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The Terpene Series: Beta-caryollyphyneApril 20, 2018
Disclaimer: Keep out of reach of children. For use only by adults 21 years of age and older.
Even though they have similar chemical makeups, different types of terpenes have different characteristics. Scents, flavors and even medicinal use can change from terpene to terpene, and there are roughly 100 different terpenes in any given strain of cannabis.
One of the most common terpenoids to cannabis sativa, and to many other plants you use on a daily basis, is caryophyllene.
Caryophyllene is a terpene found in the essential oils of cloves, rosemary and black pepper. Part of the reason black pepper is spicy is because of caryophyllene.
This terpene is also in the essential oil of hops, one of the four main ingredients used to brew beer, and plays a large role in developing the scent of cannabis.
Fortunately, caryophyllene is present in so many plants that plenty of research on the terpene has been conducted – including its uses with cannabis.
If the structure of caryophyllene looks complex, that’s because it is. The chemical makeup of caryophyllene is considerably rare, and scientists have spent a lot of time studying and trying to recreate this terpene.
In cannabis, caryophyllene plays a very distinct and interesting role. To understand this role, we have to know the difference between CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain, particularly in the areas that help with memory, pain and motor control. Cannabinoids respond with CB1 receptors, causing the psychoactive feeling that’s commonly associated with cannabis. The fact that pain is suppressed by the influence cannabinoids have on CB1 receptors is part of the reason it’s used medically – but caryophyllene doesn’t have any effect on CB1 receptors.
CB2 receptors, which are mainly found in white blood cells and the tonsils, and play a large role in the immune system. While cannabinoids influencing CB1 receptors produce a psychoactive effect, no such effect occurs with CB2 receptors. When ingested, caryophyllene acts as a cannabinoid, but it only interacts with CB2 receptors.
This is what makes caryophyllene so unique. Many of the main terpenoids in cannabis are proven or believe to play a role in the psychoactive effect. Caryophyllene seems to be alone in having no detectable effect.
It’s this interaction with CB2 receptors that makes caryophyllene a candidate for medicinal use.
Medical uses of caryophyllene
Plenty of research still needs to be done – and is being done – on the medicinal effects of caryophyllene. Popular areas of research include the anti-cancer effect it is believed to have on the body.
Because CB2 receptors are found in white blood cells and the tonsils, caryophyllene’s main medicinal use is as an anti-inflammatory. White blood cells are an important part of maintaining the health of the body, and the way caryophyllene interacts with white blood cells through CB2 receptors makes it a strong anti-inflammatory agent.
Caryophyllene also has distinct anti-fungal and antibacterial traits. Combined with the anti-inflammatory properties, this can help with respiratory problems. Caryophyllene is also excellent for insomnia, something that is common with many terpenes.
Who could benefit from caryophyllene?
Plenty of people can benefit from caryophyllene. In fact, millions of people already do benefit from caryophyllene.
While caryophyllene is part of cannabis, it occurs naturally in many different plants. Because of that, caryophyllene is a recognized supplement by the FDA, and plenty of research on caryophyllene continues to be conducted.
Someone who suffers from anxiety, muscle tension, muscle spasms, or bacterial or fungal problems can benefit from caryophyllene. The terpene is proven to help with all of these issues, among many others.
Really, it’s difficult to make an argument against having caryophyllene. It’s incredibly difficult to avoid as is, and most people have benefited from it already.
Caryophyllene-heavy cannabis strains, commonly sativas, are a useful way to get more caryophyllene because of the relative density of the terpene. While black pepper has caryophyllene, it only makes up roughly 7% of the essential oil.
Cannabis, on the other hand, can have caryophyllene make up nearly 40% of the essential oil.
The terpene is available with or without the psychoactive effect, so anyone looking to benefit from caryophyllene is sure to find a product that works for them.