Sabinene Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Sabinene ia a terpene derived from plants and trees, notably the holm oak and Norway spruce. Sabinene is a major constituent of carrot seed oil and occurs in lower concentrations in tea tree oil. The terpene has a spicy scent and flavor profile and has been studied for its possible antioxidant and antimicrobial usages.

What is sabinene?

This spicy terpene contributes to the savory flavor of black pepper and the earthy taste of carrots. The Myristica evergreen that grows in abundance in Indonesia is one other common natural source of sabinene. The tree's seeds constitute the globe's main source of nutmeg, a spice which comprises one more element of sabinene's aromatic profile. Scientifically, sabinene is classified as a bicyclic monoterpene, similar to other terpenes found in cannabis, such as carene.

Sabinene in everyday life

You have likely encountered sabinene during a spicy meal rich in ingredients like black pepper. A slice of carrot cake also bears a connection to sabinene, as does any baked good that contains nutmeg. If you have used tea tree oil for its antiseptic or antifungal purposes, then your skin has made contact with sabinene. The Norway spruce, which is indigenous to Europe, owes part of its potent, Christmas tree fragrance to the presence of sabinene. The holm oak is native to the Mediterranean and also grows in England, so you may have come across sabinene in your travels.  

Therapeutic properties of sabinene

Sabinene may serve as a potential weapon against oxidation that is believed to cause the skin to age more rapidly. Sabinene may also possess antibacterial characteristics.


Sabinene could be a natural antioxidant, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. In the form of sabinene hydrate, the terpene was tested for its usefulness in preserving the freshness of roasted sunflower seeds. Based on encouraging results, researchers concluded that the natural compound could be used in place of synthetic preservatives. Additional research on sabinene's potential in preserving the youth and elasticity of the skin would shed light on exactly how powerful of an antioxidant the terpene might be.


As a component of wild juniper berry oil, sabinene demonstrated moderate antimicrobial activity in a 2015 study from India. Specifically, the presence of sabinene in the essential oil showed potential against Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacteria responsible for pneumonia, and Staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria that cause dangerous conditions such as meningitis and toxic shock syndrome.

Role of sabinene in cannabis

Unlike some terpenes like limonene, sabinene is not commonly found in cannabis. When the terpene does occur in cannabis, it is generally present in lower quantities. If you detect a pine-minty or peppery fragrance in your weed, then sabinene could be part of the mix.

Bottom line

A spicy reminder of the winter holidays, sabinene adds a peppery kick to food and offers antioxidant and antimicrobial potency.

Major contributions from Dr. Adie Rae.

Was this article helpful? Give Feedback

has been subscribed!

The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on June 20, 2022.