Myrcene Terpene: Effects and Benefits

Myrcene is a terpene found in cannabis and natural foods like mangoes, and it's known for its sedative effects and wide range of health benefits.

Dr. Abraham Benavides is an international cannabis science advisor, health coach, and full-tuition merit scholar of the GW School of Medicine. Abe pioneered and published first-author research with the Cannabis...

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Natural sources of Myrcene terpene
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Key Takeaways:

  • Myrcene is an abundant terpene that gives mangoes their famous aroma and is found in the majority of cannabis cultivars.
  • Indica fans are pleased to know myrcene is the key ingredient that causes “couch lock” and more “stoney” sedative effects.
  • People often eat mangoes to get higher from cannabis. This works because the myrcene boost from mangoes may help cannabinoids cross the blood-brain barrier, delivering more medicine where it’s needed.

Characteristics of Myrcene

Ever wonder what makes a mango smell like a mango? It’s largely from the richness of a terpene called myrcene, which can also be abundantly found in Cannabis. Its complex scent is a mixture of berries, herbs, spice, wood, flowers, and root vegetables.

Myrcene is one of tens of thousands of fragrant, organic compounds called terpenes.

Besides mangoes, you can get myrcene naturally from: 

  • Hops 
  • Lemongrass 
  • Basil 
  • Bay leaves 
  • Citrus fruits and juices

Plants make myrcene because it’s good at keeping away pests and parasites for them, while attracting beneficial pollinators.

It also gives plants antifungal and antibacterial properties. These properties increase survival for plants, including Cannabis.

Cannabis Strains High in Myrcene

Myrcene is one of the eight most common terpenes in North American chemovars.

Found in the majority of cannabis samples in study after study, its dominance helps define indica cultivars, or strains.

You can easily find myrcene in indica and hybrid strains, especially high in:

  • Blue Dream
  • Jack Herer
  • Pure Kush
  • Ace of Spades
  • Super Bud

Effects: What Does Myrcene Do?

Myrcene is what makes indica strains popular for nighttime use in relieving anxiety, stress, and insomnia.

Myrcene is responsible for the couch lock and greater sleepiness people enjoy and associate with indica strains.

By contrast, cannabis strains with less myrcene give more energetic or productive highs associated with sativas.

Myrcene is sedating and pain-relieving even by itself. Interestingly, it may also help cannabinoids cross into the brain, delivering more THC and increasing the high and sleepy effects.

Eating mangoes before consuming cannabis may boost these effects and give a more pleasurable experience.

I love telling patients that it’s not only okay to enjoy their cannabis – they should! For patients with sleeping issues, I recommend myrcene in their cannabis products, or in combination with hemp oil.

Patients also find myrcene handy for painful conditions, anxiety, or ruminating thoughts at bedtime.

Therapeutic Benefits of Myrcene

Largely in preclinical stages, myrcene shares many potential benefits with cannabinoids and terpenes like:

Side Effects

The most noticeable side effect of myrcene is sleepiness, which is disadvantageous in certain circumstances. There isn’t much research that addresses side effects of myrcene on humans, but a small clinical trial noted that myrcene’s drowsiness may impair driving.

Natural myrcene is a popular flavoring ingredient in food and beer.

Caution: Concentrated myrcene, more than 10% by volume, found in soaps, cosmetics, and detergents is flammable and can be an irritant to the eyes, skin, and airways. Taking synthetic or undiluted terpenes may result in serious or unknown side effects.


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