3 little-known properties of β-Caryophyllene


As previously discussed (see Phytomolecules #1 HERE), β-caryophyllene is a dietary phytocannabinoïd with strong potential in the fields of inflammation and neuroprotection. However, they aren't the only health contexts where β-caryophyllene could be of interest. Here are 3 little-known health properties of β-caryophyllene with great potential for functional food, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries.


β-caryophyllene has been identified as an activator of PPAR [1] which, combined with its activity as a CB2 receptor agonist, confirm a strong potential in inflammation regulation [2-6]. This PPAR activation also suggests a significant impact on the lipid metabolism. The multiple studies carried out on hyperlipidemic models seem to confirm this action in vivo, since β-Caryophyllene has shown a protective [7], lipid-lowering [8], anti-atherogenic [9] as well as other aspects related to lipid metabolism [10-11].

In parallel, studies have also shown a potential role of β-Caryophyllene on the carbohydrate metabolism (glycemia). Indeed, β-Caryophyllene has been identified as insulinotropic (modulation of insulin secretion), in in vitro [12] and ex vivo models [13]. According to the authors, the process seems to depend on the activation of type 2 cannabinoid receptors pathways [14] but PPAR pathway could also be involved. The molecule has also been assessed in an in vivo model of diabetes (induced in rats by injection of Streptozotocin) and has demonstrated an insulinotropic effect [15], while limiting both blood sugar and pancreatic inflammation [16].

It is obviously too early to consider β-Caryophyllene as a treatment in case of pre-metabolic syndrome. However, the in vitro and in vivo available data allow to consider its use in nutraceuticals or functional food (its oral toxicity being relatively low).


Surprisingly, bone health is a context where β-Caryophyllene could have beneficial effects. Indeed, it has been identified as an inhibitor of osteoclast activity [17] and a stimulator of the osteoblastic process [18], thus guaranteeing the bone capital integrity [19]. If this activity does not seem enough to promote bone repair, it could nevertheless have a very positive impact on age-related demineralization [20]. This action of β-Caryophyllene on bone mineralization can also be explained by its ability to stimulate cannabinoid receptors of the CB2 type and is probably related to 17-β-estradiol [21], a mechanism that suggests an interest in menopause-related osteoporosis (again PPAR pathway could also be involved [22]).


One of the most surprising health potentials of β-Caryophyllene is probably its impact in addiction context. Indeed, β-caryophyllene has shown “anti-addictive” properties in in vivo models in both alcohol [23] and nicotine [24] addiction. Those observations could be related to the CB2 agonistic activity of the molecule, since an increasing number of data suggest a relation between CB2 and "anti-addictive" activity [25-28].

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