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Beta-Caryophyllene|Beta-Caryophyllene|Beta-Caryophyllene|Beta-Caryophyllene||Beta-Caryophyllene chemical structure


Terpene Profile: Beta-Caryophyllene

While it is most often mentioned as a terpene found in cannabis, beta-caryophyllene (BCP) is one of more than 30,000 terpenes found in nature. BCP is a bicyclic sesquiterpene that is found in essential oils including basil, copaiba, black caraway, oregano, lavender, rosemary, cinnamon, ylang-ylang, and clove.

BCP was classified as a dietary cannabinoid in 2008 by European scientists because it activates the body’s endocannabinoid system. Around this time, it was approved as a food additive by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), bringing a bit more knowledge about terpenes into the public eye. 1

While the benefits of BCP have been leveraged for by folk medicine—clove oil, for example, was historically used to relieve dental pain—experts are now beginning to understand more about the health benefits of BCP.

History of Beta-Caryophyllene

While scientists knew that BCP was responsible for some of the aroma and flavor of essential oils, it wasn’t until a 2008 study by Italian and British researchers that it was determined that BCP was a dietary cannabinoid that had therapeutic potential.

Researchers found that BCP found in herbs could potentially impact the body through the endocannabinoid system, making it an attractive option for future studies.

Chemical Properties

Based on research, beta-caryophyllene plays an important role in the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system plays a major role in the function of the human body, regulating eating habits, sleep, and mood. It also controls pain and pleasure, in addition to inflammation. Furthermore, researchers have discovered that individuals with low endocannabinoid levels are more vulnerable to disease.

Terpenes and cannabinoids are sister compounds that have both been shown to provide therapeutic benefits when they interact with the endocannabinoid system. According to research, BCP's effects on CB2 endocannabinoid receptors may soothe the body’s responses to stress, in part by maintaining higher levels of anandamide, a neurotransmitter known as the “bliss molecule." 2

Molecular formula: C15H24

Molar mass: 204.36 g/mol

Boiling point: 130°C (266°F; 403.2 K)

Uses for Beta-Caryophyllene

As mentioned above, research has shown that beta-caryophyllene is a terpene with several health benefits. Some of the key health benefits that BCP offers are highlighted below.

Relieves Minor Aches

Because beta-caryophyllene interacts with the body’s CB2 receptors, which play a role in pain perception, BCP may help relieve minor muscle aches, such as from working out.

Alleviates Stress

Stress can be triggered by traffic jams, stressful work deadlines, and family issues. The body’s response to that stress—the release of the "fight-or-flight" hormone cortisol, which sends glucose into the bloodstream to increase energy—can negatively impact health when produced in excess.

Researchers determined that the effects of BCP on CB2 receptors may alleviate some of this stress. 4

Final Thoughts

BCP is perhaps one of the most well-known terpenes and for good reason. BCP may provide a range of health benefits when used in BCP-containing essential oils as part of your daily routine.

Some of these essential oils, like basil, lavender, and cinnamon can be used topically after being diluted with a carrier oil. Alternatively, they can be used aromatically in a room diffuser or personal aromatherapy diffuser.

Photo Credit: AfricaStudio /shutterstock, mythja /shutterstock

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