Myrcene, also sometimes called beta myrcene, is a monoterpene and a significant component of numerous plants and fruits. These include cannabis, ylang-ylang, bay, parsley, wild thyme, lemongrass, hops,cardamom, and the mango fruit. While myrcene is present in many plants, commercial production comes from beta-pinene, another terpene found primarily in turpentine. Myrcene is notable as the most prominent terpene contained in cannabis, according to a 1997 study conducted by the Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture. The study reported that myrcene comprises up to 65% of the terpene content in a cannabis plant. 

How common is myrcene in cannabis?


Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in modern commercial cannabis. When we look at thousands of samples of cannabis flower tested by Leafly lab partners, we see this clearly. On average, myrcene represents over 20% of the terpene profile in modern commercial strains, although individual samples vary widely in their terpene content.

Myrcene is also the most likely cannabis terpene to be dominant in flower. A strain’s “dominant” terpene is simply the terpene present at the highest level. In modern commercial cannabis, only a limited number of terpenes show up as dominant even though there are many more cannabis terpenes in a strain’s overall profile.

If you picked a random flower product off of a shelf in a legal state, you could expect it to be myrcene-dominant about 40% of the time. This reflects the relative lack of chemical diversity in modern commercial cannabis. There’s a lot of room for breeders to experiment with increasing the chemical diversity of strains, potentially even creating novel strains with terpene profiles that are unlike anything commercially available today.

High-myrcene cannabis strains

What popular strain names tend to be associated with the highest levels of myrcene? These p


rolific strains tend to produce high levels of myrcene.

  • OG Kush
  • Blue Dream
  • Remedy
  • 9 Pound Hammer
  • Grape Ape
  • FPOG
  • Granddaddy Purple
  • Tangie
  • Harlequin

Strain names commonly classified as indica, sativa, or hybrid can be found with high levels of myrcene, including popular sativa-dominant hybrids like Tangie and Blue Dream. You’ll also notice myrcene is common in both THC and CBD strains alike.

Myrcene levels in indica and sativa strains

A common claim we hear is that you can tell whether a strain will have “indica” or “sativa” effects by knowing its myrcene levels. It’s often stated that strains with more than 0.5% myrcene by weight will produce “indica” (relaxing) effects, while strains <0.5% myrcene by weight will produce “sativa” (energizing) effects. If this claim was true and reliable, we would expect to see a clear difference in myrcene levels between strains labeled as indica, hybrid, and sativa. Indicas should have mostly >0.5% myrcene by weight, sativas should have mostly <0.5%, and hybrids should be in the middle.

What is myrcene?

The most abundant terpene in cannabis, myrcene may be recognizable for its earthy scent and flavor profile. Some perceive a balsam fragrance in the terpene, while others describe it as smelling of clove or musk. As a component of hops used in beer, myrcene may be experienced as having a peppery or spicy taste. Like other terpenes, myrcene is theorized to be part of the entourage effect, which means that it works in conjunction with cannabinoids to potentially treat a multitude of physical and mental ailments. 

What is myrcene used for?

Myrcene’s primary commercial use is as an intermediary in cosmetics and fragrances. In folk medicine, lemongrass tea is believed to help with insomnia by naturally tranquilizing the mind. As lemongrass contains the myrcene terpene, you may have encountered it either in a relaxing tea or as a flavorful ingredient in Asian cuisine. Any dish made with parsley also contains myrcene. Sink your teeth into a juicy mango, and you’ll experience myrcene. Wash down a platter of lemon-thyme chicken with a bottle of beer and experience a double dose of the terpene. 

What does myrcene taste like?

Cannabis strains with high myrcene levels are often described as tasting spicy, earthy, and musky. Myrcene also carries sweet undertones, which have been compared to ripe mango and other fruity flavors.

Therapeutic properties of myrcene

There is a long list of myrcene’s potential therapeutic benefits. Like other terpenes, such as bisabolol, myrcene is believed to have a potential anti-inflammatory effect, in addition to possible anti-tumor, sedative, and other health benefits.  

Can myrcene get you high?

The myrcene terpene consumed on its own will not get you high. However, high levels of myrcene are often associated with the experience of fast-acting and powerful highs. Research published in 2016 in the journal Nutraceuticals suggested that this sensation may be due to the myrcene terpene playing a key role in facilitating the transport of cannabinoids into your brain. Additionally, myrcene has been linked to enhanced transdermal absorption, potentially opening up another avenue for greater cannabinoid uptake.

Ultimately, myrcene’s effects on the blood-brain barrier and other factors related to blood flow make it a key player in the entourage effect. That said, it will not produce psychoactive effects if consumed in isolation. 

Role of myrcene in cannabis

White Widow, Skunk XL, and Special Kush 1 are all types of cannabis that may contain high levels of myrcene, which is extremely common across many cannabis varieties. Cannabis strains that contain high levels of myrcene may have a reputation for producing greater than average relaxation, or even a sedative effect, but scientific evidence has not yet supported these claims.

Does myrcene make you sleepy?

Herbal medicines containing myrcene have a long history of being used as a sleep aid in folk medicine. In Mexico, myrcene-rich lemongrass infused tea has been used in as a sedative and muscle relaxant. It is common for Germans, who are the second largest hops growers in the world (the US is first), to use myrcene-rich hops preparations as a sleep aid. However, it’s not clear that any controlled studies have pinpointed myrcene as having a causal role in driving sleep in humans; we are not aware of any well-controlled human clinical trials that clearly demonstrate a sedative effect of myrcene.

A limited number of rodent studies have suggested that myrcene, given at high doses, may have muscle relaxant effects. The same study also showed that myrcene can increase the amount of time mice spent asleep, but only when given in combination with narcotics with strong sedative effects. However, animal studies often do not translate to humans, so more research is needed before we will have a clear indication of whether myrcene can produce sedative effects, especially at the levels it is commonly found in commercial cannabis products.

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