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Terp Talk: Caryophyllene

In this ongoing series, we shine a spotlight on the natural compounds that help distinguish popular cannabis strains.

As you may recall, terpenes are compounds found in all plants, including cannabis, that give a flower, fruit, herb, etc. its unique essence – namely, its smell, taste, and effects. Take a peek at our inaugural terpene article about linalool for a quick refresher on cannabis terpenes in general. Then, let’s dive into the next one – caryophyllene.

What’s unique about caryophyllene?

Also called beta-caryophyllene, caryophyllene is sometimes referred to as both a terpene and a cannabinoid, as it’s the only known terpene that connects to the endocannabinoid system. While cannabinoids like THC connect to CB1 receptors and influence the brain and nervous system (resulting in feelings of euphoria), large caryophyllene molecules have the rare ability to bind with the CB2 system, impacting peripheral organs. For that reason, it’s renowned for its anti-inflammatory effects.

Caryophyllene at a glance.

This zesty terp is found in an assortment of things you probably have stocked in your cupboard, fridge, or… deep in the pocket of your bag? In addition to black pepper, basil, cinnamon, and beer, caryophyllene is also added to chewing gum to elicit deeper citrus or spicy notes.

Aroma: Known for warm hints of cinnamon and clove, caryophyllene can also be slightly pungent and smell of diesel fuel when present in higher amounts.

Flavor: Caryophyllene gets its spicy reputation from its signature black pepper kick!

Effects: Caryophyllene generally provides an uplifting boost to one’s mood. Because of its unique ability to connect with CB2 receptors, it also promotes a calm feeling that may alleviate physical pain.

Uses: As touched on earlier, caryophyllene is mostly linked to anti-inflammation. Beyond that, it’s known to promote digestive health (i.e., regularity!) and research is showing positive results for helping those who struggle with alcohol addiction or its long-term effects on internal organs.

Which strains contain caryophyllene?

It shows up in abundance within the Cookies family – Girl Scout Cookies, Gorilla Cookies, and Cookies and Cream. Master Kush, GMO, Glue, Sour Diesel, and Gelato also contain this multifaceted terpene.

Award-winning Aeriz GMO flower, sold at Marigold.