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Providing Terpene Content Improves Consumer Experiences

With 420 just around the corner, manufacturers can create superior consumer experiences by displaying terpene content on packaging.

In a little over a month, cannabis lovers the world over will be celebrating the history, progress, and pure joy that is cannabis. Obviously, we’re talking about 420. While everyone celebrates in their own way, we’re taking this time to look ahead at how much more we can still achieve. And one of the biggest spaces for improvement in the cannabis industry is the overall consumer experience.

Imagine that you purchase a specific cannabis product from a dispensary. Perhaps you select it because it’s labeled “Sativa” and you want something energizing. Maybe you chose it because it’s infused with a cultivar you’ve heard was great for productivity. Whatever the case, you had expectations about the effects it would impart.

Now, imagine that the effects were accurate… but not very strong. Or worse, perhaps the effects were completely inaccurate, and the experience was the opposite of what you expected. Either way, your expectations were unmet, and you’re not likely to purchase that product again. You may even tell others about your poor experience, resulting in damage to the brand's reputation.

However, products that advertise terpene content provide the information necessary for consumers to form realistic expectations about products. Read on and learn more about contributors to poor consumer experiences and what brands can do to resolve these issues.

Reading Time - 5 min


Inaccurate Names and Labels in the Cannabis Industry

If the goal is to provide consumers with accurate product information so they can make more informed buying decisions, then we have to start by addressing the names and labels issue. To put it simply, a large number of cannabis names and product labels are inaccurate.

While this was previously just speculation, a 2022 study confirmed the inaccuracy of cannabis labeling. The study analyzed roughly 90,000 samples from legal markets across six states and found, “By comparing the observed phytochemical diversity to the commercial labels commonly attached to Cannabis-derived product samples, we show that commercial labels do not consistently align with the observed chemical diversity.”

While the data that confirms this is new, it’s not surprising by any means. If you found yourself nodding your head when reading the example from earlier, you know what we mean. Additionally, another important element of the findings of this study was that terms like Indica, Hybrid, and Sativa were also unreliable indicators of effects. Therefore, they likely also contribute to poor consumer experiences.

The Problem with Indica and Sativa Labels

Before you completely ditch the terms Indica and Sativa, we want to clarify that they CAN accurately be used to describe plant biology and structure. These terms are not, however, a good way to describe the effects of cannabis plants. 

Basically, it’s inaccurate to say that all Sativas are energizing and all Indicas are sedating. Unfortunately, these terms have solidified themselves into almost every aspect of the cannabis industry as effects indicators. From consumers asking budtenders for Indica strains, to packaging that only advertises whether a cultivar is Indica or Sativa. The problems with this are two-fold. 

First, when a shopper feels unexpected effects from a product, this creates a negative consumer experience often resulting in lower customer lifetime value. Plus, depending on how vocal they are about their experience, there’s the possibility of a negative impact on the overall brand reputation. Second, inaccuracies like these create PR and safety issues during a time when the cannabis industry is attempting to professionalize itself. 

While the cannabis market has yet to develop an updated labeling system that would solve this issue, individual manufacturers can take matters into their own hands by providing the terpene content in their products.

Terpene Content is a Better Indicator of Effects

The most accurate way to determine a product’s effects is by looking at its terpene profile and cannabinoid profile. The latter is important because it determines the overall psychoactive potential. If it helps, think of psychoactive cannabinoids like an airplane. Higher THC levels will get you… well, higher. 

The important thing to note, however, is that cannabinoids alone won’t get you to your desired destination (aka desired effects like invigoration, relaxation, creativity, etc.). It’s terpenes that dictate the type of experience cannabis will give you. So, cannabinoids will get you off the ground and fuel the plane, but it’s terpenes that determine the specific destination.

The study mentioned above even stated, “...a simplistic labeling system, in which THC-dominant samples are labeled by their dominant terpene, is better at discriminating samples than the industry-standard labeling system.” For example, many energizing chemovars have lots of d-Limonene whereas more sedating chemovars are dominant in beta-Myrcene

Bottom line? Packaging that accurately reflects a product’s terpene content is more likely to provide the information necessary for consumers to make more informed decisions. That means more accurate expectations and better consumer experiences.

Abstrax Tech Helps Create Better Consumer Experiences

Abstrax is the only terpene manufacturer licensed in the United States to study, extract, and formulate botanical terpene profiles from cannabis completely in-house. Plus, with our cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art analyses, we accurately capture and recreate terpene profiles from both botanical and cannabis samples. 

This means we can help you differentiate your brand and product line with new, consistent, and scalable experiences. From vapes and edibles to topicals and personal-care products, our terpene formulations can be chemovar-specific, flavor and aroma-specific, or mood oriented. Basically, we’ll help you craft a specific consumer experience and ensure that your products deliver.

Contact us today to talk about using Abstrax terpene isolates or blends in your products. Plus, don’t forget to follow us for all the latest updates.

READ NEXT → The Future of Terpenes in Cannabis Product Development


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