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What is Myrcene? (The Cannabis Terpene)

Myrcene is a terpene that makes up 50% of the terpene profile of some indica strains of cannabis. What’s so special about this compound? Let’s find out.

Article By
Daily CBD , last updated on March 16, 2022

Myrcene is one of the most abundant terpenes found in cannabis. It’s also present in a variety of other herbaceous plants, spices, and fruits. 

This terpene is responsible for the earthy and musky notes in indica-dominant strains of cannabis as well as plants such as thyme, basil, and hops. However, myrcene may provide much more to the user than its iconic scent and flavor.

This terpene is associated with sedative, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving qualities. It’s regularly documented for its sleep-inducing effects and analgesic qualities, but is there any science to back up these claims?

In this read, we’ll be looking at myrcene from cannabis, what other plants produce it, and some of the potential benefits this terpene has to offer.

Cannabis flower and mango (illustration)

What is Myrcene?

Myrcene (also known as beta-myrcene) is a terpene found naturally in several plants, herbs, and fruits across the globe. It’s one of the major terpenes in cannabis and is known to make up over 50 percent of the terpene profile in most indica strains. 

This terpene is also known as the “couch-lock” terpene because it’s associated with the sedative effects produced by indica-dominant strains of cannabis.

However, this effect has also been associated with the presence of cannabinoids like CBN (cannabinol) and THCP (tetrahydrocannabiphorol) as well — so myrcene shouldn’t get all the credit here. 

Myrcene is also the terpene responsible for the potentiating effects of mangos on THC. Although the correlation between mangoes and the effects of cannabis sounds like a solid myth, there may be some truth to the saying, as one study suggests [1]. The paper reports that myrcene positively interacts with THC — increasing and extending the cannabinoid’s psychoactive effects.

This could indicate that this terpene is at least partly responsible for the sedative and psychoactive effects associated with cannabis. Myrcene is found in mango, among other things, and may assist in the augmentation of THC when cannabis is ingested while high levels of myrcene are present in the body.

Myrcene Specs:

  1. Type of terpene: Monoterpene
  2. Molecular Formula: C10H16 
  3. Molecular Weight: 136.23
  4. Solubility: Insoluble in water
  5. Boiling Point: 186.0 °C
  6. IUPAC Name: 7-methyl-3-methylideneocta-1,6-diene
  7. Cannabis Strains: Blue Dream, Cannatonic , Forbidden Fruit, Skywalker OG, Pineapple Express, Blue Cheese

What Does Myrcene Smell Like?

Myrcene has spicy, earthy, and musky notes with sweet undertones. When you smell and taste heavy indica strains of cannabis, you’ll pick up on these notes straight away. The scent resembles that of cloves, and you may also pick up hints of fruity grape-like aromas.

Here’s a shortlist of scents associated with myrcene:

  • Earthy 
  • Fruity 
  • Musky
  • Cardamom 
  • Spicy
  • Herby 
  • Savory (umami)

List of Plants That Make Myrcene

Aside from cannabis and hemp, there are hundreds of other plants, herbs, and fruits that produce myrcene in high quantities. Below is a list of some of the most common myrcene-producing organisms.

Herbs, plants, and fruits that contain myrcene:

  • Basil
  • Cannabis
  • Cloves
  • Guava melon
  • Hops
  • Lemongrass
  • Mangoes
  • Thyme 
  • Ylang ylang
Basil leaves

What Are the Benefits of Myrcene?

Herbs, plants, seeds, and fruit have been used for their medicinal benefits for centuries. Several plants contain compounds that may be beneficial to health — some scientifically proven (such as penicillin) and some socially accepted as beneficial without the gratification of science. 

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found predominantly in plants. Some medicinal herbs used in times gone by and the present may have terpenes to thank for their beneficial properties. 

Myrcene is a common terpene that’s found across the globe in many different organisms. It’s also one of the most prominent terpenes found in cannabis. It’s believed that myrcene holds a plethora of beneficial qualities that could help improve the health of its consumers.

In this section, we’ll be looking into the potential benefits of myrcene and some of the evidence surrounding its medicinal use.

1. Myrcene and the Entourage Effect

The entourage effect is a phenomenon where several different cannabinoids synergistically interact to create an effect that singular cannabinoids couldn’t create on their own [2]. 

It’s believed that it’s not only cannabinoids that form the entourage mechanism. Terpenes may also play a part in the entourage effect and help other cannabinoids and terpenes perform more effectively and efficiently. 

One recent study found that certain terpenes mimic cannabinoids and produce similar effects [3]. When the terpenes and cannabinoids are combined, they work synergistically, amplifying the effects of the cannabinoid and terpene profiles in cannabis.

