What is Beta-Caryophyllene?
Receptor binding (CB2) to cannabinoids in other parts of the body are known for their potential to treat pain, inflammation, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis, just some among a growing list medical conditions that might benefit from this family of molecules[1-5]. The non-psychoactive chemicals found in CBD oil consist of cannabidiols and sesquiterpenes. The cannabidiols are well known and generally referred to as CBDs. However, CBD extracts and oils contain a significant amount of the sequiterpene Beta-Caryophylene at amounts that are as high as 37%. Unlike CBDs, the Beta-Caryophyllene family is found in spices and foods including cloves, oregano, rosemary and black pepper. While not a cannabinoid like CBD, it is often referred to as a “phytocannabinoid” and is a common component in candies, chewing gum, toothpastes, beverages, and cosmetics.
Because it is found in so many foods and beverages it is also referred to as a “dietary cannabinoid” and has Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) designation from the FDA. In 2008 it was reported that Beta-Caryophyllene selectively binds to the CB2 receptor and inhibits pro-inflammatory pathways. This discovery and rich scientific literature that suggests a role in potentially treating conditions through both topical and oral administration has led to new thinking about the role Beta-Caryophyllene in human health. When used topically, it is thought to work as an anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-allergic and anti-oxidant. Beta-Caryophyllene may help relieve chronic pain and neuropathy, may increase natural endorphins and reduce inflammation and may help reduce muscle spasms and muscle pain.
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2. Ghelardini C, Galeotti N, Di Cesare Mannelli L, Mazzanti G, Bartolini A: Local anaesthetic activity of beta-caryophyllene. Farmaco 56:387, 2001
3. Katsuyama S, Mizoguchi H, Kuwahata H, Komatsu T, Nagaoka K, Nakamura H, Bagetta G, Sakurada T, Sakurada S: Involvement of peripheral cannabinoid and opioid receptors in beta-caryophyllene-induced antinociception. Eur J Pain 17:664, 2013
4. Ojha S, Javed H, Azimullah S, Haque ME: beta-Caryophyllene, a phytocannabinoid attenuates oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, glial activation, and salvages dopaminergic neurons in a rat model of Parkinson disease. Mol Cell Biochem 418:59, 2016
5. Sharma C, Al Kaabi JM, Nurulain SM, Goyal SN, Kamal MA, Ojha S: Polypharmacological Properties and Therapeutic Potential of beta-Caryophyllene: A Dietary Phytocannabinoid of Pharmaceutical Promise. Curr Pharm Des 22:3237, 2016
6. Gertsch J, Leonti M, Raduner S, Racz I, Chen JZ, Xie XQ, Altmann KH, Karsak M, Zimmer A: Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105:9099, 2008