Beta-caryophyllene, also known as (-)-β-caryophyllene, is a natural bicyclic sesquiterpene that is a constituent of many essential oils, especially clove oil, the oil from the stems and flowers of Syzygium aromaticum (cloves), Cannabis sativa (hemp), and many other plants. It is notable for its distinctive spicy, woody aroma and is one of the chemical compounds that contributes to the spiciness of black pepper. Beta-caryophyllene has been the subject of numerous scientific studies due to its unique ability to selectively bind to the CB2 receptor, one of the cannabinoid receptor types found in the body. This property gives it a range of potential therapeutic applications, particularly in the field of inflammation and pain management. Unlike other cannabinoids, beta-caryophyllene does not bind to the CB1 receptors in the brain, so it does not produce the psychoactive effects associated with some other components of cannabis. It has been classified as a dietary cannabinoid, and its status as a food additive has been recognized by regulatory agencies, which has further spurred interest in its potential health benefits. In addition to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, research has also suggested that beta-caryophyllene may possess anti-cancer, anxiolytic, and antioxidant activities. However, despite these promising attributes, more comprehensive clinical studies are needed to fully understand its mechanisms of action and to confirm its efficacy and safety for various therapeutic uses.
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