The cannabis plant is filled with many wonderful compounds and substances that man has taken advantage of. Cannabinoids and terpenes are some of the many compounds found in cannabis that have a massive effect on the human body. The plant itself is famous for its cannabinoid contents known as CBD and THC, but not a lot of people take notice of terpenes and its significance to the overall feel, flavor, and aroma of cannabis. One such specific terpene is caryophyllene.
But what is caryophyllene? In this article, discover more about this specific terpene, how it interacts with our body, and what are the benefits that we get from consuming such terpene.
What is Caryophyllene?
To define caryophyllene, you need to identify first what is a terpene. A terpene is a compound that gives a certain plant its flavor and aroma. Cannabis is specifically loaded with terpenes; hence you always smell and taste a distinct flavor and aroma when it comes to marijuana. Terpenes dictate how a specific cannabis strain smells and tastes. This is why you tend to get a certain type of weed that tastes like mango, while others taste like gasoline or earthy.
Caryophyllene, or known as beta-caryophyllene, is a very common terpene that is found in cannabis. It is known for giving the plant an herbal, spicy, and woody smell, flavor, and texture. This terpene can also be found in cinnamon, hops, and pepper; however, this is the only terpene that also acts as a cannabinoid. Caryophyllene is unique in its way as it can bind to the receptors of the endocannabinoid system – something that not a lot of compounds found in other plants can do.
Caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid that is very well studied in the cannabis plant. In the 1960s, it was discovered that this terpene carries a sweet taste to it and adds a layer of flavor to any food product that it is mixed with. Anyone who loves spicy food has been exposed to this terpene. Those who love beer have also been ingesting terpene all this time. Caryophyllene is also being added in chewing gum to enhance the citrus flavor, while it can also be found in many other skin products.
How Does Caryophyllene Interact With The Human Body?
Caryophyllene is one of the few compounds in cannabis other than the major cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, to interact well with the endocannabinoid system of humans. It was even one of the first compounds derived from the cannabis plants that have a very different structure from other cannabinoids that interact with the endocannabinoid system. It was discovered that caryophyllene bind well to the CB2 receptor.
CB1 receptors are described to be responsible for the psychoactive effects on humans, which is why THC binds perfectly well with CB1 receptors. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are located in the peripheral areas of the body and act with therapeutic value when the terpene binds to the receptors. This ultimately means that terpenes such as caryophyllene do not have any association with getting high but instead have other effects on the human body.
What makes this terpene so unique is that it is the only terpene identified so far that can directly bind to a cannabinoid receptor, namely the CB2 receptor. No other terpene can do so apart from caryophyllene.
Benefits of Caryophyllene
As research into the specific terpene continues, more and more discoveries are made. Certain interactions with the human body also produce great therapeutic effects that are very beneficial, especially for those who have certain conditions.
- Caryophyllene is known to have anti-inflammatory properties that lower pain and swelling. In a study done published by the British Journal of Pharmacology in 2018, the terpene was found to reduce inflammation in rats with induced arthritis. It reduced the swelling of rats that had arthritis, making them mobile.
- Pain relief is another benefit you get from the terpene. It was discovered that the terpene also enhanced the pain-relieving properties of morphine in low doses. In a study done to rats, the rats experienced tremendous pain relief when they were exposed to this compound.
- For immunocompromised individuals or those who undergo transplants, infection, and cross-contamination can prove to be fatal. A certain candida fungus is prevalent amongst people who take immunosuppressive drugs and has become resistant to many medications in the past. However, beta-caryophyllene was discovered to be an effective treatment option for this condition and found out that the fungus has not built any resistance. It is also known to be very effective against other types of fungus and bacteria as well.
- In another study, caryophyllene has been indicated to cancer patients as it slows the growth of cancer cells and tumors. It also works well with cancer treatments, and with its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, it has done well in cancer patients who undergo painful treatment sessions.
- Since beta-caryophyllene targets CB2 receptors, it also presents an opportunity for the terpene to produce anxiolytic and anti-depressant qualities that lower the onset of symptoms for both conditions. The connection between CB2 receptors and how anxiety disorders and depression are related to the receptors was the key to identifying how caryophyllene plays a huge role in the regulation of the condition.
Example of Strains With High Concentrations of Caryophyllene
Now that we know how caryophyllene heavily affects our system, we highly suggest the following cannabis strains that have high levels of caryophyllene and help you enjoy a very flavorful and aromatic toke.
- Royal Cookies is a great cannabis strain that has a very flavorful smoke. Smoking, this strain has a tinge of basil and hops in it. With its high levels of THC, you can easily enjoy the flavors of this weed as you get high.
- OG Kush is another example of a great strain with high levels of the terpene. This cannabis powerhouse is a popular strain worldwide and for a reason. Its flavor and therapeutic high are uncanny and, to this day, remain unchallenged.
- White Widow is another famous strain from across the pond. Mostly sold in coffee shops all over Amsterdam, this hybrid strain promises aromatic buds that provide high concentrations of terpenes, including limonene, humulene, and of course, caryophyllene. If you are not fond of going outside, you can always grow your White Widow as it is a very easy strain to grow.
The untapped potential of beta-caryophyllene remains to be seen. As more and more research is done to this amazing terpene, cannabis strains that have high levels of caryophyllene become more and more prevalent and in demand. To make sure that you are not left out, get to know the many different side effects and benefits you get when you consume caryophyllene.