An Introduction to Terpenes for Cannabis Extraction

An Introduction to Terpenes for Cannabis Extraction

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are aromatic compounds that influence the aromas, flavours, and sometimes colours of plants. Generally, if a plant gives off a strong scent, there are high concentrations of terpenes present. Though cannabis contains high concentrations of terpenes, they are also found in a variety of other plants, like lavender, lemon, rosemary, and pine. These aromatic compounds are often part of the plant’s survival mechanisms, warding off grazing animals or attracting pollinators.

Cannabis strains have been proven to contain more than 400 types of terpenes, which has caused a lot of intrigue as we continue to learn more about cannabis. While they do not cause inebriation like THC, they have been shown to influence the way THC is processed by the body’s endocannabinoid system, and have also shown promise in helping treat certain medical conditions, though further research is required to validate these initial claims.

What effect do terpenes have on the human body?

Since terpenes are the chemical compounds often responsible for giving aromatic plants their unique smell, they play an integral role in the practice of aromatherapy. While this is true of terpenes in general, it does little to help us understand the role that terpenes in cannabis play in how the body’s endocannabinoid system processes cannabinoids.

We don’t yet have enough research to support current claims about how terpenes effect the way cannabinoids are processed by the endocannabinoid system. However, scientists are researching whether the dominant terpenes of a cannabis strain may work in tandem with the dominant cannabinoids to produce the effects specific to that strain. This could explain why different cannabis strains with similar cannabinoid contents can cause different experiences.

How do terpenes influence the extraction process and final product?

Understanding the terpene concentrations in your hemp or cannabis biomass can help you extract distillate that creates a more desirable finished product. Since terpenes heavily influence the aromas and flavours of plants, the terpene concentrations in your raw cannabis can have an effect on the taste and smell of your distillate, which can in turn influence the taste and smell of your edible products or tinctures.

In addition to influencing the smell and taste of your products, terpenes have been shown to interact with THC to influence the psychoactive experience. Some terpenes can induce a more relaxing experience, better for managing stress and anxiety, while others are associated with a more high-energy experience, promoting focus and acuity (learn more about the effects of terpenes here). While there’s still a lot of research needed to understand the effects terpenes have on the body, there’s no doubt that they play an influential role in how you use THC and CBD distillate in your cannabis-infused products.

Why Use Ethanol for Extraction

Terpene content can influence the aroma and flavour of your cannabis distillate.

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