Terpene Tuesday: Guaiol

Flower of Lignum Vitae (Guaiacum officinale Linn)
Heady Vermont Staff 21 Mar 2023

Featuring a distinctive pine aroma with fragrant undertones of wood and rose, guaiol, or champacol, is a sesquiterpenoid alcohol terpene in cannabis and other plants.

The terpene pinene usually gets credit for the pungent evergreen and minty aroma in some cannabis strains, but the lesser known guaiol brings a similar piney profile – along with a host of potential therapeutic benefits.

Unlike most other terpenes that are oil-based, guaiol has a liquid alcohol structure. It is found in a number of plants in nature, notably oil of guaiacum and cypress pine.

Guaiol in everyday life

With its liquid structure, the guaiol terpene is most prominent in the oily timber of the tropical guaiacum tree— a type of evergreen tree found mostly in the Caribbean and other subtropical regions.

Guaiol can also be found in coniferous trees such as cypress pine and other plants, including cannabis, lilac, nutmeg, cumin, tea tree and apples.

The Spanish brought high levels of the terpene to Europe in the 16th century after discovering San Domingo. They used it to treat many conditions including arthritis, syphilis, coughs, gout, and menstrual symptoms.

Used in traditional medicine throughout human history for its anti-inflammatory and other benefits, Guaiol is also employed as an insect repellent and insecticide. It is often utilized in labs to test for blood in human fecal samples. This versatile terpene is also added to numerous foods and household items as an aromatic.

Strains rich in guaiol

You will find this terp in various cannabis cultivars in relatively small amounts. Here are some strains with higher-than-average amounts of guaiol:

  • ACDC
  • Agent Orange
  • BC Sensi Star 
  • Blue Kush
  • Chernobyl
  • Cherry Hill 
  • Chocolope
  • Golden Pineapple
  • Kali Dog
  • Jillybean
  • Liberty Haze
  • Pennywise
  • Plushberry
  • Royal Gorilla
  • Sour Diesel
  • White Widow

Therapeutic properties of guaiol/champacol

This unique terpene is rich in potential health benefits and has been employed throughout history to treat conditions such as arthritis, gout and sore throat.

Guaiol is used as a diuretic and has some anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It can act as a cough suppressant, which may effectively offset coughing fits often associated with cannabis use.

One of its most promising efficacies is an ability to decrease systemic inflammation, making it a potentially effective part of the treatment regimen of literally hundreds of diseases and conditions, including cancer and fibromyalgia.

A study published in Oncotarget in 2016 indicates that guaiol may inhibit cancer cells in cases of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Another study, published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology in 2017, found that essential oil made from the fruit of Xylopia sericea was effective in killing Staphylococcus aureus, the bacterium responsible for staph infections. The essential oil contains up to 14% guaiol.

Guaiol is potentially a key component in how cannabis affects day-to-day functions in the body. It may provide important support for anti-inflammatory actions. This bodes well for people that have issues with their joints or suffer from a fever.

Guaiol may help cannabinoids in working synergistically with the body’s endocannabinoid system or ECS. This is described as the “entourage effect.” As a result, guaiol could help the body to maintain and regulate its processes and maintain homeostasis.

Due to its lower boiling point than the average for most of the other terpenes, guaiol needs to vaporize at low temperatures for maximum efficacy. Tinctures, topical creams, and low-temp vaping are ideal applications for guaiol.

Cannabis Terpene Guaiol

Aroma: Pine, Wood, Rose

Found in: guaiacum, cypress pine, lilac, nutmeg, cumin, tea tree, apples and more

Vaporizes: 198°F/92°C

Strains: ACDC, BC Sensi Star, Blue Kush, Cherry Hill, Chocolope, Kali Dog, Liberty Haze, Sour Diesel, Royal Gorilla, White Widow

Properties: anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, analgesic, analgesic

Other Studies Referenced 

Way of Leaf: Guaiol Terpene


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