By Steven Voser

Terpenes are the aromatic compounds in cannabis that are responsible for contributing the unique flavour profiles of different strains. Research is now also suggesting that terpenes play a key role in the characteristics and effects of cannabis strains, in addition to serving numerous biological functions. This has led to an increased interest in terpenes as potential therapeutic agents.

Geraniol is one of the 200+ different terpenes found in cannabis. This colourless, flavourful oil naturally occurs in geraniums (hence the name), and can also be found in roses, lemon grass, blueberries, lemons peels, and carrots, among other plants. Geraniol is also produced by bees who use its aroma to mark their territories. It has a fruity, floral, sweet, and citrusy scent.


Geraniol is often used as a flavouring agent in foods such as ice cream and candy. It is also frequently utilised in the cosmetics industry for lotions and perfumes, and for soaps and detergents. Additionally, geraniol is one of the main ingredients in citronella oil.

Like almost all other major terpenes in cannabis, geraniol has powerful antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes geraniol potentially useful for a variety of therapeutic applications, as supported by various scientific studies.

Geraniums Geraniol Terpene Cannabis


Among the most promising therapeutic uses for geraniol is its potential contribution to cancer treatment. There is scientific evidence[1] that the natural antioxidant properties of this terpene discourage tumorous cell growth in a number of cancers.

A 2005 study[2] published in Biochemical Pharmacology showed how geraniol inhibited the proliferation of MCF-7 breast cancer cells. A recent study[3] published in 2016 in the Journal Cancer Medicine showed that geraniol was able to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells by altering the expression of master genes involved in cell proliferation. This prevented cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body.


Geraniol displays powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help with the prevention and treatment of infections. It has also been shown to effectively inhibit the growth of certain fungi. Moreover, its antiviral properties imbue it with a well-rounded course of therapeutic functions. This makes geraniol a potential agent in the treatment of a wide variety of symptoms and conditions from the common cold to inflammatory disorders.

Cannabis Plant


A study[4] in the Journal of Neuroscience Research showed that geraniol also works as a neuroprotectant, which means it helps preserve the structure and function of nerve cells. This would make geraniol particularly useful for the treatment of neuropathy in people with diabetes. Neuropathy is a condition where damage to the nerves can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the limbs. The study concludes that geraniol “may be a promising therapeutic candidate in the management of DN [diabetic neuropathy] in humans”.


Cannabis strains that are rich in linalool, which is another major terpene, are usually also high in geraniol. These strains include Afghan, Amnesia Haze and Skunk genetics.

Research surrounding geraniol and other terpenes is ongoing, and we have a lot more to learn about their vast medicinal potential. However, plenty of studies are looking at their actions and how they might work side by side with cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.

External Resources:
  1. The antitumor effects of geraniol: Modulation of cancer hallmark pathways (Review)
  2. Geraniol and beta-ionone inhibit proliferation, cell cycle progression, and cyclin-dependent kinase 2 activity in MCF-7 breast cancer cells indepen... - PubMed - NCBI
  3. Geraniol suppresses prostate cancer growth through down-regulation of E2F8. - PubMed - NCBI
  4. Protective effects of geraniol (a monoterpene) in a diabetic neuropathy rat model
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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