A cannabis plant will typically produce over 100 different terpenes. There’s still a lot to learn; we’re just getting started with some of these more frequent compounds. Looking to try something new? Check out this.
We’ll look at one in particular, myrcene, in this section. Explore what makes this typical terpene so useful, as well as the research on it and how to use it safely.
What is Myrcene?
Myrcene is sometimes referred to as the “mother of all terpenes” because of its wide range of medical applications.
The name myrcene is derived from a Brazilian medicinal bush called Myrcia sphaerocarpa, which contains the active component of lemongrass. It’s also where lemongrass’ sedative effects come from.
Hops, cannabis, mangoes, and basil are all good sources of myrcene.
What is a Terpene?
Terpenes are naturally occurring aromatic chemicals made up of a few carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. Terpenes have hundreds of combinations of these components, making each one unique.
There are thought to be over 30,000 distinct terpenes in the world. Many things found in nature, such as mushrooms and plants, aren’t just composed of cannabis.
Terpenes are useful for a number of reasons. Pollinators, for example, utilize them to locate the flowers so they can collect nectar. Some terpenes have the ability to repel predators and insects.
Certain plants, on the other hand, use terpenes to enhance the flavor of their fruit. Plants may entice wild animals and people to continue their species by enhancing the taste of food with terpenes.
Humans cultivate and protect plants that they enjoy, therefore plants with high terpene concentrations are often included on this list.
Does Myrcene Make You Sleepy?
In folk medicine, myrcene-rich herbs have a long history of being used as a sleep aid. In Mexico, lemongrass steeped in a myrcene-rich solution has been used as a sedative and muscle relaxant. It’s common for Germans, who produce the world’s second largest amount of hops (behind the United States), to use myrcene-rich hop extracts as a sleep aid. However, it isn’t clear that any controlled research has shown that myrcene causes sleepiness in humans; we are unaware of any well-controlled human clinical trials that clearly show a sedative effect of myrcene.
Myrcene, at relatively high dosages, has been shown to have muscular relaxing effects in a few rodent studies. The same research also revealed that myrcene can extend the duration of sleep in mice when combined with narcotics with strong sedative properties. However, animal studies are rarely an indication of how humans behave, so further study is needed before we can determine whether myrcene has sedative effects, particularly at the levels found in commercial cannabis items.
Can Myrcene Relieve Pain and Reduce Inflammation?
The anti-anxiety and pain-relieving effects of lemongrass tea containing high levels of myrcene have been utilized in Brazilian folk medicine. Scientists in Brazil made the first publication claim for myrcene’s ability to decrease pain in 1990. They found that myrcene activated opioid chemicals within the brain and spinal cord, which was considered. Whether or not myrcene has genuine pain-relieving capabilities in humans is still up for debate.
More study is also needed to back up myrcene’s anti-inflammatory properties. The data for myrcene’s anti-inflammatory action comes primarily from animal research.
Other Potential Benefits of Myrcene
Myrcene can prevent the cancer-causing effects of aflatoxins produced by fungus but ingested by us. These anti-mutagen properties are due to myrcene’s inhibition of CYP2B1, an liver enzyme that induces afloxin’s capability to damage DNA. Myrcene also protects against DNA damage caused by toxins such as t-butylhydroperoxide. These anti-mutagen effects are comparable to those exhibited by other terpenes, in addition to their antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
What’s Next For Myrcene Research?
As for research on additional cannabis terpenes, one of the most important concerns regarding myrcene is whether we’re receiving enough doses to get these results. Mouse experiments administer between 2 mg/kg and 1 g/kg (consider that the average adult male weighs around 80 kg), and it’s unclear how much is required to create a therapeutic impact in humans or if these amounts are present in cannabis strains.
The impact of terpenes in cannabis is only now beginning to be fully understood. Because scientists have spent the majority of their time on the cannabinoids, rather than the terpenes, research has lagged. That appears to be changing, however. The National Institute of Health (NIH), the country’s largest science funding agency, recently put out a call for research proposals focused on terpene and “minor cannabinoids” from cannabis’ analgesic effects. Now that researchers can just about get access to all of cannabis’ many types!
Industrial Synthesis of Myrcene
The monoterpene β-pinene is a precursor in the manufacture of β-myrcene. Up until the 1950s, pine or spruce resins were tapped from trees to get β-pinene. Nowadays, extraction ofβ- pinenemerits from pulp mills’ waste streams, by distillation and desulphurisation of crude turpentine (CST). The proportion of β-pinenem in CST is influenced by a variety of factors including age, season, geographical location, and tree variety.
The pyrolysis of β-pinene is the most frequent way to make myrcene in a factory. Alternative methods for producing myrcene sustainably and ecologically may be developed through engineered microbial platforms in the future.