Sup, my name’s Dan and I’m here to talk about terpenes – one of the biggest groups of active compounds you can find in cannabis. They’re hella interesting to everyone from researchers to medical marijuana patients to recreational users because they give each strain different aromas, flavors, and effects. But that’s not all – terpenes also have a ton of potential health benefits.
Experts reckon there could be up to 50,000 terpenes out there, but so far at least 200 of them have been discovered in weed. Today, we’re focusing on beta-caryophyllene – one of the most abundant terpenes in cannabis.
So what is beta-caryophyllene? It’s a terpene that gets produced by cannabis as well as other plants. Its smell is kinda woody and people describe it as being somewhere between cloves and turpentine. It’s got a sweet, dry taste and it’s often used in foods and cosmetics.
What makes beta-caryophyllene so special is that it can bind with cannabinoid receptors in the body even though it has a different structure to THC and CBD. That’s why it’s sometimes called the “dietary cannabinoid.” Because of this unique property, it’s got all sorts of potential health benefits.
Here are some of the best things we know about beta-caryophyllene:
Scientists have found two main types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are all up in your nervous system and brain, while CB2 receptors are spread throughout your body. There’s a bunch of CB2 receptors in your immune system, where they help control inflammation.
Beta-caryophyllene binds selectively with CB2 receptors (weirdly enough, at the same site where THC binds – it’s like they’re competing for attention). When it does this, it stops chemicals called cytokines from being released. Cytokines are messengers that play a big role in inflammation.
But here’s the really cool part: researchers aren’t exactly sure why, but beta-caryophyllene seems to be more effective at lower doses. So if you wanna reduce inflammation, you might not need as much as you think.
Analgesic (pain-relieving) effects
Beta-caryophyllene seems to be able to help relieve pain as well. This is probably partly because it reduces inflammation, but there might be more to it than that.
One study found that beta-caryophyllene was able to reduce pain felt by mice with diabetes. Another study suggested that the terpene could help reduce seizures (just like CBD can) and treat status epilepticus (really bad seizures).
We all know CBD is great for reducing anxiety, but beta-caryophyllene might work similarly. One study found that mice treated with beta-caryophyllene showed signs of reduced anxiety and depression. Plus, it seemed like the terpene helped stop compulsive behavior.
Beta-caryophyllene might also have cancer-fighting properties. It can stop cancer cells from spreading and might cause diseased cells to self-destruct. Plus, it seems like beta-caryophyllene could be good for your heart, liver, kidneys, and immune system.
As if all that wasn’t enough, beta-caryophyllene is also found in lots of other herbs and spices besides cannabis. So if you wanna get your daily dose without smoking or eating weed, try adding more cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, or thyme to your food.
Bottom line? Beta-caryophyllene is one heck of a versatile terpene. Even though we still need more research to understand how exactly it works in the human body, it seems like there are plenty of good reasons to seek this stuff out – whether you’re dealing with anxiety or chronic disease or just want a more flavorful smoke sesh.
And hey – even if you’re not sold on beta-caryophyllene’s health benefits just yet, you gotta admit that “dietary cannabinoid” is a pretty fly term.