CBD is one of many phytocannabinoids (a fancy name for plant compounds) found in hemp that have a calming effect on the body and mind. When taken in unison, these compounds join forces to put us at ease, which is why you should always look for CBD products that are full-spectrum.*
Together, these phytocannabinoids have a positive effect on the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a “master regulator” that oversees everything from sleep quality to stress response.* And while these helpful phytocannabinoids are hard to find outside cannabis, it turns out that another plant compound can have a similar influence on the ECS: Meet beta-caryophyllene (β-Caryophyllene).
“It’s a phytocannabinoid-like substance and it’s found in black pepper and cloves, among other things,” functional medicine doctor Robert Rountree, M.D., said of beta-caryophyllene on an episode of the mindbodygreen podcast earlier this year. It’s present in the essential oils of oregano, hops, black cumin, and rosemary, too. It helps give these ingredients their spicy, warming kick. Fun fact: beta-caryophyllene is also found in the oils of some tree species, and it contributes to the fragrant, relaxing scent of a forest trail.
Recent research shows that when we consume beta-caryophyllene, it binds to the same ECS receptors that are triggered by CBD products. So there’s reason to believe that the compound can enhance CBD’s already calming effect on inflammation, pain, and stress and anxiousness.* For this reason, beta-caryophyllene is the first known “dietary cannabinoid.”
In the British Journal of Pharmacology, board-certified neurologist Ethan B. Russo, M.D., writes that the combination of phytocannabinoids and beta-caryophyllene “may lead to novel approaches to such disorders as treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, drug dependency, dementia and a panoply of dermatological disorders.”