Terpenes are aromatic hydrocarbons that may be found in the essential oils of all plants and have been used in medicine for thousands of years. Terpenes are now well-known for being the chemicals responsible for each cannabis strain’s distinct odor and flavor, but it was only recently discovered that they might impact the plant’s effects.
According to the entourage effect, cannabis’ active components may work better together than they do alone. Terpenes have a significant role in this. Plants produce terpenes as a defense mechanism against insects and illness. They are responsible for the distinct odors and tastes of each species. Terpenes also influence human physiology by impacting several processes.
Terpenes are a kind of chemical in the cannabis plant that give it its distinctive aroma and flavor. Terpenes can be found in many plants, but they are particularly common in marijuana. Myrcene is the most abundant cannabis terpene, and we’ll look at it in this post.
The most common and highly active terpene in cannabis is Myrcene (also known as alpha-myrcene or beta-myrcene), which has a spicy, earthy, musky fragrance that gives cannabis strains a somewhat sweet flavor profile.
Isopropyl myrcene is also found in plants such as lemongrass, eucalyptus, and ylang-ylang, as well as fruits like mangos (have you heard the claim that they can boost your high? It’s true) and herbs like thyme, basil, and hops (the one that gives beer its flavor). However, cannabis is far and away the most abundant source of myrcene.
Myrcene is a terpene that can help to calm the body and mind. Cannabis with myrcene levels above 0.5 percent induces the euphorically named “couch lock,” a deep state of relaxation caused by Indica-dominant strains. In fact, myrcene may account for up to 50% of total terpenes in a cannabis plant. Sativa-dominant strains, on the other hand, are known to have less than 0%.
Terpenes and the cannabinoid-induced benefits triggered by the mammalian endocannabinoid system (ECS) are surprisingly similar. The main function of myrcene is to put you to sleep, resulting in limber muscles and a reduction of pain. This has obvious value in a variety of conditions involving spasticity, seizure activity, or hyperactivity (including ADHD), as well as common and often serious illnesses like fibromyalgia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Russo adds, “The available data and findings “support the hypothesis that myrcene is a significant sedative terpenoid in cannabis, and—combined with THC—may produce the ‘couch-lock’ phenomenon of certain chemotypes decried or appreciated by recreational cannabis users.”
Myrcene is a common component in essential oils. According to Leafly, “Pair this notoriously anti-inflammatory terpene with herbal cocktails containing lemongrass or hops for a powerful calm that may put those numbered sheep to rest.” It’s been shown in studies to help patients suffering from sleeplessness, restlessness, and a variety of types of anxiety. “This specially anti-inflammatory terpene can be paired with herbal concoctions containing lemongrass or hops for a strong tranquilizer that may put those numbered sheep to rest,” according to Leafly.
Myrcene is not only anti-inflammatory and antidepressant, but it’s also an antiseizure agent. Myrcene has the same function as limonene, which is to alter cell membrane permeability. It acts as a regulator of other terpenes and cannabinoids, increasing or buffering their impact and strength (much like CBD does with THC).
Myrcene is a unique chemical compound in cannabis with the ability to boost the amount of THC molecules that reach CB1 receptors in the brain and central nervous system, increasing the potency of this drug’s psychoactive effect while also enhancing its medical efficacy. In this respect, myrcene is an excellent example of the entourage effect.
Dr. Ethan Russo, a research scientist and board member of the International Cannabis Research Program, wrote: “It’s an excellent illustration of the entourage effect, in which both terpenes and cannabinoids work together synergistically to produce or enhance a certain therapeutic benefit that can’t be obtained from any one cannabinoid or terpene alone.” In 2015, Gooey Rabinski published this:
Myrcene has a calming effect, which is why it’s often used as a sedative. It also contains anti-carcinogenic, antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiseptic qualities. Myrcene can also help to relax muscles, making it an excellent option for neurological disorders including dystonia, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease. The tranquilizing effects of myrcene are considered beneficial in the treatment of mental illness.
Myrcene also has antioxidant properties, which can protect cells from oxidative damage and result in a longer lifespan. Furthermore, studies on myrcene’s effects suggest that it may have some important functions of its own. Although research on terpenes and myrcene is still in progress, here’s what we know so far.
The relaxing, sedative effects of myrcene are perhaps best-known. In the journal Phytomedicine, researchers examined the impact of myrcene on mice in a 2002 study. Myrcene had an antiactivatory effect on mice, making them less inclined to explore the open arms in an elevated plus-maze test at higher doses. It also increased sleeping duration by over 160%.
