What is Farnesol?

Acacia flower full of Farnesol

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Cannabis is an exponentially growing trend today. Even though it was previously criminalized and prosecuted by law, the scientific community has debunked many myths and erroneous beliefs about this wonderful plant. Much of this growth is due to the wide range of medicinal properties that cannabis can contribute to the health of the human body, many directly related to the natural compounds that cannabis contains.

Without a doubt, the most popular natural compounds related to cannabis are cannabinoids like CBD, THC, and CBG. But like all plants, cannabis also contains terpenes, which are naturally occurring compounds that can generate a series of potential therapeutic effects on their own.

Botanical scientists and plant connoisseurs have been discovering different terpenes for centuries, each one with the ability to generate unique effects and benefits. One of these terpenes is farnesol, a sesquiterpene with qualities that are particularly beneficial for health, with an exquisite smell, and that can also be much more common in your daily life than you would think.

Farnesol Terpene

Farnesol is an acyclic sesquiterpene alcohol that takes its name from the Farnese acacia tree or Vachellia farnesiana. The Farnese acacia flower is one of the most popular natural sources of this floral-scented terpene. Although the Farnese acacia tree flowers are abundant in farnesol content, you will also find this sesquiterpene alcohol as a natural constituent in more than 30 essential oils.

You can find a high farnesol content in the tropical cabrueva oil and various plants such as neroli, citronella, chamomile, lemongrass, musk, and some fruits such as peach.

Furthermore, farnesol is a hydrophobic, colorless liquid that's miscible in oils. Phosphate-activated derivatives of farnesol are the precursors of steroids in animals, plants, and fungi. Therefore, farnesol and its derivatives are important components for natural and artificial organic synthesis.

Finally, farnesol has a long history of use in perfumery, and studies show several effects that can be beneficial to human health. It appears to optimize the performance of other terpenes and cannabinoids, suggesting that it may play a significant role in the long list of terpenes that boost the medical benefits that cannabis provides.

What Does Farnesol Do?

The great variety of natural compounds that cannabis contains, such as terpenes and cannabinoids, are responsible for the large number of therapeutic benefits that this plant can contribute to the general health of the human body.

When all these terpenes and cannabinoids that occur naturally in each cannabis strain act in convergence, they generate a synergistic effect that boosts the performance of each of these compounds and, in turn, the results that they can cause individually. Each of these terpenes can generate a series of unique effects.

Understanding the role that each terpene plays in the famous entourage effect of cannabis can be a key to a better picture of the therapeutic functions of each strain.

Farnesol can significantly impact the medicinal benefits that certain strains of cannabis that contain it can do for the general wellness of the human body. This amazing acyclic sesquiterpene can alleviate massive inflammation and fight oxidative stress on the cell membrane. In an experiment conducted on rats, farnesol showed that it could also reduce the damage caused by cigarette smoke to the lungs and trachea.

Further, it can flavor certain foods and enhance the odor of certain fragrances. Due to this, cosmetics and grocery industries use it in many of their preparations and recipes.

Additionally, this fantastic acyclic sesquiterpene can alleviate massive inflammation and fight oxidative stress on the cell membrane. In an experiment conducted on rats, farnesol showed that it could also reduce the damage caused by cigarette smoke to the lungs and trachea. Another thing farnesol can do is alleviate certain respiratory conditions such as allergic asthma, edema, gliosis, and it can also work as an anticancer agent.

Farnesol Effects

When all the terpenes and cannabinoids present in cannabis work together, these natural compounds generally enhance each other, improving the effects they generate in the body. Nevertheless, Farnesol, like all terpenes, can cause particular effects when consumed individually.

Like many more popular terpenes such as myrcene, limonene, or pinene, Farnesol also can generate anti-inflammatory effects in the human body. This acyclic sesquiterpene alcohol also has antibacterial and anticancer effects related to some types of cancer. In addition, some reports suggest that Farnesol has antispasmodic effects that may assist in treating some respiratory conditions such as allergic asthma.

Farnesol Uses

The cosmetics and perfume industry commonly use farnesol to emphasize the sweet or floral scents of some scents and perfumes, especially lilac perfumes. Some formulations even contain Farnesol as a deodorant by itself due to its distinctive fragrance. However, this natural substance is subject to restrictions as it can cause unwanted effects in people with sensitive skin.

Farnesol is also a common additive in many desserts and sweet due to its flavors in some preparations and recipes. Tobacco companies use farnesol as a flavoring additive in the production of cigarettes. Moreover, this terpene is a natural insect repellent especially effective against mites, and many other insects use it as a pheromone.

Farnesol Benefits

The medical benefits that farnesol can bring to our health are directly related to the effects that this acyclic sesquiterpene alcohol can generate in the human body. Although we are still to fully understand the range of benefits of farnesol, several studies and reports give us a good picture of its therapeutic benefits. Some of these benefits are:

Anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic benefits: Farnesol can provide anti-inflammatory benefits because it generates effects that down-regulate the expression of various inflammatory mediators in cell synthesis. This means that this terpene can work effectively fighting massive inflammation or some inflammatory disorders. In turn, farnesol also demonstrates antispasmodic qualities that can work to combat allergic asthma, gliosis, and edema.

Anticancer and antitumor benefits: Some studies show that this sesquiterpene can provide anti-cancer benefits and is related to the prevention of various types of cancer such as breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, pancreatic cancer, among others. Farnesol also has specific antitumor effects since it inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells since can induce apoptosis of abnormal or unnecessary cells.

Antifungal and antibacterial benefits: Farnesol also proves to effectively fight the biofilm formed by the candida Albicans fungus and could act in synergy with traditional antifungal drug treatments. In turn, in an in vivo study, farnesol can prevent adhesion and disrupt the Fusarium keratoplasticum biofilm.

Farnesol Smell

The smell of Farnesol is one of the main reasons this terpene is so popular in perfumery and cosmetic products. This sesquiterpene exudes an exquisite soft, sweet, and floral scent mixed with some delicious fruity notes.

As with a wide variety of terpenes, the cosmetics and toiletries industry uses farnesol to achieve certain desired aromas, especially in lilac scents, although it also can help enhance some other scents. The tobacco industry reports using farnesol as one of 599 additives and a flavoring agent in cigarette production.

The food industry also uses the flavor of this sesquiterpene in the preparation of many desserts and candies to achieve specific tastes. Some report some "green" or herbal notes in this terpene that may be reminiscent of the linden tree scent.

Farnesol Strains

  • Tangerine Kush
  • White Rhino
  • Eagle Scout

For more info on the benefits of farnesol, check the video below.

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