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Beta-Caryophyllene: The Unique Terpene That Acts Like a Cannabinoid

Beta-Caryophyllene is a rare terpene as it is one of the first non-cannabinoids to directly activate cannabinoid receptors.

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Beta-Caryophyllene
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Terpenes are the medicinal molecules found in cannabis that, beginning in the 1960s, were discovered to provide significant health benefits for a diverse variety of diseases and conditions. The efficacy of these chemicals is especially significant for ailments based on inflammation, pain, or related to cancerous tumors. Of the 200 terpenes that have been identified in the cannabis herb, beta-caryophyllene (BCP; sometimes denoted as β-caryophyllene) stands alone in its uniqueness: It can be categorized as both a terpene and a cannabinoid.

Cannabinoids are health-giving molecules that are similar to terpenes in their efficacy and that include cannabidiol (CBD) and its infamous euphoric chemical cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Based on the fact that beta-caryophyllene has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a food additive and because it is not exclusive to cannabis, it is fully legal (even at the federal level in the United States) — dramatically differentiating this molecule from its psychoactive sibling, THC.

The legality of beta-caryophyllene makes it a viable resource for cannabis companies, food manufacturers, pharmaceutical corporations and herbal remedy companies. BCP offers such companies the opportunity to utilize this powerfully efficacious molecule as a tool against a litany of ailments, including cancer, depression, pain, gastrointestinal conditions (including Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers) and even osteoporosis.

BCP delivers a spicy, peppery aroma and is also produced by basil, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, hops, oregano and rosemary. It is employed by the fragrance industry. Beta-caryophyllene is found most abundantly in the cannabis strains Death Star, Sour Bubble and Sour Diesel.

The Details of Beta-caryophyllene

Discovered in 1964 by Israeli researcher Raphael Mechoulam, it wasn’t until 2008 that German scientists observed the cannabinoid-like characteristics of beta-caryophyllene. It has been found, through research and anecdotal evidence, to deliver a wider spectrum of efficacies than many other terpenes and cannabinoids.

In terms of its medical efficacy, BCP acts as an analgesic and is effective in combating systemic inflammation, depression, anxiety, cancer and has even been shown to help with recovery from addiction to alcohol. It can also help induce sleep for those who suffer insomnia and is an antimicrobial and antifungal.

BCP has been found to selectively activate the CB2 receptors of the mammalian endocannabinoid system (ECS), which boosts the internally produced endocannabinoid anandamide. This is significant because it illustrates the sometimes indirect channels of efficacy demonstrated by many of the terpenes and cannabinoids in the cannabis herb. In this case, anandamide has been shown to play a critical role in managing pain, depression and anxiety.

The Research on Beta-caryophyllene

Several studies have demonstrated the medicinal efficacy of BCP for a variety of diseases and conditions, most commonly citing this terpene’s ability to fight systemic inflammation, kill cancer cells and aid in the recovery of substance addiction.

A 2018 study entitled “β-caryophyllene Protects Against Alcoholic Steatohepatitis by Attenuating Inflammation” that was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology concluded, “Given the safety of BCP in humans, this food additive has a high translational potential in treating or preventing hepatic injury associated with oxidative stress, inflammation and steatosis.”

2014 study published by the journal Physiology and Behaviour, discusses the role of CB2 receptors in anxiety and depression disorders, highlighting the potential of BCP as a treatment for anxiety and depression.

A 2014 study published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior and entitled “The Cannabinoid Receptor 2 Agonist, β-caryophyllene, Reduced Voluntary Alcohol Intake” revealed that many cannabinoids bind to CB2 receptors in the body’s ECS and may help treat alcoholism. Researchers injected BCP into animal models and discovered that its activation of CB2 receptors within the ECS resulted in “decreased alcohol consumption and preference.”

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Cannabis Classification System Announced for 2022 Emerald Cup Awards

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Cannabis Classification System

One of the factors that make the Emerald Cup so important to California’s cannabis market is its continued strive for excellence and innovation. For the 2022 awards, the judging process is undergoing a transformation and with it comes a new cannabis classification system that will classify entries based on terpenes, flavour, and effects for anybody — from customers to budtenders, dispensaries, judges, and cultivators.

Cannabis Is More Than Just THC

The days of just searching out the highest THC totals are rapidly receding as research has now proven that terpenes are at the base of the entourage effect that customers desire are rapidly fading.

Terpenes, on the other hand, have mostly added to the consumer confusion already caused by overly broad Indica/Sativa/Hybrid terminology, whimsical strain names, irrelevant THC/CBD percentages, and other ambiguous factors that make selecting the best or correct strain a less-than-satisfying ordeal for even the most experienced cannabis connoisseurs.

