Could eating mangoes before you imbibe with your favorite bud actually get you higher? Is it a placebo effect? Or, is this a mythological concept — a part of stoner folklore that’s not supported by science? (Like thinking holding your hits longer gets you higher? To the dismay of many, that one is a myth.)
If you’re a fan of these fruity delights (and you love your herb), you’ll be pleased to learn; the “mango effect” is real.
What Is It in Mangoes That Could Potentiate Your Buzz?
Myrcene is a terpene. And, in fact, myrcene is already one of the most prominent terpenes found in cannabis (particularly in Indica-dominant strains where terpene content can be anywhere from .5% to as much 3%). Myrcene is also a sedative and is thought to act synergistically with THC. And, why many myrcene-rich Indica-dominant strains tend to produce heavy body highs. Couch lock, anyone?
So What the Heck Is a Terpene?
With more than 500 chemical compounds, cannabis is a complex plant. More than 100 of these chemicals are cannabinoids, like CBD and THC. And, more than double this number are thought to be terpenes.
Terpenes are found in many plants. They’re what give plants their unique aroma. Clarissa Leon, food editor for AlterNet explains:
“Myrcene is responsible for the aromas of apricots, walnuts and Valencia oranges and is widely used in the perfume industry. It gets its name from the plant mercia and is also found in lemongrass, verbena, hops and the West Indian bay tree used to make bay rum. Its aroma is much like cannabis as it can be woodsy, citrusy and fruity.”
Terpenes also produce therapeutic effects (myrcene is known not only for its sedative effects but for being a muscle relaxant and natural pain reliever).
Why Does Myrcene Get You Higher?
So we know myrcene is a sedative. And, we know it’s prominent in cannabis (and many other plants). But, why does it actually get you higher?
The mechanistic action of myrcene is a bit unclear (and controversial). Many people believe myrcene helps THC cross the blood-brain barrier more easily. The BBB, as it’s also called — it’s not just the Better Business Bureau — is the brain’s own security system. It’s a membrane barrier that protects the brain from foreign substances while allowing in essential nutrients.
So it would seem logical that if myrcene helps THC penetrate the BBB more easily, myrcene-rich mangoes will get you higher. However, some argue that THC is already highly lipophilic (meaning it dissolves easily). So THC shouldn’t need much help getting thru the BBB. Nonetheless, the BBB theory seems to be the most plausible explanation (and certainly the most popular). Although there’s also likely some other synergistic mechanisms at play, that science is yet to explain.
What If You Don’t Like Mangoes?
Who doesn’t like mangoes? They’re so sweet and delicious! Well, if you get sick of pairing your cannabis with mangoes, mango’s not the only myrcene-lush plant in town. Lemongrass, thyme, parsley, and even hops, contain robust myrcene content. (I once had a very hoppy mango-infused IPA beer before consuming a modest 10 mg therapeutic dose of THC. Needless to say, I felt surprisingly toasty.)
So there you have it: the “mango effect” is not a figment of your imagination. It really works. And, hey, there are some added benefits to pairing cannabis with mangoes. Not only are they delicious (and amplify your high), they’re rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and therapeutic benefits. So you’ll do your body good! And, if you have a case of the munchies, they’re a lot healthier than scarfing down pizza or ice cream!
Want to get a bit creative with your mangoes? AllRecipes has served up nearly 400 mango-inspired recipes, including avocado mango salsa, spicy Indian Chicken with Mango Curry, and even a mango lassi. Yum yum. Bon appetit!