How Eating Mangoes or Drinking a Rum and Coke Can Massively Enhance Your Marijuana High

Do you find that having a beer with your bud increases the pleasurability of your toking experience? What about a rum and coke? Or a mango?


Those three items—and some other foodstuffs—contain a substance that can not only get you higher on pot, but can also mellow that high. That substance is myrcene, one of more than a hundred terpenes present in marijuana.

When talking about marijuana highs, people tend to focus on THC, one of the dozen of cannabinoids present in pot and the one most identified with cannabis intoxication. But in recent years, more attention has been focused on other cannabinoids, especially cannabidiol (CBD), and their therapeutic (as opposed to stony) qualities.

Even more recently, attention has turned to the terpenes and the role they play in mediating the marijuana experience.  So, what the heck are terpenes?

Terpenes (also known as terpenoids) are oily volatile organic compounds that produce aromas and essential oils. They are the basis for aromaptherapy.

In marijuana, terpenes are the stuff that gives pot its unique odors. Cannabinoids like THC are odorless; it is the terpenes that provide "the nose." Both cannabinoids and terpenes are produced in the pot plant's trichomes—the "hairs" on the buds and the source of the high.

In marijuana, different terpenes produce different aromas. Alpha-pinene (essential pine oil) creates that forest aroma found in strains like Grand Daddy Purple or Hawaiian Kush, while limonene (also found in citrus) produces that lemony flavor found in strains like—duh—Lemon Haze, Lemon Kush, and Lemon Drop.

Then there's linalool (also found in lavender), which is present in some classic strains, including Maui Wowie and Hash Plant, as well as Lavender Jack.

But it's myrcene, another terpene found in both marijuana and other plants, that can excite the pot high. It does other things, too. As AlterNet recently noted, myrcene appears to play as big a role as the indica/sativa distinction in whether your pot high is an exhilarating, giggly, "up" experience or a narcotized, body high, couch lock experience.

Eating or drinking substances containing myrcene is thought to have an additive or even synergistic effect on marijuana intoxication. Mangoes in particular are associated with quickening and heightening the marijuana high.

Last year, Marijuana.com reported that the myrcenes in mangoes "increase, strengthen, and even lengthen the euphoric feelings felt after smoking marijuana." (It also noted that the finding was good news because pot smokers could now have "a healthy alternative snack to turn towards during their munchies.") Eating mangoes prior to toking up would jazz up the pot high, the report suggested.

But mangoes are by no means the only myrcene-containing substances. The key terpene is also found in apricots, hops, lemon grass, the bay tree (from which bay rum is made), parsley, verbena, and wild thyme. And that leads to an interesting question just begging for field research: If mangoes get you higher on pot, wouldn't these other items do so, too?

Does a bottle of hops-containing beer or a bay rum-containing Cube Libre mellow out your high? And is it just the alcohol, or is it the myrcene?

What about having some Lemon Grass tea before you fire up? Or maybe a parsley-thyme-apricot-mango smoothie? Inquiring minds want to know. 

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