If you have tried cannabis a few times the odds are good you are familiar with beta-myrcene. If you have ever tried cannabis and found yourself stuck on the couch for a few hours, you almost certainly are familiar with beta-myrcene. Due to its sedative effects, plants for generations have been selected for high beta-myrcene content. But beta-myrcene does much more than simply glue you to the couch, it is one of the most active and interesting of all the terpenes.
Per Wikipedia – Myrcene, or β-myrcene, is an olefinic natural organic hydrocarbon. It is more precisely classified as a monoterpene. Monoterpenes are dimers of isoprenoid precursors, and myrcene is a significant component of the essential oil of several plants, including bay, cannabis, ylang-ylang, wild thyme, parsley, cardamom, and hops. It is produced mainly semi-synthetically from myrcia, from which it gets its name. It is a key intermediate in the production of several fragrances. α-Myrcene is the name for the structural isomer 2-methyl-6-methylene-1,7-octadiene, which has not been found in nature and is little used.
Prevalent in strains like White Widow, Skunk, and Himalayan beta-myrcene combines with THC to produce a potent punch of effect. However, beta-myrcene does more than that, its’ known properties include:
Analgesic – Relieves pain.
Antibacterial – Slows bacterial growth.
Anti-Diabetic – Helps mitigate the effects of diabetes.
Anti-Proliferative/Anti-Mutagenic – Inhibits cell mutation, including cancer cells.
Antipsychotic – Tranquilizing effects relieve symptoms of psychosis.
Antispasmodic – Suppresses muscle spasms.
Myrcene is crucial in the formation of other terpenes and it synergizes the antibiotic potential of other terpenes. One reason why myrcene could be so commonly found in cannabis is that it has been shown to change the permeability of cell membranes to allow more absorption of cannabinoids by the brain. This effect of myrcene has been known about since the 1970s and long ago spawned a rumor that eating a ripe mango before smoking would get you higher. According to recent information published by Steep Hill Labs, a major cannabis testing laboratory in the Bay Area, for most people eating a fresh mango 45 minutes before inhaling cannabis will increase the effects of that cannabis. Rev. Dr. Kymron de Cesare of Steep Hill is an advocate of what he calls “overlapping synergies” between myrcene and other terpenes with the various cannabinoids, such as how myrcene makes THC more effective.
Myrcene is the terpene most frequently found in cannabis, it is considered one of the ten primary terpenes. Myrcene accounts for the recognizable smell emitted by many popular strains originating from different breeders around the globe. Myrcene is often referred to as one of the most “earthy” smelling varieties, featuring musky notes likened strongly to cloves. Additionally, myrcene contains fruit flavors of red grape and balsamic, with a hint of spice.
THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT
What’s more, terpenes are recognized as synergistic compounds that contribute to a complex phytocannabinoid environment. Terpenes work with CBD, THC and other cannabinoids, creating a union of compounds that achieve better results as a group than they would in isolation.
This theory is known as “the entourage effect,” postulating the necessity of keeping the integrity of the natural cannabis building blocks. The results of cannabis as a health supplement are best experienced when administered as whole plant therapies that feature more than just cannabinoids.