Myrcene: The Most Common Cannabis Terpene

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There’s more talk of terpenes today than ever before. These organic compounds that are produced naturally in the cannabis plant are part of the synergy that makes marijuana medicine.

Terpenes are but one of the chemicals that work together in the cannabis plant to produce the distinctive effects of various strains. Myrcene is one of the most common terpenes found in cannabis…and is responsible for several different benefits.

What is Myrcene?

Myrcene is found in abundance in cannabis. Because it is so common, myrcene is considered one of the top ten primary terpenes. All those “earthy” smelling strains have myrcene to thank for their distinct aroma. Those strains with musky notes and a hint of spice can also be attributed to myrcene.

Known as a monoterpene, myrcene is an essential precursor to the formation of secondary terpenes. Myrcene has shown to comprise up to 50 percent of the total terpene content present in individual strains.

Sometimes referred to as the “couch lock” terpene, any myrcene content above 0.5 percent is apt to produce indica, sedative-like effects. Strains with less than 0.5 percent are known to have strong sativa-like effects.

The Benefits of Myrcene

Because of the sedative-like effects that is present in myrcene, strains that are abundant in this terpene are known to be awesome for relaxation. Myrcene is perfect for people who have trouble sleeping, and also works wonders to relax sore or tired muscles.

Because there is such an abundance of myrcene in cannabis, it is one of the most commonly studied terpenes. A 2008 study conducted by CW Pharmaceuticals found that myrcene is a powerful pain reliever, with an efficacy similar to opium. Only myrcene isn’t addictive.

A 2011 study found that myrcene has special effectiveness when paired with certain cannabinoids. Published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, the study brought attention to the “entourage effect.” When certain cannabinoids are used together, they create a certain synergy that works to treat various conditions.

The 2011 study found that a combination of myrcene and CBD can reduce pain, decrease inflammation, and help fight cancer.

When myrcene is combined with THC, there is increased pain reduction and muscle relaxation. High doses of this combination have shown to work as a compelling sedative.

When the cannabinoid CBG and myrcene are combined the two compounds were shown to fight cancer.

Popular Cannabis Strains High in Myrcene

Because myrcene is the most common terpene there is, it’s present in a lot of the strains many people are familiar with. Some of the most popular cannabis strains high in myrcene include:

  • White Widow
  • Special Kush I
  • Skunk XL

The next time you’re looking for some of the benefits myrcene offers (hello insomniacs and you people that suffer from chronic pain), these strains can offer the relief you need. Don’t forget how these strains can work with specific cannabinoids to increase their medical benefits.

More on Myrcene…

Myrcene isn’t just partial to pot. Its found in abundance in a variety of plants in nature. Hops, mango, lemongrass, verbena, thyme, West Indian Bay tree, and houttuynia are all known for their high myrcene content.

Familiar with the idea that eating mangoes will help increase your high? It’s true. It’s thought to have something to do with the myrcene content present in mangoes that works in synergy with the THC present in cannabis. Eat a mango roughly 45 minutes before you consume cannabis, and you’re likely to feel a faster onset of symptoms AND a totally enhanced high.

While there’s much more research to be conducted on myrcene (and other terpenes found in cannabis), its likely that there is a large role it will play in the future of marijuana medicine.

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Jen Keehn is a Colorado-based writer intent on inspiring others to live their best lives. She writes regularly about medical and recreational cannabis, holistic health, addiction, and psychedelic therapy.

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