Terpenes are aromatic hydrocarbons that may be found in all plants’ essential oils and have been used in medicine for thousands of years. Terpenes are now recognized to be the chemicals responsible for each cannabis strain’s distinct smell and flavor, but it was only recently discovered that they might influence the plant’s actions.
According to the entourage effect, cannabis’ active components may perform better together than they do individually. Terpenes play a significant part in this. Plants release terpenes as a defense mechanism against insects and illness. They are responsible for the distinct smells and tastes of each species. Terpenes also have an impact on human health by influencing several functions.
Terpenes are the chemical compounds in the cannabis plant that give it its distinct scent and flavor. Terpenes can be found in a range of plants, although they are particularly common in marijuana. The most typical terpene in cannabis is myrcene, which we’ll discuss further below.
The most prevalent and highly active terpene in marijuana is Myrcene (also known as alpha-myrcene or beta-myrcene), which has a pungent, earthy, musky aroma and gives cannabis strains a somewhat sweet flavor profile.
Isopropyl myrcene is found in plants such as lemongrass, eucalyptus, and ylang-ylang, as well as fruits such as mangos (have you heard the claim that they can enhance your high? It’s true) and herbs including thyme, basil, and hops (the one that gives beer its taste). Cannabis, on the other hand, is by far the most plentiful source of myrcene.
Myrcene is a terpene that may assist to relax the body and mind. Indica-dominant strains with myrcene levels greater than 0.5 percent produce the euphorically named “couch lock,” a profound state of relaxation induced by Indica-dominant types. In fact, myrcene makes up up to 50% of the total terpenes in cannabis plants. Sativa-dominant strains, on the other hand, are recognized for having less than 0%.
The chemical compounds found in hemp that give it its unique odor and flavor are terpenes. Terpenes and the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids mediated by the mammal endocannabinoid system (ECS) are surprisingly similar. Myrcene is primarily used to induce sleep, resulting in limber muscles and reduced pain. This has obvious application in a variety of situations including spasticity, seizure activity, or hyperactivity (including ADHD), as well as common and often severe illnesses such as fibromyalgia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“The available information 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,’ ” Russo states.
Essential oils frequently include myrcene. “Combine this notoriously anti-inflammatory terpene with herbal cocktails containing lemongrass or hops for a powerful calm that can put those numbered sheep to rest,” according to Leafly. It has been shown in studies to aid people with sleeplessness, restlessness, and a range of anxiety problems. “This particularly anti-inflammatory terpene can be combined with herbal formulations containing lemongrass or hops for a powerful relaxant that may put those numbered sheep to rest,” according to Leafly.
Myrcene is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antidepressant that has antiseizure properties. Myrcene performs the same function as limonene, which is to change cell membrane permeability. It acts as a modulator of other terpenes and cannabinoids by increasing or decreasing their impact and strength (much like CBD does with THC).
Myrcene is a chemical component in cannabis with the potential to increase the number of THC molecules that bind to CB1 receptors in the brain and central nervous system, increasing the drug’s psychoactive effects while also improving its medical efficacy. In this regard, myrcene is an excellent example of the entourage effect.
“It’s an excellent illustration of the entourage effect, in which both terpenes and cannabinoids work together synergistically to create or enhance a particular therapeutic benefit that can’t be obtained from any one cannabinoid or terpene alone,” according to Dr. Ethan Russo, a research scientist and board member of the International Cannabis Research Program. “In 2015, Gooey Rabinski published this:
Myrcene has a calming effect, which is why it’s frequently used as a sedative. It also includes anti-carcinogenic, antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiseptic properties. Myrcene can also aid in the relaxation of muscles, making it an excellent therapy option for neurological diseases including dystonia, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease. The relaxing effects of myrcene are thought to be beneficial in the treatment of mental disorders.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of myrcene support the health and longevity of cells. Furthermore, studies on myrcene’s actions reveal that it may possess its own important capabilities. Although much study is needed on terpenes and myrcene, here’s what we know so far.
