With its soothing nutmeg and pepper-like fragrance, it’s no surprise that this terpene is popular. Sabinene’s woody undertones can evoke the feeling of forest bathing.

Here we’ll explore the nature of sabinene and why you may want to seek out its benefits in your cannabis and other products.

What are terpenes?

Terpenes can be beneficial to both plants and humans. At their core, terpenes affect the way a plant smells and tastes. In natural environments, terpenes may act as natural insecticides by protecting a plant and repelling predatory creatures with their scent. For this reason, plant essential oils made with terpenes such as beta-pinene and terpinolene are sometimes used in insecticides for humans. Pests like aphids, which can be destructive to cannabis crops, steer clear of strains high in ocimene the same way mosquitos flee from certain varieties of geraniums [1].

What is sabinene?

Sabinene is a natural bicyclic monoterpene with a strained ring system present in various plant species:

  • Tea tree leaf
  • Norway spruce (Picea abies)
  • Black pepper
  • Nutmeg (seeds of M. fragrans)
  • Holm oak trees
  • Citrus
  • Quercus ilex
  • Cannabis
  • And other plants [2].

Cannabis enthusiasts enjoy sabinene for its warm, spicy smell and taste. Because of its pleasant peppery smell and citrus flavor, the extracted compound is often isolated from the plant and used in the commercial production of food and beverage, fragrance, or household compounds. In higher concentrations, it is sometimes used in insecticides [3].

With the molecular formula C10H16, sabinene can be catalyzed by the enzyme sabinene synthase for expanded use in commercial products [4]. The chemical composition of sabinene can also be referred to as Sabinen, or 4(10)-Thujene [5].

Jars of cannabis derived Earthy Terpenes

Uses for sabinene

Widely used in the perfume industry for its pleasant smell, sabinene is also used in pharmaceuticals, insecticides, and household products.

Products that use full spectrum cannabis strains with significant concentrations of sabinene can affect the way the user experiences the plant through what is known as the entourage effect [6]

Cannabis strains high in sabinene

Sabinene is one of the top 20 terpenes in cannabis. Though most cannabis strains contain lower concentrations of sabinene than other terpenes such as myrcene, α-Pinene, β-pinene, and ocimene, some strains with notable levels of it are:

  • Suver Haze – An award-winning, Sativa-dominant strain from Oregon CBD, Suver Haze was borne of crossing Suver 8 and Early Resin Berry (ERB). The cross produces a peppery, spicy aroma and pungent, woody, and lighter skunk flavors.
  • Sour Special Sauce – An Indica-dominant strain from Oregon CBD, Sour Special Sauce is the result of pairing Special Sauce with GG#4 Conversion. This strain is woody and fruity, spicy and sour, with exotic, astringent berries, and notes of sour, dank earth.
  • Cherry Soda – A robust Indica-dominant hybrid strain with large buds and heavy trichomes, Cherry Soda originates from California’s Ventura Seed Company. The profile is true to the cherry name in flavor and aroma alongside a spicy sweetness and fresh, high citrus notes.

What is the entourage effect?

Originally proposed in 1999, the entourage effect describes a mechanism by which cannabis compounds—such as terpenes and flavonoids—act synergistically with cannabinoids to modulate the overall effects of other compounds in the plant [7] , whether those may be mood-altering or not. It follows that terpenes would add to the entourage effect because they are part of the overall composition of the plant materials [8].

For example, the Journal of Cannabis Research explores a wide swath of data representing individual responses to various strains in their relationship to terpene synthesis. Their conclusions describe how flavor perception could represent a reliable marker to indirectly characterize the effects of cannabis via the entourage effect [9].

Read the Guide to CBD to learn more about cannabis science.

Earthy Now High CBD CBG CBN Low THC Oil

Sources of sabinene

Sabinene is a major constituent of black pepper essential oil as well as carrot seed oil, as the essential oil obtained from carrot seeds. It also is present in tea tree oil at a low concentration. Other essential oils from which sabinene may be extracted include:

  • Nutmeg
  • Holm oak trees
  • Citrus
  • Quercus ilex
  • Cannabis
  • Sage [3].

Why sabinene?

If you like your cannabis strains on the spicier side, sabinene may be a terpene to seek out. Especially as the weather begins to turn more crisp and cool, this cozy terpene promises to warm you up from the inside


  1. Wikipedia: Terpene
  2. ACS Chemistry: Sabinene
  3. Wikipedia: Sabinene
  4. Wikipedia: Sabinene Synthase
  5. PubChem: (+)- Sabinene
  6. Science Direct: Sabinene
  7. Antibacterial Activity of a-terpineol May Induce Morphostructural Alterations in E-Coli
  8. Wikipedia: Terpene
  9. Relationship Among Subjective Responses, Flavor, and Chemical Composition Across More Than 800 Commercial Cannabis Varieties

Frequently Asked Questions

No, even when terpenes are extracted from marijuana, they do not contain THC and are not psychoactive in and of themselves. However, they may affect the way you experience THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids because of their role in the entourage effect—the way in which other compounds in cannabis work together synergistically to enhance the effects of the plant.

The terpene sabinene can be naturally found in nutmeg, Holm oak trees, citrus fruits, sage, and cannabis. 

Yes, sabinene is used in perfume and other cosmetics because of its pleasant smell.

Earthy Now sells premium cannabis derived terpenes in 9 strains: Canna Cake, Cherry Soda, Hawaiian Haze, Lifter, Sour Lifter,  Sour Special, Sour Suver, Super Sour, and Suver Haze.