This week we’re uncomplicating botanical and cannabis terpenes and talking about the important role they both play in the cannabis industry.
Working in any part of the cannabis industry may seem all fun and games from the outside, but it’s also a non-stop battle between scientific innovation and legal hurdles. Late last year, we launched a catalog of Premium Cannabis Derived High Terpene Extracts. This is something we’re immensely proud of, but we won’t pretend it hasn’t been an uphill battle. That’s why we wanted to revisit an old conversation: botanical and cannabis-derived terpenes.
Our award-winning team strives to make significant contributions to the cannabis community by developing the best terpene blends, extracts, concentrates, and terpene standards. To achieve that, however, both botanical and cannabis-derived terpenes should be part of the conversation.
Yes, we’ll review the actual differences between botanical and cannabis-derived terpenes. But we’ll also talk about why they’re both necessary for a successful cannabis industry and some of the hurdles cannabis-derived terpenes still face. Keep reading for all the details.
Reading Time - 7.5 min
Why We Need Botanical AND Cannabis Terpenes
There’s a lot to unpack today. So, if you need a quick breakdown, we’ve got your back.
- Botanical terpenes are any terpenes that have been extracted from legal plants and spices like cloves, citrus, lavender, or even pine needles.
- Since they can be extracted from a wide variety of legal plants, botanical terpenes are incredibly consistent, less expensive, legal in all fifty states, and can be easily shipped all over the world.
- Cannabis-derived terpenes are terpenes that have been extracted directly from the cannabis plant. Once they’ve been isolated, cannabis terpenes have their own unique properties separate from those of any cannabinoids in cannabis.
- Legal roadblocks mean we can only offer our cannabis-derived terpenes and live resin extracts to our California partners for pick-up. The roadblocks don’t stop there though.
- In addition, legal issues make sourcing, transporting, and research significantly more difficult. That’s one of the reasons why cannabis terpenes are more expensive than botanical terpenes.
- However, this research (and these products) are necessary! Cannabis terpenes capture more of the authentic essence of cannabis flavors, aromas, and effects. Plus, there are even isolates that can’t be sourced outside of cannabis.
- Both botanical and cannabis terpenes play a major role in our understanding of terpenes and their influence on us. We need both to continue our mission of unlocking cannabis science and empowering the cannabis community.
What Are Botanical Terpenes?
A terpene isolate that’s been extracted from legal plants like cloves, citrus, lavender, or even pine needles is considered a “botanical” terpene. Basically, if it’s derived from any plant other than cannabis, it’s a botanical terpene. Simple as that.
After they’ve been extracted from their plant source, these terpenes can be optimized and used for their various properties. That can include anything from their unique scent or flavor to properties like reducing inflammation or influencing mood.
What’s really fascinating about botanical terpenes is that even though they’re sourced from everyday plants and spices, we can use them to authentically recreate the scents, flavors, and some effects of the terpene profiles you’d find in cannabis strains. That means non-cannabis products can utilize these blends without having to worry about cannabinoids and/or potential psychoactive effects.
Plus, because they can be extracted from a wide variety of legal plants, botanical terpenes are incredibly consistent, less expensive, legal in all fifty states, and can be easily shipped all over the world. So, what’s the deal with cannabis-derived terpenes then?
What Are Cannabis Terpenes?
Cannabis-derived terpenes are terpenes that have been extracted directly from the cannabis plant. The trichomes on cannabis flowers are where both terpenes and cannabinoids are produced. Often they can appear “frosty,” and if looked at under a microscope they look a bit like mushrooms with bead-like heads and narrow stems.
When it comes to cannabis and cannabis products, terpenes are pretty dang important. Not only does the terpene profile of a particular strain dictate its scent and flavor, but it also influences the overall effects a strain will have on the consumer. That’s why some of your favorite strains give you “couch-lock” while others make you want to talk all night long. Cannabis terpenes are basically what dictates the type of experience cannabis will give you.
