- Sleep disorders like insomnia
- Pain and bodily discomfort, acting as a powerful muscle relaxant
- Diabetes, along with another terpene, thujone
- Cancer, for its ability to inhibit tumor growth
Terpenes are aromatic hydrocarbons, found in the essential oils of every plant and used in healing for thousands of years. Today, terpenes are perhaps best known as the compounds that give each cannabis strain its unique aroma and flavor – but it was only recently that scientists realized terpenes could modify the plant’s effects.
As mentioned earlier, myrcene levels vary widely from strain to strain. They even vary from grower to grower. Generally, though, you’ll find myrcene in indica-dominant strains such as:
There are only a few of more than 200 terpenes that occur in large enough concentrations for medical use, but how do their effects differ? That’s the question we’re answering in a six-part series of the most common terpenes found in medicine. Next up: myrcene.
Myrcene is the terpene to turn to for calming the body and mind. Research shows that consuming cannabis with myrcene levels above 0.5 percent results in the fondly coined “couch lock,” a deep state of relaxation induced by Indica-dominant strains. In fact, myrcene can make up as much as 50 percent of total terpenes in a cannabis plant. By contrast, sativa-dominant strains usually contain less than 0.5 percent.
- Pure Kush: A super-potent strain best for pain and insomnia.
- Grape Ape: For stress and depression, this is another strain with higher levels of myrcene than most.
- Mango Kush: A hybrid that makes you feel calm and euphoric.
- White Widow: An earthy hybrid for an energizing but calming boost.
- OG Kush: The pinene- and limonene-rich hybrid we mentioned in our last post.
Myrcene can also be isolated, extracted, and concentrated as a non-psychoactive alternative. Terpene extracts can be used in a variety of ways, boosting the flavor and effects of edibles, topicals, and concentrates.
You’ll also find myrcene in plants like lemongrass, eucalyptus, and ylang-ylang, fruit like mangoes (heard the rumor that they can maximize your high? It’s true), and herbs like thyme, basil, and hops (the one that gives flavor to beer). But myrcene expresses itself most abundantly in cannabis.
Myrcene (also known as alpha-myrcene or beta-myrcene) is the most common and a particularly potent terpene, with a spicy, earthy, musky scent that gives cannabis strains a mildly sweet flavor profile.
Cannabis Terpenes, Part 2: What’s Myrcene and How Does It Work?
- Lemon grass
- West Indian Bay Tree
There is a widely circulated theory among cannabis users that eating a ripe mango prior to consuming cannabis can significantly enhance your high and that this is due to its high myrcene content. Like a lot of so-called “stoner wisdom,” this theory is a confusing combination of legitimate science and false Internet hype.
It may be that mangos do in some way improve your high, but it’s not going to be from myrcene. Scientific research into this topic is limited so there is no clear answer here. That being said, it’s probably best to treat this idea with a heavy dose of skepticism.
As this whole mango business shows, plenty of people are curious about ways to boost their high. But what if you have the opposite problem? What if you’re looking for a way to reduce that paranoid feeling that is characteristic of so many weed strains out there? The answer (and there is substantial scientific research to back this up) is actually a simple household cooking ingredient – black pepper. Black pepper balls are rich in beta-caryophyllene, a terpenoid with strong anti-anxiety properties. Because of the entourage effect, these terpenoids have a synergistic relationship with the cannabinoid THC and, when consumed together, have a therapeutic, calming effect on the brain. Just chewing on a few of these can produce an almost immediate effect in users, leading to a much lighter, more relaxing high.
Terpene research has identified significant myrcene content in the following plants:
Myrcene is a monoterpene, which means that it has one of the simplest chemical structures of any aroma molecule. This also means it is a fundamental building block for other more complex terpenes. Other examples of monoterpenes include limonene, pinene, and linalool – all of which can be found in many of the most popular cannabis strains out there. But myrcene is on a whole other level as it accounts for a whopping 50% of all terpene content found in individual strains!
Want to experience the benefits of myrcene terpenes in your favorite concentrate or other cannabis product? Check out any one of the strain profiles listed above or try our Mango Natural Flavoring .
Myrcene is particularly prominent in the following strains that are derived from OG Kush:
Flavor/Aroma Profile Of Myrcene Terpenes
As you might imagine from the list above, the smell and taste of myrcene terpenes can best be described as earthy or musky with a slight hint of fruit.
Myrcene has been the dominant terpene in the world of cannabis research. Here are the medical benefits you can gain from it and why you should start using it.