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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%[5]. 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[6].


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[6]. 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.

1. Fontes LBA, Dias DDS, Aarestrup BJV, Aarestrup FM, Da Silva Filho AA, Correa J: beta-Caryophyllene ameliorates the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in C57BL/6 mice. Biomed Pharmacother 91:257, 2017

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

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