Caryophyllene: What You Need To Know About This Terpene

Caryophyllene is no ordinary terpene. It has some interesting quirks that make it truly unique. Get to know this intriguing — and important — terpene.

What is caryophyllene?

Caryophyllene, often referred to as beta caryophyllene, is the second most common terpene found in cannabis, after myrcene. It’s often the dominant terpene in a cultivar (AKA strain) — in other words, when it’s present, it’s typically in significant amounts. Caryophyllene is known for its peppery, spicy aroma and similarly musky flavor. It’s also found in spices like black pepper and cinnamon, and you’ll find it in hops, too.

What are the effects of caryophyllene?

Beta caryophyllene has quite a number of research-backed properties. Studies have found that caryophyllene has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. It’s often sought after for its purported and anecdotal stress-relieving and pain-relieving effects. It’s also been cited by researchers for its oral bioavailability, which means higher amounts circulate throughout your body. This makes it a useful ingredient in ingestible cannabis products like edibles and beverages.

But what makes beta caryophyllene so different is the way it acts in your body. Beta caryophyllene behaves like a phytocannabinoid like THC or CBD, in that it can bind to and activate the CB2 receptor of your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Among the terpenes scientists have studied so far, none seem to behave like a cannabinoid like beta caryophyllene. 

Activation of the CB2 receptor may have multiple effects — it may have an effect on inflammation and neuropathic pain, as well as neuroprotective properties that might help manage symptoms of neurodegenerative disease. (It’s worth noting, though, that some of the research into the effects of caryophyllene were conducted using animal models, so more human studies are needed to know more about its precise effects in the human body.)

What are some strains high in caryophyllene?

As a commonly dominant terpene, caryophyllene can be found in many cultivars. Here are just some of the high-caryophyllene cultivars you’ll find on the Iconic Wellness menu.

Bubba Kush

Bubba Kush is an indica cultivar that’s often dominant in caryophyllene. Its average THC content is 17% and it’s commonly reported to offer a calming high that customers love for relaxation and sleep. The genetics of the plant are subject to some debate, though it’s believed to be a descendant from an Afghani strain or Northern Lights. In addition to caryophyllene, Bubba Kush contains significant levels of limonene and myrcene. 


Chemdawg is a hybrid cultivar that, like Bubba Kush, is often dominant in caryophyllene and of mysterious genetic origins. It typically contains an average of 18% THC and 1% CBG, and it’s loved by Michiganders for the way it produces an energizing, mood-boosting, and creativity-encouraging experience. In addition to caryophyllene, Chemdawg is typically high in myrcene and limonene.

Cookies and Cream

Cookies and Cream is a hybrid cultivar bred by crossing Starfighter and a phenotype of GSC. This strain contains an average 20% THC content and 2% CBG — a high amount for this notable minor cannabinoid. Customers say that they expect a balanced high that’s relaxing but not drowsy, with uplifting vibes that may leave you with a case of the giggles. Like many of the other strains that are often caryophyllene-dominant, Cookies and Cream contains significant amounts of limonene and myrcene as well.


GSC, or “Girl Scout Cookies,” is a well-known indica-dominant hybrid cultivar created by crossing OG Kush and Durban Poison. It contains an average 19% THC content and 1% CBG and is often cited for an uplifting high that leaves consumers happy and without a worry in the world. This multiple time Cannabis Cup winner is frequently caryophyllene-dominant, but also contains high levels of, you guessed it, myrcene and limonene.

Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel, sometimes called Sour D, is a sativa cultivar resulting from a cross between Chemdawg and Super Skunk. Customers say that Sour Diesel offers an energizing head high that can alleviate stress and boost creativity and talkativeness. Caryophyllene often leads the way in Sour Diesel’s terpene profile, and is joined by its good friends myrcene and limonene.

Terpenes found alongside caryophyllene

Caryophyllene appears in dozens, if not hundreds, of cultivars, and appears alongside many other terpenes. There are a few, however, caryophyllene is often seen in combination with, including the following three.


Myrcene is the only terpene that’s more common and frequently dominant than caryophyllene. Myrcene is notable for its fruity, pungent aroma and sweet, herbal flavors with notes of spiciness. The effects of this terpene are often described by consumers as relaxing and sedative, and it’s often cited by medical marihuana patients for its pain relieving properties as well. Myrcene can also be found alongside caryophyllene in hops, and it’s abundant in mangoes and basil as well.


Limonene is a common terpene found in many cultivars. While it’s sometimes dominant, limonene often appears alongside plentiful terpenes like caryophyllene and myrcene as a secondary or tertiary terpene as well. As its name suggests, limonene produces a citrus aroma and sweet, sour flavor. Researchers have found that limonene offers antibacterial and antiviral properties, which makes it a great ingredient in household cleaners. You’ll hear Michiganders describe limonene’s uplifting, energizing effects. It’s also found in the peels of lemons, limes, oranges, and other citrus fruits. 


Humulene is less common and plentiful than the other terpenes on this list, but you’re still likely to come across it in plenty of cannabis products. It can be recognized by its earthy, herbal aroma and flavor with hints of spice. Researchers have noted humulene for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial characteristics. It may also suppress appetite. Significant amounts of humulene can also be found in plants like black pepper and hops, where caryophyllene also appears.

Looking to learn more about terpenes? Check out the Iconic Wellness cannabis terpene list for a deep dive into this amazing world!

Know your terps before you buy

Terpenes contribute greatly to your cannabis experience by influencing aroma, flavor, and effects. Before you buy a product, you should understand its terpene profile and whether it’s a good fit for your needs. At Iconic Wellness dispensaries in Michigan, our expert budtenders are standing by to help you find exactly what you need. Stop into one of our provisioning centers in Sturgis, Lowell, or Gaylord today to find out more about how we can help you choose the best cannabis product for your needs.

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