Betacaryophyllene - A phytocannabinoid as potential therapeutic modality for human sepsis?

Med Hypotheses. 2018 Jan;110:68-70. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2017.10.025. Epub 2017 Nov 4.


Sepsis is a clinical condition resulting from a dysregulated immune response to an infection that leads to organ dysfunction. Despite numerous efforts to optimize treatment, sepsis remains to be the main cause of death in most intensive care units. The endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) plays an important role in inflammation. Cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2R) activation is immunosuppressive, which might be beneficial during the hyper-inflammatory phase of sepsis. Beta-caryophyllene (BCP) is a non-psychoactive natural cannabinoid (phytocannabinoid) found in Cannabis sativa and in essential oils of spices and food plants, that acts as a selective agonist of CB2R. We propose BCP administration as novel treatment to reduce hyper-inflammation in human sepsis.

Keywords: Beta-Caryophyllene; Cannabis sativa; Endogenous cannabinoid system; Immunosuppression; Inflammation; Sepsis; Septic shock.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacokinetics
  • Cannabinoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Phytotherapy
  • Polycyclic Sesquiterpenes
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2 / agonists
  • Sepsis / blood
  • Sepsis / drug therapy*
  • Sesquiterpenes / pharmacokinetics
  • Sesquiterpenes / therapeutic use*


  • Cannabinoids
  • Polycyclic Sesquiterpenes
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • caryophyllene