Terpenes are aromatic compounds that are not limited to cannabis plants. There are 3000 terpenes found in other plants and around 300 of them are in the cannabis itself. It is useful to try different strains of marijuana to determine each one’s value to you. There are many types of terpenes that make the essential oil varieties, all 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. A proof of that is the use of them in the perfumery industry, even some of the terpenes as example Caryophyllene is acting as a cannabinoid connecting to the CB receptors and causing relaxation and inflammation control.
Myrcene is a terpene with a fruity, clove-like aroma and is found as well 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 tumors. In addition, terpinolene has been investigated for its possible antifungal, antibacterial, and sedative usages.
Linalool’s aroma varies from floral or citrus, to 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 Health Benefits
A recent research shows that the use of cannabis terpene formulation on inflammatory conditions has had promising results in treating cytokine storm syndrome caused by COVID-19. The study was carried out by Eybna and Cannasoul, which announced they were working on the project together in April. The formulation is designed specifically to be used via inhalation rather than in a tablet or edible form.
Early results from the study, which took place in Israel, show that the terpene formulation combined with CBD is twice as effective at using CBD on its own as well as twice as effective as Dexamethasone, a common corticosteroids treatment for inflammation, Health Europa reports.
Terpenes, compounds that provide the aroma and flavor in cannabis and many other plants, may lead to even better results than CBD alone, and might outperform conventional treatments like corticosteroids. Reports from the study show that a combination of CBD with terpenes was 2 times more effective at inhibiting cytokine activity than dexamethasone, a corticosteroid which a recent study found to be an effective treatment for Covid-19 cytokine storms.
If we want to explain terpenes and their effects, it would be best to discuss their working process. The purpose of these substances is to exaggerate the effects of other compounds and support them in delivering their benefits. 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, flavors, and effects of the hemp products. They help cannabinoids to be more productive, and they make it easier for the body to use CBD.
Like cannabinoids, terpenes bind to receptors in the brain and give rise to various effects. The above infographic outlines properties of six common cannabis terpenes along with a few strains that tend to express notable levels of each.
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 surefire 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.
Extracting the right amount of terpenes is very important in order to achieve the desired medical effects. That is why selecting the right extraction method is very important. The terpenes have been the base 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.
First and most important thing is selecting the right flower in its full bloom when all the oils are in their maturity, then harvest the flower with the best known technique for least loss of its natural appearance. Then the next important step for the best terpene profile is to be extracted on fresh flower basys, as any drying will be damaging the profile completeness. Then next is selecting the right solvent that does not react with any of the plant components or add tint to the oil during wet flower extraction.
Therefore best for essential oils are to be extracted with water immiscible non polar solvent on fresh flowers. What has been successfully used in the fragrance industry in large volume is an extraction with hexane 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 PURE5 proprietary process with the FDA approved GRASS solvent R134a that brings gently extracted oil with the full spectrum components.
Extraction with Pure 5 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 genetics. The terpenes are gently extracted along the full spectrum cannabinoids 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.
What is important to consider first is the oil you need to vape to be as natural as possible and the vape should be able to handle the consistency of it without the necessity of a cutting agent. The use of a cutting agent is not desired as it will change the boiling point higher and introduce long lipid molecules that are not absorbed as well as the light terpene molecule from the body. The cutting agents usually require higher burning temperature that will over burn the terpenes and create undesired aftertaste.
Vaping the oil at its original boiling temperature is always the target. We recommend the use of pens with horizontal filament in a cartridge that can work with ticker consistencies. The preheat is not really required as this will burn the oil as well. We recommend pulsing current through the filament as in our ‘low-heat’ vaporized V-Pod to extract and enjoy the full benefit and flavor of your strain terpenes.
Many vape products use extracted cannabinoid distillate or isolate cut down to light viscosity with propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine and added botanical or engineered terpenes. As this mixture may bring 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. As example the CBD : THC in hemp are 20 : 1 and total cannabinoids to terpenes are 10 : 1, i.e. if your CBD flower has 10% CBD will have 0.1% THC and with total cannabinoids of 11% the terpenes are 1.1%.
For the cannabis strains there are much more varieties and these ratios are much more open in proportions. 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 technology offered by PURE5 produces superior extracts and keeps all plant active components in its natural proportions while are gently extracted at room temperature without any harsh chemical post processing. They can be used for dabbing and vaping right off the extraction machine 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 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.
To add terpenes on ground flowers it 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 on the ground hemp flowers and will bring overall better results when using them.
Infusing whole dried flowers with terpenes is also simple. It’s better to divide the flower into small batches placed in bags for better results. Quite similar to ground hemp 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 weight is a good measurement for concentrates. While one 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 effect that that is 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.
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George Stantchev, PhD
+1 (602) 992-0744