Terpenes 101: Caryophyllene

If you like to occasionally take a puff there’s a good chance terpenes are one of your favorite things you might not have thought about. Open up your grinder or bag of greens. Give it a deep smell. What did you find? A pungent, sweet and yet sour aroma that creeps out and lingers in the air. Terpenes are the aromatic compounds which are responsible for the scent of lots of plants in nature, specifically though they’re responsible for that legendary scent cannabis leaves behind wherever they may go. Should we go in for another whiff? Ahh. Yes. Thank the terps!

Like essential oils, there is a huge catalog of different terpenes, each with different flavors and scents. Terps are also responsible for producing differing physical feelings and effects. Some elicit a more or less relaxing high for example. Believe it or not the reason your favorite strain is your favorite strain, is the specific blend of terpenes in it. Most of the time strains have roughly 3 main terpenes which contribute to the flavor, aroma, and effects. Terps provide a wide variety of aromatic properties ranging from floral and earthy notes to musky and citrusy ones. When it comes to the spicier side of the spectrum, caryophyllene holds the trophy for the most flair.

Pronounced “carry-off-fi-leen”, the range this terpene has is serious. Caryophyllene is abundant in nature and can show up smelling musky and spicy or sweet and earthy. You’ve likely consumed this terpene without even realizing it in black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and oregano. What makes caryophyllene unique is that it’s the only terpene that also acts as a dietary cannabinoid. This means it activates our endocannabinoid system, binding with CB2 receptors. The activation is responsible for its reputation as a pain reliever, but this terp has a variety of other benefits.

The Feel

  •  Strains with high levels of this terp tend to be spicy and musky, sometimes even a funky sort of aromatic profile
  •  Prominent notes of diesel and fuel that are known to cause the same nose-tingling sensation with taking a whiff of pepper


The Benefits

  • A potent compound in anti-inflammatory salves and topicals and has potential anticancer, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties
  • Has preservative properties and is found in the hops flavor and stabilize beer
  •  Has also been used as a flavoring agent in chewing gum to enhance citrusy or spicy flavor profile


The Palate

  • Has a strong, spicy, peppery scent which it lends to essential oils with similar aroma profiles
  •  Clove, basil, ylang ylang, rosemary and black caraway are examples of essential oils rich with this terpene
  • Most commonly found in black pepper, cinnamon, and hops


The Connections

  • Has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and to be a possible therapy for treating IBS
  • Has shown potential to reduce alcohol intake, making this terp a possible treatment for addiction
  •  Research has found that caryophyllene may be able to treat anxiety and depression


The Strains

  • Sour Diesel: The pungent blend of aromas will leave no doubt as to what terpene is predominant in this sativa dominant strain. The most abundant terpene is caryophyllene, followed by myrcene and limonene.
  • Dosido: Known as a calming, euphoric strain, Dosidos is an indica-dominant hybrid that’s primarily used for mood elevation and stress alleviation. It can also be effective for pain relief, and some consumers report that this strain helps them sleep.
  • Mendo Breath: This indica-leaning strain smells heavily of creamy vanilla and fresh caramel combined with undertones of pine and skunk. Top terps are caryophyllene, limonene, and myrcene, which come together to produce a euphoric high with powerful body effects.
  • Zookies: This balanced hybrid strain’s profile includes a healthy dose of caryophyllene as well as limonene, making it wonderful for both daytime and nighttime use.


Tips & Tricks                                    

  •  Most cannabis strains will likely contain some caryophyllene
  • You should check the Certificate of Analysis (COA) to confirm its presence, ask your budtender when you visit  
Terpenes 101: Caryophyllene