Myrcene is a Monoterpene, meaning it is one of the smallest terpenes. There are two types Alpha & Beta Myrcene, these terpenes are found in almost every cannabis strain.
Why should you care about Myrcene?
A lot of medical studies have proven benefits for consuming myrcene. But I think the three most important thing you should know about myrcene are;
1. Scientists claim the terpene content of your weed can tell you if it is going to be an uplifting high or one that locks you on the couch.
Cannabis strains which contain high concentrations of myrcene (>0.5% myrcene), are likely to induce sedative qualities (“couch-lock effect”)
On the other hand, strains low in β-myrcene (<0.5%) are likely to induce a more energetic “high”
Louis BWS editor. Cannabinoids and the entourage effect. In: Cannabis: A Clinician’s Guide. CRC Press (2018).
Piomelli DR, Ethan B. The Cannabis sativa versus Cannabis indica debate: an interview with Ethan Russo, MD. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. (2016) 1:44–6. doi: 10.1089/can.2015.29003.ebr
2. Scientists say ß-myrcene may increase the effects of cannabinoids by lowering the resistance across the blood brain barrier, helping other cannabinoids reach receptors in the brain.
This means that Myrcene helps make the effects of other cannabinoids stronger by helping them get to the receptors in your brain.
Worth T. Cannabis’s chemical synergies. Nature. (2019) 572:S12. doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-02528-1
3. A lot of studies have been done on the medical benefits of myrcene, with data showing ß-myrcene having positive effects as an:
- Anticancer effects
(In-depth explanations below 👇)
What is Myrcene Found in?
What does Myrcene smell like?
Naturally, myrcene is never by itself. It is often in a complex mix with other terpenes, so the concentrations will affect the smell you sense. Depending on the concentration of myrcene and other terpenes there are a range of smells you can experience.
- Mildly Sweet
Myrcene rich cannabis cultivars:
- Granddaddy Purple
- 9lb Hammer
- Afghan Moon
- Aliens on Moonshine
- Blue Dream
- Mandarin Dream
- Strawberry Switchblade
- TruBerry OG
What effects does Myrcene have?
Studies on the effects of Myrcene in humans are lacking and need more data, but there have been a large amount of studies done on mice, rats, rabbits, and in vitro human cells showing positive results.
Analgesic/ Antinociceptive Activity
There was a study comparing myrcene to opioids for pain relief in mice.
Studies showed that ß-myrcene showed strong pain relieving effects similar to opioids.
That this terpene mediated the release of endogenous opioids through the a2-adrenoceptors.
Basically stimulating your body to create its own opioids instead of having to consume pharmaceuticals.
Rao VS, Menezes AM, Viana GS. Effect of myrcene on nociception in mice. J Pharm Pharmacol. (1990) 42:877–8. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.1990.tb07046.x
Paula-Freire LI, Molska GR, Andersen ML, Carlini EL. Ocimum gratissimum essential oil and its isolated compounds (Eugenol and Myrcene) reduce neuropathic pain in mice. Planta Med. (2016) 82:211–6. doi: 10.1055/s-0035-1558165
Studies were held on rodents to collect data on drowsiness and impaired motor skills.
The results showed a 2.6x increase in barbiturate sleep (sedated sleeping)
Myrcene taken in conjunction with a barbiturate (sleeping pill) showed that it increased the effects and overall sleep time of the test subjects.
Gurgel do Vale T, Couto Furtado E, Santos JG, Viana GSB. Central effects of citral, myrcene and limonene, constituents of essential oil chemotypes from Lippia alba (Mill.) N.E. Brown Phytomed. (2002) 9:709–14. doi: 10.1078/094471102321621304
Myrcene may improve glucose tolerance in people with diabetes. A 2007 paper by Al-Omari describes how Myrcene can reduce serum glucose levels in diabetic rats by 28.1%. The popular metformin decreases glucose levels by 28.5%
Al-Omari SM. The Effect of Thujone and Myrcene on Diabetes Mellitus in Albino Rats. Faculty of Graduate Studies University of Jordan; (2007). [Google Scholar]
Studies have shown that myrcene demonstrates some relevant antioxidant effects by increasing glutathione and other antioxidant enzymes.
Playing a role in preventing oxidative damage and protecting brain tissues.
It also showed a positive effect in male rats with gastric ulcers, increasing total glutathione in gastric tissue.
Bonamin F, Moraes TM, Dos RC, Kushima H, Faria FM, Silva MA, et al. The effect of a minor constituent of essential oil from Citrus aurantium: the role of β-myrcene in preventing peptic ulcer disease. Chem Biol Interact. (2014) 212:11–19. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2014.01.009
Ciftci O, Oztanir MN, Cetin A. Neuroprotective effects of β-myrcene following global cerebral ischemia/reperfusion-mediated oxidative and neuronal damage in a C57BL/J6 mouse. Neurochem Res. (2014) 39:1717–23. doi: 10.1007/s11064-014-1365-4
Myrcene has shown very powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
One study on rodents, where they attempted to induce cardiac failure showed that rodents pretreated with myrcene were completely protected from heart failure.
Another study was done on cartilage degradation due to osteoarthritis. The study showed anti-inflammatory and anti catabolic effects on human cells.
Souza M, Siani AC, Ramos M, Menezes-de-Lima O, Henriques M. Evaluation of anti-inflammatory activity of essential oils from two Asteraceae species. Pharmazie. (2003) 58:582–6.
Rufino AT, Ribeiro M, Sousa C, Judas F, Salgueiro L, Cavaleiro C, et al. Evaluation of the anti-inflammatory, anti-catabolic and pro-anabolic effects of E-caryophyllene, myrcene and limonene in a cell model of osteoarthritis. Eur J Pharmacol. (2015) 750:141–50. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2015.01.018
Anticancer / Anti-carcinogenic Activity
Some in vitro studies have shown that myrcene had anti carcinogenic potential.
The results showed that the in vitro formation of a carcinogen called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) was reduced by 88%.
Additional studies have shown that myrcene also has a cytotoxic effect on a broad range of cancer cells including:
- MCF-7 breast carcinoma
- HT-29 Colon adenocarcinoma
- P3888 leukemia cells
- And other tumor cell lines
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Chaouki W, Leger DY, Liagre B, Beneytout JL, Hmamouchi M. Citral inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in MCF-7 cells. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. (2009) 23:549–56. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-8206.2009.00738.x
Saleh MMH, Hashem FA, Glombitza KW. Cytotoxicity and in vitro effects on human cancer cell lines of volatiles of Apium graveolens var. filicum. Pharm Pharmacol Lett. (1998) 8:97–9.
Silva SL, Figueiredo PM, Yano T. Cytotoxic evaluation of essential oil from Zanthoxylum rhoifolium Lam. leaves. Acta Amazonica. (2007) 37:281–6. doi: 10.1590/S0044-59672007000200015
How Long Does it Take for Myrcene to Kick in? And how long does it last?
Studies held on rabbits and rats orally ingesting myrcene shows that it takes 30 minutes to an hour to reach full absorption.
With an elimination half life of 285 minutes.
A test held on human plasma showed myrcene bioavailable within 30 minutes of consuming, and peak concentration within 2 and 4 hours.
Papada E, Gioxari A, Amerikanou C, Galanis N, Kaliora AC. An absorption and plasma kinetics study of monoterpenes present in Mastiha oil in humans. Foods. (2020) 9:1019. doi: 10.3390/foods9081019