Aroma: Cardamom, cloves, musky, earthy, herbal
Vaporizes At: 332ºF (167ºC)
Potential Effects: Sedating “couchlock” effect, relaxing
Potential Medical Value: Antioxidant; treatment of insomnia, pain, and inflammation
Also Found in: mango, lemongrass, thyme, hops
Myrcene is the most common terpene produced by cannabis. Its aroma has been described as musky, earthy, herbal, and spicey. A high myrcene level in cannabis (usually above 0.5%) results in the well-known “couch-lock” effect usually attributed to Indica strains. Myrcene is found in the oil of hops, citrus fruits, eucalyptus, wild thyme, lemon grass, West Indian wood (Saint Thomas Bay) and many other plants. Myrcene is known to lower resistance across the blood to brain barrier, allowing itself and many other chemicals to cross the barrier more efficiently. Myrcene allows the effects of cannabinoids to onset more rapidly, and myrcene has been shown to increase the maximum saturation level of the CB1 (THC) receptor, allowing for a greater psychoactive effect.
In medical use, myrcene is a potent analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antimutagenic. It blocks the action of cytochrome, aflatoxin B and other pro-mutagenic carcinogens. A study of the role of β-myrcene in preventing peptic ulcer disease revealed that it acts as an inhibitor of gastric and duodenal ulcers, suggesting it may be helpful in controlling peptic ulcer disease. Its sedative and relaxing effects also make it ideal for the treatment of insomnia and pain. Since myrcene is normally found in essential oil from citrus fruit, many claim eating a fresh mango about 45 minutes before consuming cannabis will result in a faster onset of psycho activity and greater intensity. Be sure to choose a mango that is ripe, otherwise the myrcene level will be too low to make a difference.