A-Bisabolol Terpene 101: What It Is, Effects, Benefits, & Uses

A-Bisabolol Terpene 101: Bisabolol Effects, Benefits, & Uses

Once upon a time, it was thought that consuming cannabinoids like THC and CBD (see microdosing for more info) alone was the best way to get the full benefits of cannabis. Nowadays, research has shown us that combining cannabinoids with other compounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids, can provide more therapeutic effects than consuming cannabinoids by themselves. This is known as botanical synergy or the entourage effect.

Essentially, the entourage effect states that combining different cannabis compounds, like phytocannabinoids, cannabis terpenoids, and non-cannabinoid plant molecules, can produce “synergistic interactions to better treat pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal, and bacterial infections.

If you’ve thought about using cannabis for the first time, or even if you use it occasionally, you’re likely familiar with some cannabinoids like CBD, THC, and CBG. But many are unaware of the effects of cannabis terpenoids, also referred to as “terpenes.”

One terpene that has become quite popular is alpha-bisabolol, one of over 150 terpenes found in cannabis ( see a-bisabolol, d-limonene and beta ocimene ). Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “one of over 150? What makes this terpene so special?” We’re glad you asked because we’re about to dive in and answer that very question!

Understanding Terpenes: Alpha-Bisabolol 

Koan's infographic on the terpene found in cannabis, a-bisabolol

First, let’s break down the nomenclature “alpha-bisabolol terpene” piece by piece and define each key part. To start, a terpene is essentially a molecular compound that contains a chain of hydrocarbons and is found in essential oils of all plants, including cannabis. You’re likely more familiar with terpenes than you might originally think because terpenes are fragrant, aromatic molecules that provide plants with their unique smells.

How about that woodsy, refreshing scent of pine needles? That scent is derived from the terpene pinene. For a deep-dive into other terpenes that you may — or may not — be familiar with, check out our terpene guide. ,

Next, let’s focus on  alpha-bisabolol. Found in both chamomile and many varieties of cannabis, alpha-bisabolol (abbreviated a-bisabolol) is unique with its own specific molecular structure. That is, no other terpene has the exact same structure as alpha-bisabolol. A-bisabolol is one of over 150 terpenes found in cannabis and is thought to have many powerful healing benefits. In fact, a study published in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology suggests that a-bisabolol may possess anti-inflammatory properties, specifically in skin. With further research, this could open the floodgates for a-bisabolol — and other terpenes as well — to become commonplace in skincare products. While studies suggest that a-bisabolol may possess plenty of healing effects on its own, it is often combined with cannabinoids like:

  • Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Cannabigerol (CBG)

When combined with cannabinoids, they can create additional therapeutic benefits.

Terpenes are divided into two broad categories:

Primary Terpene Effects

These terpenes primarily determine the plant’s scent and are found in larger amounts than secondary terpenes.

Secondary Terpenes 

These terpenes play a role in one’s experience with a particular cannabis strain or variety. A-bisabolol is a secondary terpene, which lends to its potential medicinal properties. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Preventing and fighting infection
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Encouraging calmness and reducing anxiety

How Can Bisabolol Terpene Improve Your Health?

As mentioned earlier, alpha-bisabolol can be used by itself or synergistically with antibiotics or cannabinoids. By itself, a-bisabolol:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Improves the immune system

Alpha-bisabolol appears to reduce inflammation in several ways. One way is through reducing cytokine protein production. Produced by the body and involved in several inflammatory processes, certain cytokines, like IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α, are also thought to be linked to pathologic pain.

Furthermore, a-bisabolol appears to play a role in down-regulating COX-2 enzyme production. COX-2 enzymes are instrumental in creating lipids (fats) that promote inflammation and swelling throughout the body. This is why many people take prescribed medications like COX-2 inhibitors to prevent systemic inflammatory diseases, like arthritis (common COX-2 inhibitors include NSAIDs and Celebrex). However, long term use of COX-2 inhibitors is often “limited by the development of hypertension [high blood pressure], edema [swelling], and congestive heart failure”. Therefore, with more research, alpha-bisabolol could potentially be a safer treatment for chronic inflammatory conditions.

In addition to its anti-inflammatory effects, alpha-bisabolol has been found to be an effective treatment against bacterial infections like S. aureus and E. coli when combined with antibiotics. Thus, a-bisabolol can potentially have profound effects on wound healing.

Lastly, similarly to some cannabinoids, alpha-bisabolol seems to play a role in promoting calmness and tranquility. This makes logical sense why so many people feel calmer and less stressed after drinking chamomile tea.

Bisabolol In Your Cannabis Products

This is one of the reasons alpha-bisabolol was selected by Koan developers and researchers and is a part of several Koan blends, including the Calm Cordials. An added benefit of alpha-bisabolol is that it has anti-anxiety properties, but with little to no sedative properties. This is an important aspect because traditional anti-anxiety compounds (think “Xanax”) typically produce sedative effects. It’s a part of the Koan Calm formula where it helps reduce anxiety without lowering energy levels. This makes alpha-bisabolol different from linalool, another terpene often praised for its calming effects. Like a-bisabolol, linalool may reduce anxiety, but it relaxes you through a sedative effect. Alpha-bisabolol is a major component in Koan’s carefully formulated Balance cordial, which is said to bring your body, mind, and spirit back to an even state of harmony and homeostasis.

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This article is for informational purposes only and not to be used as medical advice. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your diet, medications, or daily routine. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.