The Emerald Cup competition will serve as a testbed for a new classification system for cannabis flowers. The event organisers and their testing partners at SC Labs decided to further break down the flower categories based on the chemometrics of each cultivar (better known as “chemovar” — the evolution of the term “dominant terpene”) evolving beyond last year’s flower category sorting by primary terpene content, in order to level the playing field and eliminate as much bias as possible in the blind/anonymous sampling done by Emerald Cup judges each year.

This paradigm-shifting insight sparked months of additional research and discussion, culminating in the Emerald Cup Cannabis Classification System based on PhytoFacts® powered by SC Labs.

The all-new classification system builds on last year’s approach of sorting flower entries by primary terpene content, leveraging a decade of Cannabis phytochemistry research between PhytoFacts®, developed by Napro Research in 2013, and a powerful database of over 250,000 terpene tests aggregated by SC Labs, dating back to their launch of terpene testing on Cannabis in 2013. The key class names were chosen to represent current terminology, are widely used in the business and are familiar to dispensaries and consumers. Each class is further explained using taste notes, effects, and popular strains or cultivars to promote understanding and acceptance.

The New Cannabis Classification System

The classes of the Emerald Cup Cannabis Classification Based on PhytoFacts® powered by SC Labs include:

“Jacks + Haze” Class

  • Mostly ‘Sativa’-leaning varietals
  • Tasting notes – Fruity, Pinesol, Haze
  • Effects – Energizing, Cerebral, Artistically Inspiring
  • Common Cultivars – Classic Trainwreck, Jack Herer, Durban Poison, Super Lemon Haze
  • Terpenes Profile: Terpinolene, Caryophyllene, Myrcene

“Tropical + Floral” Class

  • Mostly ‘Indica’-leaning varietals
  • Tasting notes – Sweet, Floral, Tropical Fruit
  • Effects – Calming, Soothing, Relaxing
  • Common Cultivars – Super Skunk, Hawaiian, In the Pines, Dream Queen
  • Terpenes Profile: Ocimene, Myrcene

“Sweets + Dreams” Class

  • Mostly ‘Indica’-leaning varietals
  • Tasting Notes – Fruity, Sweet, Woody, Hoppy, Herbaceous
  • Effects – Relaxation, Couch Lock, Analgesic
  • Common Cultivars – Blue Dream, Tangie, Forbidden fruit, Grandaddy Purple, Purple Urkel, Grape Ape, Cherry AK, God’s Gift, Purple Punch
  • Terpenes Profile: Myrcene, Pinene, Caryophyllene

“OGs + Gas” Class

  • True ‘Hybrid’ varietals
  • Tasting Notes – Gas, Fuel, Sweet, Citrus, and Pepper
  • Effect – Uplifting, Stimulating, Analgesic, Relaxation
  • Common Cultivars – Classic OG Kush, ChemDawg, Sour Diesel, Gorilla Glue
  • Terpenes Profile: Any combination or shifting codominance of Caryophyllene, Limonene, Myrcene

‘”Desserts” Class

  • True ‘Hybrid’ varietals
  • Tasting Notes – Deserts, Doughs, Citrusy & Spicy
  • Effects – Stimulating, Racy, Uplifting, Comforting
  • Common Cultivars – Classic Bubba Kush, GSC, Gelatos, Cakes
  • Any shift in codominance of Caryophyllene & Limonene

“Exotics” (Rare Terpene Combinations) Class

  • True ‘Hybrid’ varietals
  • Tasting notes – varied based on chemistry of entry
  • Effect – varied based on chemistry of entry
  • Common Cultivars – rarest terpene profiles entered into the Emerald Cup Competition

This game-changing development in cannabis classification levels the playing ground for the 2022 Cup as well as market competitiveness amongst brands. The system seeks to become an open-source, globally recognised grading solution for Cannabis, with six simple classes/names/descriptions. In the same way that a Chardonnay would not be tested against a Merlot in the wine business, this new system permits strains with comparable profiles to be judged against each other. This new classification system will also be used at the California State Fair Cannabis Awards in July 2022.

The 2022 Emerald Cup Awards will be presented live on stage on May 14th at the Green Street Festival in Downtown Los Angeles, California.

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The Sativa Preservation Society Project Will Protect Rare Haze Genetics

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Sativa Preservation Society Project
PHOTO | SATIVA PRESERVATION SOCIETY PROJECT

Space Coyote, the totally cosmic cannabis company, has launched the Sativa Preservation Society Project — a movement that protects Haze genetics while paying homage to the custodians and cultivators who kept the seeds alive.

