Myrcene – The Mother of All Terpenes
These days it’s pretty much common knowledge that terpenes can be used without any of the psychoactive effects of THC-bearing marijuana. True Blue products make it possible for terpene medicinal benefits to be added back into concentrates, extracts, and even CBD-dominant buds. While there are hundreds of unique terpenes found in cannabis, one of them stands above the rest in how commonly occurring it is and in its uniquely identifiable medicinal effects: Myrcene (or β-myrcene).
A Fundamental Terpene
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!
Where Do Myrcene Terpenes Come From?
Most of us are familiar with terpenes from our favorite marijuana strain profiles, or full-spectrum CBD oils.
However, Myrcene terpenes have been identified in significant amounts in the following plants
- West Indian Bay Tree
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.
If you’re interested in cooking with terpenes, Myrcene pairs well with both savory and sweet ingredients including:
- Bay leaves
Investigating the Scientific Research Behind Myrcene’s Reported Benefits
The Entourage Effect
In 2011, a study was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology called “Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid Entourage Effect.” It revealed that myrcene is an effective analgesic, sedative, muscle relaxant, and pain reliever.
Treatment of Diabetes Symptoms
A study published at the University of Jordan in 2007 found that terpenes, in combination with another terpene known as thujone, may be an effective treatment for symptoms associated with diabetes.
Protection against DNA damage
A 2009 study in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology found that Myrcene can protect against DNA damage from toxins like t-butyl-hydroperoxide.
Myrcene in folk and herbal medicine
While the verdict is still out on the scientific validity of these claims, Myrcene has also been traditionally used to:
· Strengthen the immune system
In Brazilian folk medicine, lemongrass tea, which contains very high levels of Myrcene, has been used to reduce pain and relieve anxiety for centuries. Lemongrass tea is also drunk in Mexico to promote relaxation and improve sleep.
Germany, the country which produces the most hops in the world, uses Myrcene-rich hops in combination with valerian root in herbal sleep aid medicine.
The Mango Theory – Fact or Fiction?
There is a widely circulated theory among cannabis users that eating a ripe mango before 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.
The Couch Lock Phenomenon
It is claimed that consuming myrcene increases the permeability of the blood–brain barrier (BBB), allowing for increased transport of cannabinoids into the brain. However, a deeper look into the scientific literature reveals a lack of support for this claim. What is true is that experiments have shown lemongrass essential oil (a myrcene-rich substance) to have powerful anxiolytic effects in mice, which means it’s an effective anti-anxiety treatment. Furthermore, myrcene is linked to what is known as the “couch-lock” phenomenon. That is, it has strong sedative and muscle relaxant properties.
It’s a Question of Quantity
Mangos do contain myrcene. In fact, the pleasant aroma of this tropical delicacy is due in large part to this compound. But here’s where this theory runs into trouble – your average cannabis strain contains 2 mg of myrcene per quarter gram whereas an entire mango contains roughly 0.086 mg. That’s over a 23-fold difference! So, if cannabis already contains so much myrcene, how would eating a mango before smoking have any kind of a significant impact?
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 scepticism.
Black Pepper – The Opposite End of the Spectrum
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 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.
Which Cannabis Strains Contain Myrcene?
“A Swiss study found that most of the strains they tested contains high levels of myrcene. One strain they tested, Lovrin 110, contained over 65% myrcene,” reports MaryJanesDiary.com. This means that myrcene terpenes are complementary to almost any strain of cannabis product.
Myrcene is particularly prominent in the following strains that are derived from OG Kush:
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 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.