In this blog, we will discuss the benefits of different terpenes, methods of extraction, and how to deploy those outputs in the development of the best vape products.
Terpenes are aromatic compounds that are not limited to cannabis plants. In fact, there are 3,000 terpenes found in other plants, and around 300 of them are in the cannabis plant itself. Not sure what terpenes are best suited for you? It’s useful to try different strains to determine each one’s value. There are many types of terpenes that make the essential oil varieties, all of which come with their own set of benefits.
The most common terpenes in cannabis are Myrcene, Pinene, Caryophyllene, Limonene, Terpinolene, Linalool, etc. Since the terpenes are the hormones of the plants, they play an active role in the manipulation of our moods and emotions. Evidence of this can be found in their use in the perfumery industry, while some of the terpenes, such as Caryophyllene, acts as a cannabinoid connecting to the CB receptors resulting in relaxation and inflammation control.
Myrcene is a terpene with a fruity, clove-like aroma, found in mangoes, hops, ylang-ylang, wild thyme, and more. In a study performed on mice, myrcene increased sleep duration by around 2.6 times. While myrcene isn’t a drug, this powerful terpene may relieve pain when used in high concentrations.
Pinene is an aromatic compound commonly found in cannabis that smells a lot like–you guessed it–a forest of pine trees. But pinene may bring more to a strain’s experience than just flavor.
Caryophyllene has a woody, spicy aroma. It does not have any known physical effects. It is anti-inflammatory and is good for gastrointestinal issues.
Limonene has a citrus aroma. This type helps to relieve stress while lifting one’s mood. Limonene is antibacterial, antifungal, and anticarcinogenic.
Like many terpenes, the terpinolene terpene has been researched as a potential weapon against cancer and cancerous tumours. In addition, terpinolene has been investigated for its possible antifungal, antibacterial, and sedative usages.
Linalool’s aroma varies from floral or citrus, and is sweet like candy. It provides anxiety relief, as well as promotes extreme relaxation. Linalool’s medicinal treatments are an antidepressant, anti-anxiety, and even anti-acne.
The Entourage effect
If we want to explain terpenes and their effects, it would be best to discuss their working process. The purpose of these substances (terpenes) is to exaggerate the effects of other compounds (cannabinoids), and support them in delivering their benefits (therapeutic action). The terpenes are now considered as the lesser known modulator that amplifies the overall performance of the cannabinoids.
This is known as the entourage effect, and it describes a mechanism where cannabis substances work together to optimize the overall psychoactive benefits of the herb. The idea is that you want to find the best terpenes-to-cannabinoids ratio possible for your desired effect.
Terpenes are most often re-applied to dried hemp and cannabis flowers before vaping or smoking. Directly applied to flowers, terpenes can improve the quality, flavor, and effects of the hemp or cannabis products. They help cannabinoids to be more productive, and make it easier for the body to use CBD.
Like cannabinoids, terpenes bind to receptors in the brain and give rise to various effects. When choosing a strain based on its terpene content, keep in mind that different harvests may demonstrate dramatically different terpenoid profiles due to variances in growing and curing techniques. Lab-tested products are the only sure-fire way of knowing a strain’s terpene potency – without it, you’ll have to rely on your nose to guide you.
Different strains contain different profiles of terpenes, that is why their entourage effect varies. Some strains may put you to sleep and some can wake you up. Some taste sour and some spicy. All of that is because the terpene concentrations vary in one to another, therefore their health effects are different.
The Extraction Process
Extracting the right amount of terpenes is very important in order to achieve the desired medicinal effects. That is why selecting the right extraction method & solvent is very important. Terpenes have been the base for product formulation in the perfume and flavor industry for centuries, and there is enough track of record of what extraction is best for a complete terpene profile extraction. We use that same method here at PurBlend Science in the deployment of our PBX (pure botanical extraction) technology.
First to consider, selecting the right flower for extraction is critical. While dried or cured flowers can be extracted, we target a full bloom when all the oils are in their maturity, then harvest the flower with the best known technique capable of preserving the flower’s natural appearance. In order to capture the best terpene profile, fresh flowers offer the most terpenes, as any drying will damage the completeness of their terpene profile. Once flower selection has been completed, selecting the right solvent that does not react with any of the plant components or add tint to the oil during wet flower extraction is hyper critical.
Therefore, for the best results, terpenes and other essential oils are to be extracted with water immiscible, non-polar solvents on fresh flowers.
