The last chapter in our introduction to terpene series will cover myrcene and humulene, both vital terpenes found within cannabis. Terpenes are responsible for the taste, aroma and some potential medicinal benefits in all plants. Terpenes make aromatherapy possible, and play a role in most cannabis experiences, directing the high you’ll have. If you want to see our previous posts, you can check them out below.
Myrcrene is one of our favorite terpenes, it’s a pillar terpene in cannabis and is found is a large variety of fruits and vegetables as well.
Where to find it?
Myrcene is popular among cannabis user because of its association with mangos and their ability to get you “higher” if you consume them before using cannabis. Mangos do have myrcene, but myrcene is also present in chamomile and lemongrass. These are all plants that have a sedating/calming effect.
If you are looking to experience myrcene in an essential oil or to utilize its health benefits through aromatherapy, you can try any of the following popular essential oils and myrcene will be at your service; Chamomile, Lemongrass, Bay Leaves, Thyme, Mango (most tropical blends) as well as hops.
What does Myrcene smell and taste like?
Pungent and strong, myrcene smells like fermented fruit or balsamic vinegar; it is earthy and ripe. Lending these attributes to your taste buds, myrcene is a very buildable terpene, it might not be instantly recognisable but being in so many cannabis strain myrcene brings together many different flavors and creates a full-bodied flavor with a ripe, sharp tone.
Myrcene in cannabis
Myrcene is the most abundant terpenes within cannabis. A number of studies have started to show just how much of a mutually beneficial relationship exists between myrcene and THC. I’m sure many of you have heard of the “cannabis lore” surrounding mangos ability to increase your high as I mentioned earlier (heres hoping). It's the myrcene within mangos that affects your high, and not the mangos themselves. Myrcene has been found to increase the permeability of cell membranes, in particular, the blood-brain barrier. Why do we care? Myrcene allows for the transfer of cannabinoids (and other molecules) through the blood-brain barrier to be increased and faster. Because of this effect, myrcene in high concentrations can feel like it is getting you higher simply because the absorption rate is faster. As with most areas of cannabis research, these findings are not based on conclusive evidence, and a lot more investigation needs to occur before we buy 10 flats of mangos and eat ourselves into a THC overload.
Food for thought
Another theory, about myrcenes important role within cannabis, is its ability to help determine species. Basically, the theory states that if a plant has a higher level of myrcene, it will hold indica qualities: relaxing, sedative, and physical. If the plant contains very low percentages of myrcene, it will harbor more sativa-like effects: more of a head high, awake, energized and creative. These claims originate from myrcenes ability to induce sleep all on its own, within aromatherapy essential oils high in myrcene. Chamomile for example is often used for sleep issues, and people who experience severe pain, allowing the myrcene to help reduce side effects of insomnia and physical pain. We’ll expand on this theory later so make sure to stay tuned for blog updates.
Humulene is one of the most commonly consumed terpenes and yet not many people even know it exists!
Where to find it?
Humulene was first discovered in hops. Hops are one of the four ingredients in beer, making this terpene one of the highest consumed terpenes out there. Annually, Canadians drink more than 22,700,000 hectolitres of beer, which is a lot a lot of people consuming humulene annually.
Hops original name is Humulus Lupulus, the root where humulene gets its name. Other than hops, humulene is found in almost every strain of cannabis, as well as sage and ginseng. If you so choose to, you can actually purchase humulene (or any terpene) as an essential oil or a terpene concentrate and add it into your strain of choice. Humulene has been used in many herbal remedies over the years and many of the health benefits that beer can potentially hold stem from humulene or other terpenes.
What does Humulene smell and taste like?
Beer would not be beer without the bitter, hoppy flavor of humulene; humulene is the same powerful terpene that gives ginger and ginseng their spicy, flavourful presence in cooking. Fun fact: if you were to combine pinene and humulene you get the well-rounded smell of a hot summer pine forest, with deep earthy tones and a strong, sharp tang to follow.
Humulene in cannabis
Found in most cannabis strains, humulene is also known as alpha-caryophyllene and is an isomer of beta-caryophyllene. What does that fancy science lingo mean and should you care? Simply put, humulene and caryophyllene are made up of the same things, but they are structured differently, providing different effects and relationships with other compounds in cannabis. This distinction matters most within the medical world (which, if you’re interested to learn more, check this out; we’re not able to educate you on medical attributes of cannabis.) You will notice that within most cannabis strains you will find humulene and caryophyllene together in varying concentrations.
We hope that learning more about terpenes will help you to better understand and predict the type of experience you will have with any strain of cannabis. With the current cannabis laws surrounding education so limiting, terpenes are the most available and best classification system we have left. Keep track of the terpenes you enjoy, this will help you add a new level to your shopping experience and help elevate your cannabis knowledge.
Stay tuned for our youtube channel, we will be releasing educational content around terpenes and many other cannabis-related topics, we also throw some fun videos in to keep you on your toes; for now, follow us on our social channels to stay up to date on new content!