However, when it comes to how they interact with your body, it doesn’t really matter whether your favorite edible has used botanical or cannabis-derived terpenes. Once a terpene has been isolated, it’s already in its purest form and your body can’t tell the difference (so long as they’re high-quality terpenes that is).
Cannabis Terpene Drawbacks and Roadblocks
Honestly, it hurts us to write this. We’re obsessed with terpenes, specifically cannabis terpenes. But there are certain aspects of cannabis that make the terpenes significantly trickier to extract, transport, and ensure consistency.
- While we DO offer cannabis terpenes, you won’t find them listed anywhere on this website. That’s because the legal hurdles are so significant we have to list them on an entirely separate platform (Psst! Click here to check those out). Even then, however, those products are only available to licensed California businesses for pick-up. Bummer, we know.
- The legal roadblocks surrounding cannabis also make it incredibly difficult to perform much-needed research. Even something as simple as moving cannabis terpenes from one lab to another requires meticulous paperwork and documentation. Would we love the opportunity to ship cannabis terpenes outside of California? Absolutely! Is that likely to happen anytime soon? Well, let’s just say we won’t hold our breath.
- However, we HAVE been doing this research. We’ve been bending over backward to follow all laws and regulations because we genuinely believe research into cannabis terpenes is pivotal for a variety of industries. Unfortunately, it’s more expensive to insure our cannabis-derived terpenes meet our high standards for quality and consistency.
- We take great pride in our terpenes, and a huge part of that comes from the high standards we use when it comes to sourcing ingredients. The only way to ensure that same quality and consistency with our cannabis-derived terpenes is to meticulously source them. That’s how we ensure the cannabis ingredients we use are grown properly and that their terpenes are extracted properly as well.
With all that being said, why then would someone rely on cannabis-derived terpenes at all? If it’s less expensive, doesn’t create a different consumer experience, is more consistent, and is easier to ship globally...why would someone even bother with cannabis terpenes?
Benefits of Cannabis Terpenes and Research
The above text might make it seem like we’re not all that excited about cannabis terpenes, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth! Cannabis terpenes are honestly changing the game when it comes to specific sensorial experiences.
- While we can only provide these products to our California partners, these terpenes can completely reshape how brands develop products. Our cannabis-derived terpenes and live resin extracts give brands the highest quality, active key flavor ingredients they can use to create strain-specific terpene profiles of the most desirable genetics in California. That means maximum authenticity.
- Considering the volatile nature of terpenes, consistency and authenticity are key. Let us explain. Imagine there’s a cultivator on the west coast and another on the east coast that both grow OG Kush. While the terpene profiles of those plants will be similar, a variety of factors can influence the final terpene expression and result in slight differences. So, if a California brand wants their products to smell or taste precisely like California OG Kush, our cannabis terpenes, and the research that created them, are necessary.
- Plus, there are certain isolates you can’t find anywhere other than cannabis. For example, Selina-3,7(11)-diene is a terpene you won’t find anywhere other than cannabis. We could spend all the money in the world to botanically source this terpene, but it wouldn’t work. There’s no vendor, no farm, and no manufacturer in the world that can botanically source that specific isolate outside of cannabis.
In the end, cannabis terpene research is important because there’s more to learn and discover! Terpene science has only been around for so long and it’s already taught us so much about ourselves and the world around us. And that’s not some whimsical statement. Terpene science has literally helped us understand different parts of our physiology and how different compounds influence us. Just imagine how much more we’ll learn from cannabis terpenes.
We Need Botanical AND Cannabis Terpenes
Honestly, it’s not necessarily about which one is better. At a molecular level, they’re pretty much the same. So, as long as the quality and consistency are there, your body won’t know the difference. Yes, one is harder to get and more expensive than the other, but they both play a pivotal role in our greater understanding of terpenes and how they influence us.Unlocking cannabis science and empowering the community has always been at the heart of what we do. This is what we’re passionate about and we love helping brands create products that consumers love. Feel free to contact us and discuss using our terpenes in your products today.