Extraction with hexane has been successfully used in the fragrance industry in large volumes, although the products extracted with hexane will need to be post-processed, and will have the hexane tint to the flavor, and are not really food grade. That is why the best food grade solvent used in the space is the PBX Standard proprietary process with the FDA approved GRAS (generally regarded as safe) solvent ‘R134a’ that brings gently extracted oil with full spectrum components.
Extraction with PBX equipment can be performed at room temperature on either fresh or dry flowers, gently extracting the oil-based components without creating any undesired byproducts. The terpene profile strictly follows the flower profile, and is a complete representation of the plant’s genetics. The terpenes are gently extracted along with the full spectrum of cannabinoids thereby preserving all natural values in a natural pristine oil extraction.
When choosing your method of delivery, keep in mind that the beneficial qualities of terpenes can be seriously damaged if heated past their boiling point. There are so many vapes or dabbing devices out there that are used to vape the medicinal oils. The most often used ways to vape the oil is in a flower or extract form. Vaping extract usually is in a form of vape juice or dab wax, like diamond, crumble or shatter.
It is important to first consider the oil needed to vape, and ensure it’s as natural as possible. Also of importance, the vape should be able to handle the consistency (viscosity) of the oil without the necessity of a cutting agent. The use of a cutting agent is not desired as it will make the boiling point of the vape oil higher and introduce long lipid molecules that are not as readily absorbed by the body. Moreover, cutting agents usually require higher burning temperatures that can burn the terpenes and create an undesired aftertaste.
Vaping the oil at its original boiling temperature is always the target. We recommend the use of pens or batteries with a horizontal filament inside a cartridge that can work with thicker or more viscous consistencies. Preheating of vape coils can and will burn vape oil as well. We recommend pulsing current through the filament utilizing our ‘low-heat’ vaporizing VPod which offers the best method for enjoying the full benefit and flavor of your strain’s terpenes.
Many vape products use extracted cannabinoid distillate or isolate cut down to light viscosity with propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin, then add botanical or engineered terpenes to give it flavor. While this mixture may deliver temporary satisfaction, smoking it will not be able to bring much of the medicinal value of the plant. Our recommendation is to be as close to the natural proportions of the actives.
For example the CBD:THC ratio in hemp is 20:1 with total cannabinoids to terpenes being 10:1, i.e. if your CBD flower has 10% CBD, it will have 0.1% THC, and with total cannabinoids of 11% the terpenes are 1.1%.
For cannabis strains, there are much more varieties and these ratios are much more open in proportion. For example, with 10% to 18% THC, CBD will be around 1% to 10%, and the terpenes 1% to 3%. If your extraction technology is extracting all components with the same ratios, you do not need to be conscious about verifying your mixtures.
The extraction technology offered by PurBlend Science produces superior extracts and preserves all plant active components in their natural proportions. The PBX Standard process provides a gentle extraction which is conducted room temperature without any harsh chemicals post-processing. Our natural extracts can be used for dabbing and vaping right off our machinery with the correct dabbing and vaping hardware.
How to add terpenes to flower or vape them
When terpenes are added to flowers, it creates a new high level, and one can even experiment according to their own preferences and type of high you want to achieve. To improve the hemp and/or cannabis flowers or extracts, they can be infused with natural cannabis terpenes. Below are the ways on how to successfully add terpenes to get the best results.
Adding terpenes on ground flowers is as easy as adding a drop of chosen terpene isolate. The specific terpenes can be used for the hemp or cannabis flowers. This will improve the flavor of ground flowers and will bring about overall better results when using them.
Infusing whole dried flowers with terpenes is also simple. To achieve best results, divide the flower into small batches and place them into individual bags. Much like ground flowers, simply add a few drops of terpenes in each batch. Shake the bag well to make sure that all the flowers are well-infused, while also being mindful not to overdo it.
A good ratio to follow is putting two drops of terpene isolate oil per one gram of cannabis, or 0.2 mg of terpenes to the pipe bowl. To avoid overdoing it, use a dropper, and gauge your preference. Adding too many terpenes can also ruin the experience because it overpowers the flower itself.
To further help infuse terpenes into products successfully, remember these suggestions depending on what has been used. For example, 1 to 5% of the total plant’s weight is a good measurement for concentrates. While you can use a concentrate specifically for the strain or profile, you can also use terpene isolates and match a profile to a strain.
When adding terpenes to oils, it will depend on the affects you are trying to achieve. A measurement of 2% for every 1:1 CBD:THC tincture is excellent for improving sleep, but you can always start low. You can also have 0.02 grams of terpenes per gram, and add it before the shatter dries fully.