EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TERPENE MYRCENE: THE ULTIMATE EXPERT’S GUIDE
What is Myrcene and its Benefits, Effects, Benefits, Research, Science & More?
We take you through the benefits, options, and important criteria you should consider when looking at products containing b-Myrcene.
Introduction into the Terpene Myrcene
Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Vance Green, PharmD.
Updated on February 21, 2022
Beta-myrcene, also known as just myrcene, is one of the most abundant terpenes found in hemp and cannabis.
Just like we discussed in our introduction to terpenes, these natural scented chemicals are found all throughout nature. Not only do they give different strains of hemp and cannabis their unique smells, researchers believe they also offer benefits on their own and work in conjunction with compounds like CBD.
In our series on different terpenes found in hemp and cannabis, we’re focusing on one of the most abundant: beta-myrcene. In addition to cannabis, you can find high levels of myrcene in hops, lemongrass, bay leaves and even basil. Myrcene has an earthy smell with subtle notes of citrus.
Hops are a main ingredient in beer, and that plant has been used as an herbal medicine for centuries. That means there’s a lot of research into the benefits of myrcene. Overall, scientists consider myrcene to have sedative and anti-inflammatory effects.
Myrcene, Beta Myrcene or β-myrcene, is an alkene natural hydrocarbon. It is more precisely classified as a monoterpene. High levels of myrcene can be found in hops, lemongrass, bay leaves and even basil.
Myrcene benefits – What are the possible benefits of the terpene myrcene?
The reported myrcene benefits are mainly anecdotal at this point. Like so many aspects of cannabis science, scientists are still learning how terpenes like myrcene work with cannabinoids like CBD and THC to produce the “entourage effect.” This is the principle that the natural compounds in hemp and cannabis work best in concert, rather than alone.
Even so, we do know a fair amount about the potential effects and benefits of myrcene, thanks to many years of scientific research. Hops and lemongrass have been recognized as natural sleep aids for a long time, and there’s a fair amount of research to back this up. Scientists think myrcene is also a mild pain reliever, and reduces inflammation, thanks to its regulation of prostoglandins, a hormone-like chemical found in mammals.
Scientists think terpenes play a key role in the “entourage effect.” In brief, the entourage effect is the idea that all the compounds of hemp or cannabis are more effective working together rather than isolated into their individual parts.
This is why so many consumers report better effects from full-spectrum hemp supplements versus those made with just CBD isolate. While the additional cannabinoids like THC, CBG and CBN play a role, so do the terpenes.
For example, researchers think myrcene, a common terpene in hemp flower, may contribute to its relaxing and mildly sedating effects.
“These studies data support the hypothesis that myrcene is a prominent sedative in cannabis.” — Dr. Ethan B. Russo, MD
Myrcene effects have been studied, albeit to a limited degree. A 2002 study on mice showed that myrcene “presented sedative as well as motor relaxant effects.” At high doses, it seemed to increase the effects of barbiturates, a potent prescription sedative.
Dr. Ethan Russo, a researcher from GW Pharmaceuticals, surveyed myrcene research in a 2011 overview of terpenes and cannabis published in the British Journal of Pharmacology. Russo concluded, “Together, these data would support the hypothesis that myrcene is a prominent sedative terpenoid in cannabis, and combined with THC, may produce the ‘couch‐lock’ phenomenon … that is alternatively decried or appreciated by recreational cannabis consumers.”
Myrcene Terpene Benefits Video
Can you combine the myrcene in mangoes and cannabis?
There’s an old urban legend that if you eat mangoes before smoking cannabis (“marijuana”), it will make you feel more “stoned.” Some people suggest the effect stems from the fact that both cannabis and mangoes contain myrcene.
Unfortunately, there’s really no scientific evidence for this, even though lots of cannabis consumers swear by it. For one thing, the amount of myrcene in mangoes varies a great deal, but most contain much less than the amount found in cannabis and hemp. Even anecdotally, for every cannabis smoker that swears by mango, others say it doesn’t make a difference.
The science blogger “Prof of Pot” took a close look at the topic of mangoes and cannabis and concluded, “This analysis makes it doubtful that the myrcene in mango really has an effect on how high you get.”
Of course, mangoes taste good, they’re refreshing to eat, and help you stay hydrated, so there’s no harm in trying this out.
Some of the common terpenes in hemp and cannabis include myrcene, limonene, pinene and linalool.
Which hemp and cannabis strains are high in myrcene?
As we already mentioned, myrcene is one of the most abundant terpenes found in cannabis or hemp flower. That means if you’ve tried either, you’ve probably already enjoyed the taste and effects of myrcene.
However, if you’re seeking out especially high levels of myrcene, you can look for cannabis strains like AK-47 or Green Crack. Neither sativa nor indica strains are necessarily higher in myrcene, on average. In hemp flower, strains like T1 are especially high in beta-myrcene.
One of the top terpenes in hemp, myrcene is especially abundant in cannabis strains like Green Crack and hemp flower like T1 Trump Exotic.
Consumers report these strains are extra-relaxing, even promoting the infamous “couch lock” symptoms. In general, high myrcene strains are not the most energizing strains, but better for times you want to promote relief and relaxation. Of course, other terpenes and cannabinoids can balance out those effects in a well-rounded strain.
We love the earthy taste and soothing feelings that come from smoking a strain that’s rich in myrcene, and enjoy how it flavors full-spectrum CBD oil tinctures too. Next time you feel that rush of relaxation from consuming hemp or cannabis, remember that you have myrcene to thank, at least in part.
Get to know our favorite ‘terps’
As we said in previous articles, myrcene is just one of the many terpenes found in hemp and just a fraction of the ones found in nature.
Thanks to the years of prohibition and the stigma that grew up around hemp and cannabis, we’re only just beginning to learn about how compounds like terpenes work and could help us.
Writer: Kit O’Connell is a writer and journalist from Austin, Texas. His work has also appeared in Yes! Magazine, the Texas Observer, and elsewhere. He served as Editor in Chief of the Ministry of Hemp from 2017 until 2021.