Introduction to Terpenes: Beta Caryophyllene
If you haven’t already, check out our first segment in the Introduction to Terpenes series. There, we dive into what terpenes are, how they work in the body, and take a brief look into Alpha-Bisabolol, a relaxing terpene found in hemp, lavender, and german chamomile.
Terpenes appear all throughout nature and are responsible for the fragrance we experience when smelling a rose; it’s the taste of our favorite CBD tincture. Each terpene has its own aromatic expression and unique benefit to offer.
Ever wondered what gives black pepper its distinct, spicy, aroma? Also found in rosemary, clove, and hops, Beta-Caryophyllene (BCP) is a terpene with an ample amount of potential benefits and was even approved by the FDA as a food additive.
Many people turn to cannabis to promote ease and balance in the body. While much of how the components of cannabis affect the body are unknown, we do know that terpenes, including BCP, and cannabinoids have strong affects on the body. To understand exactly how they work we need to look at what we do know about
When cannabinoids like THC and CBD enter the body they activate, either directly or indirectly, cannabinoid receptors. According to current research, there are two main receptors called CB1 and CB2 and they’re a part of something called the Endocannabinoid System. Discovered in the 1980’s, this system is responsible for regulating pain, mood, appetite, memory, and much more. The receptors are the reason cannabinoids like THC and CBD are so impactful in the body. CB1 and CB2 are responsible for different organs and systems and therefore aid the body through different avenues.
A 2010 study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information explains, “CB1 receptors are expressed in the central nervous system and are particularly rich in certain brain areas such as basal ganglia, cerebellum, and hippocampus.” While most commonly found in the immune tissues of the body, CB2 can also be found in the brain following injury or in response to disease. Activation of the CB2 receptors can reduce inflammation which may alleviate pain, and reduce the risk of long-term brain damage due to chronic inflammation. In addition to pain relief, research shows that molecules that directly target CB2 receptors may help to treat anxiety and depression.
Interestingly, BCP is one of the non-cannabinoids that affect cannabinoid receptors directly, by activating the CB2 receptor. Although research on BCP is still in the early stages, it has already proved itself to be a significant factor in the many benefits of cannabis.