Know Your Terpenoids : Caryophyllene

Made up of three isoprene units, Caryophyllene is a sesquiterpene, which makes it a bit larger than monoterpenes like pinene, myrcene, and limonene, which are made up of only two isoprene units.  Caryophyllene is the main terpene that contributes to the spiciness of black pepper and also a main terpene in cloves, basil, hops, oregano, rosemary, and cannabis.

Carryophyllene is an attractive candidate for biotech research for it being chemically unique with its inclusion of a cyclobutane ring, which is a rarity in nature.  Over the years, studies have found some cyclobutanes to already have medical uses, such as Carboplatin, the chemotherapy drug.  In a 2008 study, caryophllene was first identified as a cannabinoid, and also found it had numerous medicinal benefits, including anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancerous and local anesthetic effects.  There are sources that speculate that beta-caryophyllene is so potent it could threaten existing pharmaceuticals, and synthetic cannabinoids currently being developed, which could be why beta-caryopyllene is so heavily studied.  Also the monoterpene beta-pinene has also been shown to have cancer fighting properties and could also be viable candidate for a new chemotherapy drug.  

Caryophyllene isn't only attractive for being a cyclobutane, it is unique for being both a terpene and a "dietary cannabinoid," or a food supplement which acts as a cannabinoid and binds to CB2 receptors.  As stated in my article "Know Your Terpenes - What is a Terpene?", cannabinoids are a terpenophenolic compound, sub-set of terpenes.  Since cannabinoids and terpenes are related it comes to no shock that this terpene would trigger the body's endo-cannabinoid receptors.

It comes in two main forms, beta-caryophyllene, more commonly seen as b-Caryophyllene, and trans-carophyllene.  A couple studies summarized below do concern trans-carophyllene, however this article primarily focuses on beta-caryophyllene.

Formula : C15H24

Molecular Mass : 204.35106 g/mol

Boiling Point : 160 °C (320 °F)

Vapor Pressure : 0.01 mmHg (25 °C)

Lethal Dose (LD50) : >5g/kg for mice (Compare to Nicotine : for mice - 50 mg/kg, for humans - 0.5-1 mg/kg)

Aroma : Spicy, woody, cloves, rosemary, pepper

Effects : None detectable 

Medical Value : Anti-inflammatory; good for arthritisgastro-protective, ulcers, autoimmune disorders, and other gastrointestinal complications

Also Found In : Black pepper, cloves, hops, cotton, rosemary, basil, oregano

Known Strains High in Caryophyllene : OG Kush, Bubba Kush, Girl Scout Cookie GSC, Gorilla Glue #4, Tangerine Dream, Bubble Gum, Sage N Sour, Liberty Haze, Pineapple Express, Hash Plant

** IMPORTANT NOTE :  Each batch is subject to variable growing conditions, meaning NOT every batch of any given strain will have high levels of these terpenes.  The only way to be certain is through a lab's terpene analysis found on label of patients prescription.

Therapeutic attributes of Caryophyllene :

Analgesic - Relieves pain

Anti-Bacterial - Slows bacterial growth

Anti-Depressant - Relieves symptoms of depression

Anti-Inflammatory - Reduces inflammation systemically

Anti-Proliferative - Inhibits cancer cell growth 

Antioxidant - Prevents oxidation damage to there molecules in the body

Anxiolytic - Helps relieve anxiety

Neuro-Protectant - Slows damage to the brain and nervous system

Commonly found in higher concentrations in strains :

OG Kush

Bubba Kush

Girl Scout Cookie GSC

Gorilla Glue #4

Tangerine Dream

Bubble Gum

Sage N Sour

Liberty Haze

Pineapple Express

Hash Plant

Summary Of Case Studies Done On Caryophyllene

Studies :

- In a September 2014 study, for the first time was found that beta-charyophyllene can make you live longer. This study on the nematode Caenorhabditis elegant, on a worm that's been studied for yearsshows that beta-caryophyllene's possesses abilities to reduce stress are powerful enough to increase the lifespan of worms and potentially humans.

This 2013 study shows that caryophyllene is an antioxidant.  Antioxidants are free radical scavengers that roam the body getting rid of damaging free radicals.  According to some sources, antioxidants like beta-caryophyllenemay help slow down the effects of aging and promote a longer life.  Recent research using Caenorhabditis elegans may have debunked the theory that antioxidants increase for lifespan, but caryophyllene still may.

- A 2014 study discovered that beta-caryophyllene reduced voluntary intake of alcohol in mice and was then recommended for use in the treatment of alcoholism.  Maybe the reasoning behind caryophyllene leading to a longer lifespan has to do with reducing or stopping alcohol intake

- Beta-caryophyllene is an analgesic, a local anesthetic, like many terpenes and most cannabinoids. The most recent research shows that beta-caryophyllene is "highly effective in the treatment of long lasting, debilitating pain states," and recommends its use for chronic pain as a dietary aid.  

- Caryophyllene, in various forms, joins a host of other cannabinoids and terpenes in being an anti-inflammatoryBeta-caryophyllene is a powerful anti-inflammatory with "tremendous therapeutic potential in a multitude of diseases."  Also the trans-caryophyllene has been shown to reduce inflammation in the brain caused by hypoxia. Building off a study from 2012, trans-caryophyllene showed to help with neuro-inflammation by reducing hypoxia and reduce the risk of cerebral ischemia, an issue where the brain suffers a lack of oxygen. Also this 2011 study found caryophyllene to be an extremely effective treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

- A study released August 2014 found beta-caryophyllene relieves the symptoms of depression and anxiety.  Further study into how it can be used to treat these conditions is suggested.  

- This 2007 study found that beta-caryophyllene increased the effectiveness of Paclitaxel,chemotherapy drug.  A 2014 study also found that beta-caryophyllene had anti-cancer properties of its own, by stimulating apoptosis and by inhibiting tumor growth.  Another "help increase lifespan aid."

- One of the many complex factors that lead to the development of diabetes is Lipid dysregulation.  A 2013 study shows that caryophyllene assists with the regulation of lipids and thus may help reduce the effects of, or delay the onset of, diabetes.


+ Be sure to check out Deliciously Dee's The Happy Chef Expert Cannabis Cookbook for a behind the scenes on "the Herb" and a breakdown of boiling points and recipes to help you maximize the benefits of this healing plant and learn to cook with cannabis

expert cannabis cookbook

And a special thanks to :


for their contributions to make this cookbook extra delicious! 

Also check out these Terpenes - Know Your Terpenes : 



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