabis may provide. Feel free to email us to assist with any questions you may have.