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Tap Into Terpenes: Learn About Beta Caryophyllene

Beta caryophyllene is one of the most common and dominant terpenes found in cannabis products, but it doesn’t behave like its cousins. This terpene is unique in that it behaves like cannabinoids by binding to and influencing receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), just like phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD. As a result, beta caryophyllene is one of the most efficacious terpenes for stress relief, mood elevation, and more. 

Beta Caryophyllene: the basics

  • Flavors: Peppery, spicy
  • Aromas: Peppery, spicy
  • Effects: Stress relief, mood elevation, pain relief, neuroprotective, immunomodulator, reduces oxidative stress
  • Often found alongside: Myrcene, limonene, humulene
  • Also found in: Basil, black pepper, cinnamon, oregano, cloves

Beta caryophyllene is one of the most frequently seen dominant terpenes in cannabis products. Some cannabis strains that boast high amounts of beta caryophyllene include GSC, Bubba Kush, and Sour Diesel(1).

Beta caryophyllene is also widely used in fragrance products and as a food additive for its peppery taste and spicy aroma. Given these properties, it comes as no surprise that beta caryophyllene can also be found in spices like black pepper and cinnamon.

How does beta caryophyllene make you feel?

Beta caryophyllene is known for its analgesic applications, which means that it helps with pain. Additionally, you can expect some stress relief and mood elevation when you consume cannabis products high in beta caryophyllene, resulting in a laid back and euphoric experience. 

Beta caryophyllene’s analgesic properties have been observed in animal studies, where researchers found it regulated both inflammation and neuropathic pain(2). Additionally, researchers found the animals observed in the study did not build a tolerance to beta caryophyllene, making it effective for analgesic purposes over a long period of time. Similarly, an in vivo study found that beta caryophyllene served to reduce pain(3).

In addition to its analgesic properties, researchers found that beta caryophyllene offers immunomodulatory effects that can reduce an overreaction of your body’s immune system. An immune system out of balance can lead to the inflammation that drives additional health problems(4). While beta caryophyllene engages with the ECS much like a cannabinoid, though, it does not have the same type of intoxicating effects as THC. 

Beta caryophyllene triggers production of the “bliss molecule”

Many of beta caryophyllene’s effects come from its unique behavior that resembles that of a cannabinoid: it binds to and influences the CB2 receptors of your ECS(5). This characteristic was first discovered in 2008 by German scientists, who discovered that the terpene offers a broader range of effects than most other terpenes and cannabinoids. The researchers found that beta caryophyllene can activate CB2 receptors to increase the production of an endogenous cannabinoid called anandamide. Anandamide is thought to contribute to pain regulation, as well as influence stress and mood. Given the CB2 receptors prominence throughout the immune system, the cannabinoid-like characteristics of beta caryophyllene are also likely the reason for its immunomodulatory effects.

Terpenes and the entourage effect

While it can be helpful to try and understand terpenes on an individual basis, it is most important to consider the entire terpene profile. When beta caryophyllene is present with high levels of other terpenes that promote stress relief or mood elevation – like linalool – you’re more likely to experience those effects. 

Keep in mind the entourage effect when selecting a strain or cannabis product high in beta caryophyllene. While this terpene is uniquely effective due to its cannabinoid-like properties, it is still important to consider the entirety of the compound profile of any product. To maximize beta caryophyllene’s analgesic properties, for example, a product that is also high in myrcene and limonene could be ideal. For its mood boosting and stress alleviation characteristics, consider selecting a product that is similarly high in linalool. 

High beta caryophyllene strains

When looking for products high in beta caryophyllene, you should consider any strain of flower that contains 1% or greater of the terpene by weight. In concentrates and edibles, beta caryophyllene content tends to top out around 5%, though in some cases may reach as high as 6% by weight.

Here’s a closer look at some strains that offer high levels of beta caryophyllene:

  • GG #4: GG #4 is well known for its relaxing and euphoric consumption experience, so it’s no surprise that it’s often high in beta caryophyllene. By its peppery, citrusy, and herbal aroma, you can tell that myrcene and limonene are found in high amounts right alongside beta caryophyllene. This common combination delivers a stress alleviating and pain-relieving experience.
  • Do-Si-Dos: Yet another calming, euphoric strain, Do-Si-Dos is an indica-dominant hybrid that’s primarily used for mood elevation and stress alleviation. It can also be effective for pain relief, and some consumers report that Do-Si-Dos helps them sleep. In this strain, beta caryophyllene plays second fiddle to its close pal limonene, with linalool making an appearance to give that extra touch of relaxation that makes this strain so celebrated for its calming qualities.
  • East Coast Sour Diesel: If you’re looking for a beta caryophyllene dominant strain of cannabis, East Coast Sour Diesel (ECSD) is packed with this terpene. The other major terpenes found in ECSD are (you guessed it) myrcene and limonene. In this strain, though, the terpene profile combines to create a euphoric and energetic experience, rather than a relaxing, subdued one. Consumers commonly report ECSD as a top choice for stress alleviation and mood elevation.

Beta caryophyllene is a unique and powerful terpene

While fully a terpene, beta caryophyllene’s cannabinoid-like behavior makes it seem like this terpene can do it all. However, it’s important to keep in mind that no cannabinoid or terpene exists in a vacuum; the precise consumption experience will depend wholly on the entire compound profile and the synergistic way they complement one another. But if you’re looking for a pain relieving, stress alleviating, immune system supporting cannabis product, it’s wise to start with one that is high in beta caryophyllene. 

Remember: the effects of terpenes do not occur in a vacuum. They are influenced by the other compounds and what proportions they are present in. This process, called the “entourage effect,” is one of many concepts researchers are learning more about each day, and here at Ethos, we’re proud to be a part of that research. We have partnered with Thomas Jefferson University to drive cannabis research forward, answer these outstanding questions, and apply what we learn to help more patients.  

Always check the Ethos menu to see what is available before choosing a product, and if you have questions while browsing the menu, discuss your options with an Ethos associate. We are happy to help you find the best product available to suit your preferences and goals.

Sources:

1. What is caryophyllene and what does this cannabis terpene do? https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/caryophyllene-terpene

2. The cannabinoid CB(2) receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts analgesic effects in mouse models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924977X13003027

3. Functionalization of beta-caryophyllene generates novel polypharmacology in the ECS. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24831513/

4. Polypharmacological properties and therapeutic potential of beta-caryophyllene. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26965491/5. Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2449371/

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