Since myrcene is one of the most prevalent terpenes found in cannabis, we can assume that it has some impact on the overall benefits of cannabinoids found in the plant due to this entourage effect. 

2. The Sedative Effects of Myrcene

Myrcene is commonly called the “couch-lock terpene.” This is due to its sedative effects.

One 2002 outlined the sedative effects of myrcene [4]. The study found that high doses of myrcene and the terpene citral increased muscle relaxation and increased barbital sleeping times in mice.

Although there are few studies looking into the sedative effects of myrcene in humans, several animal-based studies have found that the terpene promotes muscle relaxation, sleep duration, as well as sleep onset, and drowsiness.

This could be beneficial for a number of people that suffer from sleep disorders and diseases affecting the muscles, such as multiple sclerosis. 

3. The Anti-inflammatory Effects of Myrcene

Myrcene could harbor anti-inflammatory properties, as some studies suggest.

One study looked into the effects of caryophyllene, limonene, and myrcene on osteoarthritis — a progressive inflammatory disease of the joints [5]. The study discovered that myrcene above the other two terpenes featured in the study has significant anti-inflammatory and anti-catabolic effects on humans.

The researchers suggest that this could halt or, at least, slow down cartilage destruction and progression in osteoarthritis patients. 

The potential anti-inflammatory benefits of myrcene could help people suffering from inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and asthma.

4. The Pain-Relieving Effects of Myrcene

Could myrcene have pain-relieving effects? One 2019 study has found that, yes, it could potentially help ease pain in rats and humans [7].

The study looked into the interaction between myrcene and the transient receptor potential channel TRPV1. This receptor is a potential target for treating pain. The study concluded that myrcene does interact with TRPV1 and has therapeutic potential as an analgesic (pain-relieving) treatment.

Myrcene’s potential pain-relieving qualities could help combat a range of chronic pain conditions. This, coupled with the terpene’s anti-inflammatory properties, could pose as a valuable resource for people suffering from painful inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. 

Woman rubbing her painful neck and back

Is Myrcene Safe?

Myrcene is considered a safe substance. The FDA has approved this terpene, and it’s deemed safe for consumption. However, as with any compound, whether natural or synthetic, you should proceed to consume it with some caution.

Myrcene from cannabis and alternate botanical sources usually comes in a concentrated form. When any compound is concentrated, the potential risk also increases. Simply eating a mango or using cannabis with high levels of myrcene is relatively risk-free due to its dilution within the organic material. 

When a terpene is concentrated, the extract contains a far higher percentage of the terpene compared to how it naturally occurs. With this in mind, it’s important to dilute the terpene extract to 5% or below before consumption. 

Pure, undiluted terpene extracts are irritants and may cause damage to the eyes, skin, and lungs if exposed to the body in undiluted form. Always dilute your terpenes before consumption. It’s best to over dilute than under dilute a terpene concentrate in order to stay safe and receive the most from the extract.

When looking for myrcene concentrate or any terpene extract for that matter, it’s important to research the company thoroughly to ensure the manufacturer is responsible, reliable, and abides by local and federal laws. Some terpene manufacturers can cut corners with production and use unorthodox additives that could be hazardous to human health.

Once you have sourced a high-quality myrcene extract, we advise you to start small and increase the dosage gradually. Dilute the terpene heavily and try a small sample to see how your body reacts. If your body has no negative reactions, proceed to up your dose gradually, making sure to keep your terpene dilution at or under 5%.

Where Can You Buy Myrcene?

Myrcene is a major terpene in cannabis. It’s becoming more and more popular due to its unique aroma and a long list of potential benefits.

It’s extremely important that you purchase any myrcene extracts from a reputable source that produces unadulterated high-quality extracts. Finest Labs is one of the most reliable terpene suppliers on the market at this time. True Terpenes is also a company with high standards and a good reputation.

Finest Labs offers terpene blends that are tailored to suit different aspects of your life. You’ll find blends containing myrcene that are tailored for sleep and relaxation, others that are expertly blended to reduce stress, and some that increase energy and motivation. 

True Terpenes, on the other hand, is the company to look at if you’re searching for individual terpene extracts. It’s here that you’ll find pure concentrated myrcene without any extra terpenes or additives. 

Both of these companies have an excellent reputation, are GMP certified, and provide up-to-date third-party lab results for the entire product range.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are naturally occurring aromatic compounds found in plants. It’s believed that these terpenes are produced as an aid for the plant’s well-being and survival. 

Terpenes are primarily produced as a biological defense system against predators, parasites, and fungus, as well as attractants, to encourage pollinators, seed distributors, and beneficial predatory organisms [6]. Terpenes help protect the plant from environmental factors and aid in the colonization and survival of the species. 

