Ever wonder what gives your favorite cannabis strain its earthy, musky smell? Chances are, it’s myrcene. Never heard of it? We’re not surprised.
Myrcene is a component of cannabis that has been overshadowed by its cannabinoid cousins THC and CBD.
And even if people have heard of this chemical compound, the m-y-r spelling at the beginning often throws them for a loop (it’s pronounced MUR-seen, by the way).
But don’t let myrcene’s unknown and unpronounceable status fool you — it’s an important part of the cannabis experience.
In this article, the all-things-cannabis experts at Honest Marijuana tell you everything you need to know about this tasty terpene.
What Is Myrcene?
Myrcene — or β-myrcene (beta myrcene) to be more precise — is a terpene that makes up anywhere from 20% to 50% of the terpene profile in modern marijuana strains.
As mentioned, myrcene is responsible for producing many of the earthy scents and flavors you’ve come to know and love in your cannabis. It’s often expressed as a peppery or spicy taste reminiscent of cloves or balsam.
If you’re trying to find a more common non-cannabis analog, think hops or lemongrass — both of which express high percentages of myrcene in combination with other terpenes.
Other common plants and fruits that contain high amounts of myrcene include:
- Wild Thyme
Throughout the beginning of this article, we’ve mentioned repeatedly that myrcene is a terpene. But what exactly does that mean?
Read on for the answer.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are a large class of chemical compounds (often taking the form of oils) that, when detected by your nose and tongue, produce an entire range of smells and flavors.
The general category of terpenes can be subdivided into monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.
Monoterpenes — such as myrcene, limonene, and others — are light terpenes (think weight) that are responsible for a wide range of floral scents including rose, apple, geranium, kiwi, and jasmine.
Sesquiterpenes, on the other hand, are heavy terpenes (again, think weight) that are responsible for a wide range of pungent scents including diesel fuel, skunk, tea tree, musk, and patchouli.
So, for example, the terpenes that give cherry its unique flavor can, with the right breeding, be produced in your favorite fruity cannabis strain (Cherry OG, for example).
What’s more, combinations of terpenes can yield novel smells and tastes like skunk and diesel fuel (two decidedly non-plant aromas).
But the wow factor doesn’t stop there.
Terpenes — be they of the mono- or sesqui-variety — are not unique to sativa, indica, and ruderalis. In fact, all plants produce terpenes in various combinations and quantities.
That’s why all the flavors and aromas in the image at the start of this section are named after plants. Terpenes are responsible for creating those flavors and smells.
Terpenes also produce a wide range of health benefits and are useful for treating ailments including:
- Lack of appetite
- Muscle strain
- Breast cancer
That doesn’t mean you can use myrcene to treat all these disorders. Myrcene has its own unique benefits.
What Are The Benefits Of Myrcene?
While the cannabinoids THC, CBD, CBG, CBN and others, offer a number of physical and mental benefits, terpenes like myrcene have their own beneficial effects that you can take advantage of.
We discuss four of the most common in the sections below.
In a recent study investigating osteoarthritis, researchers found that myrcene has an anti-inflammatory effect on human cartilage cells.
In addition, evidence indicates that myrcene also slowed damage and disease progression.
It’s important to note that the study was conducted with higher levels of myrcene than you are likely to get in any one smoke sesh, but the results were promising for the future of myrcene for treating medical conditions.
More research is necessary.
Because myrcene is a powerful anti-inflammatory, it may also serve as an anti-tumoral.
A Korean study delivered promising results that indicate that myrcene may play a role in encouraging anti-metastatic activity (preventing spread) in human breast cancer cells.
The researchers warn not to take these results for more than they’re worth. The tests were, after all, performed on cells and not directly on humans.
Again, more research is necessary to determine if myrcene has any effect on malignant tumors.
Marijuana’s tendency to act as a sedative and contribute to sleep is well known (couch-lock is one of the most common side effects of high-THC strains).
Now, research indicates that very high doses of myrcene may have a sedative effect in laboratory mice.
Again, more research is needed, but it’s easy to see how even small amounts of myrcene can, when combined with the sedative power of THC and CBD, contribute to your desire to take a nap.
Another beneficial effect of myrcene is that it has the ability to act as an antioxidant.
Antioxidants are chemicals that help remove free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells and cause illness and aging) from your body.
It may also have uses as an additive in sunscreen and anti-aging lotion.
Keep in mind that these benefits are for myrcene by itself. Combine it with other terpenes and cannabinoids and you’ll experience something you never thought possible — the entourage effect.
A Bit About The Entourage Effect
The entourage effect is the interaction of cannabis compounds (e.g., cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and others) to produce certain physical effects.
The entourage effect is so vital in creating these physical effects that some are impossible without it.
For example, THC is a great treatment for chronic pain, while CBD helps mitigate the symptoms of psychosis.
You can’t substitute THC for CBD and expect to find relief from psychotic disorders. The two are not interchangeable in this regard.
And while THC and CBD can be used to treat some of the same things, the specific, unique effects mentioned above can only be gained by using one or the other.
But put them together and suddenly you have a wide variety of new treatments and effects available.
For example, the combination of cannabinoids and terpenes such as myrcene makes the treatment of depression, OCD, arthritis, and migraines possible.
The cannabinoids and terpenes by themselves don’t result in these same effects. It’s their combination that produces what’s technically known as synergy.
Synergy is the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.
The example above is but one illustration of marijuana’s synergistic effects in action.
Isolate one component—like myrcene —or push one component too high—like THC—at the expense of the other components, and the beneficial effects quickly decrease.
Will Myrcene Get You High?
No, myrcene by itself will not get you high. The only way to experience the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana is to consume THC.
Thing is, unless you purchase a myrcene extract or a high-CBD/low-THC strain, there’s no way to take one without the other.
So don’t conclude that just because your pot contains myrcene that you’re going to start hearing colors and get the munchies later on.
Myrcene is not the cause of your high — be it a contact high or direct ingestion — THC, and only THC, is responsible.
The Best Myrcene Cannabis Strains
There are so many cannabis strains out there that it’s easy to get confused about which one to purchase — especially if you’re looking for a high-myrcene strain.
We’ve taken the time to do the research for you.
Below is a list of the best myrcene cannabis strains. Beware, though, that most of these contain some percentage of THC, so while you’re getting a healthy dose of myrcene, you may also be getting a healthy dose of everyone’s favorite psychedelic cannabinoid.
Choose these strains for the most myrcene:
- Blue Dream
- Grandaddy Purple
- OG Kush
- Grape Ape
- 9 Pound Hammer
- White Widow
- Skunk XL
- Special Kush 1
Regardless of which strain you choose, there’s one sure-fire way to ensure that you’ll get the most myrcene bang for your buck.
Maximize Myrcene With High-Quality Cannabis
The best way to maximize your myrcene is to always buy the highest quality organic cannabis you can get your hands on.
If you’re buying dried and cured raw bud, do your research and choose strains from a reputable grower who uses the best organic methods available.
If you’re buying cannabis products — such as wax, shatter, pills, cream, or gummies — check the label or ask the budtenders if they can tell you about how the strains were grown.
Choosing organically grown marijuana that doesn’t rely on harmful fertilizers, heavy metals, or pesticides is a good idea however you consume your pot — whether that’s smoking, eating, or dripping it under your tongue.
Plus, choosing a high-quality organic bud (or insisting on high-quality organic strains in the products you purchase) will ensure that you get the most myrcene possible.
That’s a win for all involved!
For more information on all things cannabis and to check out our 100-percent all-natural marijuana products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.
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