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Terpene Tuesday: Myrcene

Heady Vermont Staff 29 Oct 2019

Considered one of the top ten terpenes, myrcene is known for its pleasant pine and earth aroma. Not only is it one of the most common terpenes found in cannabis, it’s also found in everyday foods such as mangoes, lemongrass and basil. 

Strain names commonly classified as indica, sativa, or hybrid can be found with high levels of myrcene, including popular sativa-dominant hybrids like Tangie and Blue Dream. 

What is myrcene?

The most abundant terpene in cannabis, myrcene may be recognizable for its earthy scent and flavor profile. Some perceive a balsam fragrance in the terpene, while others describe it as smelling of clove or musk.

Like other terpenes, myrcene is theorized to be part of the entourage effect, which means that it works in conjunction with cannabinoids to potentially treat a multitude of physical and mental ailments.

Myrcene in everyday life

Beyond cannabis, myrcene is prevalent in hops and is behind the peppery, spicy, balsam fragrance in beer. It’s also found in lemongrass, a versatile plant which has been used in traditional folk medicine for centuries. Myrcene’s primary commercial use is as an intermediary in cosmetics and fragrances.

Strains rich in the cannabis terpene myrcene

On average, myrcene represents over 20% of the terpene profile in modern cannabis strains. Myrcene is also the most likely cannabis terpene to be dominant in flower. A strain’s “dominant” terpene is simply the terpene present at the highest level.

Strain names commonly classified as indica, sativa, or hybrid can be found with high levels of myrcene, including popular sativa-dominant hybrids like Tangie and Blue Dream. In addition to its prevalence in strains across the sativa-indica spectrum, you’ll also notice myrcene is common in both THC and CBD strains alike.

  • OG Kush
  • Blue Dream
  • Remedy
  • 9 Pound Hammer
  • Grape Ape
  • FPOG
  • Granddaddy Purple
  • Tangie
  • Harlequin

Therapeutic properties of cannabis terpene myrcene

Like other terpenes, such as bisabolol, myrcene is believed to have a potential anti-inflammatory effect, in addition to possible anti-tumor, sedative, and other health benefits. 

Lemongrass tea containing high levels of myrcene has played a role in Brazilian folk medicine for its claimed anti-anxiety and pain-relieving properties. The first published claim for myrcene reducing pain was generated in 1990 by scientists in Brazil. They concluded that myrcene reduced pain by increasing the brain and spinal cord’s own opioid chemicals, but this has been debated. Much more work is needed to prove whether or not myrcene has bona fide pain-relieving properties in humans.

More research is also needed to support myrcene’s potential anti-inflammatory effects. Evidence for myrcene’s role in reducing inflammation comes mainly from animal studies.

Myrcene can block the cancer-causing effects of aflatoxins that are produced by fungi but find their way to our food. These anti-mutagen properties stem from myrcene’s inhibition of the liver enzyme, CYP2B1, which induces aflatoxin’s ability to damage our DNA. Myrcene also protects against DNA damage from toxins such as t-butyl-hydroperoxide. These anti-mutagen effects are consistent with those of other terpenes, along with their antioxidant and antimicrobial benefits.

Cannabis Terpene β-myrcene

Myrcene terpene profile:

Aroma: Pine, Earth

Found in: Mangoes, hops, bay laurel leaves, thyme, lemongrass, and basil

Vaporizes: 330.8-334.4°F

Strains: OG Kush, Blue Dream, Remedy, 9 Pound Hammer. Grape Ape, FPOG. Granddaddy Purple, Tangie, Harlequin

Properties: Anti-inflammatory, Analgesic (pain relief), Antibiotic, Sedative, Antimutagenic

Consider this terpene to combat inflammation and insomnia.

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