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Black Pepper for Anxiety: Myth or Miracle?

black pepper for anxiety

Black pepper for anxiety has gained a lot of attention over the years. Many people claim that black pepper can alleviate anxiety from excessive THC consumption. The idea is that beta-caryophyllene (BC) in black peppercorns might reduce anxiety due to its relationship with CB2 receptors, but is there science to back this claim?

The Black Pepper for Anxiety Claim

Black peppercorns contain several terpenes, including BC, which is known to bind to CB2 receptors in the body. This interaction is thought to modulate neurotransmitters, potentially reducing anxiety. However, most research on BC for anxiety does not involve THC, which complicates the claim.

Want to watch instead of read? Check out our YouTube Video on Black Peppercorns!

black pepper for anxiety

THC and Beta-Caryophyllene at CB Receptors

THC is a partial agonist of both CB1 and CB2 receptors. BC is a partial agonist of CB2 receptors.

CB1 receptors, primarily in the central nervous system, are linked to the intoxicating effects of THC. Depending on tolerance, the intoxicating effect of THC at CB1 receptors is why some people experience anxiety when they are high.

CB2 receptors, found mainly in the periphery, have been shown to provide many medicinal benefits when activated but do not induce intoxication whatsoever.

Given that THC activates both receptor sites, introducing beta-caryophyllene cannot affect the anxiety caused by THC at CB1 receptors since BC is not an antagonist to THC at these receptors and does not inhibit THC’s effects.

Conflicting Research on Beta-Caryophyllene

Early studies identified BC as a CB2 agonist, but recent research presents conflicting results. A study titled “The Absence of Entourage” found no effect of BC on CB2 signaling. The variability in results can be attributed to differences in study conditions, species, and methods.

black pepper for anxiety

The Role of Distraction and Placebo

The placebo effect is a fascinating phenomenon where belief in a treatment’s effectiveness can cause fundamental physiological changes. In clinical trials, placebos can perform nearly as well as actual drugs, leading to the failure of many potential medications. About one-third of people given a placebo report significant improvements in their symptoms, regardless of the treatment’s actual efficacy. This effect underscores the importance of mental state and expectation in perceiving relief and well-being.

Believing in the efficacy of black pepper for anxiety can create a powerful placebo effect. The mind’s belief in the remedy can significantly influence outcomes, making them feel better.

If sucking on black peppercorns alleviates your anxiety, it may also be due to distraction rather than BC or placebo. Engaging in any activity that takes your mind off the anxiety, like talking to a friend, playing a game, or going for a walk, or sucking on spicy and gritty black peppercorns, may be effective.

Let’s Talk About Black Pepper for Anxiety

Black peppercorns are an everyday kitchen staple, rich in various terpenes, including beta-caryophyllene. The efficacy of these terpenes can vary based on how they are consumed, the dosage, and individual factors like body weight and metabolism.

black pepper for anxiety

Black peppercorns are super delicious and belong in nearly every savory recipe made! They contain many terpenes, including beta-caryophyllene.  Since terpenes are volatile and can easily change their structure based on their environment, how they are consumed and the dose delivered is crucial when determining their effects.

Some terpenes can easily change our mood and emotions based on their beautiful aroma profiles. Still, the results of human clinical trials on aroma therapy are mixed, and the black peppercorn claim isn’t based on aroma therapy.

Whenever you’re looking at any drug, let alone terpenes, you need to consider the following things.

  • Dose
  • How it’s consumed
  • Time to effect
  • Possible interactions

In the case of black pepper for anxiety, no one has explained any of the above when discussing the claim.

  • How many do you need to suck on?
  • What variety of black peppercorns?
  • How old is too old before they are overly oxidized?
  • How much do you need based on your body weight?
  • How much should you take based on the amount of THC you consumed?

Questions like these could go on forever.  The point here is that everything is dose-dependent.  If you were to consume black peppercorns as a way to ease anxiety from THC, it would vary from person to person, depending on how much THC they consumed.


Although there is anecdotal evidence to support black pepper for anxiety, scientific backing is limited and conflicting, and the placebo effect always needs to be considered. The best way to avoid THC-induced anxiety is through preventative measures. With the right approach, like knowing your tolerance and dosing appropriately, you can better manage THC-induced anxiety and enjoy a more comfortable experience without having to eat black peppergross!

black pepper for anxiety

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