All about caryophylls – the spicy terpene in hashish and pepper
Terpenes are a diverse group of organic compounds that occur in many different types of plants. from flowers to fruits and vegetables. Terpenes have many of their own functions in nature, such as promoting pollination and deterring certain animals, but they are also known to be extremely beneficial to human health.
Our relationship with plants goes back to the early days. Humans have used plants to meet many different basic needs. Trees provide protection and shade, fruits and vegetables provide food, plant stems make clothing, and herbs and flowers can be used medicinally. There are numerous different compounds in plants that have therapeutic value, but most people don't know that terpenes, the molecules that give plants their different flavors and flavors, make up a large part of this equation.
Enter cannabis, a plant that can be used to treat a variety of different diseases and is loaded with terps. Many very common terpenes such as limes and pinene, which are found in citrus fruits and pines, also occur in cannabis. Both hemp and marijuana plants have numerous different terpenes despite the different cannabinoid content.
A very common but often overlooked terpene is caryophyllene. If you look at the COAs (Certificate of Analysis) when buying flowers, you will find that this terp is included in many of the most popular varieties this year. What is it exactly? How does it taste? And what are the main advantages?
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What is caryophyllene? The biology behind the terp
Beta-caryophyllene, better known as just caryophyllene, belongs to a class of terpenes known as sesquiterpenes, which are basically only terpenes with a unique molecular structure. It is biosynthesized from two common terpene precursors: dimethylallyl pyrophosphate (DMAPP) and isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP). Caryophyllene is a relatively large molecule that is characterized by a cyclobutane ring and a trans double bond in a 9-membered ring. Both properties are biological rarities.
The main difference from caryophylls is that it is the first known dietary cannabinoid, which means that the FDA has classified it as generally safe for human consumption. It is also one of the first known non-cannabinoid compounds to bind directly to the human body's endocannabinoid receptors. Caryophyllene is found in many different types of food, mainly spices. It has a light yellow color and a spicy taste. It is the main terp in pepper, cloves, allspice and so on.
Although caryophyllene isn't as popular as other terps like limes, it's one of the most thoroughly researched terpenes in cannabis. Organochemist and Harvard researcher E. J. Corey began studying caryophylls as early as the 1960s and has been able to demonstrate many potential uses for this compound over the years.
Caryophylls and the endocannabinoid system
To summarize the endocannabinoid system quickly: It is a huge and complicated network of receptors that are found in bodies of all mammals. To date, researchers have identified two different endocannabinoids: 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide (AEA), as well as two main receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found throughout the brain and central nervous system, and CB2 receptors are mainly found in our peripheral organs. In short, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis – or balance.
The molecular structure of caryophyllene enables it to bind to CB2 receptors, which means that it activates receptors in numerous different tissues such as the spleen, white blood cells, endocrine glands and parts of the reproductive, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts. It is actually the only known terpene that has so far interacted directly with CB receptors.
Its action on the endocannabinoid system makes it a very powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Medical benefits of caryophylls
In terms of cannabis compounds, caryophyllene is one that has a little more research to back up the medical claims. This is because caryophyllene is found in so many different foods that it has been studied in more detail from a nutritional point of view.
Studies show numerous uses for this terpene. In 2014, a study found that caryophyllene reduced the pain response in rodents. Another study from the same year discovered that caryophyllene can be used to reduce alcohol consumption and possibly dependence on other addictive substances. Caryophyllene is also believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a suitable treatment option for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Research has shown that caryophyllene may also reduce anxiety and depression.
Another very interesting theory is that caryophylls can make you live even longer. Not about the obvious ways of using it in the treatment of certain diseases and conditions, but by actually reducing genetic stress and making you "younger" at the cellular level.
The unique taste profile of caryophylls
Because caryophylls are found in herbs such as black pepper, basil, oregano, and cloves, you can get an idea of the taste this terpene would have when isolated. It has a spicy, warm, somewhat sweet taste that can be found in many popular varieties on the market today.
Cannabis contains numerous different terpenes. Therefore, you will never get a bud that tastes of pure pepper or cinnamon. It is usually combined with other terps such as lime and myrcene. Interestingly, you will notice a gaseous, fuel and diesel like taste in many of these flowers.
Some popular gas-flavored strains that contain abundant caryophyllene terpene are Chemdawg, Sour Diesel, and Legendary OG, the latter being a CBD-dominant hemp flower variety.
Where to find caryophylls in nature
The following plants are very high in caryophyllene terpene:
Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) Black cumin (Carum nigrum) Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) Hops (Humulus lupulus) Basil (Ocimum spp.) Oregano (Origanum vulgare) Black pepper (Piper nigrum) Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) Malabathrum (Cinnamomum tamala) Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata) Copaiba oil (Copaifera)
Many other plants, such as figs, also contain minimal amounts of caryophylls.
Which cannabis strains are rich in caryophylls?
Some strains with an above average amount of caryophyllene include:
Scout Cookies / GSC (Marijuana) Bubba Kush (Marijuana) Sour Diesel (Marijuana and Hemp) Chemdawg (Marijuana and Hemp) Candyland (Marijuana) Death Star (Marijuana) Original Adhesive Cookies (Marijuana) Cream Gelato (Marijuana) White Master Kush (Marijuana) Legend (Hemp)
For reference, marijuana is the type of cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC, and hemp is the type of cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC.
I usually end these articles hoping that more research will be done on the subject I'm writing about, as official studies in the cannabis sector are so lacking. Fortunately, there is a lot to do in studying the caryophyllene terpene and all of its many interesting benefits.
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