Terpenes are one of the most promising areas of medical research when it comes to treating disorders like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cancer. But terpenes are beneficial for mental health too. New research supports that the terpenes found in cannabis (and other plants) can help common mood conditions like anxiety and depression.
Terpenes are temperamental, highly aromatic molecules that occur naturally in plants and trees, including cannabis. They’re the basis of aromatherapy and responsible for all the variations in taste and smell from plant to plant, strain to strain.
There are hundreds of terpenoids but only a handful appear in large enough amounts in cannabis to make their presence known outside of laboratory testing. Beta-caryophyllene is the primary terpenes identified to help mood disorders. The reason it works so well is that it binds to the receptors in the brain, just like the cannabinoids THC and CBD.
Beta-caryophyllene only targets the CB2 receptor, which means it’s not psychoactive like THC. It’s found in every Cannabis sativa strain, in some amount. It’s also found in hops, black pepper, rosemary and other spicy, pungent herbs and plants.
In addition to physical benefits like being an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, b-caryophyllene appears to reduce inflammation in the brain and improve cognitive functions, as well as reducing anxiety and improving mood.
White Widow and GSC are two strains that tend to be higher in b-caryophyllene.