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What is Caryophyllene Terpene?

| Spencer Beaudreault

Cannabis has come a long way.

From being considered a banned narcotic that was once said to possess little to no medical value, to now being prescribed throughout the nation for a wide variety of illnesses and disorders, and on the slow but steady climb towards federal legalization. And, with over 100 different cannabinoids and around 120 known terpenes within cannabis, it makes sense as to why one plant could have the potential to benefit those suffering with hundreds of different ailments.

While most are familiar with cannabinoids such as THC and CBD as well as the benefits that can come from using these cannabinoids, many still are unaware of just how much of an impact terpenes play in the relief that people can gain from using cannabis. In this article we will be focusing on one specific terpene known as caryophyllene. What is the caryophyllene terpene? What are some common caryophyllene effects? What are some of the potential caryophyllene benefits, and how much of a factor does caryophyllene play when consuming cannabis high in this terpene?

All of this and more will be discussed below.

the caryophyllene terpene can be found in cinnamon 


The Caryophyllene Terpene

The caryophyllene terpene is very distinct when comparing it to other terpenes commonly found within cannabis. Caryophyllene has profound spicy yet earthy notes. This terpene is commonly found within black pepper, basil, rosemary, oregano, and cloves. The sharp, almost peppery scents and flavors associated with these herbs and spices are the result of caryophyllene. Cannabis strains that are high in caryophyllene can also possess this very same distinct, spicy fragrance and taste to them. One further property that differentiates caryophyllene from every other known terpene is that this terpene can almost act as if it is a cannabinoid.

A terpene acting as a cannabinoid? Yes! Let’s elaborate a little bit further!

The molecules of caryophyllene are bigger than that of limonene and much larger than myrcene. This is because of the fact that caryophyllene molecules contain what is known as a cyclobutane ring. Cyclobutane rings are not very common in nature, and caryophyllene is actually the only known terpene to have them. It is believed that this unique molecular structure provides caryophyllene with the ability to our CB2 receptors within our endocannabinoid system, just as cannabinoids like THC and CBD do. Researchers have suggested that because of this ability to bind directly within the endocannabinoid system, that caryophyllene may in fact be one of the strongest and most useful terpenes in existence, in terms of the terpenes commonly found within cannabis. It is by far one of the strangest and most unique cannabis-derived terpenes out there!

So, if caryophyllene has the ability to act as both a terpene as well as a cannabinoid, what are some of the known potential caryophyllene effects? What are some of the possible caryophyllene benefits?

Basil is another source for the caryophyllene terpene


Caryophyllene Effects & Caryophyllene Benefits

It is believed and has been indicated in multiple studies that caryophyllene may very well possess a rather wide range of effects and benefits that can vary based on other terpenes and cannabinoids through what is known as the entourage effect. Due to the entourage effect, caryophyllene may be able to work in unison with other cannabinoids and terpenes to assist the user with different ailments. Below, we will list just a few of the commonly reported benefits that may be gained through consumption of the caryophyllene terpene:


beta caryophyllene terpene molecule picture


  1. Pain relief. A rodent study held in 2014 showed an indication that the use of caryophyllene may very well be able to allow the user to manage their levels of pain more effectively. For those who have been injured or suffer from a disorder that causes physical pain, this can prove to be life changing. By being able to help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort that they experience on a daily basis, those suffering from various aches and pains could find that caryophyllene may be able to dull some of the pain, or even provide them relief from it entirely! This of course will vary from person to person, and some individuals may not find comfort from the use of caryophyllene. If just one person, however, finds that caryophyllene can provide them with a better standard of living, then wouldn’t studying caryophyllene further be worth the time? Painkillers can be costly, dangerous, and habit-forming. Caryophyllene may very well be the next natural alternative to opiates. Further study is needed, but this study is a great sign of what’s to come! And while we’re mentioning opiates and addition, let’s discuss another potential caryophyllene benefit.
  2. Assistance with sobriety. It may sound odd at first, but there was actually a rodent study done that found the potential for caryophyllene to reduce the regular intake of substances such as alcohol among users. While we aren’t fully sure as to the reason for this, it does appear that regular doses of caryophyllene may be able to prevent those who drink regularly from having as strong an urge to drink. This is a massive win for the terpene, and one that requires further study as soon as possible. If caryophyllene can help those suffering from alcoholism, what are the chances that it can also work to combat the ongoing opiate crisis? Opioids are killing people at record levels, with little to no current signs of slowing down. If caryophyllene was able to help lower these numbers and allow people to walk the steps towards sobriety, this terpene would be heralded as a lifesaving medication thousands of times over. Further study is ongoing, but just the fact that this has been shown within a rodent study is huge news for this terpene. Maybe it is just the answer we have been looking for. Time will tell, but until then we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed for a breakthrough.
  3. Stress relief. Caryophyllene is also believed to possess the ability to take the edge off of stressful days and anxiousness. It is believed that the aroma of caryophyllene can allow individuals suffering from stress and anxiety to relax a bit easier. Like many terpenes, caryophyllene has been used in aromatherapy in order to achieve these effects for quite some time. For those who deal with anxiety, caryophyllene may very well be able to make even the hardest days just a little bit more manageable.

  4. Anti-inflammatory. Caryophyllene may also have the ability to act as an anti-inflammatory. For those who suffer from ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and Crohn’s disease, caryophyllene may very well be able to help manage some of the inflammation that these individuals commonly suffer from. By managing the inflammation, the caryophyllene terpene can, in theory, also negate several of the often painful side effects that can come as the result of that inflammation. Inflammation is often the body’s response to various illnesses and injuries, but it can also be the cause for some of the pain and discomfort that so many people go through on a daily basis. If we are able to manage the inflammation, then we will effectively be able to manage much of the pain and discomfort. In addition to this, brain inflammation plays a large role in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Caryophyllene has been shown in rodent studies to prevent brain inflammation which, in theory, would prevent Alzheimer’s.

  5. Regulating blood sugar. One study has shown the potential proficiency that caryophyllene possesses in effectively lowering blood sugar. This can prove to be highly beneficial for those who suffer from diabetes and other similar disorders. Diabetes is a disease that can ravage major organs and lead to extremely deadly complications, especially if left untreated. Diabetics often must carry testing kits, syringes, insulin, and various prescription drugs, all of which can often prove to be very costly. If caryophyllene can assist both type 1 diabetics and type 2 diabetics in effectively lowering their blood sugar when it is found to be too high, this can prevent complications in organs such as the eyes, heart, nerves, and kidneys. In severe cases, blood sugar that is too high can result in the individual going into what is referred to as a diabetic coma. At the time of this writing, over 100 million people in the United States alone are diabetic. This is quite a large group who could very well gain some level of relief or at least assistance in dealing with their disorder from the use of caryophyllene.


beta caryophyllene and blood sugar


The caryophyllene terpene has shown great promise in benefitting the daily lives of those suffering from a plethora of different illnesses, injuries, and disorders. While further testing is necessary before we can throw out those prescription pills and rely on caryophyllene, this terpene is just one of many that researchers are starting to look towards as a means to handle the daily lives and needs of so many different people. Caryophyllene may one day prove to not only be yet another terpene-based medication, but perhaps one of the most useful that exists.

Time will tell just what this terpene can truly accomplish if used correctly.

Spencer Beaudreault

Spencer Beaudreault is the Founder of Hero Brands, a Business Development & Marketing Expert, and a lifelong advocate & user of cannabis, hemp, & plant-based alternatives.
Tags: Terpenes