The preliminary results of this study are promising for anyone suffering from stress or sleeplessness. High-myrcene cannabis strains may potentially provide strong sedation and help people get a good night’s sleep.
Researchers have also discovered that myrcene may aid with inflammation reduction. The majority of people associate inflammation with unpleasant diseases such as arthritis. Scientists have linked it to a variety of other problems, including heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and cancer.
A 2015 study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology examined the effects of myrcene on inflammation in osteoarthritis. Human chondrocytes (cartilage cells) were treated with myrcene, and the results demonstrated that it reduced inflammation and catabolic activity. The authors suggested that myrcene might slow or even stop cartilage damage in this situation.
If you’re looking for an effective inflammation pain relief option, consider selecting a high myrcene strain. Choose a CBD-rich strain to potentially improve its effects, since CBD has powerful anti-inflammatory qualities.
Myrcene may also help with pain relief. A study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology in 1990 looked at the analgesic effects of myrcene in mice. The authors used a hot plate method and the acetic acid-induced writhing test on mice to examine nociception. Myrcene inhibited nociception, demonstrating that it has an anti-inflammatory activity.
The effect of myrcene was blocked by naloxone, suggesting that this terpene modulates the body’s endogenous opioids. These chemical substances are made naturally by the body in response to pain. They function similarly to opiates like morphine, with the exception that they have less severe consequences.
Myrcene, on the other hand, may be able to help with a number of the most prevalent types of pain. This could make high-myrcene strains advantageous for anybody suffering from painful problems, in addition to its sedative and anti-inflammatory actions.
Potential Risks: Does Myrcene Cause Cancer?
Although myrcene has a number of health benefits, some scientists have associated it with an increased cancer risk. In 2010, a study performed by the National Toxicology Program revealed that high doses of myrcene induced tumorgenicity in rats. Male rats, in particular, had a higher incidence of kidney and liver cancer when exposed to high quantities of myrcene, according to the research.
Despite these concerns, there is presently no evidence that myrcene causes cancer in people. However, in light of the study, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed it from its list of authorized additives in 2018.
There is some disagreement as to whether myrcene should be classified as a cancer-causing chemical or not. Until further study is done, it’s impossible to say how safe myrcene really is.
The FDA, however, has clarified that its new rules apply to synthetic myrcene rather than natural products that contain it. It’s uncertain whether naturally occurring myrcene may cause the same effects.
High Myrcene Cannabis Strains
The majority of cannabis strains with a high myrcene content are indica in origin. This is to be expected, given that many consumers prefer indicas for their sedative and pain-relieving qualities.
The following are some of the most well-known high myrcene marijuana strains:
- OG Kush
- Skywalker OG
- Blue Dream
- 9 Pound Hammer
- Grape Ape
- Granddaddy Purple
- Girl Scout Cookies
- Thin Mint GSC
These strains, while not powerful enough on their own, might be used in combination with other cannabis plants to treat pain and inflammation. Because they may induce drowsiness,
Other Sources of Myrcene
Myrcene is a chemical component found in cannabis and various herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables. The following are some of the most prevalent sources of myrcene:
What science says about myrcene
Myrcene has been the focus of scientific study for a long time, and it’s one of the terpenes that receives a lot of attention for its medical applications. Researchers in Brazil discovered myrcene operated similarly to lemongrass tea, which is used in some traditional medicine systems as a mild sedative. It’s also considered to have anesthetic qualities, and it’s important in the creation of minty-flavored menthol cigarettes.
According to researchers, myrcene has pain-relieving effects for individuals suffering from migraines. Myrcene, along with linalool and eucalyptol (both are terpenes present in cannabis), was discovered in one 2008 study to help protect human cells from neurotoxins that can produce genetic damage that leads to cancer.
The myrcene terpene is a cannabinoid that has a variety of health benefits. It has sedative and relaxing effects, which may assist with inflammation and pain alleviation. Strains with a lot of myrcene might be beneficial for people suffering from tension, sleeplessness, or painful problems. When searching for a high myrcene strain, choose an indica or hybrid variety with strong indica origins.
High-myrcene cannabis, on the other hand, is ideal to consume later in the day. Otherwise, it might induce profound drowsiness to the point where you fall asleep on the couch.
Myrcene has been linked to cancer in rats by several researchers. However, there is no proof that this happens in people. We propose that worried individuals read the study and decide whether the advantages of