October 29, 2020 3 min read

Of over 200 recognized cannabis terpenes, Caryophyllene is the only one that's known to bind to cannabinoid receptors, a fact that influences researchers' interest in its therapeutic potential. 

Although found only in trace amounts, caryophyllene can be found in many different cannabis and hemp varieties, including indicas, sativas, and hybrids.

Limited research suggests that caryophyllene may have analgesic and anti-cancer potential, and may even be useful for some unconventional therapies, like managing certain forms of substance abuse.

Caryophyllene, like other terpenes, is thought to be an important part of the entourage effect, a theorized synergy between various cannabis compounds, including THC and CBD. The entourage effect is thought to be the reason that full spectrum CBD has been noted to offer increased benefits when compared to CBD isolate.

For now, most evidence we have about the entourage effect is preliminary, but existing reports do highlight caryophyllene's importance.

Table of Contents
Caryophyllene Aroma
Where Can You Find Caryophyllene Besides Cannabis?
Caryophyllene Effects and Benefits

Key Takeaways

Caryophyllene is the only terpene found in cannabis that is known to react directly with cannabinoid receptors in the body. For that reason, it is frequently labeled a “dietary supplement.” Experts believe it possesses great therapeutic potential.

Most of the evidence regarding caryophyllene’s therapeutic benefits is still in preliminary stages, and the bulk of evidence comes from animal studies.

Researchers aren’t sure how many of these benefits apply directly to humans, but we think caryophyllene has potential as an anticancer supplement, for managing pain, balancing glucose levels, improving sleep times, and reducing inflammation as a result of several neuropathic conditions.

Although there is still a lot to learn, researchers believe that caryophyllene plays an important role in cannabis’ entourage effect. That means that caryophyllene is likely an important part of the cannabis and hemp experience, especially when consuming many full spectrum CBD products.

Caryophyllene Aroma

Caryophyllene is known for providing the peppery, spicy, pungent kick found in many cannabis strains.

Where Can You Find Caryophyllene Besides Cannabis?

A spoon full of black peppercorns, a rich source of caryophyllene.

Caryophyllene is a prominent terpene in a variety of bold, spicy plants known for their potential therapeutic value, like cinnamon, clove, rosemary, basil, or black pepper.

Caryophyllene Effects and Benefits

Most research regarding caryophyllene depends on animal studies or preliminary evidence, but the research available is overwhelmingly positive and often calls for further investigation.

Here's what we currently know about caryophyllene:


  1. “Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid” https://www.pnas.org/content/105/26/9099
  2. “Involvement of peripheral cannabinoid and opioid receptors in β-caryophyllene-induced antinociception” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23138934/
  3. “The cannabinoid receptor 2 agonist, β-caryophyllene, reduced voluntary alcohol intake and attenuated ethanol-induced place preference and sensitivity in mice” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24999220/
  4. “The Anticancer, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Properties of the Sesquiterpene β-Caryophyllene from the Essential Oil of Aquilaria crassna” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26132906/
  5. “β-Caryophyllene, a phytocannabinoid attenuates oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, glial activation, and salvages dopaminergic neurons in a rat model of Parkinson disease” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27316720/
  6. “β-Caryophyllene ameliorates the Alzheimer-like phenotype in APP/PS1 Mice through CB2 receptor activation and the PPARγ pathway” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25171128/
  7. “β-Caryophyllene protects against alcoholic steatohepatitis by attenuating inflammation and metabolic dysregulation in mice” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28107775/
  8. “β‐caryophyllene and β‐caryophyllene oxide—natural compounds of anticancer and analgesic properties” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5083753/
  9. “Sedative effects of essential oils obtained from Baccharis uncinella” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22196586/
  10. “β-Caryophyllene, a natural sesquiterpene, modulates carbohydrate metabolism in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0065128114002517?via%3Dihub
  11. “β-Caryophyllene, a CB2 receptor agonist produces multiple behavioral changes relevant to anxiety and depression in mice” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24930711/

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