Myrcene is known for its citrusy flavor and earthy aroma. It is among the most abundant terpenes found in cannabis. Myrcene is a common ingredient in essential oils and often used for skincare and aromatherapy. It is found in various herbs and plants, such as thyme, lemongrass, bay laurel, mangoes, and basil. Unlike the woodsier terpenes with a distinct pine aroma, myrcene has a more herbal scent similar to bay leaves or cloves.
Myrcene Content of Sativa and Indica Strains
You can determine whether the strain will have sativa or indica effects through its myrcene content. Strains with less than 0.5 percent myrcene content by weight will cause energizing or sativa effects. Cannabis strains with over 0.5 percent myrcene content will cause relaxing or indica effects.
Myrcene and THC have a stronger effect when consumed together. THC is a psychoactive compound that produces high sensation associated with cannabis consumption. It reaches the brain faster thanks to myrcene, resulting in a powerful and longer-lasting high.
You won’t get high from consuming myrcene alone. High myrcene levels, however, are associated with strong and fast-acting highs. According to a 2016 study published in Nutraceuticals, this sensation is likely due to myrcene’s role in transporting cannabinoids into the brain. Myrcene is associated with improved transdermal absorption, which may help boost a person’s consumption of cannabinoids.
It also plays an important role in the entourage effect due to its effects on various factors associated with blood flow. The entourage effect pertains to the phenomenon when cannabis compounds work together to modulate the plant’s psychoactive effects. These compounds don’t produce visible benefits when used alone. When combined, the compounds found in cannabis provide euphoric, health, and medicinal benefits.
Effects of Myrcene to Cannabis Users
Myrcene is known for its soothing, sedative effects. Cannabis strains with high myrcene levels have been reported to cause sedation or couch lock. According to a 2002 study for Phytomedicine, high doses of myrcene had sedative effects in mice. It increased sleeping time by about 2.6 times.
The researchers concluded that high levels of myrcene might reduce locomotion and sedate animals. This is good news for those with insomnia or stress. Strains with high myrcene content could help them get a restful sleep at night.
Studies on rodents show that myrcene can reduce pain perception by stimulating opioid receptors. A 1990 study showed myrcene’s analgesic effects in mice. The researchers subjected the rodents to an acetic acid writhing test and hot plate method. They discovered that myrcene lessened nociceptive pain in mice. It’s a pain associated with injuries like bruises.
Myrcene’s effects were blocked by naloxone. This means that myrcene affects the endogenous opioids in the body. Endogenous opioids are the chemicals produced by the body to deal with pain. These chemicals have effects similar to opiates but don’t produce any harmful side effects. Myrcene shows potential in alleviating common kinds of pain. Cannabis strains with high myrcene content could help those who are dealing with painful conditions.
Myrcene has anti-inflammatory effects as well. Inflammation is usually linked to painful conditions like arthritis. Scientists have associated it with other health problems like depression, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer. A 2015 study investigated myrcene’s effects on inflammation caused by osteoarthritis.
The researchers discovered that myrcene decreased catabolic activity and inflammation in cartilage cells or human chondrocytes. They found out that myrcene could stop or slow down cartilage damage. This means that those who are suffering from arthritis could benefit from strains with high myrcene content. Cannabis users could improve its effects by picking a strain that is rich in CBD because CBD has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Myrcene could also help diabetics by improving their glucose tolerance. A 2007 paper compared the effects of metformin and myrcene. Myrcene was able to reduce the serum glucose of diabetic rodents by 28.1 percent. Metformin, an anti-diabetic drug, reduced glucose levels in diabetic rats by 28.5 percent. More studies are needed to determine whether myrcene could regulate blood sugar levels in humans. So far, it has shown great potential in controlling blood sugar.
Potential Risks of Myrcene
According to some researchers, myrcene increases the risk of cancer. A study for the National Toxicology Program (NTP) stated that high myrcene doses had cancer-causing or carcinogenic effects on rats. According to the study, male rats had a higher rate of liver and kidney after being treated with myrcene. However, there’s no evidence that myrcene can cause cancer in humans.
Myrcene has the same anti-mutagen, antimicrobial and antioxidant effects as other terpenes. It can block the carcinogenic effects of aflatoxins as it inhibits CYP2B1, the liver enzyme that allows aflatoxin to harm our DNA. Myrcene also prevents DNA damage caused by toxins like t-butyl-hydroperoxide, an organic peroxide used in various oxidation processes.
Myrcene is no longer included in the FDA’s list of approved additives. Further research is needed to determine how safe myrcene is. However, it’s also important to note that the new regulations of the FDA only focus on synthetic myrcene. The small amount of myrcene found in cannabis and food has a very low chance of causing problems.
Cannabis Strains with High Myrcene Levels
CBD and THC strains contain myrcene. Strain names, usually classified as sativa, hybrid, or indica, are also rich in myrcene. Here are the strains with high myrcene content.
- OG Kush
- Grape Ape
- Blue Dream
- Hawaiian Punch
- Bubble Gum
- Durban Poison
- White Widow
- Cherry Cookies
- Sour Diesel
- Bubble Gum
- Star Berry
- Critical Mass
- Phantom Cookies
- Granddaddy Purple
- 9 Pound Hammer
Studies have shown that myrcene has a lot of beneficial effects. It has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, relaxing, and sedating properties. High-myrcene strains could be ideal for those suffering from painful conditions, stress, and insomnia. You may want to use it later in the day or else; you won’t be able to leave the couch. There’s no evidence that myrcene can cause cancer in humans. If you’re looking for high-myrcene strain, you should pick an indica or an indica-dominant hybrid. Whether you vape, smoke, or consume edibles, you get the benefits of myrcene.