Cannabis Terpenes: Caryophyllene

Cannabis was on the fringes for much of this country’s existence. During that time, much of the plant’s legacy was shrouded in mystery–we didn’t know much about it other than it made users giggly and gave us the munchies.

As cannabis legalization grows throughout the US, we continue to learn more about the plant and its many components.

In less progressive times, people almost used THC interchangeably with cannabis. After all, it’s the psychoactive component of the plant. It’s primarily responsible for users getting high–and that’s the entire purpose of cannabis for many. 

Yet, as we’ve gotten more educated and learned about cannabis, we’ve discovered much more about what makes it so potent and–in many ways–magical.

Part and parcel with a comprehensive, rounded cannabis experience is its aromatic qualities. 

On the above note, terpenes–responsible for the aromas, colors, and flavors of vegetation–are critical to the overall makeup of all cannabis strains. 

One such terpene–a uniquely crucial one–is caryophyllene. We’ll explore it further below. 

What Is Caryophyllene?

Caryophyllene distinguishes itself from its terpene counterparts because it can emulate cannabinoids. It can interact with our cannabinoid receptors, triggering benefits and effects.

The scent most associated with caryophyllene is peppery and spicy. It’s also located in black peppercorns [1].

Also, it’s vastly present in hops, rosemary, copaiba, and cloves [2], and it’s the essential oil in cannabis sativa [3]

Larger in size as a molecule than myrcene, limonene, and most other terpenes, caryophyllene’s molecular structure contains something rare to nature: A cyclobutane ring. This isn’t present in any other terpene [4].

The Unique Properties Of Caryophyllene

As we said in the previous section, caryophyllene is the only terpene that emulates the behavior of cannabinoids. 

Our bodies’ endocannabinoid system (ECS) comprises a vast receptor network. CB1 and CB2 receptors are the two primary types.

Generally, CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system and brain. CB2 receptors are typically located in the peripheral organs. 

Upon ingesting THC or similar cannabinoids, our CB1 receptors bind with it in the central nervous system and brain, giving us a sense of euphoria. 

Caryophyllene’s unique molecular structure enables it to seamlessly bind to the CB2 receptors in the peripheral organ ECS. While it won’t contribute to euphoric feelings, it can offer other benefits associated with impacting the related organs (e.g., inflammation reduction) [5].

These benefits all keenly impact the entourage effect associated with cannabis products. 

The entourage effect involves all components of a cannabis strain combined to provide a more enhanced experience than when only one cannabinoid (e.g., THC or CBD) is bolstered.  

Since caryophyllene binds with our CB2 receptors, it can help offset the more intense, unsettling effects of a cannabis high, offering a more soothing experience [6]

Therapeutic Benefits of Caryophyllene

Sources indicate that beta-caryophyllene possesses anti-inflammatory properties to help with multiple conditions (e.g., interstitial cystitis). This purported medicinal benefit results from the CB2 receptors being activated in the ECS [7].

Also, further studies speak to the positive analgesic effects in mouse models of neuropathic pain and inflammation [8]

Beta-caryophyllene has also been subject to research supporting its ability to improve behavioral and biochemical shifts brought forth by chronic stress. Results from studies indicate it can help with treating stress-induced mental illnesses and depression [9].

Caryophyllene’s anti-inflammatory properties extend to the gut, potentially providing gastroprotective benefits and optimizing digestive health. 

We aren’t a medical dispensary at Stash. We’re a legal adult-use dispensary and can’t offer you medical advice. The above information merely sheds light on potential health benefits and therapeutic properties.

Be sure to discuss any medicinal or wellness-based cannabis usage with a licensed healthcare provider before implementing any into your life. 

Caryophyllene in Different Cannabis Strains

Traits common in most cannabis strains high in caryophyllene are spiciness and muskiness. Some will say the profiles of such strains borders on funky. They can carry significant diesel and fuel-like notes, yielding a nose-tickling effect you often experience when smelling pepper. 

Caryophyllene features prominently in cookie-based strains like Platinum GSC, Candyland, and Cookies and Cream. 

You’ll also find it in hybrids with anxiety reduction and relaxation-boosting properties. 

Furthermore, high levels of caryophyllene are used in cannabis topicals due to the associated analgesic properties. This showcases the pungent aromas found in the terpene while maximizing its therapeutic components. 

Caryophyllene and Aromatherapy

Since caryophyllene’s molecular structure differs from all other terpenes. Its rare cyclobutene ring means it has a unique relationship with aromatherapy. As such, it’s the most frequently found sesquiterpene in essential oils. 

Caryophyllene’s soothing and cleansing properties are highly valued in topicals and as aromatherapeutic components [10]

Consider seeking caryophyllene-heavy strains if you want to de-intensify the more jittery, discomforting sensations of being high. Also, if you suffer from inflammation and stress, consider asking your healthcare professionals if cannabis featuring caryophyllene can work for you.

That said, you wouldn’t be alone in wondering how to ensure the cannabis you purchase contains caryophyllene. 

Identifying Caryophyllene In Cannabis Products

Typically, legal cannabis is lab-tested and will have components like terpene content labeled on the packaging. Read these labels to discover whether a strain contains caryophyllene.

We’ve discussed the fuel-like diesel scene present in caryophyllene-heavy strains. If your cannabis isn’t labeled, suss out these odors, and expect it to tickle your nose and make you want to sneeze due to the peppery, spicy, and often woodsy scent. 

Your best bet for purchasing cannabis strains containing caryophyllene is to shop with reliable businesses like Stash. Reputable dispensaries source their cannabis through high-quality growers who cultivate their strains to optimize their terpenes and label them clearly. 

Precautions and Considerations

Caryophyllene isn’t allergenic but can form allergenic products once exposed to the air [11].

Like all cannabis products, you don’t want to start your doses on the high end. Instead, you want to slowly introduce yourself to a given strain to investigate how you react. Keep incrementally building your dosages until you experience the desired effect. 

Moreover, don’t consume cannabis products continually (unless your doctor says otherwise), even highly therapeutic ones rich with caryophyllene. This will dull the positives while enhancing the negatives.

Lastly, speak with a healthcare provider before using any cannabis products for therapeutic reasons. 

Your overall health and wellness shouldn’t be a guessing game. Nor should you rely on self-medicating to feel better. Responsible usage and caution are essential to healthy, healing cannabis usage.


Caryophyllene is a rare terpene because it emulates cannabinoids and binds to our ECS, providing inflammatory and calming effects.

Those seeking the more medicinal properties of cannabis might find that caryophyllene heightens the therapeutic impact of various strains while mitigating the harshness of a given high.

Really, we’re only at the tip of the iceberg regarding caryophyllene’s standing as a cannabis terpene. With cannabis’s de-stigmatization increasing daily, we’ll continue to learn more about caryophyllene and all it can offer to cannabis connoisseurs and medical patients alike. 

Explore Stash’s Menu for Strains with Caryophyllene 

Do you want cannabis products you can trust to bolster the impact of terpenes like caryophyllene? Are you seeking a reliable dispensary that puts the needs of its customers and community first and promotes education and well-being beyond all else?

Then, look no further than Stash Dispensaries. We source high-quality cannabis subjected to rigorous lab testing, ensuring you have your pick from top-tier products you can count on. 

Explore our diverse, richly sourced cannabis menu for strains featuring caryophyllene or other industry-leading offerings. And feel free to contact us with any questions.



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