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Understanding Terpenes: Myrcene

Myrcene Terpene Cannabis Now
OG Kush/Photo Gabe Perry for Cannabis Now


Understanding Terpenes: Myrcene

A deeper look into terpenes, the fragrant oils and powerful compounds that boost the healing potential of cannabis.

People that love to eat mangoes might think that they enjoy the sweet, tropical fruit just for its inimitable flavor and unmatched juiciness, but there’s something else that might be making them feel good after eating it — a potent terpene called myrcene. Also found naturally in different herbs and plants like basil, lemongrass, eucalyptus, bay leaves, thyme, ylang-ylang, verbena and even hops (the primary herb that gives beer its distinct flavor profile), myrcene is known for its ability to calm and relax both the body and the mind. It has a signature spicy, earthy, musky scent that sometimes smells similar to cloves, with a mildly sweet flavor profile that can vary from strain to strain.

According to Steep Hill Labs, consuming cannabis that possesses myrcene levels above 0.5 percent often results in what’s been affectionately referred to as “couch lock,” a very deep state of relaxation where you’re unmotivated to do much more than chill out on the couch and take a nap. “Couch lock” is a usually considered a common effect of indica-dominant strains of cannabis, whereas sativa-dominant strains normally contain less than 0.5 percent myrcene, and are known more for their uplifting, energizing effects.

A Swiss study showed that myrcene is the terpene that expresses itself most abundantly in cannabis. It can make up almost 50 percent of the total value of terpenes in a cannabis plant — more than any other plant or herb. This is good news considering that another study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology showed that myrcene is such a powerful terpene that it often has a similarly powerful effect as a cannabinoid, and has enhanced effects when combined with THC and CBD.

One of the 10 primary terpenes found in cannabis, myrcene is the most common. It has been shown to have great healing potential as a powerful antibiotic, antimutagenic and an effective analgesic and muscle relaxant. Its signature sedative effects make it an excellent strain for people who suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia. In addition, its anti-inflammatory properties help with relieving pain and bodily discomfort and has even been shown to be an effective anti-proliferative against cell mutations that could cause cancer.

Myrcene is essential in the formation other terpenes that are also found in cannabis geraniol and linalool.

Indica-dominant strains like Pure Kush (a super potent indica strain that will whisk away body pain and lull you into sleep) or Grape Ape (an indica strain that can reduce stress and depression) often have higher levels of myrcene. But the terpene can also be found in other hybrid strains like Mango Kush (a calming hybrid strain that makes you feel euphoric and serene), OG Kush (an euphoria-inducing hybrid strain that’s good for a carefree way to wind down) and White Widow (an earthy hybrid strain that will give you a energizing yet calming boost).

Another interesting thing about myrcene is that the rumor about eating mangoes before smoking to not only make the effects come on quicker, but maximize the high is actually true. Steep Hill Labs notes that “myrcene has been shown to increase the maximum saturation level of the CB1 receptor, allowing for a greater maximum psychoactive effect. For most people, the consumption of a fresh mango, 45 minutes before inhaling cannabis, will result in a faster onset of psychoactivity and greater intensity.”

Just make sure you’re eating the fruit and not just drinking juice for the best possible results.

TELL US, have you tried any of the strains that contain myrcene? Which is your favorite?

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