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Ocimene: Health Benefits, Uses, Strains

in the image you'll see parsley, basil, spinach, hops flower and cuts of orange

Ocimene is a terpene — a compound found in many plants in nature, including cannabis plants, that delivers distinctive smells, flavors, and health benefits. Ocimene, in particular, has a warm, woody, citrusy smell, uplifting effects, and anticonvulsant, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-tumor properties.

Aside from its uses in cannabis products, ocimene is also used in everyday products like pest repellents, fabric softeners, antiperspirants, shampoos, soaps, and hard-surface cleaners, and is a commonly used in the perfume industry.

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What Is Ocimene?

Ocimene is the terpene responsible for the sweet, woody, herbal smell of some cannabis strains (cultivars). Its effects are uplifting and may have some therapeutic effects — especially when paired with other cannabinoids via the entourage effect. It is an excellent terpene to look out for if you’re on the hunt for a daytime-use cannabis strain.

Ocimene is derived from the Greek word “ociumum,” which means basil. Fittingly, ocimene can also be found in basil. Other sources of ocimene in the plant world include mint, tarragon, parsley, mangos, lavender, hops, and orchid flowers.

Health Benefits and Uses

The potential benefits of ocimene are noteworthy as far as complementary natural medicines are concerned. Its therapeutic properties include anticonvulsant, antifungal, antitumoral, antidepressant, and decongestant effects.


Cannabis contains anti-convulsant compounds, including terpenes like pinene, cymene, ocimene, and cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD). This makes terpenes like ocimene potentially very valuable for managing seizures associated with epilepsy.

Antifungal Agent

Ocimene has antifungal properties, which make it an excellent addition to products like washing powders & liquids, soaps, shampoos, and cleaning products. Ocimene’s antifungal properties also make it a useful terpene in cannabis-infused topicals.


Ocimene has been shown to have antitumor properties that exhibit cytotoxic activity against various types of cancer, including oral, liver, lung, colon, melanoma, and leukemic cancer cells. However, these are research results from lab tests on cells, not humans.


Ocimene has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral effects and may be a protective agent against various types of infection. These assets could help prevent antibiotic resistance.


Ocimene has been reported to have uplifting effects that could help it manage anxiety and depression.


Ocimene has been reported to have decongestant properties and is used in aromatherapy treatment (using essential oils for therapeutic benefits) for this purpose. This makes ocimene potentially useful for managing asthma and cystic fibrosis (CF).

Potential Risks and Side Effects

Anticonvulsants like ocimene can cause potentially cause “anticonvulsant hypersensitivity syndrome,” which can potentially interfere with drugs used for seizure control, such as benzodiazepines or valproic acid.

Cannabinoids in cannabis, particularly CBD, may also inhibit the metabolization of antiseizure medications, so it is wise to be careful and consult a physician if you are using cannabis to reduce seizures or manage conditions like epilepsy.

Also, despite ocimene’s use as a decongestant, it has been reported to induce coughing when ocimene-rich cannabis strains (cultivars) are smoked. Utilizing vaporizers, tinctures, and topicals may reduce these side effects.

Cannabis Strains High in Ocimene

Ocimene is often seen in uplifting sativa-dominant strains, but it is present in all varieties and is not exclusive to sativas.

Different strains (cultivars) that have tested high in ocimene include:

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does ocimene make you feel?

Ocimene has been reported to have stimulating, uplifting effects that could make it useful for managing anxiety and depression.

Does ocimene make you high?

Ocimene and other terpenes in cannabis do not necessarily make you feel “high” in and of themselves because terpenes and terpenoids do not act at cannabinoid receptors. However, this does not necessarily mean that terpenes do not impart their influence on the effects of cannabis overall, as they can act on other receptor systems in the human body.

How common is ocimene in cannabis?

Ocimene is fairly common in cannabis and is found in many natural plants. Ocimene is often reported as more often found in sativa varieties of cannabis.

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