Terpene spotlight: Myrcene
- Dec 01, 2019
- Bridget May
Lemongrass, thyme, mangoes ... and cannabis? What do those things have in common? The terpene compound called myrcene. Terpenes, like myrcene, are the scent molecules and active ingredients found in cannabis, as well as other plant botanicals, like lemongrass.
What are terpenes? They are the "essential oils" of the cannabis plant, created in the same glands that produce cannabinoids like the active ingredients THC and CBD. Terpenes are what make cannabis smell like it smells like – they are the aromatic oils that scent cannabis varieties with distinctive flavors like citrus, berry, mint, and pine (and skunk too!).
Terpenes seem to work together to alter, or temper the effects of other terpenes as well as cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. This is known as the entourage effect. More research is needed to understand each terpene’s effect when used in harmony with the other components, but it is clear that it's not just about making cannabis smell good. Terpenes like linalool are active participants in the entourage!
From Leafly.com: "Not unlike other strong-smelling plants and flowers, the development of terpenes in cannabis began for adaptive purposes: to repel predators and lure pollinators. There are many factors that influence a plant’s development of terpenes, including climate, weather, age and maturation, fertilizers, soil type, and even the time of day.
Over 100 different terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant, and every strain tends toward a unique terpene type and composition. In other words, a strain like Cheese and its descendants will likely have a discernible cheese-like smell, and Blueberry offspring often inherit the smell of berries.
Terpenes may also play a key role in differentiating the effects of various cannabis strains, but more studies are needed to understand how and to what extent."
Today's spotlight is about MYRCENE.
Myrcene is a terpene found in cannabis, lemongrass, thyme, hops, and mango. 🥭 It’s known for its calming, sedative properties, and it’s the most abundant terpene in cannabis. This is the terpene that many people believe causes the sleepy effect in traditionally named indica strains like OG Kush and Blue Dream. Zzzzzzzz
This monoterpene protects DNA from damage, and has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant characteristics and has also been shown to increase transdermal absorption, which is helpful in our Deep Calm Massage and Body Oil to get the relaxing, pain relieving effect you’re looking for! Myrcene has a bit of a spicy, clove-like scent mingled with hints of fruit and earth.
Just so ya know, myrcene is included in California’s Proposition 65 list of cancer-causing substances that are present in cannabis. Although Green Bee Botanicals is required by law to issue Prop 65 statements with our products, please don’t worry. The risk is about the same as if you ate a mango. Read more about the warnings here: https://greenbeebotanicals.com/blogs/learn/do-cannabis-topicals-get-you-high
All of our products are made with organic ingredients, and the CA law, which is very well intended, in some cases can cause some confusion. For example, cafeic acid, which occurs naturally in coffee, is also on the list, and like myrcene, has anti-cancer properties. It’s complicated! (We aren't about to stop drinking coffee!) There are lots of chemicals on the list that we agree 100% should be on there, like benzene and dioxins, but the studies they did with myrcene involved giving very large amounts of it to rats (we don’t like to think about this--very sad face) and aren't the same thing as ingesting the trace amounts found naturally in fruits or cannabis.
Essential oils and cannabis plants contain a wide range of terpenes that work together with cannabinoids to nourish the skin. When the full spectrum of cannabinoids comes together, that interplay among components is known as the entourage effect. More research is needed to determine exactly how terpenes functions alongside its counterparts, but it’s thought that one thing it may do is amplify the cannabinoids’ anti-inflammatory properties.