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April 22, 2020

Terpene Spotlight: Myrcene

When you experience the benefits of full spectrum CBD oil, you can’t necessarily give cannabidiol (CBD) all the credit. While CBD is a powerful cannabinoid, there are other components involved in the oil’s effects. 

Point is: CBD doesn’t work alone. 

While CBD naturally occurs in the hemp plant, there are additional compounds found in full spectrum CBD oil that work together to provide the therapeutic effects that many have come to appreciate. These compounds include:

  • Cannabinoids (like CBD)
  • Terpenes
  • Flavonoids
  • Phytonutrients 

To focus on one piece of the puzzle—terpenes are the naturally-occurring chemicals that give plants, flowers, and fruits their distinctive aroma. One of the most common terpenes in hemp is myrcene (pronounced “MUR-seen”). But why is this important? To fully understand why CBD has the many benefits that it does, you need to understand how terpenes like myrcene work. 

What Are Terpenes? 

Terpenes are chemicals that give plants their aromas. According to Dr. Eberhard Breitmaier’s informative book, Terpenes, there are over 20,000 occuring in nature. Let’s take a look at some common terpenes:

  • Limonene is responsible for the citrusy aroma of lemons and other citrus fruits 
  • Linalool gives lavender and other botanicals their herbaceous scent
  • Pinene gives pine trees their distinctive scent

Because of their powerful aromas, terpenes are frequently used in perfumes and cleaning products. But terpenes do more than just make things smell good. They’re also responsible for causing you to feel certain therapeutic effects when you consume them or even just breathe in their scent. 

Many people use terpenes on a daily basis—specifically for the therapeutic benefits.

Additionally, terpenes are the primary ingredient in nearly all essential oils and are therefore popular in holistic and all-natural healing practices. They are primarily responsible for the effects that you feel when you add essential oil to a diffuser, such as when practicing aromatherapy. For example, linalool—whether in hemp or lavender essential oil—has long been said to promote relaxation. Recent research has begun to confirm its effectiveness in doing so. 

What is Myrcene?

Myrcene is a terpene that produces a specific musky and earthy smell. It’s commonly found in:

  • Mangoes
  • Thyme
  • Lemongrass
  • Hops (and hoppy beer)
  • Bay leaves 
  • Eucalyptus
  • Basil

In addition, myrcene is one of the most common terpenes found in hemp, and thus in full spectrum CBD oil.

Even though it is one of the smallest terpenes (in terms of its molecular size), it packs a powerful punch when it comes to the effects it can have on the body. 

Why Myrcene Is an Important Part of CBD?

Myrcene has many benefits that may help CBD achieve its popular effects. Recent research confirms the wisdom in folk knowledge, suggesting that this terpene may aid in maintaining healthy sleep patterns, reducing nervousness, and more. 

Promoting Restful Sleep

Herbal medicines containing myrcene have been used for years to promote restful sleep. For example, in Mexico, lemongrass tea is commonly used for relaxation before bed. This has been a tried and tested tradition. 

Furthermore, research on mice by T.G. do Vale and E.C. Furtado has shown that myrcene:

  • Has a clear “sedative as well as motor relaxant effect.”
  • When added to another sleep aid, increased the test subjects’ sleepiness as well as their sleep duration.
  • Can help to relax muscles, which means it may also be useful for easing tension and discomfort.

The combined effects are thought to be useful in the treatment of several different ailments. Most notably, it helps to soothe bodily tension and promotes restful sleep.

Relieving Discomfort

Scientists in Brazil studied the effects of myrcene on mice in 1990. They came to the conclusion that myrcene was able to reduce discomfort by stimulating the spinal cord and the brain’s production of certain chemicals. 

Additional studies have also been done on myrcene’s ability to reduce swelling. For instance, when it comes to the terpenes derived from the cannabis plant (which includes myrcene) a study found them to relieve inflammation. 

Antibacterial Potential

Just when you didn’t think that myrcene could have any more benefits, research has also shown that it may act as an antibacterial. Because myrcene is a big component of tea tree oil, researchers set out to test the antibacterial properties of the terpene. 

