BCP the Cancer Fighting Terpene

Beta-caryophyllene, also known as BCP, is a terpene that contributes to the spiciness of black pepper and is also present in oregano, cloves, hops, rosemary, and cannabis. It was first synthesized in 1964, but it wasn’t until 2008 that European scientists discovered that it has cannabinoid-like properties. Like many other cannabinoids and terpenes, BCP targets the body’s CB2 receptors, ignoring the CB1 receptors that are involved in delivering the euphoric high associated with cannabis and, more specifically, the THC cannabinoid.

BCP is often categorized as a cannabinoid, not a terpene, because of how it binds to CB2 cannabinoid receptors. It is not only found in several legal herbs and spices, but is even an FDA-approved food additive. For this reason, some sources label BCP the “first dietary cannabinoid.”

Because it targets CB2 receptors and delivers no high, BCP is an effective way to medicate while avoiding any alteration in perception or motor skills. It can be used to treat several inflammatory disorders, including arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Like its cousins pinene and limonene, BCP has also been shown to fight cancer, reduce anxiety and depression, and has even been found to be gastroprotective — meaning it can be used to treat ulcers.

BCP also is helpful for those suffering from atherosclerosis and osteoporosis and can even increases bone mass and blocks pain signals, all while avoiding any interference with the nervous system. Because so many other cannabinoids and terpenes act as analgesics (pain killers), BCP is more evidence of the entourage effect, a theory explaining how a variety of terpenes and cannabinoids work synergistically to improve health or fight disease.

A study published in 2014 in the journal Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior revealed that a variety of cannabinoids bind to CB2 receptors and may help in the treatment of alcoholism. In the study, researchers injected BCP into animal models and found that activating CB2 receptors resulted in decreased ethanol (alcohol) consumption and preference.

Because BCP is not exclusive to cannabis and has been approved by the FDA as a food additive, it is fully legal. There is tremendous opportunity for food manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and herbal remedies to utilize BCP as a tool in the fight against a long list of ailments, including cancer, depression, ulcers, pain, and even osteoporosis.

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