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Beta-Caryophyllene - What is Beta-Caryophyllene? - Structural Isomer BCP

Beta-caryophyllene is, like alpha-caryophyllene, a structural isomer of the sesquiterpene caryophyllene. Structural isomers are isomeric substances that consist of the same type of atoms, and also consist of the same number of atoms. Nevertheless, the isomeric substances are not equal.


Beta-Caryophyllene Structural Isomer


The difference is that beta-caryophyllene and alpha-caryophyllene have different arrangements of their atoms and differ in the way they are connected. They do have the similar molecular formula with 15 carbon atoms and 24 hydrogen atoms (C15H24), but each with a different structural chemical formula. The chemical properties and medicinal effects of the two substances are different as well.


Beta is indicated by the letter β

The word isomer originates from the Greek word isos, meaning equal, and from the word meros, which is translated to part. The prefixes alpha and beta originate from the letters of the Greek alphabet. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and beta is the second letter. The word alphabet is a combination of the two words alpha and beta.

Beta-Caryophyllene Beta Greek Letter

The capital letter of alpha is indicated with the letter A and the lower case letter is indicated with the symbol α. The capital letter of beta is the letter B and the lower case is a β, as shown in the spelling of the structural isomers α-caryophyllene and β-caryophyllene. The grave accent (slash) at the top of the e in bèta is often omitted.


Like the other letters of the Greek alphabet, the letter beta originates from the Phoenician and the Hebrew alphabet, in which letters are represented by a word beginning with the letter. The word alpha comes from alef, which means ox and beta is from beth, which stands for home. The words have no significance, but arise from the very first characters which at first consisted of small drawings.


Class of sesquiterpenes

Beta-caryophyllene belongs to the class of sesquiterpenes wherein the prefix sesqui, which stands for 1.5, represents the number of full terpene units. One terpene unit is formed out of two isoprene units, thus sesquiterpenes are formed of three isoprene units (CH2 = C (CH3) -CH = CH2).


Other names for beta-caryophyllene

The terpene caryophyllene is also known under the names:
  • Caryophyllene
  • β-caryophyllene
  • L-caryophyllene
  • Trans-caryophyllene
  • (-) - Trans-caryophyllene
  • Trans- (1R, 9S) -8-Methylene-4,11,11-trimethylbicyclo [7.2.0] undec-4-ene
  • BCP (abbreviation of Beta Caryophyllene)

BCP as cannabimimetic agent

The fact that terpenes possess many healing properties has been known for some time. But the questions why do terpenes cause a certain reaction and which terpenes cause the effect, only became clear recently. Beta-caryophyllene was first synthesized in 1964, but it wasn’t until 2008 that a team of German and Swiss scientists discovered that BCP, like CBD and THC, acts as a cannabinoid.
The terpene is able to exert influence on the cannabinoid-receptors that belong to the endocannabinoid system. However, in contrast to THC which binds to the CB1 receptor and brings about the psychoactive effects, β-caryophyllene only responds to the cannabinoid-receptor type 2, better known as CB2 receptor. Thus the cannabinoid-like terpene causes no stoned or high feeling whatsoever.
Nonclassical cannabinoids that can exert a certain influence on the cannabinoid receptors are called cannabimimetics. Because caryophyllene is able to do so, it is therefore a cannabimimetic agent with a very high potency.
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