Skip to main content

Terpene Highlight: β-Caryophyllene

β-Caryophyllene, known as Beta-Caryophyllene, or Caryophyllene, is generally the most common sesquiterpene in cannabis and the most abundantly produced terpene in Nature.

Terpene Highlight: β-Caryophyllene

Terpenes are aromatic chemicals that determine the smell of many plants and herbs. Besides the smell, terpenes can help define the cannabis taste and outcomes on different strains.

β-Caryophyllene, known as Beta-Caryophyllene, or Caryophyllene, is generally the most common sesquiterpene in cannabis and the most abundantly produced terpene in Nature. Over the last decade, it has gained scientific attention after discovering that it can directly activate cannabinoid receptors. Basically, the β-Caryophyllene terpene acts as a cannabinoid.  Beta-Caryophyllene molecular structure is unique; it is more significant than other terpenes and contains a rare cyclobutene ring not found in any other cannabis terpene.

It is the only terpene that has the ability to directly activate CB2 receptors.

Where else do we find Caryophyllene?

Generally, like other sesquiterpenes, the production of β-caryophyllene mainly relies on chemical synthesis and extraction from plants. Caryophyllene can be found in aromatic oils like rosemary and clove oil, and in nature, it’s most commonly found in hops, cloves, black pepper, oregano, cinnamon, and basil. It’s responsible for the slight bite of pungency associated with smelling cracked pepper. 

What are the known effects of Caryophyllene?

Caryophyllene is a bigger molecule than terpenes like myrcene and limonene. Caryophyllene’s molecular structure also contains a cyclobutane ring, something rare in nature and not found in any other known cannabis terpene.

The unique molecular structure of caryophyllene allows it to easily bind to CB2 receptors primarily located within our peripheral endocannabinoid system. This means that it doesn’t cause any of the euphoric feelings of cannabis while providing many of the benefits associated with activating those receptors, like reducing inflammation.

Additionally, b-caryophyllene has been shown to counteract THC's psychoactivity, which can be beneficial in instances where too much THC has been consumed. 

What are the effects of inhaling/smoking Caryophyllene?

In a clinical study, nicotine smokers inhaling vapour from an essential oil of black pepper, which contains high concentrations of β-Caryophyllene, reported reduced nicotine cravings (Rose & Behm, 1994). Although this effect was attributed to irritation of the bronchial tree and no mechanisms of action were proposed, it is possible that the effects were mediated by the β-Caryophyllene action. 

Strains that are high in Caryophyllene

According to the 2022 State of Weed, out of a database of over 1800 strains, over half of them, almost 1000, contain some Caryophyllene, making this the most common terpene in our database. Some high Caryophyllene-containing strains are Jealously by BLKMKT, Galactic Runtz by Tribal and Hawaiian Pineapple by BC Black.

Caryophyllene Properties

Caryophyllene has aroma of Spices, Wood, and Herbal, and vaporizes at 130ºC (266ºF). 


Legault, J., Pichet, A. (2007) Potentiating effect of beta-caryophyllene on anticancer activity of alpha-humulene, is caryophyllene, and paclitaxel. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 59(12):1643-7. 


Cho JY; Chang HJ; Lee SK; Kim HJ; Hwang JK; Chun HS; (n.d.). Amelioration of dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis in mice by oral administration of beta-caryophyllene, a sesquiterpene. Retrieved from 


Pieri FA;Souza MC;Vermelho LL;Vermelho ML;Perciano PG;Vargas FS;Borges AP;da Veiga-Junior VF;Moreira MA;. (n.d.). Use of β-caryophyllene to combat bacterial dental plaque formation in dogs. Retrieved from 


Yamaguchi, M., & Levy, R. (2016, December). β-Caryophyllene promotes osteoblastic mineralization and suppresses osteoclastogenesis and adipogenesis in mouse bone marrow cultures in vitro., from 


Katsuyama S; Mizoguchi H; Kuwahata H; Komatsu T; Nagaoka K; Nakamura H; Bagetta G; Sakurada T; Sakurada S. (n.d.). Involvement of peripheral cannabinoid and opioid receptors in β-caryophyllene-induced antinociception., from 


Rose, J. E. , & Behm, F. M. (1994). Inhalation of vapor from black pepper extract reduces smoking withdrawal symptoms. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 34, 225–229. 10.1016/0376-8716(94)90160-0 [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]