Terpenes 101 - Deep Dive Into Myrcene

Everyone in the cannabis industry is talking about terpenes and terpene profiles. It’s even become common to list terpenes on cannabis packaging right next to the cannabinoids. But what exactly does this list of terpenes mean, and what role do terpenes play in our cannabis.

For years, connoisseurs have used the aroma of a particular strain to help judge its overall quality, but what is it you actually smell when you stick your nose in a fresh bag of bud? Keep reading this deep dive into terpenes and their effects to find out more.

What Are Terpenes? 

Let’s start with the basics. Terpenes are aromatic molecules present in all plants, not just cannabis. They’re what give culinary herbs their signature scents and flowers their lovely fragrances. When you stop to smell the roses, you’re really smelling terpenes.

Over the years, plants developed terpenes for evolutionary reasons. Vegetation producing bitter or foul-smelling terpenes was less likely to become the next meal for a herbivorous predator. Meanwhile, flowers with sweet-smelling terpenes were more likely to attract pollinators and continue to propagate. 

If you’ve ever smelled marijuana, then you know it has an unforgettable odor. You’ll often find strong musky elements, skunky diesel smells, and even the aroma of saccharine fruits. That’s because cannabis, in particular, is loaded with several different types of terpenes. These terpenes work in harmony to give different strains their complicated scents. 

Do Terpenes Get You High?

You may see some terpenes listed on your weed jar right below the THC levels, but the terpenes won’t get you high. However, they do affect the brain and may contribute to the cannabis user’s overall experience.

While consuming terpenes on their own won’t leave you feeling intoxicated, new research suggests that terpenes and cannabinoids may have a synergistic relationship where each molecule enhances the effects of the other. This is known as the entourage effect.

Terpenes Benefits 

Terpenes do more than just smell nice. For centuries, folk medicine has utilized terpene-rich plants in herbal remedies. Now, modern scientific research suggests there might be a reason why.

Some potential therapeutic properties of terpenes include:

  • Anti-inflammatory 

  • Antioxidant 

  • Anticancer

  • Anti-diabetic 

  • Anti-allergic 

  • Antidepressant 

  • Analgesic 

  • Neuroprotective 

List Of Common Cannabis Terpenes

We know of thousands of unique terpenes, all with varied smells and effects. Scientists have identified over 150 terpenes in the cannabis plant alone. With so many different terps out there, things can quickly start to feel overwhelming. So let’s narrow it down to the essentials. Here’s a list of some of the common terpenes you’ll likely find in cannabis. 

  • Linalool

  • Caryophyllene

  • Pinene 

  • Limonene

  • Terpineol 

  • Terpinolene 

  • Geraniol 

  • Humulene 

  • Bisabolol 

  • Cineole 

  • Myrcene

What Is Myrcene?

Every terpene is a little bit different. They have different smells, different flavors, and different potential medicinal effects. Today, we’ll be looking at one terpene in particular—myrcene. 

Myrcene is one of the most abundant terpenes found in cannabis. Its musky and earthy aromas can also be found in lemongrass, hops, and mango fruit. 

Typically, heavy indica strains tend to have higher levels of myrcene than sativas. Some have even suggested that high myrcene levels are the chief differentiator between indica and sativa strains, though this is disputed within the cannabis community. 

Benefits Of Myrcene 

Myrcene is perhaps best known for its sedative-like effects. Those using cannabis to help them fall asleep or turn their brain off after a long workday may want to find a strain with high levels of myrcene. 

Additionally, research suggests myrcene also possesses anxiolytic, antioxidant, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. 

Strains With High Myrcene Percentages 

The best place to find myrcene is in heavy indica strains. For example, the landrace indica strain Hindu Kush often produces buds with high levels of myrcene. Other myrcene rich cannabis strains include: 

  • Granddaddy Purple 

  • Northern Lights

  • Grape Ape 

  • 9 Lb Hammer

Do you have a favorite myrcene-rich strain? Let us know on Twitter!

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