The effects of β-myrcene on simulated driving and divided attention: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover pilot study



Background. β-myrcene, one of the most common terpenes found in cannabis, has been associated with sedation. We propose that β-myrcene contributes to driving impairment even in the absence of cannabinoids. Aim. To conduct a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover pilot study of the effect of β-myrcene on performance on a driving simulator. Method. A small sample (n=10) of participants attended two experimental sessions, one in which they were randomized to receive 15 mg of pure β-myrcene in a capsule versus a canola oil control. Each session, participants completed a baseline block and three follow-up blocks on a STISIM driving simulator. Results. β-myrcene was associated with statistically significant reductions in speed control and increased errors on a divided attention task. Other measures did not approach statistical significance but fit the pattern of results consistent with the hypothesis that β-myrcene impairs simulated driving. Conclusions. This pilot study produced proof-of-principle evidence that the terpene β-myrcene, an agent commonly found in cannabis, can contributes to impairment of driving-related skills. Understanding how compounds other than THC affect driving risk will strengthen the field’s understanding of drugged driving.






Original Report