Myrcene, in particular β-myrene, is a monoterpene and the most common terpene produced by cannabis (some varieties contain up to 60% of the essential oil). The aroma is described as musky, earthy, spicy - similar to cloves. A high myrcene content in cannabis (usually above 0.5%) results in the well-known couch-lock effect of classic Indica strains. Myrcene occurs in hops (oil), citrus fruits, bay leaves, eucalyptus, wild thyme, lemongrass and many other plants.
Myrcene has a number of very special medicinal properties, including lowering the resistance of the blood-brain barrier, allowing itself and many other chemicals to cross the barrier more easily and quickly. In the case of cannabinoids (such as THC), myrcene causes the effects of the cannabinoid to take effect more quickly. Even more unique is that myrcene increases the maximum saturation level of the CB1 receptor, allowing maximum psychoactive effect.
Myrcene is a powerful analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antimutagenic. It blocks the action of cytochrome, aflatoxin B and other pro-mutagenic carcinogens. The Bonamin et al study in 2014, focused on the role of β-myrcene in preventing peptic ulcer disease. The study revealed that β-myrcene acts as an inhibitor of gastric and duodenal bowel ulcers and suggests that it may be useful in the prevention of peptic ulcer disease. Its calming and relaxing effect also makes it ideal for the treatment of insomnia and pain.
Since myrcene is normally found in essential citrus oil, many claim that eating a fresh mango about 45 minutes before using cannabis will result in a quicker onset of psychoactivity and greater intensity. This story contains truth, but make sure you choose a mango that is well ripe, otherwise the myrcene content will be too low to make a difference.