Updated: Mar 24
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An October 2022 study entitled "Effects of Super-class Cannabis Terpenes Beta-caryophyllene and Alpha-pinene on Zebrafish Behavioral Biomarkers" that was published in the journal Scientific Reports suggested the existence of a special subclass of terpenes that it dubbed super class terpenes.
"There are more than fifty cannabis terpenes most commonly found in North American cannabis strains, eight of which predominate to form a 'Terpene Super Class,'" explained the study.
The eight super class terpenes identified by this pinnacle study include alpha-pinene, beta-caryophyllene (BCP), humulene, limonene, linalool, myrcene, ocimene, and terpinolene. Higher Learning LV investigates each of these important terpenes in our Super Class Terpenes series.
Read our exclusive summary of this peer-reviewed research study here.
"More than fifty cannabis terpenes are commonly found in North American cannabis strains, eight of which predominate to form a 'Terpene Super Class.'"
Myrcene (β-myrcene), sometimes called beta-myrcene and one of the eight super class terpenes, is known for delivering an earthy scent and flavor that sometimes carries notes of balsam, clove, or musk. Some observers also report subtle layers of pepper and spice.
This terpene is a popular commercial ingredient used by a variety of product types, including cosmetics and skin care. Like others in the super class category, it is one of the most common terpenes in cannabis/hemp/marijuana. Commercial volumes of this terpene are produced from beta-pinene, the isomer chemical cousin to alpha-pinene.
Plays Well with BCP and Humulene
Myrcene and beta-caryophyllene (BCP) are commonly cited as the most common terpenes produced by cannabis and hemp plants. Also, research has revealed that myrcene, BCP, and humulene typically cluster in the same cultivars and plant samples. Thus, plants that feature discernable volumes of one of these terpenes typically contain significant amounts of the others.
"Research has revealed that myrcene, BCP, and humulene typically cluster in the same cultivars and plant samples."
Like other cannabis terpenes, myrcene is never encountered in isolation in the wild. Instead, it combines with many other terpenes (and similar chemicals, including esters and ketones) to produce unique and multi-layered fragrances that are characteristics of particular cultivars and individual plants.
Hops are a top source of myrcene
This terpene is produced by many botanical species beyond cannabis, including cardamom, citrus fruits, hops (a top source of humulene), lemongrass, mango, parsley, verbena, wild thyme, and ylang-ylang. Myrcene can be found in a number of cannabis cultivars (strains), including Cherry Pie, Granddaddy Purple, OG Kush, Skunk XL, Special Kush 1, and White Widow.
Like other terpenes and cannabinoids, research has revealed that myrcene features multiple avenues of efficacy and may act as a positive therapeutic agent for a number of diseases and conditions. Myrcene's potential medicinal benefits include efficacy against anxiety, a number of sleep disorders, multiple sclerosis, pain, arthritis, and a number of conditions in which inflammation plays a central role.
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