Beta-Caryophyllene – the terpene detected by dogs
Beta-Caryophyllene, also known as BCP, is a naturally occurring aromatic terpene found in many essential oils and plant extracts, and is known to occur in plants such as cloves, hops and rosemary, not just cannabis.
Beta-Caryophyllene is also responsible for the taste of black pepper and many of its medicinal benefits, though the possible medical applications of Caryophyllene and other such terpenes are only recently being investigated there is already significant evidence that they can bring long-term health benefits.
What is a Terpene?
Terpenes and terpenoids, oxidised organic molecules derived from terpenes, make up a large proportion of the aromatic chemicals found in various plants and are the primary constituents of their essential oils.
They can be found across the natural world, through common examples with significant concentrations of terpenes include aromatic herbs and spices such as ginger, cinnamon, eucalyptus and lavender, which are already known for their relaxing and soothing effects.
Cannabis is often classified as Indica, Sativa, or a hybrid of the two, which generally correlates with a different effect for each, with sativa being more mental and energetic, with indica being better for sedation and pain relief.
In addition to being the originators of cannabis’ many diverse scents and flavours studies have shown that terpenes have an incredible effect on the high experienced by the cannabis user. This is due to the so-called “entourage effect”, a consequence of terpenes being structurally similar to phytocannabinoids and as a result have a synergistic effect when taken in tandem with each other, magnifying the high and potential medical benefits greatly.
What is a Sesquiterpene?
A sesquiterpene is an organic chemical very similar to other terpenes, though structurally far more complex with three base isoprene units instead of the one found in monoterpenes such as limonene and linalool, found in citrus fruits and lavender respectively as well as the cannabis plant.
The primary purpose of such aromatical chemicals is to alternatively act as a pungent deterrent to unwanted, possibly destructive insects while attracting pollinating insects. There is also evidence that they have their uses in cannabis reproduction, acting as pheromones for the plant.
Drugs, dogs and Beta-caryophyllene
Beta-Caryophyllene is a prominent terpene in many strains of cannabis which contributes to the aroma and flavor, and as such has become quite well known both within cannabis using circles and without.
Drug-sniffing dogs that can seemingly detect cannabis do so by being trained to react to the smell of Beta-Caryophyllene alone, due to its almost ubiquitous presence in cannabis strains. Specifically, they are trained to detect Caryophyllene oxide, a byproduct of the cannabis drying procedure.
Medical Promise of Beta-Caryophillene use
Unusually amongst terpenes Beta-Caryophyllene naturally binds with the CB2 receptor within the brain, one of the receptors on which TCH works, and as such it is sometimes referred to as an atypical terpene, being one of the first shown to bind to the body’s cannabinoid receptors in 2008, and there are extremely promising results in its uses when it comes to both physical and mental health.
In many pre-clinical studies it displays a wide range of protective and therapeutic effects that have the potential to heal both the body and mind. For example in lab studies on depression and anxiety it has been shown to ameliorate both even when the test subjects were placed under extreme stress, and is being investigated along with other CB2 agonists in research on anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication. Naturally this has wide-ranging implications not only on the uses of Beta-Caryophyllene itself, but medicinal marijuana in general.
Beta-Carophyllene has also shown promise as an antimalarial agent, via discouraging mosquitoes to bite to begin with its powerful aromatic qualities as well as acting as an insecticide when the mosquitoes or their larvae come into contact with it.
It has also shown incredible promise in the treatment of MS – multiple sclerosis via suppressing inflammation of the nervous system, preliminary results have shown that Beta-Caryophyllene is effective not only in treating the acute effects of multiple-sclerosis, but also the pathological effects themselves. It would seem that it has a remarkable effect on the immune system, acting as a modulator and preventing the autoimmune response that results in the nervous system being attacked.
There is also evidence that the usage of Beta-Caryophyllene can reduce voluntary alcohol intake and sensitivity, possibly opening up avenues for the treatment of alcoholism in people.
With all of the above taken into account Beta-Caryophyllene seems further and further to be a miracle remedy, and further emphasises the importance of research into these misunderstood and overlooked chemicals. There is mounting evidence that many terpenes, not just Caryophyllene, can have incredible medical benefits and can help fight debilitating diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, in addition to the incredible relief it can bring those with anxiety and depression.
We have only scratched the surface of the possible benefits that terpenes such as Beta-Caryophyllene can bring, but with increased acceptance of cannabis usage and scientific focus the future for medicinal cannabis and the people it may benefit is looking bright.
Which cannabis strains contain Beta-caryophyllene?
When it come to actual cannabis strains Beta-Caryophyllene is fairly ubiquitous, though often found in relatively tiny amounts there are some strains which are known for containing high levels of this terpene. Examples include famous strains such as Sour Diesel, Chemdawg, OG Kush and Bubba Kush, to name but a few. You’ll also find it in our White Yoda Auto.
We hope this article helped you to better understand this amazing aromatic terpene, which could be of great help for many patients. Do not hesitate to leave here your doubts and comments, we’ll be pleased to reply them!
- 21 November 2018
- Cannabinoids and Medicinal Cannabis