Terpene Spotlight: Myrcene
We've spoken about terpenes before, with a recent post on the calming terpene linalool. Today we're focusing on another terpene found in cannabis called myrcene, it's effects and benefits, as well as some funny history behind it involving mangoes.
Terpenes are naturally occurring in a wide range of plants. They provide plants with defenses against pests and the environment, give cannabis flowers their unique bouquet, and are made into essential oils for therapeutic benefits. Myrcene is a monoterpene that can be extracted from a number of plants including cannabis, lemon grass, verbena, cardamom, and mangoes. Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in cannabis, according to a 1997 study conducted in Switzerland. It sometimes composes up to 50% of the terpene volume in a cannabis plant. It has also been found to aid in the formation of other important terpenes. Myrcene identifies it's aroma in cannabis as 'earthy.' It contributes a peppery and balsam aroma in beer, too. Another interesting point that Steep Hill points out, is the "fact that high β-Myrcene levels in cannabis (usually above 0.5%) result in the well known ‘couch lock’ effect of classic Indica strains of cannabis; Sativa strains normally contain less than 0.5% β-Myrcene.
There is an old saying that if you consume mangoes before getting high, it can increase the effects of cannabis. This of course originated from the days prior to lab testing and terpene profiling in the marijuana industry. Leafly states, "Anecdotal evidence suggests that eating a ripe mango prior to consuming cannabis may accentuate or extend the psychoactive effects of cannabis; some have suggested that this is due to the fruit’s concentrations of myrcene, which is naturally synergistic with THC and allows cannabinoids to more easily bridge the blood-brain barrier." In addition to working well with THC, myrcene can be an anti-inflammatory, analgesic (for pain relief), antibiotic, sedative (sleep aid), and antimutagenic. The last effect listed has shown promise in treating cancer cases. Steep Hill says, "β-Myrcene is known to be anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and used in the treatment of spasms." In addition, Prohbtd writes, "It has also been shown that myrcene, linalool and eucalyptol may exert a protective effect against oxidative cell damage that can cause cancer; that limonene, pinene and myrcene may exert directly tumoricidal effects on cancer cells; and that of four terpenes--pinene, carene, limonene and myrcene--myrcene exerted the strongest anti-invasive effect on metastatic human breast cancer cells."
When looking at all this information, it seems myrcene plays a large roll in the beneficial entourage effect cannabis has on the human anatomy. Thankfully with lab testing and future rescheduling of cannabis as a controlled substance, this information will be made more aware, and hopefully get other great minds to make discoveries so we all can remain informed about the substances we put into our bodies. Check these strains in stock on our menu if you're looking for the highest amount of myrcene from terpene profiling: Jack Herer, Cherry Pop, and Blue Dream.
Information courtesy of Leafly, HERB.co, Steep Hill, Wikipedia and Prohbtd.