β-caryophyllene is a sesquiterpene found in many plants such as Thai basil, cloves, cinnamon leaves and black pepper, it’s also present in small quantities in lavender. The aroma is described as peppery, woody and/or spicy. Caryophyllene is the only terpene known to interact with the endocannabinoid system (CB2). Studies show that β- caryophyllene may play a very valuable role in cancer treatments. Research shows that β-caryophyllene selectively binds to the CB2 receptor and is a functional CB2 agonist. Furthermore, β-caryophylene was identified as functionally non-psychoactive CB2 receptor ligand in food products and as macrocyclic anti-inflammatory cannabinoid in cannabis.
The Fine/Rosenfeld pain study in 2013 showed that other phytocannabinoids in combination, in particular cannabidiol (CBD) and β-caryophylene administered by oral route, appear to be promising candidates for the treatment of chronic pain due to their high safety and low side effects.
The Horváth et al study in 2012 suggests that β-caryophylene, via a CB2 receptor-dependent route, can be an excellent therapeutic tool to prevent nephrotoxicity (toxicity to the kidneys) caused by chemotherapy drugs used in treating cancer, such as Cisplatin.
The study by Kristiniak et al., also published in 2012, investigated the chemical composition of essential oil isolated from black pepper, of which caryophyllene is an important component and studied the pharmacological properties. Black pepper oil was found to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive properties.This suggests that caryophyllene-rich strains can be useful in the treatment of a number of medical problems, such as arthritis and neuropathic pain.
β-caryophyllene is mainly used for chewing gum in combination with other spicy mixtures or citrus fruits.