Caryophyllene: The Zesty Terpene

In this article we will be talking about caryophyllene, one of the most prominent and well known terpenes found in cannabis plants.

Before we dive deeper into the various features of caryophyllene (also known as beta-caryophyllene and BCP), first we need to define what caryophyllene actually is.

What Is Caryophyllene?

Caryophyllene is a terpene, and terpenes are a class of fascinating compounds that are responsible for giving plants and fruits their distinctive fragrances and aromas.

Caryophyllene is just one of over a hundred terpenes found in cannabis plants, but besides lending its aroma to cannabis, it is also one of the most abundant terpenes in nature.

Caryophyllene is a terpene, a compound responsible for giving plants their characteristic scents and aromas.

Vegetation especially rich in caryophyllene includes hops, black pepper, oregano and basil, and it’s also frequently used for the production of perfumes and cosmetics, as well as essential oils like rosemary, basil, black caraway and clove oil.

Caryophyllene is one of the most abundant terpenes in nature.

Different terpenes have an extremely wide range of varying aromatic properties, ranging from citrusy, floral, musky and earthy notes.

As for caryophyllene, this terpene has a very unique flair, and cannabis strains with an exceedingly high level of caryophyllene express a funky flavour, and bring a pungently spicy warmth to our nose, in a similar fashion to cinnamon and cloves.

What Does Caryophyllene Smell Like?

As we already mentioned, different terpenes are responsible for a broad range of smells. 

For instance, high levels of the terpene called limonene produces an overtly citrusy smell in cannabis, while strains rich in pinene have an apparent pine-like fragrance.

On the other hand, strains with a heavy concentration of caryophyllene have a uniquely spicy and peppery aroma, unlike any other terpene found in cannabis plants.

Strains rich in caryophyllene  have a unique peppery aroma and a funky, diesel-like fragrance.

These rich notes of caryophyllene are oftentimes described as being exceptionally pungent, and in combination with other terpenes, caryophyllene is also responsible for the funky and diesel-like fragrance of certain strains.

Caryophyllene and the Endocannabinoid System

Another fascinating feature of caryophyllene lies in its ability to bind to and activate specific cellular receptors of the endocannabinoid system (frequently abbreviated as the ECS).

This trait of caryophyllene separates it from all other terpenes found in cannabis plants, and caryophyllene is capable of directly influencing our endocannabinoid system thanks to the cyclobutane ring found in its molecular structure.

Unlike other terpenes, caryophyllene is capable of interacting with the endocannabinoid system.

It’s important to note that caryophyllene can only interact with a specific subsection of the endocannabinoid system, more specifically the CB2 receptors. 

So far, science has uncovered two distinct pathways through which the compounds from cannabis interact with our bodies.

For instance, the psychoactive sensations of THC are produced by the interaction of THC molecules with a different type of receptor (CB1 receptors), which are only located in the brain and the central nervous system. 

Unlike CB1 receptors, CB2 receptors aren’t present in the areas of the brain and the central nervous system, but are found in other parts of the body, such as our peripheral organs.

Though caryophyllene can bind to the receptors of endocannabinoid system, it’s not capable of inducing psychoactive sensations.

This means that even though caryophyllene is capable of interacting with certain areas of the endocannabinoid system, its molecular structure prevents it from binding to the receptors sites that (when activated) induce the psychoactive sensations colloquially known as the high.

Cannabis Strains Rich in Caryophyllene 

Even though the vast majority of cannabis strains contain caryophyllene to some degree, only a handful of strains are exceedingly rich in this terpene.

Cannabis strains that express high levels of caryophyllene are easy to pinpoint thanks to its spicy nose-tingling qualities, and they include:

Caryophyllene is also an important constituent of all varieties of the Cookie family, including GSC, Platinum GSC, Candyland and Cookies and Cream.

Strains high in this terpene are also frequently used in the production of cannabis topicals.

Boiling Point of Caryophyllene

Caryophyllene’s boiling point is around 119°C (246°F), but unfortunately this temperature is too low for most vaporizing devices.

Keeping this in mind, the best way to target and isolate this specific terpene is to set your vaporizer to the lowest temperature setting possible.

Other Uses of Caryophyllene

Because of their zesty characteristics, ingredients that contain caryophyllene are frequently used in the culinary world. 

Pepper steak and cinnamon toast are one of the most popular dishes to feature caryophyllene, and this terpene is also used as a flavouring component in various types of bubble gum.

As we previously mentioned, strains with high levels of caryophyllene are oftentimes used for topical cannabis products, but caryophyllene is also a common ingredient in many regular skin products and detergents. 

Finally, hops is a source rich in caryophyllene, and this plant is regularly used to flavour most types of beer, as well as certain types of whiskeys and vodkas.



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1. Please consume responsibly.
2. When canning any food at home (e.g. cannabutter or canna-oil) you should be very careful since there can be a risk of the appearance of toxin that can lead to botulism, a very serious illness. This happens when food is canned, processed, stored or handled. Bacteria that cause botulism can very quickly grow in cannabis edibles that are made at home. Bacteria can cause botulism poisoning which is a very serious illness that affects the body’s nerves and produces serious health consequences.

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