What Is Myrcene and What Does This Cannabis Terpene Do?

Do you want to know where the distinct smell comes from when you’re around your favorite strain of cannabis? 

You may not know this, but the distinct aroma of cannabis comes from a terpene in the plant called Myrcene. Here, we’ll discuss this compound in the cannabis plant, its effects and uses, and the strains that contain it. 

What Is Myrcene?

Myrcene is the most common terpene present in cannabis. 

So what is a terpene, we hear you ask?

Terpenes are the compounds in plants that produce aromas. They are not just identifiable to cannabis. In many plants, terpenes not only produce certain fragrances but also act as natural insect repellents.

There are over 100 different terpenes in the cannabis plant. Myrcene is just one of these. It has a fruity, clove-like odor, and it gets its name from the Myrcia sphaerocarpa, a Brazilian shrub with high levels of this compound.

Myrcene is what creates the peppery aroma in beer and hops. It is also present in hops, lemongrass, mango, and they, amongst other things. 

The cannabis plant secretes terpenes from the same glands as THC and CBD. The myrcene terpene provides different aromatic oils in every cannabis plant. Ultimately, it allows cannabis to divide into different strains and have different smells, products and varieties. 

In the terpene profile of commercial strains of cannabis, Myrcene makes up over 20 percent, making it the most prevalent in modern cannabis. 

What Are the Effects of Myrcene?

Myrcene is a non-psychoactive hydrocarbon that can provide many benefits. Somewhat overlooked by the more recognizable cannabinoids of CBD and THC, the most primary terpene has surprising advantages, especially medically. 

Scientists and medical experts have found that Myrcene has anti-inflammatory products, making it useful for treating progressive joint diseases like Osteoarthritis. This disease has no cure as of yet. It poses chronic pain and inevitable cartilage deterioration.

Data has shown that the terpene myrcene can act as an anti-catabolic and can slow down osteoarthritis progression. Considered one of the ten primary terpenes, it has led to easing the pain of inflammation in chronic pain sufferers significantly. 

The terpene assists other cannabinoids and helps receptors in the endocannabinoid system, the biological system that supports the central nervous system. Myrcene works by allowing a pain sufferer achieve analgesia — the inability to feel pain. 

These compounds have helped to achieve significant medical breakthroughs, and Myrcene is now heavily prevalent in cancer treatment, along with CBD. Not only can the terpene provide a therapeutic aid, but it also has the potential to reduce the size of tumors. 

What Is Myrcene Used For?

In Brazil, natives have used the terpene for generations to treat ailments such as diabetes, diarrhea, hypertension (high blood pressure), and chronic pain.  

As the cannabis plant has gained increasing recognition for its health benefits, Myrcene has garnered more attention. It may well become a household name just like THC and CBD. 

Anecdotal and historical evidence shows that this terpene can mitigate insomnia, relax the muscles, and provide anti-mutagenic effects. 

Myrcene can act as a sedative, which helps you sleep. Many people actively seek it to give them relief at nighttime. In Mexico, they use lemongrass with high levels of myrcene levels to create teas. The teas act induce sleepiness and relax the muscles. Germans also use it as a sleep aid when ingesting hops, which is rich in Myrcene.

However, it is crucial to note that no controlled studies have come out to legitimate the uses of Myrcene as a sleep aid.

Myrcene also interacts with the blood-brain barrier, which enhances the endocannabinoid system. The blood-brain barrier keeps out unwanted substances and maintains a healthy, constant environment for the brain. 

The terpene has many healing and beneficial properties, and more people around the world are actively sourcing its qualities to live more pain-free, sleep better, and achieve equilibrium in their minds and bodies.

What Does Myrcene Smell Like?

This particular terpene isn’t just present in cannabis — you can also find it in fruits, such as mangoes. 

Myrcene often has earthy, musky, and slightly sharp or peppery tones — some say like cloves. It also has a subtly sweet and fruity aroma, similar to fruits like red grapes. 

Some also say they can smell herbs such as basil, lemongrass and bay leaves. 

It’s also interesting to know that the amount of the terpene in a cannabis plant can dictate whether you achieve an energizing effect or a sedative effect — the more myrcene content, the more pungent the smell also. 

What Are Cannabis Strains with High Myrcene Levels?

Most commercial cannabis strains have a high level of Myrcene. If you buy a commercial strain, you have about a 40 percent chance that the cannabis plant will be myrcene-dominant. 

The most common strains that contain the terpene are:

  1. White Widow — This strain has an exceptionally high myrcene content. Known for producing energizing and euphoric effects, it also has a high THC content.
  2. Blue Dream — This strain is popular with those seeking out Myrcene for pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects.
  3. Pink Kush — Another strain with high THC levels, it has sweet, citrus-like aromas. Pink Kush has a relaxing effect, making it preferable for those who have trouble sleeping.
  4. Granddaddy Purple — This type of strain is excellent for relaxation. Like Pink Kush, its aromas are sweet and citrusy. People often use this cannabis strain to help with anxiety and depression and increase and boost overall mental health.
  5. Blue Dream — High in THC and a popular strain for people who suffer from fatigue, loss of appetite and depression, Blue Dream has a similar energizing effect to White Widow. However, people who suffer from anxiety should avoid it because it can induce fast-paced and fast thinking effects.

Even though it has relaxation-inducing, sedative properties, you’ll find Myrcene in Sativa and hybrid strains as much as indica. Whether you are looking to relieve pain, relieve stress, or wind down in general, cannabis strains with high myrcene levels are a sound place to start.

What Are the Side Effects of Myrcene?

If ingested in high doses, studies have shown that the terpene can have high muscle relaxant effects. Similarly, if taking a high quantity, users may notice severe sedative effects, not just a gentle relaxation. It can also increase the amount of time you spend sleeping if you take too much. This effect can be wonderful if you want to guarantee a long-lasting sleep. However, it may not be desirable if you’re going to start the day fresh and early! 

What Are the Benefits of Myrcene?

The most significant benefit of Myrcene is that it is non-psychoactive. It is ideal for people who want to go about their day and not feel mentally different. 

The non-psychoactive effect is also why this terpene appeals to people who wish to control pain but still feel like their usual selves while managing it. It is also beneficial for people new to using medical marijuana who don’t want to get high. 

Myrcene is present in both CBD and THC strains of cannabis. Thus, while it doesn’t produce the ‘high’ effects, it won’t counteract them, either.

The Future of Myrcene Research

Scientists and health specialists have already introduced us to the benefits of Myrcene. However, we are only just touching the surface of the many advantages it could pose. 

Questions have arisen such as, “How much myrcene do I need to consume for the best results?” 

Research is ongoing in this area. For now, we know that benefits are abundant. As growers and researchers figure out more about the different ways to combine Myrcene and how its effects can enhance certain cannabis strains, more advantages may come to light. 

Bottom Line

Versatile, beneficial and pleasant smelling, Myrcene is one of the most common cannabis terpenes

Proven to improve physical and mental health, this natural element of many plants goes to show that the earth has many healing powers, which we can tap through cannabis and other plants with Myrcene.

From relieving pain, improving mental illness to even helping cancer patients, Myrcene may become just as popularized as its friend’s CBD and THC.

Resources:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955286307002689

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168945219301190

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0014299915000412

https://www.mdpi.com/2305-6304/5/1/9/htm