All the nuances and characteristics in the flavor profile of a cannabis strain come from the terpenes within it. From commonly found compounds like myrcene to rarely seen players like phellandrene, each terpene in cannabis plays a distinct role in creating a unique aromatic fingerprint of a strain.

Some terpenes play a larger role in the foundational character of a strain, while others add accents and complexity. Cannabis strains with fruity and floral aromatic profiles may owe their uniquely sweet scents in part to a lesser-known terpene called geraniol.

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Although not prevalent in a lot of cannabis, geraniol is known for its delicate rose and floral profile, providing a sweetness to strains like Agent Orange and Black Cherry Soda. It also has a host of potential medical uses including pain reduction, and anti-inflammatory and antifungal benefits.

Geraniol’s Unique Profile

This terpene’s name may sound familiar because it’s derived from the geranium plant, the herb known for its citrus scent and insect-repelling properties. However, geraniol’s somewhat peculiar aroma brings in more subtle notes of rose and fruits, playing a softer role than the strong citrus smells of citronella oil that are found in geraniums.

Geraniol can also be found in:

  • Rose oil
  • Lemongrass
  • Lemons
  • Peaches
  • Grapefruits
  • Oranges
  • Carrots
  • Coriander
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries

Perhaps the strangest synthesis of geraniol is within honey bees, who produce it in their scent glands as both a marker for nectar-bearing fruits and as a territorial mechanism to thwart off potentially dangerous colonies from creating a hive or taking over a pollination site.

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The subtlety of geraniol’s rose and floral notes, which are accentuated by slight citrus tones, make this terpene a major player in the fragrance industry. Geraniol can be found as an additive to a plethora of perfumes, colognes, lotions, detergents, candles, as well as many other household products.

You can even find this terpene used as a food additive, especially in pastries and desserts.

Cannabis Strains Containing Geraniol

Although this secondary terpene can be found in negligible quantities across a wide variety of strains, higher concentrations of geraniol have been found in the following strains:

The Potential Medical Benefits of Geraniol

Geraniol has been at the center of a handful of studies and demonstrates therapeutic potential. Its pharmacological potential as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory were brought to light in this 2015 review.

Geraniol was also found to be an effective antifungal and antibacterial when put up against 18 varieties of bacteria and 12 varieties of fungi in another study.

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Essential oils with geraniol have also been found to have potential tumor-reduction properties in cancer cells, and may even be able to inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells.

Animal studies, primarily on hamsters and rats, have shown the potential of geraniol to manage diabetes and hyperglycemia, as well as to help mitigate the symptoms of atherosclerosis, a condition that causes the formation of plaque in the arteries.