There is a great number of anecdotal reports circulating online which claim that mangos are capable of intensifying the psychoactive effects of cannabis. We are here today to do the myth-busting of mango and weed interaction.
Many effects have been attributed to the interaction between mangos and weed, ranging from speeding up the onset time of the high, prolonging the high’s duration, and of course making the entire experience more intense.
Unfortunately a lot of these claims are not backed up by factual evidence, but there are some scientific indications that combining mangos with cannabis can produce a different effect.
We are here to separate fact from fiction, and our first objective is to explain what does the mango fruit contain that can change the effects of weed.
Mangos and Myrcene
Mangos have an abundance of myrcene (also known as β-myrcene), which falls under a class of chemical compounds called terpenes.
Terpenes are aromatic organic compounds found in a wide variety of plants, and besides having pleasant odours, terpenes also produce a multitude of physiological effects.
Myrcene is an important constituent of various other plants, such as eucalyptus, lemongrass, bay leaves, hops and cannabis.
In fact, myrcene is the most prominent terpene in the vast majority of cannabis strains, and it is particularly abundant in the relaxing Indica (and Indica dominant hybrid) strains.
In general, every cannabis strain contains a unique mixture of differing terpenes, such as limonene, caryophyllene, linalool and many more.
Myrcene is a terpene found in many plants, including mangos and vast majority of cannabis strains.
Now that we’ve covered what myrcene is, we can move on to its function in relation to consuming weed.
The abundance of myrcene in the mango fruit is what makes this combination special. But, to what extent are mangos capable of altering the effects of cannabis is still very much open for debate.
We are now going to cover all of the scientific research that has been dealing with the relationship between myrcene and cannabis.
Science Behind Myrcene
The first research we’ll be covering is a study from 2014, which found that the terpenes from the Sideritis plant (this plant also has an abundance of myrcene) enhanced the activity of GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitters in the brain.
GABA neurotransmitters have an inhibitory function, and their primary role is to reduce neural excitability across the nervous system.
Therefore, an enhanced activity of GABA neurotransmitters caused by the presence of myrcene in the system produces a relaxing, and overtly mellow sensation.
This study also helps to explain why Indica cannabis strains (which have a greater amount of myrcene) produce a more relaxing and downtempo experience when compared with the effects of their Sativa counterparts.
To conclude, this research wasn’t dealing with the effect of myrcene on the psychoactive effects of THC, but only that myrcene intensifies the cerebral sensations of relaxation and mellowness.
A different animal study from 1988 was investigating the effects of substances which stimulate GABA neurotransmitters transmissions, combined with THC.
This research found that these GABA-stimulating substances work synergistically with THC to induce stupor in mice. It’s important to note that this particular study wasn’t analyzing the effects of myrcene and THC, but instead used different substances that also enhance GABA activity, in a similar fashion to myrcene.
Another potential effect of myrcene is that it’s capable of increasing the permeability of cell membranes, most notably of the blood-brain barrier.
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a semi-impenetrable border of cells which guards the brain from various toxins and pathogens that are coursing through the blood, but at the same time allows benevolent compounds to pass through it and reach the brain.
A study from 2016 mentioned that myrcene has a supposed effect on the blood-brain barrier, which in theory would increase the overall amount of cannabinoids that reach the receptors in the brain. However, the researchers also noted that there is currently a lack of hard evidence regarding this effect.
But, according to a review titled “Anti-inflammatory & anti-nociceptive properties of β-myrcene”, myrcene is potentially capable of diminishing the resistance of the blood-brain barrier.
Viola Brugnatelli, a neuroscientist and endocannabinologist at the University of Padua, the lead author of this scientific review noted:
“It appears that the monoterpene lowers resistance across the blood brain barrier, improving permeability, so that β-myrcene itself and many other chemicals (including the analgesic THC) may cross the barrier more effectively.”
Even though this particular effect still remains unproven, it does provide us with useful insight about a novel mechanism of myrcene.
If proven, this mechanism would entail that myrcene increases the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, therefore allowing a greater amount of THC to reach the brain.
This in favour would explain all of the anecdotal reports where users mentioned that the psychoactive effects of THC were intensified when mangos were consumed.
Finally, some online sources have also suggested that myrcene is capable of increasing the maximal saturation of CB1 receptors in the brain.
CB1 receptors (Cannabinoid receptors type 1) are cellular receptors in the body that THC compounds connect to, and by doing so produce a psychoactive effect.
The increase of maximal saturation of CB1 receptors would mean that more THC molecules would be capable of connecting with these receptors.
But, according to this 2020 research article, myrcene isn’t capable of producing such an effect. An excerpt from the research article reads:
“No data were produced to support the hypothesis that any of the five terpenes tested (either alone or in mixtures) have direct interactions with CB1 or CB2.”
A 2019 research also corroborated that the terpenes found in cannabis (myrcene was included in the research) aren’t capable of modulating the functional activity of THC on the CB1 receptors.
Combining Mango and Weed
Even though contemporary science still hasn’t figured out everything there is to know about the complex relationship between myrcene and THC, there are some general rules for trying mango and weed.
People with a slow metabolism should eat a fresh mango approximately two hours before smoking or vaping cannabis, while people with a quicker metabolism should consume a mango less than an hour before smoking/vaping weed.
As for edibles, eating a mango at the same time as the edible should be an adequate solution.
Finally, deciding to eat a mango at the same time when you’re smoking weed should also be alright, because as long as myrcene is floating around in your system at the same time as THC, everything should be aces.
But, consuming mangos prior to smoking weed seems to be the most effective method.
If you have the time, make sure to let us know in the comment section how mango and weed combination has affected you.
- GABAA receptor modulation by terpenoids from Sideritis extracts, 2014
- Drugs which stimulate or facilitate central GABAergic transmission interact synergistically with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol to produce marked catalepsy in mice, 1988
- Cannabis sativa and Hemp (Chapter 53), 2016
- Anti-inflammatory & anti-nociceptive properties of β-myrcene
- Terpenoids From Cannabis Do Not Mediate an Entourage Effect by Acting at Cannabinoid Receptors, 2020
- Absence of Entourage: Terpenoids Commonly Found in Cannabis sativa Do Not Modulate the Functional Activity of Δ9-THC at Human CB1 and CB2 Receptors, 2019