Beta-Caryophyllene: The Phytocannabinoid Terpene

& its benefits in CBD products

~5 MINUTE READ

Inflamed?

Cannabis strains potent in CBD (known as cannabidiol) and their extracts are used for addressing a number of health conditions. One of the most common conditions, inflammation in the body, is also widely treated with CBD infused products. To help increase the healing effects of cannabis compounds like cannabidiol, these products usually have other naturally derived organic compounds in their composition that also provide the plant with its aromatic qualities. These aromatics -- which we can call terpenes -- come in many different forms, with scents varying from citral, sweet, and pepper to pine, floral and musky. All terpenes have their own medicinal benefits as well, providing consumers with a wide spectrum of flavors and effects to choose from.

B
E
T
C
A
R
Y
O
P
H
Y
L
L
E
N
E

Although these compounds are not exclusive to cannabis plants, they work synonymously with other cannabinoids and molecules in cannabis to help alleviate specific symptoms. One of the most abundant terpenes found in many CBD strains is beta-caryophyllene. Like many other terpenes, beta-caryophyllene isn't unique to cannabis and can be found in other plants, such as cinnamon and black pepper. However, what makes beta-caryophyllene unique is its ability to activate cannabinoid receptors directly, alleviating inflammation faster and easier overall.

The System

To better understand how beta-caryophyllene works, one must first understand some background information on endocannabinoid receptors: the two most well-known and studied are CB1 (mainly found in the brain) and CB2 receptors (located in the nervous system). Although research is in the infant stages, science has found that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps regulate bodily functions for achieving homeostasis (or balance) in the body, with the help of CB1 and CB2 receptors.

B
E
A
U
T
I
F
U
L
L
C
O
M
P
L
E
X

These receptors are found throughout the body, but in general CB1 receptors are more abundant in the nervous system, making them responsible for the high feeling THC can provide. Conversely, CB2 receptors provide an equally important service of regulating immune responses to stimuli. Similarly to how THC, CBD, and other cannabinoid molecules bind to these receptors, beta-caryophyllene will target and activate these sites as well.

A STRONG BOND

Unlike other terpenes found in CBD products, beta-caryophyllene will selectively bind to only CB2 receptors, making its effects strong and quick to act without the psychoactivity that comes with cannabinoids that attach to more neuro-specific CB1 receptors. Once beta-caryophyllene binds to CB2 receptors and is able to activate, its anti-inflammatory effects are able to take place, providing relief towards a variety of ailments, from minor pains and aches to more chronic conditions like arthritis. Beta-caryophyllene is also thought to provide even more benefits as well, such as promoting digestive health and providing support and protection to the nervous system.

...
_
_
_
...

SAFE & SECURE

In addition to its known medicinal benefits, the terpene beta-caryophyllene has also been FDA approved as one of the first known dietary cannabinoids, and is considered GRAS, or Generally Recognized as Safe, status from the United States Federal Government. There have also been many continuing studies on the effects of beta-caryophyllene strongly correlating its benefits in alleviating illnesses like colitis, osteoarthritis, cerebral ischemia, anxiety, depression, and symptoms of Alzheimer's among other disorders. In cancer research, beta-caryophyllene has shown promising results in suppressing tumor growth and even encouraging cancer cell death.

SYNERGY

Beta-caryophyllene and other terpenes have also currently been shown to play an important part in the entourage effect in cannabis use. This idea suggests that all of the compounds found in cannabis actually work together instead of acting upon the body individually, allowing stronger overall effects and benefits to the consumer’s health. As a result of these recent findings, it's generally recommended to consume cannabis products that are considered ”full-spectrum” or made with the whole plant since the theory of combining these compounds allows them to work faster, stronger, and more accurately overall. Another example of the entourage effect in action is with the combination of THC and CBD. When consumers accidentally take in too much THC, one commonly suggested solution to help resolve the issue is to take something that contains CBD as soon as possible. The CBD then communicates with cannabinoid receptors in the body to counteract the effects of THC, thus, dispelling psychoactivity in the body.

Through its interaction with the ECS, the beta-caryophyllene is an extraordinary terpene found in CBD products that possesses great therapeutic potential. Although many studies on cannabis and terpenes are still in progress, the information we have collected over the past few years on beta-caryophyllene shows to be promising for a range of symptoms. Finally, beta-caryophyllene also reflects the same disease-fighting, pain-relieving properties as CBD by directly connecting with CB2 receptors that reduce and control excessive inflammation to improve homeostasis. With the theory of the entourage effect, the future looks promising for this spicy terpene!

a piece by Mell Green

Mell Green is a writer who advocates for plant life and alternative medicine. You can find much of her work in Plant People, Terpenes and Testing Magazine, the Weed Blog, and many others. Check out her latest article here!

SHARE THIS BLOG POST!