What Is Myrcene And Why Is It Important?
The terpene responsible for the couch-lock buzz in indica strains
Myrcene is one of the major cannabinoids found in cannabis. It’s very useful and has many health benefits of its own which contributes to the medicinal properties of specific strains especially those that contain high amounts of this terpene.
Myrcene is present not only in cannabis plants, but in hemp as well. But the one plant that contains the highest concentration of myrcene is mangoes, followed by several herbs and plants including laurel, rosemary, and hop. Herbs and cannabis strains that have high levels of myrcene have a delicious aroma resembling that of mangoes, mint, citrus, and fruity. In large quantiites though, myrcene can give off an unpleasant scent – similar to the hop aroma found in beer or pungent strains of weed.
Myrcene is used as raw material for manufacturing many different kinds of fragrances.
Myrcene actually gets its name from a medicinal plant in Brazil known as the Myrcia sphaerocarpa, which has been used as a folk remedy for the treatment of conditions including dysentery, diabetes, diarrhea, and even hypertension.
In 1997, a study in Switzerland investigated various cannabis strains and 16 terpenes found in them. The researchers found that myrcene is the most abundant of all the terpenes, and in some strains the overall myrcene content is even more than half of the total terpenes. Myrcene is also responsible for the growth of other terpenes since it’s responsible for synergizing the antibiotic properties of these others.
A 2007 study showed that myrcene may be promising as a cure for diabetes. The study, conducted by the University of Jordan, was the first of its kind to analyze myrcene as a folk remedy to treat diabetes. The results revealed that myrcene as well as thujone, another terpene, both worked together in mitigating the side effects of diabetes.
Myrcene also has strong effect similar to that of barbiturates and sedatives, when taken in high doses. The sedative effect of myrcene is also increased when mixed with other terpenes. Myrcenes also play a very important role in determining the indica or sativa effects of a plant. Based on information from Steep Hill Labs in Berkeley, California, cannabis strains that possess more than .5% myrcene will send you straight into a couchlock! A 2011 study in the British Journal of Pharmacology revealed that when consumed in high doses, myrcene acts as an effective sleep aid when paired with other terpenes. The couch lock effect or that strong, heavy stoned feeling we’re all familiar with, is mainly caused by indica strains. Sativa strains, on the other hand, don’t have the same effect because they contain less than .5% myrcene.
While many in the medical community think that the couch-lock effect of cannabis strains (those high in myrcene) may not be desirable, it actually does have its own benefits. For patients suffering from certain conditions, these strains force them to get into a state of total rest so that they can recover quicker no matter what condition they are diagnosed with. This is why indica strains also have important medicinal value. Sativa strains are better suited for treating conditions because of the uplifting and energetic high that some medical patients look for.
Myrcene is also a potent painkiller. Studies show that this terpene can stimulate the endogenous opiates found in the human body, which provide relief from pain without having to turn to pills or harmful drugs. A 1991 study also revealed that myrcene has the potential to act similar to aspirin and be used through different channels in the body.
One of the unique characteristics of myrcene is its ability to increase saturation levels of the CB1 receptor, which is part of the endocannabinoid system and primarily found in the central nervous system. This feature strengthens the psychoactive properties of THC, which means that it can give you an even more intense high! It also helps preserve your hit – making it last longer and its effects are much stronger. This is why many users eat mangoes before consuming cannabis (think of it as a natural extender).
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