Terpenes are the natural compounds in cannabis that determine the flavor, aroma, and potential benefits. They work alongside cannabinoids to create the mental and physical effects of using cannabis or hemp. Researchers have identified over 100 different cannabinoids and 140 terpenes, each of which has its own distinct characteristics and effects.

At Highgrade Labs, we get to see many different terpenes firsthand in our terpene profile testing, and one terpene that stands out is ocimene. In this blog, we will talk about how ocimene is identified and what potential benefits ocimene contains.


Identifying Ocimene

Ocimene, like all terpenes, is not limited to cannabis; the study of terpenes in cannabis in particular is on the rise as researchers have a better understanding of what they are and why they are important.

Ocimene’s distinct structure and aroma make this terpene stand out from the rest.


Ocimene’s chemical structure:

Ocimene’s chemical structure differs from most terpenes because it is acrylic, meaning it is not arranged in a ring structure. This structure makes the terpene unstable, so it exists better in conjunction with other terpenes, like myrcene and pinene.


Aroma & essence:

Ocimene provides an earthy aroma with a sweet flavor profile. It is responsible for sugary and herbaceous flavors but also provides citrusy and woody undertones. Imagine an earthy yet sweet herb like basil; the word ocimene actually comes from the Greek word “Ocimum,” which means basil.

Outside of cannabis, you can find this terpene in the following fruits and plants:

  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Tarragon
  • Kumquats
  • Mango fruits
  • Lavender
  • Orchids
  • Hops
  • Bergamot


Ocimene is commonly used in the perfume industry for its sweet, floral, and herbaceous aromatic profile.


Notable potential benefits of Ocimene

As previously mentioned, terpenes can contribute to the potential benefits of a cannabis strain. Many high-ocimene strains are also sativas, which provide users with cerebral and energizing effects that are not sedating.

Aside from its delightful aroma and flavor profile, ocimene may offer anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-viral, decongestant, and cognitive benefits. Strains high in ocimene can help alleviate the following:

  • Pain and inflammation – A 2020 study revealed that of the 11 Thai essential oils, lesser galangal oil provided the most anti-inflammatory relief. Lesser galangal oil is rich in ocimene, which points to the terpene’s role in the anti-inflammatory properties of the oil. The study concluded that “essential oil of lesser galangal and its major compound [ocimene] could be potentially developed as anti-inflammatory agents.”
  • Congestion – Patients with ALS in particular may benefit from high-ocimene strains to help with associated congestion and expectoration.
  • Brain fog – Because ocimene is a stimulant, it can help alleviate mild cognitive symptoms by providing an uplifting high.


Ocimene also helps protect plants from dangers like pests. The aroma profile of this terpene repels pests like aphids, which destroy cannabis plants.

Ocimene is generally not one of the dominant terpenes in a cannabis strain, but it can still provide notable benefits.


Highgrade Labs: Terpene-focused Cannabis & Hemp Lab Testing

Overall, ocimene is a sweet yet earthy terpene with anti-inflammatory benefits, among others. At Highgrade Labs, we believe that researching terpenes is the key to understanding the powerful aromatic flavor profile of each cannabis strain. In fact, we are one of the only labs in the country that can analyze 42 unique terpenes in cannabis products at each lab location.

Want to learn about more terpenes? Check out our previous blog about farnesene!

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*Always consult a physician before making any changes to your health or fitness regimen.