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Terpene Spotlight – Caryophyllene (The Spicy One)

Terpenes are amazing compounds found in all kinds of plants and flowers, but caryophyllene is something special. Not only is it on the spicier side, it’s actually bigger on the molecular level than terpenes like limonene and myrcene. It’s also the only known cannabis terpene with a cyclobutane ring – something rare in nature in general. What else sets caryophyllene apart? You’d be surprised.

plants-Caryophyllene What Are Terpenes Again?

Terpenes are responsible for the unique aromatic properties in different flowers, plants, and herbs. When you pick up notes of citrus, earthiness, muskiness, or spice, you’re smelling terpenes. Caryophyllene is abundant in things like oregano, basil, rosemary, and black pepper. When it’s present in cannabis, it’s noticeable in a pungent, spicy kind of warmth that’s reminiscent of cinnamon and cloves (yep, you’ll find this terpene in those herbs as well).

Caryophyllene, which also goes by beta-caryophyllene or BCP, is like other terpenes in that it offers aromatic properties and has a host of health benefits. But it’s also unique because it’s the only terpene that can directly activate the body’s cannabinoid receptors. Our endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors scattered across the body. The CB1 receptors are clustered in the brain and along the central nervous system, and CB2 receptors can be found in peripheral organs. When a cannabinoid like THC is introduced to the body, it binds to the CB1 receptors, and euphoria is the result.

Now here’s the thing about caryophyllene. It has a unique molecular structure that means it not only binds to CB2 receptors, it directly activates them. That’s a big deal, because research show that CB2 is intrinsically linked to moderating inflammatory and neuropathic pain responses. A recent study also concludes that natural plant caryophyllene can be very effective in treating long-lasting and debilitating pain conditions, which is another big check mark in the “reasons to legalize cannabis” column.

What Can Caryophyllene Do?

Research about the specific benefits of cannabis is still limited, but the information we do have about caryophyllene suggests quite the link to all kinds of benefits. Animal studies to date show pain-relieving properties, and caryophyllene is also believed to be anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Additional research also points to benefits that include:

  • Treating anxiety and depression
  • Possibly treating inflammatory bowel disease
  • A possible treatment approach for addiction
  • Reducing gene stress for longer lifespans

Where Can I Get It?

If you’re interested in strains with high caryophyllene profiles because that stress-busting characteristic sounds appealing, Kynd has you covered. Follow your nose – caryophyllene-rich strains are usually spicy and musky, and sometimes they’re downright funky. Associated scents and flavors are the diesel and fuel notes that make your nose tingle in the same way as black pepper.

Kynd’s Starbust, Chemdawg, and GG #4 – which also happens to be a Willie’s Reserve strain – are all caryophyllene-forward in their terpene profile. Ask your favorite budtender, and take note of this impressive little compound.