Terpenes: Beta-Caryophyllene

Beta-caryophyllene is a compelling terpene because scientists are not quite set on its categorization as a terpene. This is due to the binding efficiency beta-caryophyllene exhibits towards the CB2 receptors. Major cannabinoids, THC and CBD, don’t even effectively bind to CB2 receptors! So is beta-caryophyllene a terpene or a cannabinoid? For now, we’ll keep it as a terpene, but because of its binding efficacy, this compound sure does bring a lot of therapeutic potential to the table. 

Besides showing up in many cannabis varieties, beta-caryophyllene is also found in clove, black pepper and cinnamon. In cannabis culture, an old trick is passed along for new users suggesting that they chew on some black peppercorns if they start to feel anxious or too high. Black peppercorns may actually help to offset anxiety because of the substantial concentration of beta-caryophyllene present. When found in dominant concentration in cannabis varieties, beta-caryophyllene may also help to reduce anxiety and relax the user. Because beta-caryophyllene binds to the CB1 receptors, it exhibits quite a range of medicinal potential. Here is a snapshot of how beta-caryophyllene may influence a cannabis experience:

Aroma. Aroma helps us to identify terpenes when we don’t have lab results. Terpenes are consumed through our olfactory glands before we even inhale or ingest. Therefore, the smell of a variety can affect the experience. It also may contribute to taste. 


Beta-caryophyllene’s Aroma: peppery, sweet, cinnamon, clove, potpourri

Effects on mood: In cannabis, beta-caryophyllene most likely contributes to a euphoric relaxation and creates the cozy, relaxed, happy mood often associated with some cannabis varieties. Research suggests that beta-caryophyllene helps to decrease anxiety, elevate mood, and reduce muscle motility via engagement with many different receptor families including the CB2 receptors. 

Most Notable Medicinal Properties: Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, muscle relaxant, anxiolytic, anti-depressant 

Synergistic Properties: Beta-caryophyllene has many associated medicinal properties and when combined with cannabinoids, synergisms do occur. When combined with THC, b-caryophyllene exhibits an increase in anti-nausea and anti-itch (antipruritic) efficacy. When combined with CBD, b-caryophyllene exhibits an increase in anti-inflammatory efficacy.