Terpenes are fragrant oils that are produced by the trichomes of the cannabis plant, the same glandular structures that make THC and CBD. There are over 100 different terpenes found in marijuana, each with its own unique set of therapeutic and psychoactive effects.
Terpenes are what give different strains their distinct flavours and aromas. For example, myrcene has a musky, earthy aroma and is known for its sedative effects, while limonene has a citrusy scent and is believed to have mood-elevating and anxiety-reducing effects. Pinene, as the name suggests, has a piney aroma and is thought to improve alertness and memory.
How Are Cannabis Terpenes Extracted?
So how do you get your hands on these fragrant oils? Well, one way is to extract them from the cannabis plant itself. There are several methods for extracting terpenes from marijuana, each with pros and cons.
One method is steam distillation, which involves using heat and steam to extract the terpenes from the plant material. This method is relatively simple and can be done on a small scale, but it can also destroy some of the more delicate terpenes in the process.
Another method is solvent extraction, which involves using a chemical solvent like ethanol or butane to extract the terpenes from the plant material. This method is more efficient and allows for the extraction of a larger volume of terpenes, but it can be dangerous if not done correctly due to flammable solvents.
Once the terpenes have been extracted, connoisseurs can use them to create various products, such as tinctures, topicals, and edibles. Users can also add them to concentrates and vape oils to enhance the flavour and aroma of these products.
How Do You Use Liquid Cannabis Terpenes?
So how can you make the most of these fragrant oils? Here are a few ways to use cannabis terpenes:
- Add them to your concentrates or vape oils: One of the easiest ways to experience the effects of cannabis terpenes is to add them to your concentrates or vape oils. Mix a few drops of terpenes into your product of choice, and you'll enjoy your favourite strains' enhanced flavour and effects.
- Use them to customize your weed: If you're not satisfied with the flavour or effects of a particular strain, you can use terpenes to customize it to your liking. For example, if you want a strain with more relaxing effects, you can add terpenes like myrcene or linalool to your weed. You can add terpenes like limonene or pinene if you want a strain with more uplifting effects.
- Make your tinctures or topicals: If you're feeling adventurous, you can try making your tinctures or topicals using cannabis terpenes. Mix a few drops of terpenes into a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil, and you'll have a customized product you can use as needed.
- Experiment with different strains: Finally, the best way to experience the full range of cannabis terpenes is to experiment with different strains. Each strain has its unique terpene profile, so try out a few different ones and see which ones you like best.
Why You Should Not Eat Terpenes
While terpenes are great for enhancing the flavour and effects of your weed, you might want to think twice before munching on them.
One of the main reasons to avoid eating terpenes is that they can be toxic when consumed in large quantities. While terpenes are generally safe when inhaled or applied topically, they can be harmful when ingested. Some terpenes, such as pulegone and safrole, are known to be toxic to the liver, and others, such as myrcene, can have sedative effects when consumed in large quantities.
Another reason to avoid eating terpenes is that they can be difficult to dose accurately. When you inhale or apply terpenes topically, you can control the amount you're exposed to more easily. But when you eat them, it's harder to know exactly how much you're consuming, making it difficult to gauge the effects.
Always Handle Terpenes With Extreme Care
But while terpenes may be minor, they pack a big punch, and it's essential to handle them with care.
One reason to handle terpenes with extreme care is that they can be flammable. Many terpenes are volatile oils which can evaporate quickly and ignite when exposed to heat or open flames. This can be especially dangerous when handling terpenes extracted using flammable solvents like butane or ethanol.
Another reason to be careful with terpenes is that they can be toxic when ingested in large quantities. While terpenes are generally safe when inhaled or applied topically, they can be harmful when ingested.
Finally, it's essential to handle terpenes with care because they can be expensive. Pure terpenes cost upwards of £100 per ounce, so handling them with care is necessary to avoid wasting any product.
How To Source High-Quality Cannabis Terpenes?
At Hemp Elf, we are committed to sourcing the highest quality cannabis terpenes for our products. We work with a network of trusted suppliers who extract terpenes using steam distillation or CO2 extraction, considered the most gentle and effective method. Our terpenes are derived from high-quality, organically grown ingredients and are free of pesticides and other contaminants. We also carefully screen our suppliers to ensure they use ethical and sustainable practices in their extraction processes. Using only the highest quality terpenes, we can ensure that our customers get the best possible experience with our products.
Here are a few tips to help you select the highest-quality terpenes:
- Look for pure, natural terpenes: The best terpenes are extracted from the cannabis plant. These pure, natural terpenes will have a more complex and nuanced aroma than artificially synthesized terpenes, often made using chemical reactions.
- Check the source of the terpenes: When shopping for terpenes, it's essential to know their origin. Look for terpenes extracted from high-quality, organically grown cannabis plants, as these will be free of pesticides and other contaminants.
- Consider the extraction method: The extraction method used to obtain the terpenes can significantly impact their quality. Look for terpenes extracted using steam distillation or CO2 extraction, as these methods are generally considered the most gentle and effective. Avoid terpenes extracted using butane or ethanol, as these can leave behind trace amounts of the solvent in the final product.
- Read reviews and ask for recommendations: Be bold, seek advice from other users, or read reviews of terpene products. This can help you get a sense of the quality and effectiveness of different terpenes before you buy.