Terpene Talk: What Is Caryophyllene and What Does It Do?

With a sharp spicy and herbal essence, there’s no mistaking caryophyllene. However, there’s more to this terpene than its fragrance. In fact, caryophyllene, also known as beta-caryophyllene, is one of the more interesting and complex cannabis flavonoids out there. We’re going to answer several questions about this terpene in this post, including “what are terpenes” and “what does caryophyllene do?” So let’s dive in!

Before We Start: What Are Terpenes?

If you’re familiar with the compounds found in cannabis, you may already know about cannabinoids and terpenes. But if you don’t, this is the place to start! In simplest terms, terpenes are a family of organic compounds that develop naturally in plants and some animals. They’re primarily known for their ability to convey aromas and flavors. 

Terpenes have two main jobs in nature. In some instances, terpenes act as a way for organisms to ward off predators. In others, they’re a tool to form useful symbiotic relationships, like attracting pollinating insects. We’ve discovered about 60,000 terpenes in nature so far, making them one of the biggest classes of organic compounds.

These compounds do more than just convey flavor and aroma, though. Many terpenes also have some kind of psychoactive effects or therapeutic benefits. For example, linalool, a terpene found in lavender, has a reputation for being calming and relaxing. As a result, terpenes also play a huge role in aromatherapy.

You can also find terpenes in cannabis plants. In fact, that’s the main way that marijuana gets any flavor or aroma at all. Chances are if you’re experiencing a flavor or taste found in cannabis, a terpene is responsible.

Cannabis Terpenes: What Is Caryophyllene (aka Beta Caryophyllene)?

Caryophyllene is a fairly abundant cannabis terpene. Countless strains contain it, including some hugely popular ones such as Gelato 33. Two main factors set caryophyllene apart from other terpenes: its fragrance/taste and its possible effects.

Caryophyllene Terpene: Flavor and Aroma

Caryophyllene is an intensely spicy terpene. Aside from being in cannabis, you can also find it prominently in black pepper, basil, cloves, and oregano. It combines its sharp spice with hints of cinnamon. If you’re a fan of strains that reek of fuel like Sour Diesel, you’re going to love caryophyllene, too. It definitely plays a huge role in that scent, with a distinctive fuel-like fragrance.

What Does Caryophyllene Do?

We said before that caryophyllene isn’t a particularly rare terpene. However, it’s still pretty unique among its brethren. That’s because caryophyllene is the only terpene that’s also a cannabinoid. That means that it bonds with cannabinoid receptors in your body to generate some kind of response.

In the case of caryophyllene, those receptors are the CB2 receptors throughout your nervous system. These are the same receptors that CBD, a major cannabinoid, binds with. As a result, caryophyllene appears to have similar effects to CBD. According to experts, caryophyllene appears to be able to reduce inflammation and swelling, and also acts as a potent antioxidant.

Caryophyllene Terpene: Wrapping Up

Want to learn more about the unique flavor and possible benefits of terpene caryophyllene? You can find plenty of caryophyllene-dominant strains available at Green Goddess Collective. Check out our menu to discover them, or stop by our beautiful Venice Beach dispensary to speak with our staff. We look forward to seeing you!

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