Myrcene is the terpene that all other terpenes (and cannabinoids) get along with REALLY well. Read more to discover why you should love it too!
Summary - Here’s the highlight reel for skimmers:
- Myrcene is a terpene with a fruity, clove-like aroma and is found in mangoes, hops, ylang-ylang, wild thyme, and more.
- Through the Entourage Effect, myrcene is able to enhance the effectiveness of other terpenes and cannabinoids.
- This common terpene has huge potential as an anti-inflammatory, sedative, analgesic, and as an antimutagenic.
Let's get into it...
Besides the fact that they should be on your list of Friday night must-haves, what do both beer and mangoes have in common? They both contain the terpene myrcene! This monoterpene has a fruit and clove-like odor and gets its name from a Brazilian shrub, the root of which natives believe treat various ailments like diabetes, dysentery, and hypertension.
But it’s so much more. Studies suggest this primary terpene boasts various medical benefits like improved sleep and muscle relaxation, as well as anti-inflammatory and antimutagenic effects.
Other than being one of the most common terpenes, myrcene also interacts with the human brain in a very unique way. Let us explain...
Myrcene, a monoterpene, has a fruit and clove-like odor. It gets its name from a Brazilian shrub, the root of which natives believe treats various ailments like diabetes, dysentery, and hypertension.
Studies suggest this primary terpene boasts various medical benefits like improved sleep and muscle relaxation, as well as anti-inflammatory and antimutagenic effects.
Here's an in-depth look at what makes the myrcene terpene so powerful.
What is Myrcene?
Myrcene, also known as β-Myrcene, is one of the most abundant terpenes found in many plants and foods, including:
- Wild Thyme
- Fresh Mango
For those who enjoy the scent of these herbs, fruits, and flowers by themselves, then it’s easy enough to pump up the fruity, clove-like scent of any product by adding a myrcene isolate. However, for those interested in cannabis and cannabis products, myrcene is particularly interesting.
Its scent is prominent and recognizable in various cannabis strains, like white widow and kush, but it’s also important because of the way it interacts with the blood-brain barrier. This barrier is what keeps out “foreign substances” to maintain a constant environment for the brain. This is VERY important to the overall health and wellness of your brain, but that barrier is highly selective with what it lets in.
You and your friends are trying to get into an exclusive night club, but the bouncer will only let some of you in. Luckily, someone chats up the bouncer and convinces him to let ALL of you in so you can keep the party going. Win!
In this metaphor, the club is your brain, the bouncer is your blood-brain barrier, and you and your friends are different compounds trying to bind with brain receptors. Some of you may be terpenes, some may be cannabinoids, etc. Myrcene is essentially the one “chatting up” the blood-brain barrier to convince it to let in more compounds. When different compounds work together to be more effective, we call that the Entourage Effect.
Myrcene: The Entourage Effect
While all terpenes give each cannabis strain its distinctive smell and taste, myrcene is one that appears to play an important role in enhancing the effectiveness of certain compounds. We call this the entourage effect (1). Basically, myrcene increases activation of the CB1 receptor and enhances the quality of the experience.
PRO TIP: Anecdotal evidence claims eating fresh mango, which has “high concentrations” of myrcene, approximately 45 minutes prior to consumption may increase the effectiveness and experience.
It’s thought the myrcene terpene content helps speed up certain compounds' entry through the blood-brain barrier resulting in a faster onset of your “high”. But while mangoes may contain higher levels of myrcene in comparison to other fruits, these levels may still not be enough to get credit for the effect. Plus, myrcene levels vary by harvest.
The best way to still reap those myrcene awards is to skip the guesswork and opt for a myrcene isolate so you know the exact levels you’re getting.
Psst! That’s what we do!
What's the Strain?
Myrcene also seems to play a key role in determining whether the plant will be Indica or Sativa.
Research suggests most strains with high concentrations (.05% +) of myrcene become Indica, which gives many people the “couch lock" body high.
But myrcene also seems to have properties capable of increasing your sleep and relaxing muscles.
Let's take a look at other therapeutic benefits of myrcene.
Medical Benefits of Myrcene
Mary Jane definitely gets some help from myrcene. Here's how:
1. Myrcene Has Possible Sedative Effects (Sleep Aid)
Hectic social lives and jobs combined with the ever-increasing screen-time from our many pieces of technology can make it hard to wind-down before bed. This can actually have a huge impact on how much sleep we get and the overall quality of sleep (3).
While there are over-the-counter synthetic sleep aids, remedies are gaining popularity as the go-to method for falling and staying asleep.
Myrcene is one of those derived remedies.
In a study performed on mice, myrcene increased sleep duration by around 2.6 times (6).
But some doctors have a hard time prescribing their patients as a sleep aid, citing inexperienced patients who use too much and end up in the hospital.
This doesn’t mean doctors should avoid it, however.
