Myrcene: There’s More To Marijuana Than Cannabinoids

As the legalization of recreational and medical cannabis continues to spread, so is awareness for its many healing properties. And though active compounds known as cannabinoids have been hogging the limelight, there’s another category of compounds that are yet to be similarly appreciated by consumers and chemists alike.

Terpenes are a family of cannabinoid-like compounds that are often associated with pungent scents, which serve to protect plants from predators, among other things. Among the 20,000 different terpenes that have so far been identified in nature, 200 have been found within the cannabis plant. Terpenes are forged, along with cannabinoids, in the minute chemical factories known as trichomes that occupy the flowers and leaves of the plant.

Along with the strong aroma cannabis is associated with, terpenes also play a role in the plant’s myriad healing properties. Indeed, studies are revealing they provide quite the banquet of therapeutic services, as well as being a building block within the cannabis plant. Terpenes aid in the production of vitamins, hormones, and resins in the herb, as well as contributing to the construction of the prized and precious cannabinoid compounds.

Of all of the terpenes present in cannabis, one in particular stands out due to its vast medical potential. A 1997 study conducted at the Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, which analyzed the contents of steam distilled cannabis essential oil, identified myrcene as the most abundant terpene.

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 3.08.17 PM

Myrcene is also found in fresh mango fruit, hops, bay leaves, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and numerous other plants. As a monoterpene, it also serves as a precursor for the manufacture of other terpenes. In cannabis, myrcene levels tend to dictate whether a particular strain will bare sativa or indica effects upon administration. Sativa effects are for the most part uplifting and stimulate creativity, whereas indica effects are more sedating and relaxing. Myrcene levels of above 0.5 percent will result in indica sensations, while sativa strains usually contain less than 0.5 percent levels of the terpene.

Interestingly, the consumption of fresh mango 45 minutes before inhaling cannabis will result in a faster onset and greater intensity of the psychoactive effects. This is because the myrcene in the fruit allows certain chemicals, such as THC, to cross the blood-brain barrier more easily. Myrcene has also been shown to increase the maximum saturation level of the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 receptor.

The consumption of fresh mango 45 minutes before inhaling cannabis will result in a faster onset and greater intensity of the psychoactive effects. Via: Viktar Malyshchyts | Shutterstock
The consumption of fresh mango 45 minutes before inhaling cannabis will result in a faster onset and greater intensity of the psychoactive effects. Via: Viktar Malyshchyts | Shutterstock.

Reset contacted biochemist Dennis Hill, who provided a summary of the medicinal qualities of myrcene.

“Myrcene, the most studied terpene in the cannabis plant, has many benefits in the human body; it is an anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-carcinogen, and regulates permeability of cell membranes. Myrcene is a powerful analgesic, muscle relaxant, and sedative. And within the entourage effects, contributes substantially to treating diabetes, insomnia, stress, inflammation, and cancer.”

A scientific review, entitled Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phycannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects, published by the British Journal of Pharmacology lists a wide range of benefits that myrcene offers. Among other things, the researchers note that myrcene relaxed muscles in mice models, acted as a sleep aid in higher doses, and augmented the medicinal effects of certain cannabinoids.

Furthermore, the authors identified how myrcene can enhance the medicinal properties of certain cannabinoids. They found myrcene in combination with CBD decreased inflammation, reduced pain, and had anti-cancer properties. When combined with THC, myrcene reduced pain, relaxed muscles, and proved to have sedative effects. And in combination with CBG, myrcene was effective at combatting cancer.

Myrcene has also been shown to have powerful pain relieving properties, by influencing the endogenous opioid system, as documented in a paper which summarized a study conducted at the Federal University of Ceará in Brazil. In it, the authors state that, “The results suggest that myrcene is capable of inducing antinociception [the process of blocking the detection of pain stimuli] in mice…”

Additionally, another Brazilian study highlighted the powerful pain reducing action of myrcene to the degree that the authors concluded, “Terpenes such as myrcene may constitute a lead for the development of new peripheral analgesics with a profile of action different from that of the aspirin-like drugs.”

Lemongrass also contains a large amount of myrcene. Via: Lotus Images | Shutterstock.
Lemongrass also contains a large amount of myrcene. Via: Lotus Images | Shutterstock.

As research continues and cannabis laws become more relaxed, it’s exciting to entertain the idea that more cannabis-derived medicines could replace potentially dangerous and addictive drugs that our current medical paradigm is so dependent upon.

According to The Leaf Online, a 2007 study from the University of Jordan set out to scientifically explore myrcene’s use as a folk remedy for diabetes. The researchers found that myrcene, hand in hand with another terpene named thujone, mitigated the effects of diabetes in a pilot study conducted on mice.

To reap the benefits of myrcene, it is advisable to select cannabis strains with profile high in the terpene. Lemongrass also holds a large amount of myrcene, which is believed to contribute to some of the herb’s therapeutic properties.





