Some cannabis strains have pleasant aromas, while others have more pungent smells. These unique scents are produced by a class of volatile compounds called terpenes. These synergistic hydrocarbons can be found in abundance in the plant kingdom.
Terpenes are used in many kinds of industries that involve smell. Today, it is often used in the cannabis industry. When we focus on terpenes, we can strengthen the scent of cannabis extracts, vape juice, oils, and buds. By adding terpene isolates to cannabis products, we can improve their taste and influence their effects.
Terpenes: What are They?
Terpenes are organic compounds that are highly aromatic. When we smell the peel of an orange, the refreshing smell of pine needles, or the sweet juicy smell of berries, we smell these aromatic compounds. The combination of these terpenes gives plants their characteristic smells.
Although terpenes are found in different plants, we usually associate them with cannabis because this particular plant has remarkably high concentrations of them. We can isolate these compounds and add them to cannabis products to enhance their taste, aroma, and effects with advancements in technology. A terpene isolate can be blended with other isolates to create unique aromas.
Terpenes are manufactured and secreted by the same glands that make THC and CBD. These compounds give cannabis strains their distinctive smells. However, their primary purpose is not to attract us with their pleasant aroma. Their main function is to attract pollinators and ward off pests and predators.
Terpenes develop depending on environmental factors, soil conditions, and the age of the plant. We can easily recognize their scents based on their effects on our senses. Some are soothing and relaxing, while others are highly energizing.
The Effects of the Most Common Terpenes
Terpenes give plants their enticing aroma. However, these compounds also have different effects on our human bodies. As we mentioned earlier, some of these compounds have a soothing effect, which can lead us into a mode of deep relaxation. Others have a more energizing effect, making us more motivated to do our day-to-day activities.
Today, there are over 100 terpenes identified in the cannabis plant. However, only six of them are popular because of their extraordinary fragrance. These terpenes are not entirely new to our senses because we have probably sniffed them from other plants. However, it is good to know what they are and how they are beneficial to us. We may even consider adding them to our dabs, buds, or distillates in the future.
Limonene has the familiar scent of lemon, lime, orange, and other citrus fruits. Its distinct citrus aroma brings to mind the smell of ripe oranges and squeezed lemons. It is found in peppermint and juniper. Just a few whiffs of this compound can elevate our mood and make us feel invigorated and refreshed.
Pinene has the familiar sharp and sweet smell of pine. It can increase our alertness and focus. This compound is the best choice if we want to broaden and sharpen our minds. Aside from cannabis, this compound can also be found in pine needles, conifers, parsley, sage, and basil.
Myrcene has a herbal aroma with cloves, citrus, and musk hints. It is one of the ideal scents that can help us relax after a stressful day at work. It enhances THC’s cognitive effects and is well-suited for those looking to enhance their creativity through cannabis. It can be found in mango, thyme, cardamom, citrus, lemongrass, bay leaves, and ylang-ylang.
Linalool has a floral scent with hints of citrus and spice. Hence, it has a calming and relaxing effect. You can find it in citrus, lavender, birch, laurel, rosewood, and basil.
Caryophyllene is your best bet if you want one of the spicier terpenes. Although it has powerful, stimulating effects, it can also reduce the effects of some strong cannabis strains. You can find it in pepper, oregano, cloves, ops, cinnamon, and basil.
Humulene has more of a ‘nature’ smell. Its woody and earthy aroma can help suppress hunger. You can find it in sage, coriander, ginseng, and sage.
Today, their use has become widespread because of the legality of cannabis in many parts of the world. Nevertheless, they are also used in aromatherapy, culinary arts, and essential oils. Medical researchers continue to establish the actual benefits of these beautiful compounds to our bodies.
Many cannabis connoisseurs use terps in different applications, from vape juice to homemade edibles. In the cannabis industry, blending terpenes with other cannabis products is becoming more common. As distillates become popular, the addition of terpenes into them has also become common.
What are Cannabis Distillates?
