I’ve been really interested in how the ECS (endo-cannabinoid system) works; as have many drug researchers. So I was really interested to learn about BCP (Beta-Caryophyllene), a cannabinoid which naturally occurs in herbs and foods. (As you may know I’m personally a big advocate of another non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD, which is also a potent CB2 agonist).
Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in an article entitled “Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid”, Gertsch et al write “The psychoactive cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa L. and the arachidonic acid-derived endocannabinoids are nonselective natural ligands for cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and CB2 receptors. Although the CB1 receptor is responsible for the psychomodulatory effects, activation of the CB2 receptor is a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of inflammation, pain, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis. Here, we report that the widespread plant volatile (E)-β-caryophyllene [(E)-BCP] selectively binds to the CB2 receptor (K i = 155 ± 4 nM) and that it is a functional CB2 agonist. Intriguingly, (E)-BCP is a common constituent of the essential oils of numerous spice and food plants and a major component in Cannabis.”
The website Leaf Science summarizes thusly, “Interestingly, scientists have been trying to develop a viable synthetic cannabinoid that targets only CB2 receptors for a very long time. Many now exist, and research has shown the promise of CB2-selective cannabinoids in combating many inflammatory disorders, ranging from arthritis and bladder cystitis to multiple sclerosis and HIV-associated dementia. And all without the marijuana high.”
So, what plants are high in this CB-2 agonist BCP? Well the James Duke ARS databse identifies many plants that have signficant amounts of BCP with the very highest being Celery essential oil with 43,000 ppm. Don’t worry though, essential oil purists, you don’t actually have to consume essential oils. They are naturally contained in the whole fresh Celery (and to a lesser extent in Celery seed) when we eat or juice it! Other herbs which are high in BCP include Sage, Rosemary and Parsley. Another great source of BCP is the noted seasoning Black Pepper (Piper nigrum).
If you’re working on inflammatory problems in the body, try a combination approach; combining CBD from Hemp with traditional anti-inflammatory herbs – or just include all of the above in your diet to support a healthy ECS response using food!