THC and CBD are not the only compounds found in cannabis. There are other important compounds which work synergistically with THC and CBD to provide the user with all of the benefits of using cannabis.
There are other cannabinoids like canabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG), and then there are terpenes (essential oils of the cannabis plant) like beta-caryophyllene and linalool.
When isolated, these compounds each have their own therapeutic benefits. But when used together, they can enhance each other’s therapeutic effects while balancing out the negative ones. A good example is CBD enhancing THC’s benefits while balancing out THC’s psychoactive effects. This is called the entourage effect.
Cannabinoids are also thought to work well with terpenes, and one very important terpene that works synergistically with CBD is beta-caryophyllene.
Where can you find beta-caryophyllene?
Beta-caryophyllene (sometimes written just caryophyllene or β-caryophyllene) is an essential oil found in many plants.
Beta-caryophyllene can be found in most edible herbs like oregano as well as cloves, black pepper, malabathrum, and cinnamon. You can also find this essential oil in hops and cotton[i]. Beta-caryophyllene can also be found in rosemary and lavender as well as other green, leafy vegetables.
Of course, beta-caryophyllene is also present in the cannabis plant.
What are the characteristics of beta-caryophyllene?
- Appearance: Oily liquid that is clear and colorless in appearance.
- Aroma: Woody, spicy, sweet scent.
- Aroma strength: Medium.
- Taste: Peppery, spicy, citrusy, and minty taste.
- Soluble in: Alcohol.
- Insoluble in: Water.
What are the therapeutic effects of beta-caryophyllene?
Beta-caryophyllene is thought to have many therapeutic properties.
- Analgesic (pain relief)
- Reduces anxiety and depression[ii]
- Kills bacteria and slows down their growth
- Kills fungi and slows down their growth
- Prevents cancer growth[iii]
- Protects the central nervous system[iv]
- Relieves gastrointestinal problems
Beta-caryophyllene, like CBD, is nonpsychoactive. It binds to the CB2 receptors found in the immune system, so this terpene may also be considered a cannabinoid[v] because of its activation of the endocannabinoid system’s CB2 receptor.
Why should you use beta-caryophyllene with CBD?
If you want to take full advantage of the effects of CBD, make sure that you buy CBD oil products containing this important terpene.
Beta-caryophyllene may be able to enhance these effects of CBD:
- Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects
- The combined anti-inflammatory effect of B-caryophyllene and CBD might help people suffering from skin conditions worsened by inflammation like eczema and psoriasis.
- Anxiolytic and antidepressant effects
- Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- Antibiotic effects
CBD alone is thought to have many therapeutic effects, but if you want to boost CBD’s effects, always see to it that the CBD extract also has beta-caryophyllene. Both of them are nonpsychoactive, too, so there’s no concern about getting high.
If you want to make sure your CBD product contains beta-caryophyllene, aim for a whole plant extract and check the lab reports. The labs will show you the concentration of each terpene contained in the oil.
Beta-caryophyllene is thought to be one of the most important contributing terpenes to the entourage effect of whole plant cannabis products.
[i] Bonnie Goldstein. (2016). Cannabis Revealed: How the World’s Most Misunderstood Plant is Healing Everything from Chronic Pain to Epilepsy. Los Angeles, CA. Bonni S. Goldstein MD INC.
[ii] A Bahi, et al. (2014). β-Caryophyllene, a CB2 receptor agonist produces multiple behavioral changes relevant to anxiety and depression in mice. Retrieved from The National Center for Biotechnology Information.
[iii] SS Dahham, et al. (2007). The Anticancer, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Properties of the Sesquiterpene β-Caryophyllene from the Essential Oil of Aquilaria crassna. Retrieved from The National Center for Biotechnology Information.
[iv] HJ Chang, et al. (2013). Protective effect of β-caryophyllene, a natural bicyclic sesquiterpene, against cerebral ischemic injury. Retrieved from The National Center for Biotechnology Information.
[v] J Gertsch, et al. (2008). Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid. Retrieved from The National Center for Biotechnology Information.