Nerolidol, also known as peruviol and penetrol, is an organic compound classified as a sesquiterpene due to its structure comprising three isoprene units, resulting in a 15-carbon molecular backbone. In the context of cannabis, nerolidol is one of the secondary metabolites produced by the plant, contributing to its complex bouquet of terpenes that impart distinctive aromas and flavors. This terpene is characterized by two primary isomers, cis-nerolidol and trans-nerolidol, each with a unique spatial arrangement of atoms that influence its scent and potential bioactivity.
Nerolidol is known for its fresh bark-like smell with notes of citrus and floral aroma, reminiscent of tree bark, rose, and citrus peels. It is not only present in cannabis but also found in a variety of other plants such as lavender, jasmine, and tea tree. The presence of nerolidol in cannabis is of particular interest due to its potential therapeutic properties, which have been the subject of scientific investigations. Studies suggest that nerolidol may possess various biological activities including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antifungal, anticancer, and antimicrobial effects. Furthermore, it has been observed to enhance the skin’s penetration of other molecules, which may be beneficial in the development of topical therapeutic agents.
In terms of its role within the cannabis plant, nerolidol may contribute to the entourage effect, a proposed mechanism by which the various compounds in cannabis, including cannabinoids and other terpenes, act synergistically to modulate the overall psychoactive and therapeutic effects of the plant. The precise effects and potential benefits of nerolidol in cannabis are still being elucidated through ongoing research, which aims to understand how this terpene interacts with the human endocannabinoid system and other biological targets.