This is the first installment in our weekly series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes,” published every Monday. For more information, read the introduction to this series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes: A Guide For Medical Marijuana Patients.”

The most abundant terpene in cannabis, Myrcene is found in strains such as Blue Dream, Green Crack, Alien OG, Granddaddy Purple, and Northern Lights. In fact, one study shows that the essential oil makes up as much as 65% of the total terpene profile in some strains. 

With its strong peppery and herbal scent and earthy flavor comes a sedative and calming effect. Strains that contain this terpene are usually Indicas, such as Hindu Kush and White Widow, which are well known for creating a sense of relaxation. According to Steep Hill, this could be because Indica flowers tend to produce more than 0.5 percent Myrcene. The higher the Myrcene content in a strain, the more sedative it is likely to be. This may be beneficial for medical cannabis consumers seeking relief from muscle tension and insomnia. 

Myrcene has several medicinal benefits, including but not limited to, lowering resistance across the blood-to-brain barrier, which allows itself and many other chemicals to move through that barrier quickly and with a great deal of ease. When thinking of this in relation to cannabinoids (like THC), Myrcene helps the effects of the cannabinoid to take effect more quickly. Even more fascinating is the fact that Myrcene increases the maximum saturation level of the CB1 receptor, allowing for a greater maximum psychoactive effect.

The terpene is also a potent analgesic (pain reliever), anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and anti-mutagenic. It blocks the action of cytochrome, aflatoxin B, and other pro-mutagenic carcinogens. In addition, its sedative and relaxing effects also make it ideal for the treatment of inflammation, anxiety and chronic pain.

In nature, myrcene can also be found in the essential oils of plants such as thyme, lemongrass, bay leaves, hops, mangoes, and other citrus fruits. BONUS: Some claim eating a fresh, ripe mango about 45 minutes before consuming cannabis will strengthen the effects of the THC and increase its absorption rate.