The experiment suggested that:

  • Myrcene acts as an antibacterial agent against the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria 
  • The terpene plays a significant role in the antibacterial activity of tea tree oil and may have antibacterial benefits on its own 

Other Benefits

As you can see from some of the above studies, Western science is only beginning to test the efficacy of traditional herbal remedies. In addition to the benefits already discussed, the herbs that contain myrcene have also been used in folk medicine for a variety of other reasons. For instance, they’ve been used to help: 

  • Bowel movements
  • Gut health
  • Immune system resilience
  • Symptoms associated with PMS

The list of ways that myrcene might help to improve overall health could go on and on. As more research is conducted, it may turn out that myrcene and other terpenes have an even wider range of health benefits than we currently know.

The Science Behind Mangoes and Cannabis

Mangoes have been reported to increase the effects of cannabis. This is commonly believed to be due to myrcenes (which are found in mangoes).

Additionally, myrcene is known to lower the resistance of the blood to brain barrier—a wall that functions to keep chemicals present in the blood from crossing over into the nervous system. 

By lowering this barrier’s resistance, myrcene allows both its own and other chemicals to cross more efficiently. Thus, when certain cannabinoids are ingested in tandem with high levels of myrcene, the effects of the cannabinoid can occur quicker. 

Future of Research on Terpenes 

In the past, scientists have focused most of their studies on how cannabinoids like CBD and THC  work in isolation. Not much research has been done on terpenes and how they affect the human body—with or without the presence of cannabinoids. 

Fortunately, the National Institute of Health recently published a notice of intent to promote more research on the minor cannabinoids and terpenes found in the cannabis plant. The purpose of this initiative is to develop a better understanding of how cannabis works based on the terpenes and cannabinoids that make up the compound. 

Including Terpenes in Your Choice of CBD

Interested in trying out the positive effects of myrcene? Plant People’s full-spectrum hemp CBD drops contain myrcene and linalool so that you can experience its host of benefits, including:

  • Eases daily stress – For many people, creating healthy structures around work can be challenging. In fact, the “work-life” balance tends to be at the forefront of health and wellness conversations. If this is relatable, you might consider giving CBD oil a try. 
  • Enhances mood – A sour mood can follow you from a restless sleep, through a long day, and well into the next night. CBD oil can help alleviate stress and nervousness, making it easier to relax both during the day and prior to you falling asleep. 
  • Helps with aches and discomfort – Perhaps it’s not work or your home life that gets you down—perhaps it’s the fact that your body is constantly experiencing aches and discomforts. Whether your discomfort is caused by exercise, too much sun exposure, or simply getting older, CBD oil can help you find the relief you desire.
  • Promotes restful sleep – Not only do many people struggle to fall asleep at the end of their workday, but the problems multiply when noisy environments constantly interrupt the sleep cycle and prevent that all-important REM state. Thankfully, another positive benefit of CBD oil is that it promotes healthy, restful sleep. If this is something you want, pair CBD with a white noise machine and a couple of earplugs. This can help you wake up refreshed, energized, and ready to seize the day.

Whatever it is you’re looking for, if CBD can help, Plant People has you covered. Should you have any questions about our CBD products, reach out today. Our experts are as friendly as they are knowledgeable!

Sources:

Prof. Dr. Eberhard Breitmaier. Terpenes: Flavors, Fragrances, Pharmaca, Pheromones.

Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Lavender and the Nervous System. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/

Phytomedicine. Central effects of citral, myrcene and limonene, constituents of essential oil chemotypes from Lippia alba (Mill.) n.e. Brown. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12587690

Journal of Ethnopharmacology. The GABAergic system contributes to the anxiolytic-like effect of essential oil from Cymbopogon citratus (lemongrass). https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874111004788

Medical News Today. Everything You Need to Know About Inflammation. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423

Natural Medicines. The Antibacterial Effects of Myrcene on Staphylococcus aureus and Its Role in the Essential Oil of the Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285862473_The_Antibacterial_Effects_of_Myrcene_on_Staphylococcus_aureus_and_Its_Role_in_the_Essential_Oil_of_the_Tea_Tree_Melaleuca_alternifolia

Science Direct. Myrcene. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/myrcene

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