The attractive aromas of certain terpenes are usually there to encourage insects to pollinate plants and entice animals to eat the fruits and spread the seed of the species. This is why we as species are attracted to intriguingly scented terpenes and use them in food products, perfumes, and cleaning products.

Terpenes can be found in nature spread throughout the flora (plants) and some fauna (animals). These aromatic compounds can carry a range of scents that improve flavors, and as we’ve mentioned, they may also host a range of benefits to the human body.

When we are discussing terpenes in the holistic sense, we categorize them into two groups — cannabis-derived terpenes and botanically-derived terpenes. The same terpenes can be found both in cannabis and other plants naturally. However, the categorical terms define whether a terpene has been extracted from cannabis or an alternative source. 

Let’s take a look at what defines these two groups in a bit more detail.

1. Cannabis-Derived Terpenes

Cannabis-derived terpenes are terpenes that have directly been extracted from cannabis or hemp. Terpenes found in cannabis can also be found in other botanicals. The only difference with terpenes derived from cannabis is the source that they’re extracted from — cannabis.

Terpenes such as myrcene contribute to the musky and earthy aromas of indica-dominant cannabis strains. Other terpenes such as limonene contribute to the citrus notes of sativa-dominant strains such as lemon and amnesia haze. 

If a product states that cannabis-derived terpenes are present, then you can rest assured that the terpenes used in the makeup of the product have been extracted from cannabis or hemp.

2. Botanically-Derived Terpenes 

Botanically-derived terpenes are extracted from any other natural plant, excluding cannabis. As with cannabis-derived terpenes, botanically-derived terpenes can also be found in cannabis. The only difference is the source they are extracted from.

Terpenes such as pinene (also found in cannabis) are responsible for the forest notes associated with pine, rosemary, and juniper. Other terpenes such as caryophyllene contribute to the spicy and peppery notes of black pepper and oregano. 

If a product states that it contains botanically-derived terpenes, the extract will originate from any botanical source except cannabis or hemp.

Cannabis sativa plant over white background

Bottom Line: Myrcene, Should You Be Using It?

Before considering myrcene as a holistic or recreational substance, you should first consider why and what you would like to use the terpene for. 

There’s a plethora of information about this terpene and several scientific studies that back up its potential benefits. However, studies researching myrcene’s effects on humans specifically are still lacking. 

This terpene’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system and certain receptors in the body make it a promising compound for people suffering from inflammatory conditions. Although research into its effects on humans is still in its early days, the existing research is promising.

If you do decide to use myrcene, proceed with caution. The terpene is FDA-approved and safe for consumption, but concentrated forms can pose certain risks. Be sure to consume a test sample first to acknowledge its effects on the body and proceed with dilutions of under 5% to stay safe and get the most out of this compound. 


  1. Ibrahim, E. A., Wang, M., Radwan, M. M., Wanas, A. S., Majumdar, C. G., Avula, B., … & ElSohly, M. A. (2019). Analysis of terpenes in Cannabis sativa L. using GC/MS: method development, validation, and application. Planta Medica, 85(05), 431-438.
  2. Russo, E. B. (2019). The case for the entourage effect and conventional breeding of clinical cannabis: no “strain,” no gain. Frontiers in plant science, 9, 1969.
  3. University of Arizona Health Sciences. (2021, July 14). Study shows Cannabis terpenes provide pain relief, contribute to the ‘entourage effect.’ ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2021 
  4. Do Vale, T. G., Furtado, E. C., Santos Jr, J. G., & Viana, G. S. B. (2002). Central effects of citral, myrcene, and limonene, constituents of essential oil chemotypes from Lippia alba (Mill.) NE Brown. Phytomedicine, 9(8), 709-714.
  5. Rufino, A. T., Ribeiro, M., Sousa, C., Judas, F., Salgueiro, L., Cavaleiro, C., & Mendes, A. F. (2015). Evaluation of the anti-inflammatory, anti-catabolic, and pro-anabolic effects of E-caryophyllene, myrcene, and limonene in a cell model of osteoarthritis. European journal of pharmacology, 750, 141-150.
  6. Kessler, A., & Heil, M. (2011). The multiple faces of indirect defenses and their agents of natural selection. Functional Ecology, 25(2), 348-357.
  7. Jansen C, Shimoda LMN, Kawakami JK, et al. Myrcene and terpene regulation of TRPV1. Channels (Austin). 2019;13(1):344-366. doi:10.1080/19336950.2019.1654347

Learn More About Terpenes & Cannabinoids

Learn More About Terpenes & Cannabinoids

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