β-caryophyllene and Petty’s pain
Petty was a very vigorous pit bull. She would jump and run wild most of the day. She’d often stuff things in her mouth and give them special treatment. One-day Patty jumped from behind the neighbor’s fence, in a rather typical exercise. But this time a cactus was waiting for her in the adjacent yard. It was a head-on collision with thorny plant and in a moment, there were deafening wails throughout the neighborhood.
Petty belonged to one of my apartment roommates while I was studying agricultural botany. He went to get her from the neighbors and carried her home in his arms while she screamed from the pain. Her face swelled into scary dimensions in a few minutes and she looked miserable. Suddenly an idea came to one of the roommates, he lit a joint and blew it several times directly into Patty’s face. Within a few seconds, she stopped whining and squirming. A few minutes later her face returned to normal proportion. Petty recovered quite quickly and the members were very excited for their spontaneous physiological experiment.
In pain, intense chemical, mechanical, or thermal injury produces a signal that travels along a chain of nerve fibers via the spinal cord to the brain. Other pain is triggered endogenously and defined as neuropathic pain. The cannabinoid system is a major neurochemical system localized in varied central nervous system regions co-sponsors for transmission and modulation of pain signals. This signal transduction process involves sensory nerve cells called nociceptors which are neurons responsible for the transmission of pain. Researchers have found that surface area of these cells is rich in cannabinoid receptors (CBs). Activation of CBs suppresses neuronal excitability triggered with pain by modulating calcium and potassium conductance.
Endocannabinoids like Anandamide are assumed to regulate the CBs pain transduction. Pharmaceutical companies have a big investment in finding materials which inhibit endocannabinoids degradation resulting in a high concentration of those neurochemicals which increase their analgesic effect. Those endocannabinoids breakdown inhibitors have been found to be unsafe and death causing.
Certain cannabis varieties are in use for different types of pain management in Israel medical cannabis program. The analgesic effect of weed is well-known and established in numerous studies, but its exact mechanism is still uncovered. In this system too, the effect appears to be mediated by several factors in the cannabis entourage effect.
An important component of this entourage effect is β-caryophyllene which is one of the major active components of essential oils derived from a large number of spice and food plants. It is a plant volatile compound with a strong wooden odor, found commonly in basil (Ocimum spp.), cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.), black pepper (Piper nigrum L.), cloves (Syzygium aromaticum), cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), oregano (Origanum vulgare L.), and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Its biological effects include anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, antimicrobial, antioxidative, and analgesic activities.