Myrcene has powerful antibiotic, antimutagenic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and sedative effects. Working in synergy with THC, the terpene is ideal for patients suffering from:
- 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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
Cannabis Terpenes, Part 2: What’s Myrcene and How Does It Work?
The myrcene terpene consumed on its own will not get you high. However, high myrcene levels are often associated with the experience of fast-acting and powerful highs. Recent research suggests this may be due to the myrcene terpene playing a key role in facilitating the transport of cannabinoids into your brain. Additionally, myrcene has been linked to enhanced transdermal absorption, potentially opening up another avenue for greater cannabinoid uptake.
White Widow, Skunk XL and Special Kush 1 are all types of cannabis that may contain high levels of myrcene, which is extremely common across many cannabis varieties. Cannabis that contains myrcene may produce greater than average relaxation, although there is a significant lack of evidence to support these claims.
“I’m tasting some earthy flavors in this weed; it probably has a high level of myrcene .”
Myrcene, also sometimes called beta myrcene, is a monoterpene and a significant component of the essential oil of numerous plants and fruits. These include cannabis , ylang-ylang, bay, parsley, wild thyme, lemongrass, hops and cardamom, plus the mango fruit. Production of the myrcene terpene generally derives semi-synthetically from the myrcia flower. The terpene’s floral origins make it an indirect ingredient in some fragrances. Myrcene is notable as the most prominent terpene contained in cannabis according to a Swiss study , comprising up to 65% of the terpene content in a cannabis plant.
“This beer has lots of good stuff in it, including a natural infusion of myrcene .”
The most abundant terpene in cannabis, myrcene may be recognizable for its earthy scent and flavor profile. Some perceive a balsam fragrance in the myrcene terpene , while others describe it as smelling of clove or musk. In beer, as a component of hops, myrcene may be experienced as having a peppery or spicy taste. Like other terpenes, myrcene is theorized to be part of the entourage effect , which means that it works in conjunction with cannabinoids to create a potential health supplement for a multitude of physical and mental ailments.
There is a potentially long list of myrcene benefits. Like other terpenes, such as bisabolol , myrcene is believed to have a potential anti-inflammatory effect, in addition to possible anti-tumor, sedative, and a staggering variety of other health benefits.
Any list of potential myrcene effects should include its possible anti-tumor properties. Due in part to its anti-inflammatory effects, the myrcene terpene may contribute to the death of cancerous tumors. In 2015, Korean scientists published a study suggesting that myrcene may play a role in encouraging anti-metastatic activity in human breast cancer cells. Because the study was performed on cells and not directly on humans, more research is necessary to determine if myrcene could have a direct impact on killing malignant tumors in cancer patients.
In popular culture, cannabis strains high in myrcene have been reported to produce “couch lock,” or sedation. Although there is no clinical evidence to support these claims, there is one 2002 Phytomedicine study which demonstrates that at very high doses, myrcene may have a sedative effect in mice. Myrcene increased barbiturate sleeping time when compared to a control group, which demonstrates the terpene’s prospects as a sedative. The study concluded that myrcene, in elevated amounts, may sedate and reduce locomotion in animals. Additional insight is needed into the terpene’s related effects on humans.
A monoterpene and a significant component of the essential oil of numerous plants and fruits. These include cannabis, ylang-ylang, bay, parsley, wild thyme, lemongrass, hops and cardamom, plus the mango fruit.