Black Pepper, Cloves, Cinnamon, Oregano, Hops
Pepper, Wood, Spice
No Noticeable Physical Effects
This is the seventh installment in our weekly series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes,” published every Monday. For more information, read the introduction to this series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes: A Guide For Medical Marijuana Patients.”
Caryophyllene or Beta-Caryophyllene (BCP) is an extraordinary terpene found in the cannabis plant, particularly in strains such as OG Kush, White Widow, Candyland, and Death Star. This peppery scented terpene is one of the most unique in nature, particularly as found in the cannabis plant’s chemical structure. What is it, though, that makes this terpene so different than many others found in cannabis?
It turns out that BCP is the only known terpene to also display characteristics of a cannabinoid. In other words, BCP is capable of interacting with some of the receptor sites that comprise the endocannabinoid system.
The main cannabinoid pathways within the endocannabinoid system are the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Cannabinoids such as THC activate both of these receptor sites, and the result is a psychoactive high. BCP, on the other hand, only targets the CB2 receptor. This means that BCP does not produce a psychoactive effect.
Cannabinoids that target the CB2 receptor can potentially aid in treating disorders such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis, without the inconvenience of psychoactive effects. While it may seem strange to consider THC an inconvenience, some patients need to remain fully functional after medicating.
Often referred to as a sesquiterpene, due to its larger molecular size, caryophyllene’s molecular structure also contains a cyclobutane ring, which is something limited in nature and not found in any other known cannabis terpene.
Although research is currently in the initial stages, BCP is showing encouraging results when it comes to its application as a potentially medicinal molecule.
A 2014 paper published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology studied the pain-relieving effects of BCP in mice. The paper mentions the compound’s ability to target the CB2 receptor and also states that numerous studies display that the CB2 receptor is critically involved in the modulation of inflammatory and neuropathic pain responses.
The study showed that orally-administered BCP reduced inflammatory pain responses and also reduced spinal neuroinflammation. The authors concluded that BCP may be effective in the treatment of long-lasting and debilitating pain states.
Another paper documents a study that shows the potential of BCP as a treatment for anxiety and depression. The paper, published in the journal Physiology and Behavior, discusses the role of CB2 receptors in anxiety and depression disorders.
The study aimed to test the effects of BCP on mouse subjects related to conditions of stress and anxiety. The authors propose that this study, for the first time, demonstrates that BCP is indeed effective at producing anxiolytic and antidepressant effects.
Current studies are expected to uncover even more of the therapeutic potential behind BCP, including research indicating that it may help to lengthen lifespan by reducing gene stress.
Although BCP presents no known or obvious psychoactive effects as stated above, when using strains rich in the compound, one may experience a sense of calm in the gut, which may aid in treating anxiety-related issues in addition to a feeling of general well being.
BCP is found in many different edible plants. Spices like black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon, as well as herbs like oregano, basil, hops, and rosemary, are known to exhibit high concentrations of the terpene.
Understanding individual terpene characteristics can play a key factor in selecting the ideal strain. Whether inhaled or used aromatically or topically, the many benefits of beta-caryophyllene prove promising in improving overall health and well-being. Feel free to email us to assist with any questions you may have.