Myrcene: The key terpene in cannabis and other plants

Myrcene, an essential terpene found not only in cannabis flowers but also in other aromatic plants such as mango, lemongrass, basil and hops, is known for its unique earthy and peppery aroma with sweet, fruity undertones. These aromatic notes are complemented by nuances of mango and balsam, which give myrcene its characteristic olfactory identity.

Properties and occurrence of myrcene

Myrcene is a prominent terpene in the cannabis plant as well as a variety of other plants including mango, lemongrass, basil and hops. It is one of the most common terpenes in cannabis and is the dominant terpene in many cannabis strains. Its distinctive earthy and peppery aroma, enriched by sweet, fruity undertones and hints of mango and balsam, makes it a key element in aromatherapy and in the aroma composition of cannabis products.

Myrcene - The main terpene in cannabis

In the cannabis world, myrcene is the most common terpene. It represents, on average, more than 20% of the terpene profile in marijuana strains and is often the dominant terpene in flower. About 40% of the time, myrcene is the main terpene in a randomly selected cannabis flower. This variability opens up the opportunity for breeders to experiment with a wide range of chemical profiles, which could lead to the development of new, unique cannabis strains with diverse terpene profiles.

Areas of application of myrcene

Myrcene, also found in lemongrass, is used in traditional medicine for its anti-anxiety and pain-relieving properties. Although myrcene is believed to be responsible for these effects, further research is needed to confirm this assumption. Animal studies suggest that myrcene may have muscle relaxant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and sedative effects in rodents. However, further research is needed to confirm whether these effects also occur in humans.

Myrcene also finds application in the transdermal absorption of cannabinoids, which is why it is often used in topical lotions and balms.

Myrcene in indica and sativa strains

The popular belief that a cannabis strain's myrcene content indicates its "indica" or "sativa" effects is not supported by laboratory data. Although strains with more than 0.5% myrcene by weight are claimed to have an "indica" effect and those with less than 0.5% myrcene by weight have a "sativa" effect, the data shows no clear correlation between myrcene content and these categories.

This belief may stem from the belief that myrcene has sedative effects and may be responsible for the "indi-couch" effect that many users experience when using cannabis.

Myrcene and sleep

Myrcene-rich herbal remedies have long been used as sleep aids. In Mexico, for example, lemongrass tea, which contains myrcene, is used as a sedative and muscle relaxant. In Germany, a large hop-growing region, myrcene-rich hop preparations are often used as sleeping pills. However, there are no controlled clinical studies that clearly demonstrate a sedative effect of myrcene in humans.

Myrcene and pain relief

In Brazilian folk medicine, myrcene-rich lemongrass tea is valued for its suspected anti-anxiety and pain-relieving properties. The first published claim that myrcene provides pain relief comes from Brazil and states that myrcene relieves pain by increasing internal opioid chemicals. However, this assumption is controversial and further research is needed to prove whether myrcene actually has pain-relieving properties in humans.

The anti-inflammatory effects of myrcene also need further research. Most evidence comes from animal studies.

Further potential of myrcene

Myrcene has the ability to block the carcinogenic effects of aflatoxins and protect against DNA damage caused by toxins. These antimutagenic properties are consistent with the antioxidant and antimicrobial effects of other terpenes.

Research outlook for myrcene

An important question in myrcene research is whether we consume sufficient doses of myrcene to achieve therapeutic effects. High doses have been administered in mouse studies, but it is unclear how much is needed in humans or whether such amounts are present in cannabis strains. Scientists' focus on cannabinoids has delayed terpene research, but interest in the importance of terpenes in the effects of cannabis is growing.

Cannabis strains high in myrcene

Cannabis strains high in myrcene are known for their calming effects. Myrcene, which often dominates in these strains, has long been used as a muscle relaxant and sleep aid. Strains like Northern Lights, Amnesia Haze or Alien OG, which are classified as indica, sativa or hybrid, have high levels of myrcene, including popular sativa-dominant hybrids.

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