Terpenes (general)

Terpenes: Beta-Caryophyllene

terpene profile
Written by Cara Wietstock

Caryophyllene, also known as (−)-β-caryophyllene, is a natural bicyclic sesquiterpene commonly found in the essential oil of cloves.

Molecular Weight: 204.36 g/mol

Density: 905 kg/m³

Boiling Point: 514.4°F (268°C)

The very first synthesis of caryophyllene by E.J. Corey was considered a classic demonstration of organic chemistry back in 1964. Generally, the terp is made up of isocaryophyllene and α-humulene (commonly called α-caryophyllene) and is often a component terpene which has a cyclobutane ring. This terpene is a ring-opened isomer which is notable for its trans-double bond and because it has an 8-membered ring. both natural anomalies in nature. (-)-β-caryophyllene is what gives black pepper its spiciness and has shown significant anti-inflammatory properties in mice from a study from 2008. This is a terpene that is an agonist only to the CB2 receptor which is why it is believed to strongly combat anxiety and many other ailments like epilepsy and chronic pain. The selective agonist completely avoids the CB1 receptors located in the brain and favors the ‘body high’ heavy CB1 receptors.

This terpenoid is naturally found in:

  • Black caraway
  • Cloves
  • Hops
  • Basil
  • Copaiba Oil
  • Oregano
  • Black pepper
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Malabathrum
  • True Cinnamon

Much like the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), this terpene does not exert any psychoactive effects and can be a good combatant to uncomfortable amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the system. Most of the studies done on this terpenoid have shown anti-inflammatory effects but other reports conclude that the terpene could have anticancer effects as well. Strains that have tested high in (-)-β-caryophyllene are Sour Diesel, Skywalker OG, Chemdawg, Rockstar, Bubba Kush, and OG Kush. Drug sniffing dogs use caryophyllene oxide to identify cannabis, it is also an approved food additive used for flavoring.  

Various Studies Have Shown This Terpene to Be:

  • Anti-Anxiety
  • Antidepressant
  • Antiinflammatory
  • Anticancer
  • Antinociceptive
  • Antifungal
  • Antibacterial
  • Antiseizure

About the author

Cara Wietstock

Cara began working in the retail cannabis industry of San Francisco, CA in 2011 and continued in that sector for years. In 2015 she dedicated herself to writing full-time. Her passion for the written word and deep respect for the healing properties of the plant have brought her to Terpenes and Testing magazine. She now helps keep us on the cutting edge of scientific cannabis discovery as the Editor-in-Chief of the print publication.

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