Celebrators of the cannabis culture’s stoner heritage, Space Coyote’s aesthetic and ethos embraces the vibes and psychedelic Seventies scene, where the creativity and community of cannabis intersect.

Co-founder and self-confessed ‘Sativa Diva’ Libby Cooper calls it the “ultimate passion project”. 

“We’re truly passionate about saving these genetics that are the actual grandmothers of every modern-day sativa strains that people love — all of these desert strains, all of the fruity strains,” Cooper tells me from the Space Coyote van en route to Hall of Flowers.

Founding the Sativa Preservation Society Project

The concept of the Sativa Preservation Society Project was years in incubation as the Space Coyote team deliberated over how to bring it to life. It was important for them to give back to the community while helping to educate about the history of cannabis culture.

The stars aligned earlier this year when the team met Bam Vachher-Gnanathurai, nursery and plant breeding manager from the Posibl Project in Salina. A mutual love of the unique effects of Haze genetics made for a truly cosmic outcome.

“Bam is super passionate about sativa,” said Cooper. “When we went and met up with Bam for the very first time, he rolled a blunt from Cuban Black. It was such an amazing experience to smoke that flower.” 

“The initial conversation of the Sativa Preservation Society coming to life happened during that smoke session. It was like, ‘holy shit, we could actually do this.’”

The Haze Experience

The Sativa Preservation Society Project is launching with three incredibly rare cultivars — Cuban Black Haze, Uptown Haze (also known as A5 Haze), and C5 Haze — all of which were originally cultivated in the 1980s by legendary grower Neville Schoenmaker. The flower will be available as bagged eighths and as infused prerolls.

Cooper likens the Haze experience to being “a bit like mushrooms” — colors are brighter, your smell is enhanced and your hearing is sharper.

“It’s really like a cup of coffee without any jitteriness or anxiety usually associated with sativas. This is pure energy without any sort of adverse effects,” explains Cooper. “You really feel as if your eyelids are getting peeled back — you’re awake, you’re uplifted. Basically, I smoke it and I immediately start stretching.”

“Many sativa genetics are dying out due to a number of reasons,” says Cooper. “Typically, they are more difficult to grow, have a longer curing time, and the fluffy buds are easily crushed in transit.” All of which makes sativas less cost-effective in California’s highly competitive legal market.

“This truly is the first time these original sativa strains are going to be commercially grown,” says Cooper. “It really wouldn’t have been possible, funnily enough, without this group named Posibl.”

Learn more about the Sativa Preservation Society Project in the video above. While you’re at it, find your nearest Space Coyote here.

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Peach Oz: This Sweet And Juicy Cultivar Will Stimulate Your Creativity

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PEACH FUZZ | PHOTO: WONDERBRETT

If you’re looking for a premium cultivar with legendary genetics and a euphoric high, look no further than Peach Oz, the latest addition to Wonderbrett’s stellar strain menu.

A cross of Peach Rings with OZ Kush and a descendent of Zkittlez, the sweet, stimulating citrus taste profile of Peach Oz will get your creative juices flowing.

While the cultivar may be new to the public, according to Wonderbrett Co-Founder and famed Breeder Brett Feldman, it’s five-years-old in the world of genetics.

“There’s only a small handful of heady smokers who follow these things,” says Feldman. “I wanted to bring it to the masses to share the experience with everybody. That’s where my passion comes from with this strain. Similar to an amazing dish at a restaurant, you want to share it with your friends.”

Grown in small-batches at scale from the company’s state-of-the-art Long Beach cultivation facility, the strain was first created by Dying Breed Seeds, then perfected by Cannabis By Corey, before making its way to Feldman.

Wonderbrett’s grow room | PHOTO: Courtesy Wonderbrett

Bursting with flavors and aromas that bring to mind the sweet ocean breeze and fragrant fruit orchards of the California sunshine state, Peach OZ’s four dominant terpenes: Caryophyllene, Linalool, Limonene and Humulene, create a distinct sweet taste of ripe peaches, citrus candy and cream.  

“When any strain has that unique, recognizable consistency in its flavor, whether that be peach, lemon or orange, that’s what myself and other breeders appreciate most and look for when bringing a genetic like this to market. It’s mind-blowing what Peach OZ can do that, translating a fruit flavor to a smoking experience,” explained Feldman.

Peach OZ is available at select dispensary and at Wonderbrett’s flagship dispensary in L.A.

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