Peppercorns in a brown wooden spoon, resting on a table

Caryophyllene Terpene: What is Caryophyllene?

When it comes to terpenes, caryophyllene takes the trophy for being one of the most unique terpenes found in cannabis. In this guide, we’re going to share everything we know about caryophyllene, including: 

  • What is Caryophyllene?
  • What Does Caryophyllene Smell Like?
  • What Does Caryophyllene Taste Like? 
  • What Makes Caryophyllene a Unique Terpene?
  • What Strains are Heavy in Caryophyllene?
  • FAQs About Caryophyllene

What is Caryophyllene?

Caryophyllene, or β-caryophyllene, beta-caryophyllene, or BCP, is one of the most abundant terpenes found in cannabis and a variety of other plants. It’s unique because it can act as a cannabinoid without actually being a cannabinoid. Caryophyllene is thought to be the only terpene that is able to do this, binding to the CB2 receptor in the body’s Endocannabinoid System.

What are the Benefits of Caryophyllene?

Because caryophyllene binds to the CB2 receptor - the receptor that regulates inflammation - there have been a small number of studies on mice around whether or not caryophyllene can have an impact on inflammation and pain. However, more research is needed to understand how caryophyllene can benefit the human body.

What Does Caryophyllene Smell Like?

If we only had one word to describe caryophyllene, it would be “spicy.” For good reason, too. Caryophyllene is what gives black pepper its pungent, nose-burning scent.

Don’t let this deter you from enjoying caryophyllene-dominant strains, though. While you may notice the spicy, herbal scent in your cannabis, the caryophyllene profile will mix with other terpenes in the strain, leading to a unique, sometimes even sweet, aroma that likely won’t overwhelm the senses like black pepper can.

What Does Caryophyllene Taste Like?

One of the most popular ways to use caryophyllene in commercial production is as a food additive. Its sweet-meet-spicy flavor can be in cinnamon, black pepper, and allspice. Because of this, it’s likely you’ve tasted it before—be it through a cinnamon-sweet pumpkin pie or a well-spiced steak. Once you can recognize its sweet bite, you may notice it in other foods you serve and are served.

What Makes Caryophyllene a Unique Terpene?

Caryophyllene is one of the most unique terpenes in cannabis because it can act like a cannabinoid. Typically, cannabinoids in cannabis interact with the endocannabinoid system through cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. These receptors are why you can feel the psychoactive effects of THC.  

Caryophyllene seems to also have an effect on CB2, at least in research involving animal models. More research is needed to understand how caryophyllene interacts with CB receptors in the human endocannabinoid system.

What Strains are Heavy in Caryophyllene?

If you’re interested in consuming strains high in caryophyllene, look no further. These three cannabis strains are great options to pick up at your local dispensary:

Chemdawg or Chem Dawg

Indica-Dominant Hybrid

This indica-leaning hybrid strain was created from a mysterious cross of cannabis plants that have never really been publicly identified. What we do know is that Chemdawg has created another caryophyllene terpene-rich strain on our list—Sour Diesel

Earthy and skunky, with sweet, diesel undertones, Chemdawg is significantly more mild than its child strain. It’s also not quite as potent (19% THC), so it can be enjoyed by beginners to cannabis and experienced enthusiasts. 

Original Glue formerly known as Gorilla Glue #4 or GG#4

Indica-Dominant Hybrid

Original Glue, an indica-leaning hybrid, owes its roots to the cross of Chem’s Sister, Sour Dubb, and Chocolate Diesel. It’s likely that this cross is what gives it its unique diesel-meets-spicy-chocolate flavor and aroma. We can likely give credit to caryophyllene for that spiciness that makes this bud such a flavor and aroma journey. While Original Glue has 1% CBD, it also has 32% THC, so start slow with this strain.

Sour Diesel aka Sour D or Sour Deez

Sativa-Dominant Hybrid

When you take the Mexican landrace sativa and combine it with a Chemdog phenotype (though some people say it’s Mass Super Skunk crossed with 91 Chemdog), you get Sour Diesel, one of the most famous sativa-dominant hybrids on the market. 

While it’s high in caryophyllene, and some enthusiasts notice the spicy aftertaste, it’s most known for its diesel gasoline smell. Sour Diesel packs a THC punch at 25%, but it also has 2% CBD and 4% CBN.

Answering FAQs about Caryophyllene

Curious about caryophyllene? We get it. It’s a unique terpene that we get a lot of questions about. Here are some of the answers to those questions:

What foods contain caryophyllene?
If you love cooking, it’ll be easy to find caryophyllene. It’s commonly found in rosemary, cloves, hops, black pepper, oregano, cinnamon, basil, lavender, and plenty of other plants. It’s also available in certain strains of marijuana.

Is caryophyllene a sativa or indica?
Caryophyllene isn’t a sativa or indica, it’s a terpene. This means that it can be found in all strains, including sativa, indica, and hybrids. 

What’s the difference between myrcene and caryophyllene?
Myrcene and caryophyllene are two different terpenes. They both exist in cannabis, but they have unique aromas, flavors, and reactions in the body. 

What’s the difference between caryophyllene and beta-caryophyllene?
There is no difference. Beta-caryophyllene is just another name for caryophyllene.

Purchasing Caryophyllene-Dominant Strains

Finding strains high in caropyhellene is relatively easy. Most of the strains we listed can be found at your local dispensary, but if you’re not seeing what you want, you can always ask our cannabis experts. They can answer your questions and find the perfect product for you to try.

Recreational cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Ohio and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and certified patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.