One of the most common and essential terpenes in cannabis is called myrcene. This dominant terpene lends sweet flavors, earthy smells, and intense sedation to many cannabis strains.
Terpenes—or terps—are aromatic oils that give cannabis its enticing aromas, delightful flavors, and unique effects. Lately, the cannabis industry just simply cannot get enough of these!
Join us as we take an in-depth look at myrcene terpenes and how they make the cannabis experience truly unique.
Flavor and Aroma
Myrcene (also known as β-myrcene) has a dual nature regarding its flavor and aroma.
Its fragrance is musky, earthy, and closely resembles the scent of cloves. On the flip side, the flavor is mildly sweet or even tropical.
Myrcene terpenes aren’t exclusive to cannabis and exist in countless other plants. You can find a lot of it in hops—the main component of beer. That spicy and peppery aroma you pick up when you get a whiff of beer comes from myrcene. After you take a swig, the slightly sweet or citrusy taste comes from this abundant terpene too.
The signature aroma and flavors of basil, thyme, and lemongrass all come from myrcene. That means that it is responsible for enhancing the taste of many cuisines across the world.
With cannabis, this terpene gives it an earthy and musky smell as well as a candy or sweet taste.
The Most Abundant Terpene in Cannabis
A study in 1997 from Switzerland first showed that Myrcene was the most common terpene found in various cannabis strains.
Recently, a study from Leafly Labs also proved that myrcene usually makes up about 20% of a cannabis terpene profile. You might be wondering, what’s a terpene profile?
A terpene profile is the total amount and variety of terpenes that a particular cannabis strain has. Usually, a terpene profile looks like a pie chart with a few dominant terpenes making up most of the ‘slices’ while the rest exist in small amounts.
It’s likely many cannabis strains have a pungent aroma and a sweet taste because myrcene is the most dominant terpene of all.
Myrcene’s Therapeutic Effects
We know herbs have always been used as folk medicine to relieve many ailments worldwide.
What do these two plants have in common? They both have a lot of myrcene, and scientists began to connect the dots.
Researchers in the 1990s began studying myrcene and found that it has sedative effects and works as a muscle relaxant at high doses. Once the connection became clear between cannabis and myrcene, interest in the terpene skyrocketed.
Pain and Inflammation Relief
The most exciting studies on myrcene found that the terpene can reduce both pain and inflammation.
In a landmark study from 2019, scientists found proof that myrcene acts directly against pain. It does so by working against a protein called TRPV1.
When we experience pain, some receptors, like TRPV1, become activated. Once they’re activated, they send pain signals to the brain.
Myrcene is able to de-activate TRPV1 receptors, thereby stopping pain signals from being sent.
On top of that, myrcene is also shown to reduce inflammation by simultaneously reducing IFN-gamma and producing IL-4.
Many autoimmune disorders are caused by non-stop inflammation. Some of these diseases include multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and many more.
IFN-gamma is an interferon that promotes inflammation, especially in autoimmune disorders. On the other hand, IL-4 is an anti-inflammatory molecule.
So myrcene has a two-pronged effect at reducing inflammation, which can help alleviate chronic inflammation from autoimmune diseases.
The Entourage Effect
Myrcene terpenes have all these fantastic properties on their own—but what about their role in cannabis? That’s where the entourage effect comes into play.
The entourage effects are when cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds in cannabis work together to create different results than they would alone.
For instance, myrcene is thought to reduce the permeability of the blood-brain-barrier (BBB). That means it’s easier for compounds to get into the brain, such as THC.
THC acts mostly within the brain, so it’s hypothesized that myrcene can help get THC into the brain more easily.
Other results have found:
- When paired with CBD, myrcene reduces pain and inflammation better than CBD alone.
- Myrcene and CBG both show anti-cancer properties and might be twice as effective together.
- Combined with THC together produce stronger sedation and sleep.
We know that most strains have an abundance of Myrcene, but what strains have the highest amount?
Some of the highest myrcene strains include:
- Grand Daddy Purple
- Blue Dream
- OG Kush
Many of these strains are known for their soothing effects. Blue Dream and Tangie give a full-body relaxation while GDP and OG Kush give serious couch-lock.
All of these strains, especially Harlequin, are great medicinal strains for those looking to take a load off after a long day or treat some chronic pain, inflammation, or sleeplessness.
The Future of Myrcene terpenes
When looking at the big picture, it’s incredible to see how myrcene is involved with so many aspects of cannabis, from taste and smell to pain reduction and inflammation.
Remember, myrcene terpenes are only one of at least a hundred discovered so far. That makes terpene research incredibly valuable to both medical research and the cannabis industry.
For a while, terpene research slowed, and only recently it’s gotten so much attention. Although Myrcene has been researched since the 1990s, the renewed interest in cannabis means we’ll soon know more about its unique effects.
Luckily, getting myrcene dominant cannabis is easier than ever because of terpene testing. If you’re ready to experience the wonderful effects of myrcene, make sure you pick up lab-tested cannabis to ensure you’re getting exactly what you’re looking for.
Did you know…
Myrcene is the top leading terpene in the calming Grape God Terpene Mists you can find here. It can also be found slightly in the Jack Herer Terpene Mists. These are extremely beneficial to boost your mood in any situation and to fight skin inflammation causing mask acne. Make sure to check them out!