In fact, leading terpene researcher Dr. Ethan Russo says:
Almost every clinical study that’s looked at based medicines has shown an improvement in sleep... to say otherwise would be to be staring in a deep hole — a deep hole of ignorance.
Instead, you can add non derived myrcene to your products to reap the benefits.
As Russo explains, the sedation effect of the so-called Indica strains is falsely attributed to the amount of certain compounds. However, said compound is actually stimulating in low and moderate doses! Rather, sedation, in most common strains, is attributable to their myrcene content (5)
And myrcene is not the only terp to make you sleepy.
A study showed citral and limonene also presented sedative and motor relaxant effects (6).
2. Myrcene Could Provide Analgesic Effects (Pain Relief)
“Analgesic” describes drugs that relieve pain. While myrcene isn't a drug, this powerful terpene may relieve pain when used in high concentrations.
In fact, there’s a long history of indigenous peoples using plants like hops, lemongrass, mango, West Indian bay tree, and cardamom for their pain relieving qualities. Oh, and what do all of those things have in common? High myrcene levels!
Sure, you can shrug this aside as anecdotal evidence, but the research on terps continues to grow.
One study suggests injections of myrcene significantly inhibited pain perception in mice in tests of both peripheral analgesia and Central Nervous System (CNS) modulation (7).
That’s solid news for those of you looking to move away from hardcore drugs like opiates for pain relief. Plus, myrcene may also help reduce a symptom that often accompanies chronic pain--inflammation.
Plus, myrcene may also help reduce a symptom that often accompanies chronic pain:
3. Myrcene Has Potential Anti-Inflammatory Effects
In multiple studies, researchers have examined the anti-inflammatory potential of myrcene. To test for anti-inflammatory properties, they used plants from different countries like the Mexican yerba porosa (8) and Korean mountain magnolia (10), both of which contain high doses of myrcene.
Scientists administered yerba porosa orally to mice with inflammation in the lung lining (also known as pleurisy). The results showed myrcene inhibited the inflammation and slowed the production of nitrogen oxide (NO) and other interferons normally produced during lung inflammation. (8)
Oil from Korean mountain magnolia, which contains 12.72% myrcene, was also capable of inhibiting NO production induced by endotoxins as a signal of inflammation (10). This suggests myrcene may play a role in the oil’s anti-inflammatory activity.
While the previous studies dealt with inflammation of the lungs, other plants containing myrcene may improve inflammation of the skin.
Spaniards use essential oils derived from the Distoselinum plant to treat dermatitis and skin infections, and myrcene is the main compound present in the oil. Christina Tavares published results of her study on the plant in a 2010 edition of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. According to the findings, myrcene inhibited nitrogen oxide production to reduce inflammation of the skin (11).
4. Antimutagenic Effects
Any Fallout fans here?
Whether you like post-apocalyptic video games or not, you at least know this about science fiction plots:
Mutations = bad. Preventing mutations = good.
The same tends to hold true in the medical world. For example, exposure to ultraviolet light can damage DNA; so this makes sunscreen a type of antimutagenic.
According to a study on mammalian cells, myrcene belongs on the list of organic compounds with antimutagenic properties. It reduced the toxic and mutagenic effects of a form of chemotherapy and reduced the medication’s ability to induce sister chromatid exchange (SCE). The abnormal occurrence of SCE is a potential marker.
What are Potential Myrcene Side Effects?
We’re all about transparency here at Abstrax.
So we’ll be the first to tell you terpene isolates like myrcene need to be used as directed.
And no, you don’t have to guess - we provide science-backed safety instructions with your terps to allow for worry-free brand-building.
There’s not much so far on myrcene. One study demonstrated the terpene irritated the peritoneum in mice and suggested the “liver and stomach may be target organs for myrcene toxicity after oral administration”. (13)
Just remember the FDA considers myrcene “a food additive permitted for direct addition to food for human consumption as a synthetic flavoring substance” as long as it
- Is used in the minimum quantity required to produce their intended effect (we tell you this),
- Is used in accordance with all the principles of good manufacturing practice (we certify this)
- Is used alone or in combination with other substances previously declared safe (14)
Conclusion: Is Myrcene Worth the Hype?
Myrcene isn't known as one of the top 10 terps for no reason. While it may demonstrate enhanced potency when paired with secondary terpenes, its medicinal benefits stand on their own in high dosages.
Studies suggest it significantly improves immune function, helps with chronic pain, and improves sleep.You can use it to enhance your bud, your food or beverage, and even your healing lotions. It pairs well with cannabis and non-cannabis products alike!So, if you're ever reaching for an over-the-counter solution to your sleep problems or itchy dermatitis, think again.
Contact us today if you’re ready to start utilizing myrcene in your products, and don’t forget to give us a shoutout on Instagram so we can see what you’re cooking up! Solutions to chronic ailments are all around us if only we take the time to find them.