The cannabis plant is loaded with extremely interesting chemical constituents. The most popular among these by far are the cannabinoids. The plant itself has become famous and a major topic of debate due to the psychoactive effects instigated by the cannabinoid THC.

CBD has also recently come into notoriety due to research regarding its widespread therapeutic applications. However, cannabinoids aren’t the only compounds within the cannabis plant worth paying attention to.

Terpenes appear all throughout nature within different plant species. These molecules are produced by trichomes, the mushroom-shaped glands found on the surface of cannabis leaves and flowers. Trichomes are also responsible for producing cannabinoids and other compounds.

Terpenes are essentially fragrant oils that give strains of cannabis different tastes and smells. For example, when you shove your nose into a bag loaded with potent buds and catch a scent of fruit, cheese, lavender, or diesel, terpenes are to thank for the sensual pleasure.

However, these gnarly little compounds play a much more fundamental role when it comes to getting baked. They may actually contribute to the type of high that a strain offers through synergistic effects.

Numerous terpenes found within the cannabis plant have been shown to offer profound medicinal properties. For example, the terpene beta-caryophyllene (BCP) shows promise for potentially helping treat anxiety and depression.

Beta Caryophyllene Terpene Present In Black Pepper And Cannabis

INTRODUCING BETA-CARYOPHYLLENE

BCP is found in numerous plants throughout nature, including hops, black pepper, rosemary, and of course, cannabis. So what is so special about this particular terpene? Well, it turns out that BCP isn’t just any old terpene, it has also been found to play the role of a cannabinoid, too.

In playing this role, BCP is capable of interacting with some of the receptor sites that comprise the endocannabinoid system.

The main cannabinoid pathways within the endocannabinoid system are the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Cannabinoids such as THC activate both of these receptor sites, and the outcome is a psychoactive high.

BCP, on the other hand, only targets the CB2 receptor. This means that BCP does not produce a psychoactive effect. This is a crucial factor considering that the psychoactive nature of some cannabis medicines is a major reason they are restricted.

THC is illegal in many regions of the world, and individuals who use cannabis as a medicine are increasingly demanding CBD-rich medicine that is not psychoactive.

What’s more, years and large amounts of money have been poured into the world of synthetic cannabis, in hopes of achieving similar therapeutic results without causing a high. Cannabinoids that target the CB2 receptor can potentially help treat disorders such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis, without the inconvenience of psychoactive effects. While it may seem strange to consider THC an inconvenience, some patients need to remain fully functional after medicating.

Beta Caryophyllene Cannabis Plant

A FUTURE MEDICINE?

Although research is currently in the early stages, BCP is displaying some promising results when it comes to its potential application as a medicinal molecule.

A 2014 paper published within the journal Neuropsychopharmacology examined the painkilling effects of BCP in mice. The authors of the paper mention the compound’s ability to target the CB2 receptor, and discuss that numerous studies display that the CB2 receptor is critically involved in the modulation of inflammatory and neuropathic pain responses.

The study showed that orally-administered BCP reduced inflammatory pain responses and also reduced spinal neuroinflammation. The authors concluded that BCP may be significantly effective in the treatment of long-lasting and debilitating pain states.

A-Pinene

 

Anti-Inflamatory
Bronchodilator
Aids Memory
Anti-Bacterial
Also found in pine needles

A-Pinene

Linalool

 

Anesthetic
Anti-Convulsant
Analgesic
Anti-Anxiety
Also found in lavander

Linalool

Beta-Caryophillene

 

Anti-Inflamatory
Analgesic
Protects Cells Lining The Digestive Tract
Also found in black pepper

Beta-Caryophyllene

Myrcene

 

Contributes To Sedative Effect Of Strong Indicas
Sleep Aid
Muscle Relaxant
Also found in hops

Myrcene

Limonene

 

Treats Acid Reflux
Anti-Anxiety
Antidepressant
Also found in citrus

Limonene
 

ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Another paper documents a study conducted on mice that shows the potential of BCP as a treatment for anxiety and depression. The paper, published within the journal Physiology and Behaviour, discusses the role of CB2 receptors in anxiety and depression disorders.

BCP is proposed as a novel compound that has beneficial pharmacological effects over existing benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

The aim of the study was to test the effects of BCP on mouse subjects related to conditions of stress and anxiety. The authors propose that this study, for the first time, demonstrates that BCP is indeed effective at producing anxiolytic and antidepressive effects.

The results also show that the CB2 receptor is involved in the regulation of emotional behaviour and could be a potential therapeutic target when it comes to anxiety and depression.

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