Myrcene

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Myrcene is the most abundant terpene produced by cannabis and provides an earthy, fruity aroma with a hint of spice. Myrcene is a potent pain-killer, acting at central sites that are antagonized by naloxone (1). Myrcene also works via a peripheral mechanism shared by CBD, CBG and CBC-by blocking the inflammatory activity of prostaglandin E2 (2) and eliciting protective effects in liver tissue (3). Myrcene also synergises the anti-bacterial potency of other essential oil components (4).

 

Myrcene inhibits cytochrome P450-2B1, an enzyme implicated in the metabolic function of promutagens (5).

Myrcene is recognised as relaxant as part of hops preparations (Humulus lupulus), employed to aid sleep in Germany (6). Furthermore, myrcene acts as a muscle relaxant in mice, and potentiates sleep duration at high doses (6).

Myrcene is the predominant terpene in hemp species. It has been used to reduce localised and general pain at 5mg per kg body weight in mice. This is equivalent to 1mg per kilogram of body weight (7) in humans (8,9,10,11).

Myrcene has also been demonstrated to protect the lining of the gut against ulcers by assisting with maintenance of the gastric mucosa, protecting it against peroxidative damage while increasing GSH/glutathione levels (12). Myrcene even protects chondrocytes, strengthening bone and cartilage (13).

 Key references:

  • Relaxant (6)

  • Anti-inflammatory (2)

  • Pain-reducing (1,7,8,9,10,11)

  • Muscle relaxant (6)

  • Anti-bacterial (4)

  • Anti-proliferative (3)

  • Protects against DNA damage (5)

  • Protects against peptic ulcers (12)

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1  - Rao, V.S.N., A.M.S. Menezes, and G.S.B. Viana. 1990. Effect of myrcene on nociception in mice. J Pharm Pharmacol 42:877-878.

2 - Lorenzetti, B.B., G.E.P. Souza, S.J. Sarti, D. Santos Filho, and S.H. Ferreira. 1991. Myrcene mimics the peripheral analgesic activity of lemongrass tea. J Ethno-pharmacol 34:43-48.

3 - De Oliveira AC, Ribeiro-Pinto L.F, Paumgartten JR (1997). In vitro inhibition of CYP2B1 monooxygenase by beta-myrcene and other monoterpenoid compounds. Toxicol Lett 92: 39-46

4 - Onawunmi, G.O., W.A. Yisak, and E.O. Ogunlana. 1984. Antibacterialconstituents in the essential oil of Cymbopogon ciratus (DC.) Stapf. J Ethanopharmacol 12(3): 279-286

5 - De Oliviera, A.C., L.F. Ribeiro-Pinto, J.R. Paumgartten. 1997. In vitro inhibition of CYP2B1 monooxygenase by beta-myrcene and other monoterpenoid compounds. Toxicol Lett 92:39-46

6 - Bisset NG, Wichtl M (2004). Herbal Drugs and Phytophamaceuticals: A Handbook for Practice on a Scientific Basis, 3rd edn. Medpharm Scientific Publishers: Stuttgart; CRC Pres: Boca Raton, FL.

do Vale TG, Furtado EC, Santos JG Jr, Viana GS (2002). Central effects of citral, myrcene and limonene, constituents of essential oil chemotypes from Lippia alba (Mill.) n.e. Brown. Phytomed 9: 709-714.

7 - Paula-Freire, L. I. G., Molska, G. R., Andersen, M. L., & de Araújo Carlini, E. L. (2016). Ocimum gratissimum essential oil and its isolated compounds (eugenol and myrcene) reduce neuropathic pain in mice. Planta medica, 82 (03), 211-216.

8 - Tonussi, C. R., & Ferreira, S. H. (1992). Rat knee-joint carrageenin incapacitation test: an objective screen for central and peripheral analgesics. Pain, 48 (3),421-427.

9 - Guimarães, A. G., Quintans, J. S., & Quintans-Júnior, L. J. (2013). Monoterpenes with analgesic activity—a systematic review. Phytotherapy research, 27 (1),1-15.

10 - Lorenzetti, B. B., Souza, G. E., Sarti, S. J., Santos Filho, D., & Ferreira, S. H. (1991). Myrcene mimics the peripheral analgesic activity of lemongrass tea. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 34 (1), 43-48.

11 - Paumgartten, F. J. R., Delgado, I. F., Alves, E. N., Nogueira, A. C. M. D. A., Presgrave, R. D. F., & Neubert, D. (1990). Single dose toxicity study of beta-myrcene, a natural analgesic substance.

12 - Bonamin, F., Moraes, T. M., Dos Santos, R. C., Kushima, H., Faria, F. M., Silva, M. A., & da Rocha, L. R. (2014). The effect of a minor constituent of essential oil from Citrus aurantium: The role of β-myrcene in preventing peptic ulcer disease. Chemico-biological interactions, 212, 11-19.

13 - 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.

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