Did you know that if you were to eat a mango 30 minutes before using cannabis, that the mango would increase the effects of the THC in your body? Studies dating back to the 1970s have found that Myrcene improves the ability of cell membranes in the body to absorb certain chemicals. So when ingesting mangoes before smoking or ingesting marijuana, the body’s cells are better prepared to absorb THC, which is the chemical responsible for the “high.” This isn’t just used to get people higher but is known to enhance the medicinal effects such as pain relief and sleep aid.

Myrcene is the most commonly found terpene is all cannabis, due to decades of cross-breeding strains. Indica plants stem to have higher amounts of Myrcene which is why we feel that couch lock when enjoying a beautiful Kush strain. Myrcene produces an earthy, spicy, clove fragrance in the strains of cannabis in which it dominates. Because all strains of cannabis feature multiple terpenes, the ratios in which they appear significantly affect the overall fragrance profile and medicinal efficacy of an individual plant. Myrcene is found in fruits and herbs like Mangos, Lemongrass, Citrus, Thyme and Bay Leafs and has an evaporation point of 334 degrees Fahrenheit (168 °C).

The medicinal efficacy of terpenes and benefits triggered in the mammalian endocannabinoid system (ECS) is surprisingly similar to that of cannabinoids. Myrcene’s major effect is sedative in nature, resulting in relaxed muscles and a reduction of pain. This is of obvious value in a number of conditions involving spasticity, seizure activity, or hyperactivity and encompasses common and often debilitating diseases like fibromyalgia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

According to Dr. Ethan Russo, the available data and findings “support the hypothesis that Myrcene is a prominent sedative terpenoid in cannabis, and—combined with THC—may produce the ‘couch-lock’ phenomenon of certain chemotypes that is alternatively decried or appreciated by recreational cannabis consumers.” Many doctors and researchers recommend Myrcene for patients who suffer insomnia, restlessness, and a multitude of forms of anxiety. According to Leafly, “Pair this famously anti-inflammatory terpene with herbal concoctions containing lemongrass or hops for a powerful calm that may put those numbered sheep to rest.”

Myrcene on its own won’t have any effect on the body, but when we add either CBD or THC we create that entourage effect that promotes the terpenes therapeutic effects. Again when I’m asked why do people want cannabis in their food, I circle back to these therapeutic properties. If I’m someone who struggles with sleep, then a CBD or THC Infused humus with Myrcene added is the perfect snack to have a couple of hours before bed. When properly used and incorporated into a dish that promotes health and wellness, we can demonstrate why cannabis is a superfood and why people will want cannabis in their food. This is what excites me when learning about the power of terpenes and why Myrcene is one of my favorites.