Glycerol Monolaurate (GML) and a Nonaqueous Five-Percent GML Gel Kill Bacillus and Clostridium Spores







Glycerol Monolaurate (GML) and a Nonaqueous Five-Percent GML Gel Kill Bacillus and Clostridium Spores

Glycerol monolaurate is a broadly antimicrobial fatty acid monoester, killing bacteria, fungi, and enveloped viruses. The compound kills stationary-phase cultures of Bacillus anthracis, suggesting that the molecule may kill spores. In this study, we examined the ability of glycerol monolaurate alone or solubilized in a nonaqueous gel to kill vegetative cells and spores of aerobic B. anthracis, B. subtilis, and B. cereus and anaerobic Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium (Clostridioides) difficile. Glycerol monolaurate alone was bactericidal for all five organisms tested. Glycerol monolaurate alone was effective in killing spores. When solubilized in a nonaqueous gel, the glycerol monolaurate gel was bactericidal for all spores tested. The data suggest that glycerol monolaurate nonaqueous gel could be effective in decontaminating environmental and body surfaces, such as skin.


IMPORTANCE Bacillus and Clostridium spores are known to be highly resistant to killing, persisting on environmental and human body surfaces for long periods of time. In favorable environments, these spores may germinate and cause human diseases. It is thus important to identify agents that can be used on both environmental and human skin and mucosal surfaces and that are effective in killing spores. We previously showed that the fatty acid monoester glycerol monolaurate (GML) kills stationary-phase cultures of Bacillus anthracis. Since such cultures are likely to contain spores, it is possible that GML and a human-use-approved GML nonaqueous gel would kill Bacillus and Clostridium spores. The significance of our studies is that we have identified GML, and, to a greater extent, GML solubilized in a nonaqueous gel, as effective in killing spores from both bacterial genera.




Bacillus and Clostridium species produce spores as nutrient levels become limiting; these spores are highly resistant to changes in environment conditions and can withstand both heat and drying. For example, Bacillus subtilis is nonpathogenic, but its spores may contaminate environmental surfaces (1), including workbenches in laboratories and ventilation systems. In contrast, B. anthracis and B. cereus may be environmental contaminants, but these organisms are also important causes of human diseases, such as anthrax (2,–4) and necrotizing fasciitis (5, 6), respectively. Similarly, there are large numbers of clostridial species, the majority of which can cause human diseases if introduced to traumatized tissue, for example, Clostridium perfringens (7, 8). Also, treatment of humans with antimicrobials that disrupt the normal microbiota can allow germination and growth of pathogens such as Clostridium (Clostridioides) difficile (9,–11). Spores from C. difficile may in turn contaminate the environment and skin and clothing after elimination from the infected host.


Glycerol monolaurate (GML) is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial with large numbers of bacterial targets (12,–14). For example, Staphylococcus aureus has 16 two-component systems, all of which appear to be targeted for inactivation by GML (13). GML likely inserts into the plasma membranes of bacteria, with the net effect of preventing structural changes in membrane proteins required for their activity (13). The final effect may be to reduce the potential difference across the plasma membrane, comparably to another broadly antimicrobial molecule, reutericyclin (15). As with reutericyclin, bacteria with an gene conferring immunity to reutericyclin, such as some lactobacilli, are resistant to GML, and, indeed, GML serves as a growth stimulant for such microbes (14).


GML alone is active against most Gram-positive bacteria, such as streptococci and staphylococci, but the molecule is completely inactive against Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, due to the presence of the intact lipopolysaccharide (13, 16). Gram-negative bacteria with lipo-oligosaccharide, such as Neisseria, are susceptible to killing by GML (13). However, all Gram-negative bacteria, as well as most Gram-positive organisms, are highly susceptible to GML when the compound is solubilized in a nonaqueous gel (12, 14, 17, 18). The nonaqueous gel has been used extensively on human, animal, and environmental surfaces (12, 14, 17, 18). A large number of in vitro and in vivo experiments have shown that 5% GML plus a nonaqueous gel (5% [50,000µg/ml] GML gel) is both effective at killing bacteria and safe for use on human and animal mucosal and skin surfaces (12, 14, 17, 18).


To date, no studies have assessed the effectiveness of GML alone or of 5% (50,000µg/ml) GML gel against Bacillus or Clostridium spores. The goal of this study was to assess the effectiveness of GML in reducing and eliminating spores. Our studies showed that GML alone was effective in killing vegetative cells of B. subtilis, B. anthracis, C. perfringens, and C. difficile. Additionally, GML alone also killed spores by these same organisms but was not as effective as GML gel. GML gel was effective in killing both vegetative cells and spores. Because of its safety record, 5% (50,000µg/ml) GML gel may be useful in environmental and human surface contamination with bacterial spores.

In sum, our studies have shown that the use of GML alone was effective in killing Gram-positive spore-forming bacteria, with subinhibitory concentrations preventing exotoxin production. A gel composed of 5% (50,000µg/ml) GML solubilized in glycols and approved for use in humans was effective in killing spores produced by the same microbes.

Glycerol Monolaurate (GML) and a Nonaqueous Five-Percent GML Gel Kill Bacillus and Clostridium Spores  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6249644/