Let’s start with the basics.
What is a Terpene?
Terpenes are the aromatic oils that provide taste and smell in cannabis and a variety of other plants as well. They are found in the same trichome glands as cannabinoids (THC and CBD) and can influence the effects of those strains by interacting with these cannabinoids. Distinctive terpene flavors in the cannabis community include pine, citrus, mint, lavender, and berry.
What is a Plant Extract?
Plant extraction is the process that aims to remove certain compounds from the tissue of a plant, usually using a solvent such as CO2 or Ethanol. This process is simply to isolate desirable properties of the plant into oils for uses in cooking, baking, smoking, vaping, topicals, wellness products, cosmetics, and more.
There are over 100 terpenoid compounds in cannabis, many with bioactive properties that are yet to be researched. Terpene extracts are gaining popularity in the cannabis community for their potential medicinal benefits and unique ability to alter the smell, taste, and effects of each specific cannabis strain.
For these reasons, it is becoming important for processors to know how to properly create terpene extracts and “terp” products. This means retaining the complexity of the terpene compounds and ensuring that the natural aromatic flavors are preserved throughout the process, in order to create a highly pure oil concentrate.
Here are 5 things you should know about quality terpene extractions:
- Terpene extractions are best achieved during a short, light run, preferably set at subcritical C02 parameters. This means using high pressure and low temperature in your extraction machine. This is said by many processors to be the best method of terpene extraction because the low temperatures greatly reduce the risk of altering or destroying the terpenes and protect delicate plant compounds. This process pulls the higher-molecular weight materials from the plant such as the paraffins, resins, and lipids. Tunable CO2 Extraction is our craft at CannaPiece Corp.
- But wait, it doesn’t end there. For a truly pure terpene extract, post-processing with specialized equipment is required to refine the oil using two processes. The first process, called Winterization, uses freezing temperatures to remove the leftover unwanted fats, waxes, lipids and chlorophyll from the cannabinoids and terpenes.
- The next process, called Distillation or Short-Path Distillation, uses high heat to further refine the oil and isolate the cannabinoids and any remaining solvents out of the extract. You will be left with an authentic fragrant and flavorful terpene extract.
- The terpene extract should appear as pure, and light with a golden hue. This is because the fatty substances and chlorophyll should be removed, leaving just the pure aromatic oils as the extract. You know you have done a good run based on the color of your extract!
- The higher-end “Cannaisseur” Market is starting to look for a vast spectrum of products including terpene extractions, and terpene-based products such as “terp” sauce. Cannabis 2.0 products including concentrates, edibles, and topicals are already increasing in demand across Canada, but it takes a properly trained technician and high-quality operating techniques to create the pure aromatic extract that these consumers desire, and only a few companies are starting to provide these services.
There you have it! Terpene extracts can have a variety of aromas and tastes, depending on the specific terpenes that are extracted and collected from the strain of cannabis used. These can then be used in vape cartridges, tinctures, edibles, and many more versatile products.
If you are a licensed producer looking to expand your reach in the cannabis market and offer a highly desirable product to consumers through terpene extracts, connect with CannaPiece Corp today.
Booth, J. K., Page, J. E., & Bohlmann, J. (2017). Terpene Synthases from Cannabis sativa. PloS one, 12(3), e0173911.
Sexton, M., Shelton, K., Haley, P., & West, M. (2018). Evaluation of cannabinoid and terpenoid content: Cannabis flower compared to supercritical CO2 concentrate. Planta Medica, 84(04), 234-241.