Everything You Need to Know About Myrcene and Its Benefits
Myrcene is the most abundant terpene found in cannabis and is recognized for its earthy aroma and flavor profile. Interestingly, it has many desired properties like analgesic, sedative, and potentiated barbiturate sleep time (Russo, 2011).
Terpenes play a crucial role in the cannabis experience and are responsible for the specific smell, taste, and outcomes of the different strains. When terpenes interact with cannabinoids and other compounds, they create a synergy known as the entourage effect, enhancing or inhibiting cannabis results.
More than a hundred and twenty terpenes are identified in the cannabis plant, promoting various health benefits, such as boosting your energy, relaxing, or helping you sleep. In this short review, we will explore the latest evidence supporting potential myrcene use and its benefits.
What is Myrcene?
Myrcene, also known as alpha-Myrcene and beta-Myrcene, is a monoterpene commonly found in lemongrass, hop (Humulus Lupulus), mango, verbena, bay leaves, and thyme, among others. It is the most abundant terpene in cannabis.
According to a study conducted by the Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Myrcene contains 65% of the terpene content in a cannabis plant (Mediavilla & Steinemann, 1997). It is described as herbal or earthy and is commonly used as an intermediate by the fragrance industry to produce derivative terpenes.
It is also acknowledged as a potent muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, and sedative. In the case of cannabinoids, Myrcene is believed to increase the speed of action, and the desired effects can be felt faster.
In general, cannabis strains feature multiple terpenes at once. Depending on the ratios present, the overall fragrance profile and medicinal efficacy are affected.
Myrcene is one of ten significant terpenes produced by the cannabis herb. In terms of smell, this molecule can be compared to something similar to cloves. As mentioned earlier, it is very earthy and spicy and is a component element of menthol and citronella.
It should be noted that Myrcene acts as a precursor to other terpenes' production, like how CBG-A is the universal precursor to other cannabinoids, including THC and CBD.
Myrcene rich cannabis cultivars:
- Granddaddy Purple
- 9lb Hammer
- Afghan Moon
- Aliens on Moonshine
- Blue Dream
- Mandarin Dream
- Strawberry Switchblade
- TruBerry OG
These strains are considered ideal for patients treating inflammation, pain, and insomnia. In terms of recreational use, they are known for their "couch-lock" effects. It is important to consider that myrcene strains may cause sedation, especially in indica cultivars, they are most suitable for evening usage.
The Entourage Effect: How Myrcene interacts with other Cannabinoids
As explained by Doctor Ethan Russo in his 2011 study, cannabinoids and terpenes blend in the human body to modify one another effects and, in essence, create an overall different, or "greater," efficacy based on the same molecules present and, of equal importance, the ratios in which they appear (Russo, 2011).
Myrcene is most potent and beneficial when included in a complex phytocannabinoid environment, meaning it works better with other compounds—thus making "the entourage effect" an important concept to get its full potential.
Russo's study concluded various advantageous interactions between Myrcene and other major cannabinoids, including THC and CBD.
- CBG + myrcene: can be Anti-cancer.
- CBD + Myrcene: can decrease inflammation, fights cancer, reduce pain.
- THC + Myrcene: is considered an analgesic (reduces pain) and muscle relaxant, enhanced sedative, and tranquilization benefits.
Apart from famously enhancing THC in certain strains, there are several therapeutic benefits related to the terpene Myrcene:
- Sedative Effects: strains high in Myrcene are known to produce "couch-lock" or sedation. Myrcene can increase barbiturate sleeping time, demonstrating the terpene's probabilities as a sedative. In high amounts, they may sedate and decrease locomotion.
- Anti-inflammatory effects: researchers found that Myrcene had anti-inflammatory properties on the cells while it slows damage and disease progression.
- Anti-tumor: due to its anti-inflammatory properties, Myrcene may help kill cancerous cells. A 2015 study suggested that it may play a role in anti-metastatic activity in human breast cancer cells. (Lee, 2015).
- Analgesic effects: A 1990 study in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology observed that Myrcene might reduce nociceptive pain, the pain associated with injuries such as sprains and bruises.(Rao, Menezes & Viana,1990). The research also suggests that this terpene influences the body’s endogenous opioids.
- Anti-diabetic effects: Myrcene may improve glucose tolerance in people with diabetes. A 2007 paper by Al-Omari describes how Myrcene can reduce serum glucose levels in diabetic rats by 28.1%. The popular metformin decreases glucose levels by 28.5% ( Al-Omari, 2007).
- Antioxidant: According to a 2017 study, Myrcene may hold the capacity to protect skin against ultraviolet light-induced aging. By acting as an antioxidant, Myrcene may be a beneficial additive to anti-aging and sunscreen lotions (Hwang E;Ngo HTT;Park B;Seo SA;Yang JE;Yi TH, 2017).
Mango Urban Legend
As always, there are dozens of urban legends surrounding cannabis and its consumption. Because mangos produce significant amounts of Myrcene, many believe that consuming the fruit can amplify the potency of cannabinoids such as THC.
Urban legends believe that consuming mangos 45 minutes prior to cannabis may result in a quicker onset of psychoactivity and greater intensity. This can be a prime example of the “entourage effect” in action. However, these are all anecdotical experiences that need further scientific proof.
Myrcene in nutshell
Besides Russo’s study from 2011, other researches efforts have revealed the medicinal efficacy of Myrcene. A 2002 research study supported the sedative effect of Myrcene and its effectiveness in treating anxiety, insomnia, and other sleep disorders (Vale TG;Furtado EC;Santos JG;Viana GS, 2002)
As mentioned earlier, this terpene is the amplest marijuana terpene and has a range of beneficial effects. This means that strains with great myrcene contents could be ideal for stress and painful conditions, among others. Myrcene may offer an enhanced psychoactive effect as well as helping cope with other conditions.
**Note: As always, with medical conditions and symptoms, please consult with your doctor for personalized medical advice. The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Produced in partnership MMJ Knowledge.
Russo, E. (2011, August). Taming THC: Potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects.from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/
Mediavilla, V., & Steinemann1, S. (1997). Essential oil of Cannabis sativa L. strains, from http://www.internationalhempassociation.org/jiha/jiha4208.html
Vale, T. G., Furtado, E. C., Santos, J. G., Jr, & Viana, G. S. (2002). Central effects of citral, Myrcene and limonene, constituents of essential oil chemotypes from Lippia alba (Mill.) n.e. Brown. Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology, 9(8), 709–714. https://doi.org/10.1078/
Hwang, E., Ngo, H., Park, B., Seo, S. A., Yang, J. E., & Yi, T. H. (2017). Myrcene, an Aromatic Volatile Compound, Ameliorates Human Skin Extrinsic Aging via Regulation of MMPs Production. The American journal of Chinese medicine, 45(5), 1113–1124. https://doi.org/10.1142/S0192415X17500604
Lee, J., Lee, K., Lee, D.H. et al. Anti-invasive effect of β-myrcene, a component of the essential oil from Pinus koraiensis cones, in metastatic MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells. J Korean Soc Appl Biol Chem 58, 563–569 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13765-015-0081-3
Rao, V. S., Menezes, A. M., & Viana, G. S. (1990). Effect of Myrcene on nociception in mice. The Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology, 42(12), 877–878. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2042-7158.1990.tb07046.x
Al-Omari . (2007). THE EFFECT OF THUJONE AND MYRCENE ON DIABETES MELLITUS IN ALBINO RATS. Faculty of Graduate Studies University of Jordan https://theses.ju.edu.jo/Original_Abstract/JUF0634949.pdf
Russo E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1344–1364. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x