Beta-caryophyllene (BCP) is one of the most unique terpenes in nature. It earns this distinction because of its peculiar behavior in the human body: It acts as both a cannabinoid and terpene and is sometimes categorized as each.
BCP is an effective analgesic, and research has indicated that its pain killing powers are enhanced when it is consumed along with other analgesic cannabinoids and terpenes. It is an anti-inflammatory and has been found to possibly reduce anxiety and depression. In addition, BCP functions as an antifungal and antimicrobial agent. It is also used to treat insomnia and may play a role in PTSD due to its ability to reduce anxiety and depression.
A 2018 study entitled “β-Caryophyllene Protects against Alcoholic Steatohepatitis by Attenuating Inflammation and Metabolic Dysregulation in Mice” that was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that “Chronic treatment with BCP alleviated the chronic and binge alcohol-induced liver injury and inflammation.” It is believed that BCP may play an effective role in the overall treatment of those attempting to overcome alcohol dependence and addiction.
The study’s researchers concluded, “Given the safety of BCP in humans, this food additive has a high translational potential in treating or preventing hepatic injury associated with oxidative stress, inflammation, and steatosis.”
A 2014 study entitled “The Cannabinoid Receptor 2 Agonist, β-caryophyllene, Reduced Voluntary Alcohol Intake” that was published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior found that BCP may be effective in helping those suffering alcohol addiction in terms of decreasing their desire for and consumption levels of alcohol.
The study illustrates how BCP is unique molecule can bind with CB2 receptors, which makes it not only a terpene but also a cannabinoid.
The study’s researchers concluded, “Overall, the CB2 receptor system appears to be involved in alcohol dependence and sensitivity and may represent a potential pharmacological target for the treatment of alcoholism.”