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, bringing knowledge about terpenes into the public eye. 1
While the anti-inflammatory power of BCP has been established by folk medicine—clove oil, for example, has long been used to relieve dental pain—experts are now beginning to understand the widespread benefits of BCP on overall health.
History of Beta-Caryophyllene
While scientists knew that BCP was responsible for 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 regulate inflammation and other processes through the endocannabinoid system, making it an attractive option for not only future studies but also potential pharmaceutical research.
Based on research, beta-caryophyllene plays an important role in the body’s complex endocannabinoid system, which keeps the body balance through homeostasis.
By binding to CB2 receptors, one of two receptors in the endocannabinoid system that works with enzymes to help support healthy nervous system and immune function, BCP works to improve overall health and well-being.
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.
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Terpenes and cannabinoids are sister compounds that both offer therapeutic benefits when they interact with the endocannabinoid system. For example, CB2 receptors are responsible for the high level of health benefits associated with BCP because the terpene activates those receptors.
Additionally, scientists have determined that CB2 receptors helped influence the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine. 3
Uses for Beta-Caryophyllene
According to research, beta-caryophyllene is a terpene with powerful health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Some of the key health benefits that BCP offers are highlighted below.
Because beta-caryophyllene interacts with the body’s CB2 receptors, which play a role in relieving pain, BCP acts as an analgesic. Try MONQ’s relieve blend to help alleviate discomfort and aches.
In a German study that appeared European Neuropsychopharmacology in 2014, researchers found that BCP helped relieve pain associated with inflammation.
Researchers interpreted the results of this study to suggest that BCP could be an effective remedy for relieving pain, a problem that impacts at least 116 million Americans. 4
Boosts Immune System Function
In 2013, researchers from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine determined that the CB2 receptor was linked to immune function, suggesting that BCP, by binding to CB2, helps support the immune system. 5
Alleviates Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety 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.
A 2014 study in the Journal Physiology and Behavior found that BCP helped improve mood in anxious mice.
Additionally, researchers from the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the at United Arab Emirates University determined that the effects of BCP on CB2 receptors may alleviate stress and anxiety. 6
Several studies have found that exposure to BCP can help relieve inflammation.
Though inflammation is typically a protective mechanism, excess inflammation can be uncomfortable and result in additional health consequences.
Because BCP acts as an anti-inflammatory, it keeps healthy responses to injury under control, reducing swelling and the risk of scarring. Furthermore, because of its analgesic properties, it may also relieve pain at the site of the injury.
Promotes Healthy Digestion
Because BCP interacts with CB2 receptors that make up the immune system, it also may help improve gut function, since much of the immune system is made up of the good bacteria that live in the gut.
BCP is perhaps one of the most well-known terpenes and for good reason. From its actions as an anti-inflammatory to a mood-boosting agent capable of alleviating stress or anxiety, BCP is sure to 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 or aromatically in a room diffuser or personal aromatherapy diffuser like Vibrant, Sexy, Active, or Sleepy MONQ.
Molecular formula: C15H24
Molar mass: 204.36 g/mol
Boiling point: 130°C (266°F; 403.2 K)