Beta Caryophyllene - CBD Alternative

What is BCP?

Beta-Caryophyllene1 is a major plant volatile found in large amounts in the essential oils of many different spice and food plants, such as oregano, black pepper, clove, cinnamon. It is also a major constituent in the essential oil of Cannabis sativa L.

It is considered generally recognisedas safe (GRAS) by the Flavour and Extract Manufacturers Association. It is approved for use as a flavouring substance in food by the US FDA and is listed in the US Pharmacopeia Food Chemicals Codex.2, 3, 4 In 2008 it was demonstrated that BCP selectively binds to, and activates the cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2), which is primarily found in peripheral tissues, including immunomodulatory cells.5 Cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component of Cannabis sativa, also binds to the CB2 receptor, but in this case the binding event leads to attenuation of CB2 signaling, not activation. Notably, cannabidiol exhibits a complex pharmacological profile which is still not widely understood.6

In contrast, THC, the psychoactive component of Cannabis sativa, exerts its effect by binding to and activating the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) which is expressed in the central nervous system and the periphery. The significance of this is that cannabidiol and BCP exert their beneficial downstream effects of cannabinoid receptor activation without the psychotropic effects typically associated with CB1 activation.

CB1 and CB2 form part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which exerts regulatory control over a variety of physiological functions such as inflammation, chronic pain, food intake, and depression. Consequently, there has been considerable interest to study the effects of cannabidiol and BCP to treat a variety of conditions under the master control of the ECS, particularly pain and inflammation.7, 8, 9, 10, 11  A recent clinical trial by Panag Pharma examined the effect of BCP to treat pain caused by osteoarthritis of the knee.12 

To date, there are no TGA approved cannabidiol products available in Australia; medicinal cannabis products are only accessible via prescription. The same rules do not apply to BCP - the TGA does not consider it to be a cannabinoid in the classical sense.13