Terpenes are organic compounds that are found in various plants, and they are responsible for the distinct aroma and flavors of different plants. One such terpene is ocimene, which is found in many plants including mint, parsley, basil, and orchids. In this article, we will delve deeper into what ocimene is, what it does, and its therapeutic properties.
What is Ocimene?
Ocimene is a terpene that has a distinct sweet, herbaceous, and woody aroma. It is found in many plants, and there are three isomers of ocimene: alpha-ocimene, beta-ocimene, and gamma-ocimene. The most common isomer is alpha-ocimene, which has a sweet, herbaceous aroma with hints of wood and citrus. Beta-ocimene has a more herbal and woody aroma, while gamma-ocimene has a strong citrus aroma.
Ocimene is produced by various plants as a defense mechanism against predators and as a means of attracting pollinators. In addition to its role in plants, ocimene is also used in the fragrance and flavor industries. It is commonly used in perfumes, soaps, and other personal care products.
What Does Ocimene Do?
Although certain terpenes are known for providing specific effects and flavor to the profile of a strain, it’s ultimately difficult to isolate the effects of a single terpene in cannabis. The bigger force at play here is something called “the entourage effect.” The entourage effect refers to how all of the different cannabinoids, flavenoids, terpenes, and other compounds in cannabis work together to produce a stronger, more cohesive high than any one of the substances could on their own.
In my personal experience, the entourage effect has made noticeable differences when it comes to consuming CBD isolate vs. full spectrum CBD, for example. Although it is difficult to pinpoint the exact effects of ocimene, it certainly does have some potential therapeutic benefits as I will get into momentarily.
Therapeutic Properties Of Ocimene
Ocimene has a range of potential therapeutic properties. Research has shown that it has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It is also known to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
Ocimene has been shown to have antibacterial properties against various strains of bacteria. A study conducted in 2013 found that alpha-ocimene had antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, a common bacteria that causes skin infections. Another study found that beta-ocimene had antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli, a bacteria commonly associated with food poisoning.
Ocimene has also been shown to have antifungal properties. A study published in 2017 found that alpha-ocimene had antifungal activity against Candida albicans, a common yeast that can cause infections in the mouth, throat, and genitals. Another study found that beta-ocimene had antifungal activity against Aspergillus flavus, a fungus that can contaminate crops and produce a toxin that can cause liver cancer.
Ocimene has been shown to have antiviral properties against several viruses. A study conducted in 2020 found that alpha-ocimene had antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which can cause cold sores and genital herpes. Another study found that beta-ocimene had antiviral activity against influenza virus, which can cause the flu.
Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic Effects
Ocimene has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. A study published in 2015 found that alpha-ocimene had anti-inflammatory effects in rats with induced paw edema. Another study found that beta-ocimene had analgesic effects in mice.
Ocimene may also be beneficial for respiratory health. A study published in 2015 found that alpha-ocimene had bronchodilatory effects in guinea pigs, which means it could help open up the airways and make breathing easier. This could make ocimene a potential treatment for conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Stress and Anxiety
Ocimene may also have potential benefits for reducing stress and anxiety. A study conducted in 2017 found that alpha-ocimene had anxiolytic effects in mice, which means it could help reduce anxiety levels. Another study published in 2019 found that beta-ocimene had sedative effects in mice, which means it could help promote relaxation and reduce stress.
Strains High in Ocimene
While ocimene is found in many different plants, there are some cannabis strains that are particularly high in this terpene. Here are a few strains to look out for:
- Golden Pineapple: This hybrid strain has a fruity, tropical aroma and is known for its uplifting and energizing effects. It has high levels of ocimene, as well as other terpenes such as limonene and beta-caryophyllene.
- Jack Herer: This sativa-dominant hybrid has a sweet, fruity aroma and is known for its cerebral effects. It has high levels of ocimene, as well as other terpenes such as terpinolene and pinene.
- Lemon Haze: This sativa-dominant strain has a citrusy, lemon aroma and is known for its uplifting and energizing effects. It has high levels of ocimene, as well as other terpenes such as limonene and beta-pinene.
Ocimene is a terpene that is found in many different plants, including cannabis. It has a range of potential therapeutic properties, including antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, as well as anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Research has also shown that ocimene may be beneficial for treating conditions such as cancer, respiratory issues, and anxiety. While more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of ocimene, it is clear that this terpene has a lot of potential and is worth exploring further.