Part 2 | The Science of Exotic Cannabis: Funky, Chemical, and Savory Aromas
In Part 2 of our Science of Exotic anthology, we’re diving into the funky, chemical, and savory notes of strains...
Learning how to use terpenes takes years of studying under a mentor who’s dedicated their lives to terpenes...just kidding. A steady hand and basic science knowledge are really all that’s required. The most basic instructions would be to combine a certain amount of your preferred terpenes to your carrier substance.
But how much terpenes should you use? What should the ratio of terpene to carrier oil be? It can feel a little overwhelming at first, but luckily we’ve broken it down so you can learn how to use terpenes safely and efficiently.
Reading time: 9 minutes
We know you’re busy and probably anxious to get started. So, here’s the gist of what we’ll be covering today.
Yes. You should know that our terpenes are 100% legal and they don't contain cannabis in any form--so they can't get you high! We only carry non-cannabis derived terpenes. Abstrax terpenes are sourced from naturally derived ingredients and do not contain CBD, THC or any illegal substances. Which almost answers the next question...
The answer is simple? Absolutely not. As mentioned above, our terpenes are NON-Cannabis derived and therefore have no psychoactive effects. They’re sourced from naturally derived ingredients and do not contain CBD, THC or any illegal substances.
Terpenes can temporarily affect your mood, have short-term anti-inflammatory properties, can temporarily increase energy, and some can even help you fall asleep, but they don't have psychoactive effects. Honestly, science is only just now scratching the surface on all the benefits that terpenes have to offer.
Some people might tell you that essential oils are a pure substance that accurately captures the scent of a plant. Well, that's actually not the whole story.
Essential oils are a mixture of several different terpenes, and when those oils are distilled even further that's when you get terpenes! Basically, terpenes are the most highly concentrated form of a scent. Most plants, and some insects, naturally produce terpenes. These compounds are responsible for the natural taste and aroma associated with many plants and flowers.
Terpenes are in the spotlight lately because of how their presence can affect the potency and benefits of many cannabis strains. For those manufacturing cannabis products, this is really exciting. But terpenes are everywhere, not just in weed! And one of the coolest things is that anyone can benefit from terpenes.
So you're on the terpene train? Then you'd better make sure you have all of your equipment gathered and ready to go. This might seem like an obvious step, but it’s important enough that it’s worth reiterating.
Syringe - We’d recommend a glass syringe with a larger tip. Glass is nonreactive with terpenes and can easily be reheated if necessary. If your syringe tip is too small it can often clog, so the larger tips will save you a lot of time and frustration. You’ll use the syringe if you don’t have a filling machine.
Pipette - The pipette will help you measure out any carriers, diluents, or actual terpenes that you may need. They can come in a variety of sizes, so just make sure to choose one that fits your needs.
Digital scale - Working with terpenes often requires precise measurements, so you you’ll want to select a digital scale that can measure .01 grams. Digital scales come in a lot of different sizes, so again make sure you choose one that fits your production needs.
Mixing Containers - Hopefully, this one doesn’t need too much explaining. Choose a glass container of your choice that’s large enough to accommodate your mixing needs.
Hot plate/Magnetic Mixer - These are used to keep glass containers warm. If you opt for the magnetic mixer it essentially does the same thing, but it also stirs the liquid using a bar spun by a magnet. And yes, it’s as cool as it sounds.
Rotor-Stator Homogenizer - Basically, this is a high powered immersion blender used to make sure that your products are completely blended. Make sure you shop around for this tool though, because they each have different minimum and maximum volume requirements.
Mixing Tool - Honestly, just some sort of glass or stainless steel mixing device. You’ll use this when mixing terpenes into extracts and carriers.
Diluents and Carriers - Basically, make sure you have your terpene of choice (your diluent) and your carrier of choice, we recommend our Tec Temper. Our products are 100% pure, derived from natural ingredients, filler-free, and food-grade, so you can rest easy knowing you’re using high-quality terpenes. When selecting carriers though, remember that they all have different qualities, so your choice will be determined by the types of products you're trying to make.
Don’t worry, there won’t be a test. Well, at least we won’t give you one. The real test will be when you give your product a try for the first time. Will it blow your mind with their alluring aroma and flavor? Or will you get one whiff and hide it somewhere that, hopefully, no one will ever find it?
