Beta Caryophyllene: The Terpene which is also a Cannabinoid
As we continue to examine how cannabinoids could help us improve our day-to-day wellbeing, there are a group of other compounds which are beginning to make a splash.
They are called terpenes and are known for their ability to work synergistically with cannabinoids and boost their effects.
There are up to 20,000 of these organic compounds found across the natural world. One terpene in particular, known as Beta-Caryophyllene (BCP), is unique in the way it interacts with the system which processes cannabinoids in our body known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
By directly activating receptors which are otherwise reserved exclusively for cannabinoids such as CBD/THC and those produced by our body Caryophyllene is unique in its action.
As a result, It’s the only terpene known to have this ability, and as such it’s both a terpenoid and cannabinoid at the same time.
So what does Beta Caryophyllene do and where is it found?
What does Beta-Caryophyllene do?
Research analysing the potential benefits of Caryophyllene is limited.
However, across the last decade or so interest in this compound has increased ten fold, driven by researchers concluding that Caryophyllene can also act as a cannabinoid in terms of its action.
What does that mean?
The endocannabinoid system has 2 receptors, called CB1 and CB2. Caryophyllene binds with the CB2 receptor. Research suggests that CB2 receptors are what regulate inflammation in the body.
Usually, only cannabinoids can directly activate ECS receptors. As such it’s unforeseen for another compound which ‘fits’ into CB2 receptors, thus making it a cannabinoid at the same time as a terpene.
In respect to its potential benefits: In the same 2008 study as above, researchers examined the compound using an animal model, concluding that Caryophyllene demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in rats.
Another pre-clinical study documented that Caryophyllene had anxiolytic effects in mice by promoting anti-depressant effects.
It is easy to assume that if this compound follows the same method of action as the interactions endocannabinoids have with a cannabinoid receptor, it might have the same generalised effects.
But just because a compound activates the same CB2 receptors, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has the same magnitude of an effect or knock-on effects downstream.
Nonetheless, current research aligns with the studies noted above, but the available documented evidence is currently pre-clinical and not subject to the rigour of a double-blind clinical trial.
In case you’re wonndering: Like all other terpenes, Caryophyllene is not intoxicating and can be consumed without eliciting a high…You can attribute that effect to THC.
Where is Caryophyllene found?
While Caryophyllene is found abundantly across certain strains of cannabis, it’s also extractable from other natural sources. These include many essential oils, herbs and spices. Such as oregano, black pepper, basil.
It has a spicy undertone and an aroma similar to cracked black peppercorns.
In respect to cannabis, Caryophyllene is found in a variety of strains. Including:
- Super Silver Haze
- Bubba Kush
- Wedding Cake
- Cookies and Cream
While it is available in the strains above and can be sourced as an essential cannabis oil when processed, Caryophyllene is not usually only found at trace levels, which makes using it in larger quantities in cannabis alone tricky.
Although, once the terpene has been extracted and isolated, it can be added to anything.
Maintaining the same terpene profile in each bottle we sell for uniformity. Ensuring you know what terpenes are in your CBD oil and in what concentration regardless of when you buy them.
Caryophyllene Research Continues
- While it’s clear there is something further to investigate when it comes to the cannabis terpene caryophyllene. There is a need to examine how this terpene interacts with other terps as it’s not commonly found in significant quantities in cannabis or CBD hemp oil.Making assessing its potential benefits rather difficult when compared to research conducted to date which uses Isolated Caryophyllene. While it certainly is possible to use the compound in Isolation (as we do here at Nature & Bloom), this is not the most common way to use it.
For the moment, the world is in a whirlwind romance with cannabinoids, and we don’t blame them.
However, the evidence is stacking up that cannabinoids don’t necessarily yield the same effects on their own than when combined with terpenes.