Approximately 20 million adults in the United States have an alcohol use disorder. In recent years, modulation of the behavioral effects of ethanol by phytochemicals has been explored. In this study, we used the ethanol-induced loss of righting reflex (LORR) assay to assess potency differences between the sesquiterpene phytochemical beta-caryophyllene (BCP) and its derivative caryophyllene oxide (BCPO). We also investigated the effects of BCPO on two bottle-choice ethanol drinking and the ethanol-induced conditioned place preference (CPP). We then determined whether there are any pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic interactions between BCPO and ethanol, using blood ethanol analysis and pretreatments with the selective cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) antagonist AM630, respectively. BCPO augmented the ethanol-induced LORR at a dose (30 mg/kg) tenfold lower than BCP (300 mg/kg). Swiss-Webster mice were found to split into stable high and low drinking groups. This same dose (30 mg/kg) of BCPO significantly decreased ethanol intake and preference for ethanol over water in mice that consumed high amounts of ethanol, without any effect on total fluid intake. BCPO had limited effects in mice that consumed low amounts of ethanol. BCPO also significantly attenuated the ethanol-induced CPP. Blood ethanol analysis showed no significant effect of ethanol on the pharmacokinetics of ethanol. Furthermore, the enhancement of the ethanol-induced LORR by BCPO was reversed by AM630. These findings demonstrate that BCPO more potently modulates the behavioral effects of ethanol than the parent compound BCP. Moreover, they suggest that BCPO modulates the behavioral effects of ethanol through pharmacodynamic rather than pharmacokinetic mechanisms.
The sesquiterpene beta-caryophyllene oxide attenuates ethanol drinking and place conditioning in mice