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Terpene 101: Caryophyllene

Caryophyllene is a special terpene. This gem packs a spicy punch very much like that of fresh black pepper, making it easily recognizable when present in flower. This terpene is also present in clove and cinnamon and these distinct smells are often found in strains with a higher abundance of caryophyllene. It is not uncommon for citrusy, musky scents to be found in these strains as well. 

This terpene is especially interesting because it is the only one known to activate cannabinoid receptors in our bodies, specifically CB2 receptors. Our bodies contain two types of receptors – CB1 and CB2. When THC is consumed, it primarily binds to CB1 receptors, which are part of our brain and nervous system. CB2 receptors are found in secondary organs. Caryophyllene’s ability to bind to these secondary receptors gives this terpene its anti-inflammatory benefits. It has also been linked to pain relief and a study utilizing mice has shown that caryophyllene can lead to reduced alcohol intake, giving it the potential to treat addiction. 

Some popular strains with higher concentrations of this unique terpene are Girl Scout Cookies, Sour Diesel, and Bubba Kush. Interestingly, the Cookies family as a whole tends to have high concentrations of caryophyllene. Due to its spicy and musky smell profile as well as its anti-inflammatory benefits, caryophyllene is perfect for use in topicals and salves. As an added bonus, this terpene is also believed to provide relief of anxiety and depression. If you enjoy the flavor and scent profile of myrcene and limonene, this could be a new favorite because it possesses some of the muskiness of myrcene as well as some of the fresh, citrusy characteristics of limonene.