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As public attention and research continue to explore all the potential benefits of hemp, there is an increased interest in learning more about the active components beyond just CBD and THC. Terpenes feature prominently in the discussion about how hemp smells and how it makes you feel. There are dozens of terpenes found in hemp flowers, and the most common terpene in hemp is Myrcene (“mur-seen”).
In this post, we’ll discuss,
- What Myrcene is,
- Where you can find it in nature,
- And, what its potential benefits may be.
What Are Terpenes?
Before we dive into Myrcene, let’s discuss what terpenes are in general. Terpenes are volatile aromatic hydrocarbons found in many plants and in some animals. Terpene molecules are composed of small units called isoprenes and terpenes are classified by the number of isoprene units they contain. The most common terpenes are monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and diterpenes.
Terpenes play a key role in the aromatic profile of many plants. You may already be familiar with many terpenes but might not know their names.
Terpenes are every including,
- All citrus fruits and rinds contain limonene
- Pine trees emit a pleasant aroma because of their pinene
- Lavender flowers are relaxing because of their linalool
- Your spice cabinet likely contains a lot of beta-caryophyllene
Read more: What Are Terpenes? Terpenes 101
What Is Myrcene?
Myrcene is a monoterpene composed of two isoprene units. You may find this highly aromatic compound in mangoes, thyme, lemongrass, cardamon, hops, and hemp. Myrcene has a strong, musky, and fruity aroma with notes of hops, tropical fruits, and woodsy spices.
In cannabis, including hemp, myrcene is not only the most commonly found terpene, but it is also the most commonly dominant terpene. Hemp cultivars feature a wide array of terpenes and the dominant terpene is the one with the highest concentration in that specific cultivar. Below, we will discuss which of our hemp cultivars have myrcene as the dominant terpene based on laboratory analysis.
What Is Myrcene Used For?
Myrcene may offer many potential benefits and folk medicine traditions seem to embrace its power. In Germany, hops have been used as a sleep aid and there is speculation that this might be in part thanks to hops’ high myrcene content. In Mexico, lemongrass tea, which is high in myrcene, has been used for its sedative properties 1.
When myrcene is administered in combination with CBD and THC it is thought to contribute to the “couch lock” effect, contributing to the notion that myrcene may have sedative effects 2.
Research into the potential health benefits of myrcene is ongoing. Here is a list of some that are under investigation:
- Reducing inflammation 3,4
- Muscle relaxant 2
- Pain relief / analgesic properties 2,3
- Sleep aid 3
- Anti-anxiety 4
- Antioxidant properties 4
While research is ongoing, the jury is still out on what benefits myrcene can offer.
Sunset Lake CBD Cultivars Featuring Myrcene
Our hemp cultivars naturally contain a wide range of terpenes. We send samples of our hemp flowers to a third-party laboratory for testing to determine their terpene composition*. Here are our top cultivars that feature myrcene as their dominant terpene:
Cherry Abacus – 1.24% myrcene
Sour Hawaiian Haze – 1.01%
Hawaiian Haze – 1.14%
Special Sauce – 0.94%
Lifter – 0.87%
Sour Suver Haze – 0.80%
Suver Haze – 0.57%
*Note: the percentage of terpenes is reported on a by-weight basis.
- Tortoriello, J., & Romero, O. (1992). Plants used by Mexican traditional medicine with presumable sedative properties: an ethnobotanical approach. Archives of medical research, 23(3), 111–116. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1308799/
- Ahmad, Samoon, and Kevin P. Hill. Medical Marijuana: A Clinical Handbook, Wolters Kluwer, Philadelphia, 2021, p. 112.
- Russo E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1344–1364. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x
- Surendran, S., Qassadi, F., Surendran, G., Lilley, D., & Heinrich, M. (2021). Myrcene-What Are the Potential Health Benefits of This Flavouring and Aroma Agent? Frontiers in nutrition, 8, 699666. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2021.699666