The Beta-caryophyllene terpene is one of the most common found in cannabis. It is also the primary terpene in black pepper. Unsurprisingly, caryophyllene has a spicy and peppery aroma. It is also found in cloves, hops, spinach, chard, oregano, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, allspice, fig, pot marjoram, and Roman chamomile.
The chemical structure of beta-caryophyllene looks a bit like a heart. Find out below why there’s so much to love about this marvelous terpene.
The Terpene that Acts as a Cannabinoid
Since it binds to the CB2 receptors and is found in so many foods, beta-caryophyllene is dubbed a dietary cannabinoid. This property is uncommon in most other terpenes. Is beta-caryophyllene similar to CBD because they both interact with CB2 receptors? Let’s “dive into the weeds” to see if this holds up in practice.
To start, CBD is an inverse agonist of the CB2 receptor. This means it binds to the receptor, yet has the opposite effect from most agonists (agonists trigger responses). In contrast, beta-caryophyllene is a CB2 agonist. While they both activate the receptor, they essentially balance each other out with opposite effects.
This balancing act of the various cannabinoids and terpenes creates an environment for synergism and homeostasis. The body experiences a change of activity, yet does so in a manner where the various constituents balance each other to not cause as drastic effects.
Medicinal Properties of Beta-Caryophyllene
Beta-caryophyllene is a sesquiterpene with various medical properties. This process is related to this coveted terpene’s ability to inhibit colitis and suggests efficacy for inflammatory bowel disease.
Various studies have found beta-caryophyllene to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help with neuropathic pain. The chemical structure of beta-caryophyllene also makes it a viable local anesthetic.
Fun Fact: Beta-caryophyllene helps with reducing voluntary alcohol intake in mice. Apparently, mice like to get drunk.
Research also suggests that this terpene and its oxidative form have anti-proliferative (cancer) and analgesic (pain relief) effects. It also provides neuroprotective properties that are particularly helpful for cerebral ischemia. Beta-caryophyllene can also increase the anti-cancer effects of alpha-humulene.
This increasingly medical terpene may also be an antioxidant and can help with oxidative stress. It may increase longevity by helping with stress-response. Additionally, studies have suggested it to contain antinociceptive, anti-spasmodic, anti-depressant and anxiolytic properties.
Strains with Beta-Caryophyllene
Fun Fact: Drug sniffing dogs look for the scent of this peppery terpene when searching for cannabis.
Any strains that have notes of pepper and herbal spice are most likely high in beta-caryophyllene. Various popular strains high in beta-caryophyllene are shown below.