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Terp Talk: Ocimene

In this ongoing series, we shine a spotlight on the natural compounds that help distinguish popular cannabis strains.

We’ve covered heavy hitters like linalool and caryophyllene, so let’s get into a more tertiary terp that should be on your reefer radar – ocimene. Like most terpenes, you’re probably more familiar with it than you realize as it’s found in many garden herbs, beauty and household products, and – of course – lots of strains you know and love.

So fresh and so ocimene.

Derived from the Greek word for “basil,” ocimene is (obviously) found in basil as well as other aromatic herbs like parsley, mint, and tarragon. Its presence in orchids, bergamot, lavender, and mangoes also elicits a hint of citrusy floral, making it the perfect addition to perfumes, deodorants, and laundry supplies. While these are all smells that we humans love, ocimene actually protects plants from pesky aphids and other bugs. So, you might want to consider an outdoor candle with ocimene to keep your patios pest-free this summer.

Of course, we want to protect our favorite non-pest pollinators – bees! Research shows that ocimene plays a role in keeping honeybees’ strict societal hierarchy in check by motivating younger bees to pitch into all the work that goes into a maintaining healthy colony. Perhaps ocimene is the true queen bee?

Hard at work and high on ocimene’s supply? We’re fans of whatever keeps our fuzzy friends thriving.

Ocimene at a glance.

While rarely a prominent terpene in cannabis, ocimene causes a double-edged sword type of scenario when smoking strains that include it. It is a natural decongestant that helps rid the upper respiratory tract of mucus. However, it’s also a natural expectorant, meaning it may cause you to cough more. Take that as you will as spring allergens continue to fester in the air and stifle your sinuses…

Aroma: Its smell is generally subtle, emitting a warm floral sweetness, soft woodiness, and faint fruitiness.

Flavor: Since it’s found in many fruits and herbs, it’s no wonder ocimene is more prominent on the palate. You can usually expect a citrus flavor, possibly with a spicy zest.

Effects: While it definitely depends on the strain and other terpenes that it’s working alongside, ocimene is typically found in sativa-dominant strains associated with uplifting effects.

Uses: Studies of ocimene’s presence in black pepper suggests it may help manage hypertension and symptoms of type 2 diabetes. It’s also known to be anti-inflammatory, combatting buildup of inflammatory substances naturally produced by the body’s immune system; this makes it a great terpene to seek out in cases of fibromyalgia or arthritis. Irritating symptoms of athlete’s foot or ring worm can be soothed by ocimene’s anti-fungal properties and lastly, its anti-viral abilities have come into light with studies suggesting that it may help fight off SARS and malaria. This was before COVID times, but clearly, ocimene’s potential is promising in many respects.

Which strains contain ocimene?

Does ocimene sound like your jam? You can find it in Strawberry Jelly, Jack Herer, OG Kush, Sour Diesel, Strawberry Cough, Space Queen, Mimosa, and Frankenstein OG…just to name a few!

Aeriz Strawberry Jelly live resin sugar, sold at Marigold.