To avoid the latter, there are a few basic pieces of information you’ll want to be familiar with…
Carriers and Diluents - Diluents are added to a large amount of another substance to minimize its strength, whereas carriers (sometimes called bases) are added to a small amount of another substance to minimize its strength. So they accomplish the same thing, but they ARE different.
Technically, terpenes are diluents when they’ve been combined with an extract or oil and should make up no more than 10% of your finished solution. Your carrier oil, on the other hand, should make up between 90-99% of your finished solution.
So as much as you may want to dump an entire bottle of your favorite terpene blend into your product...please don’t. It will be far too powerful and won’t be nearly as enjoyable as you think.
Know Your Conversions - Yes, there’s math involved. But believe us when we tell you that it’s VERY necessary. If your measurements are off then you’ll either not use enough of your terpenes or you’ll end up using too much. Either way, it’s disappointing when that happens.
Some products will list their mass by kilogram (kg), milligram (mg), and some by gram (g). When you see this, just remember:
When determining how many grams or milliliters of a terpene to add to your oil (when measuring your oil in grams) to reach a certain percentage, remember:
And if you’re trying to determine how many grams are in something that’s measured in milliliters, remember:
Using these conversions will help you determine how much to use of your diluents and carriers. It will take a little bit of basic algebra (I know...sigh), but once you have your measurements figured out you’ll be good to go!
Terpene Liquifiers/Diluents and Solubility - We’ve talked about diluents already, but understanding solubility can be the difference between perfectly mixed products and...products that may need some rethinking.
Whether you’re using a terpene blend or an isolate, they’re pretty potent. So potent that you MUST dilute them before using them.
If you’re still figuring out your measurements, then it’s always best to follow this rule, “start low and go slow.” Start with a 1% concentration and slowly add more until you’re happy with the result.
Solubility is how well a substance can dissolve in a solvent. And that’s important here because terpenes are oils. As a general rule of thumb, terpenes dissolve well in oils and alcohol. For any other products like edibles, drinks and other foods, you should use water-soluble terpenes.
If you’re wondering what types of products might benefit from terpenes, you have nothing to fear. Honestly, just about every product can benefit from terpenes in some way! That’s kind of the beauty of it. Maybe you want to make your own line of skincare products, or perhaps you want to dive into the culinary arts with a terpene twist. Here are just a few ideas…
Terpenes and Food - I mean, come on. Who doesn’t want to bite into a lemon poppyseed muffin and have that sharp, citrus scent envelop their senses? Ever thought of making your own candy? Try experimenting with our terpene blends to create new flavor experiences!
Terpenes and Cocktails - If you’re mass producing your own line of beverages then your measurements will be a little more...more. But if you’re mixing a few drinks at a party, then all it takes is ONE DROP of terpenes in a glass to create a unique cocktail that really gets the party started. We’ve even got a few cocktail recipes you could try out today!
Terpenes and Skin Care - Certain terpenes are particularly powerful anti-inflammatories and calming scents. This makes them fantastic, beneficial ingredients to combine with skincare products! Not to mention the gorgeous scents you’ll create.
Terpenes and Aromatherapy - This one should be a no brainer! Terpenes harness the power of scent and create sensational experiences, so they’re the perfect addition for candles, bath oils, and more. A little Linalool and Blue Dream and you’ll be putting your feet up and sighing contentedly in no time.
Terpenes and CBD Distillate - Want to know something that terpenes and CBD have in common? They're both 100% legal AND non-psychoactive. Essentially, you can reap all of the benefits of both compounds without any of the stress! Combine 1-2 drops of terpenes for every gram of CBD distillate and you'll quickly be on your way to creating a relaxing muscle rub, bath oil, or even skin cream!
Seriously, people are finding new ways to use terpenes every day!
But before jumping into the world of terpenes, remember how powerful they are. Our terpenes are incredibly pure and, as such, are incredibly concentrated. Using them without diluting them is very dangerous, so always use caution.
If you have questions about using our terpenes in your products then feel free to contact us with questions! We’re always excited to hear from people who love terpenes as much as we do.
And don’t forget to give us a shoutout on Instagram and tell us how you’ve been using our terpenes! Who knows, we may get inspired and decide to feature you on our page ;)
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