Cannabis distillates are extracts that contain a single cannabinoid. These highly concentrated forms of cannabis have been stripped away of plant matter, terpenes, and other cannabinoids through the distillation process.
In the cannabis industry, two significant distillates are consistently being produced. These are the cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) distillates. CBD distillates are derived from hemp, while THC distillates are derived from marijuana
If you want to infuse a potent form of cannabinoid into other products, you should use distillates. Distillates are more potent than the usual cannabis oil. Also, they are commonly used as the base ingredient for vape cartridges and edibles.
However, distillates do not have any smell or taste. Hence, they can be bland. Hence, many manufacturers and hobbyists are experimenting with adding a small percentage of specific terpenes back into the distillates to make them more attractive. The objective is to make superior products that have positive benefits for the body.
Adding Terpenes to Distillate
There are many ways to extract cannabinoids from plant material. THC distillates are often extracted using a solvent. The terpenes are boiled off during the distillation process to remove pure THC distillate. Since the terpenes are lost after the process, manufacturers must supplement them by adding specific terpene isolates.
Some manufacturers have figured out how to retain the terpenes during the distillation process. However, many have to add terpenes back to rebuild their extracts. Today, even hobbyists can make their cannabis creations as long as they can get their hands on some cannabis distillate and some terps.
Product manufacturers have more sophisticated methods of adding terpenes to distillates. However, you do not need to buy expensive equipment to make terpene-rich distillates unless you plan to build your own manufacturing company.
It is not exactly rocket science. First of all, you need to be familiar with the smell and effect of the popular terpenes. You may want to expand your knowledge of other terpenes as well. If you want natural terpenes, buy cannabis-derived terpenes. There are also synthetic terpenes available at your local dispensaries or online sources.
Before anything else, the terpene to distillate ratio matters because it affects the final product’s taste, aroma, and viscosity. Experts recommend a low percentage, between 3 and 15 percent.
Get a glass jar, add the distillate, and mix a drop or two of your chosen terpene for every gram of distillate. Heat it to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir the mixture well with a dab tool for two to three minutes. Continue to stir the mixture with a magnetic stirrer for another three minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the liquid into bottles or glass cartridges. Allow the mixture to infuse overnight before using.
The Beneficial Effects and Uses of Adding Terpenes to Distillates
Infusing distillates with terpenes is not just to make them taste and smell fruity or citrusy. When cannabinoids and terpenes are isolated, they can be reformulated to create customized blends through experimentation and creativity. If you want to introduce a unique product to the market, you can experiment with as many cannabinoid and terpene combinations. There are at least three significant effects and uses of terpene and distillate combinations.
Enhance Taste and Aroma
Distillates are bland. They have no taste and aroma. By using terpenes or terpene combinations, you can have complete control over the flavor and aroma of your final product. You can use different terpenes not only for the taste and aroma but to enhance the positive effects of the cannabinoids.
The Entourage Effect
The scientific community that studied the effects of cannabis suggested that cannabinoids and terpenes work together to enhance each other’s effects. In this proposed mechanism, the compounds interact simultaneously with the endocannabinoid system and produce better benefits to the body. By adding distillates and terpenes, manufacturers and hobbyists can significantly increase the medicinal potential of their final blends.
Incorporate the Effects of Certain Strains into a Distillate
The effects of specific cannabis strains can be passed on to a distillate by adding the strain’s terpene profile. The effect can be transferred by adding the terpenes derived from a cannabis strain to the CBD or THC distillate. For instance, the Blue Dream strain increases appetite while relieving aches and pains. You can use cannabis-derived terpenes from the Blue Dream Strain and add them to either a CBD or THC distillate. The resulting product would be ideal for recuperating athletes’ use.
Adding terpenes to cannabis distillate is not only to enhance flavor and aroma. It also produces the entourage effect and transfers the potential medicinal benefits of certain strains of cannabis.
Adding terpenes to distillates is not hard science. You can do it easily with accessible materials and a bit of patience. You can experiment with different terpene profiles and cannabinoids. Your creativity and imagination are your only limits.