Myrcene’s relaxing, sedative properties are well-known. In a 2002 study published in the journal Phytomedicine, researchers investigated the influence of myrcene on mice. Mice were made less inclined to explore the open arms in an elevated plus-maze test at higher doses of myrcene, according to researchers in Phytomedicine. It also increased sleep duration by over 160%.
For those who suffer from stress or sleeplessness, the early findings of this research are encouraging. High-myrcene cannabis strains might help people obtain a good night’s sleep by providing strong sedation.
Myrcene has also been shown to help with inflammation reduction. Inflammation is commonly associated with unpleasant illnesses such as arthritis. It’s been linked to a slew of additional health issues, including heart disease and strokes and diabetes.
A 2015 research in the European Journal of Pharmacology looked at the effects of myrcene on inflammation in osteoarthritis. Human chondrocytes were treated with myrcene, and the results showed that it decreased inflammation and catabolic activity. The authors wrote that myrcene might possibly slow or even prevent cartilage damage in this scenario.
If you’re searching for an excellent anti-inflammatory option, consider using a high myrcene strain. Choose a CBD-rich strain to enhance its effectiveness since CBD has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Myrcene can also assist with pain management. In 1990, a study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology investigated myrcene’s analgesic properties in mice. The authors used a hot plate test and the acetic acid-induced writhing test on mice to measure nociception. Myrcene suppressed pain, suggesting that it has anti-inflammatory effects.
Naloxone blocked the effect of myrcene, indicating that it modulates the body’s natural opioids. These organic compounds are produced naturally by the body as a reaction to pain. They perform similarly to narcotics like morphine in that they provide pain relief while having less deadly effects.
Champa, on the other hand, may be useful for treating a number of the most prevalent types of pain. This might make high-myrcene strains particularly beneficial for people with painful conditions, in addition to their sedative and anti-inflammatory effects.
Potential Risks: Does Myrcene Cause Cancer?
Some scientists have linked myrcene to an increased cancer risk, despite the fact that it has a slew of health advantages. In 2010, the National Toxicology Program released research suggesting that high dosages of myrcene caused tumorgenicity in rats. According to the study, male rats with high amounts of myrcene had a higher incidence of kidney and liver cancer.
Despite these worries, there is currently no proof that myrcene causes cancer in humans. However, in light of the research, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed it from its list of permitted additives in 2018.
The safety of myrcene is disputed, with some researchers claiming that it is a cancer-causing substance. It’s difficult to say how safe myrcene is until further research is conducted.
The FDA, on the other hand, has made it clear that its new regulations apply to manufactured myrcene rather than natural ones that include it. It’s uncertain whether naturally occurring myrcene is harmful in the same way.
High Myrcene Cannabis Strains
The majority of cannabis strains with a high myrcene content are indica in origin, as is the case with most indicas. This is to be expected given that many consumers like indicas for their sedative and pain-relieving effects.
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
Indica strains may, when mixed together with other cannabis plants, be used to treat pain and inflammation. Because they might make you drowsy, you should avoid using them if you have an important operation coming up.
Other Sources of Myrcene
Myrcene is a chemical component present in cannabis and other plants, spices, fruits, and vegetables. The following are some of the most common sources of myrcene:
What science says about myrcene
Myrcene has long been the subject of scientific study, and it’s one of the terpenes that receives a lot of attention for its medical applications. Researchers in Brazil discovered that myrcene functioned similarly to lemongrass tea, which is used in some traditional medicines systems as a mild sedative. It’s also recognized to have anesthetic properties, and it’s essential for minty-flavored menthol cigarettes to be made.
Myrcene has analgesic qualities for persons suffering from migraines, according to researchers. In one 2008 study, myrcene and linalool (both are terpenes present in cannabis) were found to help protect human cells from neurotoxins that may induce genetic damage that causes cancer.
The myrcene terpene has a range of health advantages. It has sedative and relaxing properties, which may help with inflammation and pain reduction. Individuals suffering from tension, sleeplessness, or painful issues might benefit from strains containing a lot of myrcene. Choose an indica or hybrid strain with strong indica roots if you’re looking for a high myrcene strain.
Cannabis containing high amounts of myrcene is preferable to consume later in the day. Otherwise, it may cause you to fall asleep on the sofa, resulting in major drowsiness.
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