Cannabis Basics

Terpene Spotlight: Beta-Caryophyllene

Beta-caryophyllene, sometimes written as β-caryophyllene or just caryophyllene, is one of the most common terpenes found in cannabis, especially in cannabis extracts that use heat for decarboxylation.

Terpene Spotlight: Beta-Caryophyllene

Our terpene spotlight is an in-depth exploration of the 5 most common terpenes found in cannabis: myrcene, pinene, limonene, and linalool.

To jog your memory — terpenes are fragrant oils found in plants (not just cannabis) that produce a unique taste and smell.

Beta-caryophyllene is a very unique terpene -- it was one of the first cannabis-derived compounds (after THC, CBD, and CBN) that was shown to work directly with the endocannabinoid system. Because of this, it’s sometimes classified as an atypical cannabinoid as well as a terpene and will selectively bind to CB2 receptors in the body, which can primarily be found in the immune system.

However, unlike the cannabinoids THC, CBD and CBN, which are only found in cannabis, beta-caryophyllene is often referred to as the “dietary cannabinoid” since it is also commonly found in food such as black pepper.

In plants, beta-caryophyllene may help prevent herbivorous insects from eating the plant, while also attracting specifics bugs to eat such insects. Commercially, beta-caryophyllene is often used to add both fragrance and flavour to food products, perfumes and skin care products.

What aromas are associated with beta-caryophyllene?

Beta-caryophyllene adds a peppery, spicy, woody aroma to cannabis. Aside from cannabis, beta-caryophyllene is also found in black pepper, cloves and balsam.

What are the reported effects of beta-caryophyllene?

Currently, there is not much research that has investigated the effects of consuming cannabis with high levels of beta-caryophyllene, however there have been some studies, conducted on mice and rats, that explored the effectiveness of beta-caryophyllene in the treatment of medical conditions.

It’s important to note that cannabis sold on and through authorized retail stores is meant for recreational purposes only. If you want to learn more about any reported medicinal effects of cannabis, please speak to your doctor.

Research on cannabis and its related effects is ongoing and over time, more information on terpenes such as limonene will become widely available. It’s important to balance any perceived positive effects associated with limonene with the reported negative effects of cannabis consumption.

The bottom line: there just isn’t enough research to link the amount of beta-caryophyllene in a strain to any specific effects. However, you can use a strain’s terpene profile to choose your favourite aroma or taste.

What’s a terpene, again?

To learn more, read our terpene overview, or dig a bit deeper and explore the other most common terpenes found in cannabis such as myrcenepinene, limonene and linalool.

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