Cannabis Terpenes: What is Caryophyllene?
Published on Jul 22, 2021
Everyone loves a delicious and tasty strain of cannabis, but have you ever wondered just exactly what it is that makes your favorite strain smell so great or taste like that? A class of compounds called terpenes are the ones behind what makes a cannabis strain so distinct. There are many different terpenes, and some of the most popular are the likes of myrcene, limonene and pinene. However, we've taken a closer look at another terpene, caryophyllene.
What are Terpenes?
We touched on it a bit above, terpenes are the oils secreted within the glands of the cannabis flower that produce the famous smell and flavor we associate with cannabis. Terpenes are far from being exclusive to marijuana, as almost every single plant contains these. They are produced primarily for defense as the odors should keep unwanted predators away and are secreted in the trichomes, which are the sticky and shiny crystals that cover the weed plant. Again, not only are they keeping predators away, but they are also luring in and attracting insects to pollinate. There are over 150 known terpenes in the marijuana plant.
What is the Entourage Effect?
Within the marijuana plant, there are two compounds that are found to be most prevalent: cannabinoids and terpenoids. The Entourage Effect is the name given to the process where multiple compounds in the cannabis plant come together for positive effects on the user. Terpenes have the ability to help accelerate the uptake of cannabinoids into the bloodstream and can bind with receptors to aid in brain function, stress, nausea, inflammation and pain relief. Each cannabinoid, such as THC and CBD, have their own effects on users, and when things come together, they can create unique experiences.
The caryophyllene terpene, otherwise known as beta-caryophyllene (BCP), is considered to be the terpene with the most flair. It is known for its peppery smell, with hints of wood that is found in a plethora of herbs and spices. More specifically, besides cannabis, you'll find caryophyllene in black pepper, basil, oregano, cloves, rosemary and hops. It's pungent and will deliver a spicy and funky warmth to the nose, similar to cinnamon.
Why is Caryophyllene Unique?
This terpene is unique because it is the only terpene that can act as a cannabinoid. It can activate the Endocannabinoid System to provide many different healing processes. Caryophyllene effects are far-reaching, as this terpene can bind with the CB2 receptor, similar to CBD, which allows the user to relax, while also emitting some anti-inflammatory effects. It is able to bind with this receptor because it is a larger molecule than other terpenes.
Due to the fact that this terpene can bind with the CB2 receptor and practically act as CBD itself, there are a multitudes of caryophyllene uses that can benefit anyone.
Most commonly, this terpene is known to cause stress relief, coupled with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which results in a reduction of pain. Great for depression and anxiety, caryophyllene also has the potential to reduce alcohol intake, as seen in rats. There have also been studies concluding that this terpene may balance glucose levels for those with diabetes, has the capacity of being a sedative for sleep. Caryophyllene may even reduce the growth and spread of cancer cells, according to a 2016 study. Those listed above are just some of the many beta-caryophyllene terpene effects, with more research hopefully to be conducted in the future.
When shopping for strains, it's not just about indica or sativa anymore. There are so many other factors to consider, such as what terpenes are presented highly in each strain. Below are some caryophyllene-dominant cannabis strains.
This strain is not one for newcomers to cannabis. This hybrid strain that is high in caryophyllene, myrcene and limonene, comes in at around 20% THC. It is a bit ambiguous in origin and is known for its pungent, diesel-like smell. Expect a clear-headed feeling that can drive productivity and creativity, which will soon give way to heavy body high to round out the effects.
This pure sativa contains a THC content of 18%. High in caryophyllene, with the terpenes limonene and pinene also present, this strain is used for moderating pain and muscle tension. Candyland also will offer uplifting effects on the user, which is perfect for social settings and creative endeavors.
An indica, hailing from a cross between two landrace strains, comes in at about 18% THC content. High in caryophyllene with the terpenes limonene and myrcene present, this indica will provide a strong, yet not overwhelming effect that will induce a blissful night's sleep. Smoke away the negativity with one of Snoop Dogg's favorite strains.
GSC (Girl Scout Cookies)
This is a hybrid strain where a little goes a long way. With a THC content of 19%, this cannabis strain also contains the terpenes pinene and limonene. You'll get the best of both worlds with this strain, as GSC provides full-body relaxation and a euphoric cerebral buzz while delivering relief from pain and nausea.
Gorilla Glue (GG4, Original Glue)
This potent hybrid strain with 20% and sometimes up to 30% THC content will leave you feeling glued to the couch. Expect a heavy euphoric feeling that should float you into a heavenly headspace. Terpenes also present include limonene and myrcene, which are sure to deliver a pungent, earthy aroma.
This indica has gained quite the following, as it is known for its heavy calming effects with the likes of myrcene and limonene. Coming in around 23% THC, this indica is known for a body melt and intense sense of physical comfort. This strain is great for chronic pain, anxiety and insomnia.
Have you tried any of the high caryophyllene strains above? Have you felt any of the benefits? Let us know below.