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What Are Terpenes Used For?

Terpenes are the hottest compound in canna-science right now. So, what exactly are terpenes, what do terpenes do, and what are terpenes used for?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably have some understanding of what terpenes are. You might know they’re aromatic compounds responsible for the flavor and aroma of most plants. You’re also probably aware that some plants produce WAY more terpenes than others (we’re looking at you cannabis). However, do you know exactly what terpenes are used for?

While terpenes play an important evolutionary role for plants, our chemists use cutting-edge technology to extract them for diverse purposes. Discover the surprisingly vast list of terpene applications and how your products can benefit from terpenes today.

Reading Time - 7.5 min

What Are Terpenes Used For?

You’re busy, we get it. Here’s the short and sweet version of what we’ll cover today:

  1. Terpenes are the organic hydrocarbons present in most plants that dictate their aroma, flavor, and even their effects. 
  2. In nature, terpenes play an important evolutionary role by helping plants attract pollinators or even deter predators.
  3. Additionally, terpenes interact with us to promote some seriously interesting effects. If you’ve found the scent of lavender relaxing then you’ve already experienced this!
  4. The terpenes present in cannabis are an excellent example of how different terpene profiles can create different flavors, aromas, and effects. Two different cannabis strains may have similar isolates. However, the different ratios of their overall terpene profiles can create wildly different scents, tastes, and experiences.
  5. Once you know which terpenes you want to use, terpenes can be used for a wide variety of applications.
  6. Using terpenes for distillate is a great way to control the overall user experience in terms of flavor, aroma, and specific effects (creativity, focus, relaxation, etc.).
  7. Many are already using terpenes for vape cartridges because vape consumers are looking for specific flavors and feelings. Additionally, using terpenes for edibles is a simple way to help your products stand out from the competition while ensuring the entourage effect is in full swing.
  8. You can also use terpenes in non-cannabis products. Adding terpenes to food and beverages is a simple zero-calorie, zero-sugar method to pump up the flavor and aroma of your products for an experience consumers can’t get elsewhere. 
  9. The vast world of personal care products can also seriously benefit from terpenes. Using terpenes in skincare, sun protectants, insect repellents, and even antibacterial products is an easy way to add desirable flavors while increasing overall effectiveness.

What Are Terpenes?

Already up to date on the subject? Feel free to skip ahead. If you’re new to terpene science, however, you may want to take notes.

Terpenes are organic hydrocarbons present in most plants. From pine trees and basil to black pepper and lemons. Each plant has a unique terpene profile (a combination of different terpene isolates in unique ratios) that dictates its aroma and flavor.

However, terpenes also play an important evolutionary role for plants. These hydrocarbons can help plants attract pollinators or even deter predators. They do a lot more than that though.

What Do Terpenes Do?

One of the reasons we’re so fascinated by terpenes is that they also interact with US. If you’ve ever found the scent of lavender relaxing or the taste of lemons energizing, then you’ve already experienced this! Each terpene isolate has a unique aroma, flavor, and series of effects. A complex terpene profile made up of many isolates, however, can have very specific effects (mood-elevation, sedation, focus, etc.). 

The best example of this comes from looking at terpenes and cannabis. You’ll find many of the same isolates in most cannabis strains. However, the unique ratio of those isolates is why certain cannabis strains are uplifting while others are incredibly relaxing. It’s also why each strain has a unique scent and flavor. 

For example, strains like Maui Wowie and Biscotti both have lots of Beta-Caryophyllene but have very different flavors and effects. Plus, let’s not forget that terpenes are necessary for the Entourage Effect as well.

Maui Wowie Terpene Blend

Maui Wowie

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What Are Terpenes Used For?

Ok, so now you know that terpenes are responsible for the flavor, aroma, and effects of most plants. Before you can get started experimenting, however, it’s important to understand that terpenes are volatile. Essentially, terpenes are incredibly sensitive and can be influenced by weather, soil quality, and even farming techniques. That’s why two identical seeds grown in different conditions might have different terpene profiles. 

So, if you want to use terpenes in your products, it’s best to stick with expertly extracted botanical terpenes. If you REALLY want to use pounds of meticulously grown plant matter, we won’t stop you. However, using high-quality isolates or blends will save you time and money while ensuring your products have the flavor, aroma, and effects you’re looking for. 

Plus, once you get your hands on the right terps, you can use them for some seriously cool things...

Terpenes for Distillate

Distillate is potent and perfect for dabs, carts, and as ingredients for various edibles, topicals, and more. While the distillation process creates some seriously powerful oils, it also removes the natural terpenes. That means the flavor, aroma, and desired effects are stripped from the final distillate as well. 

While it might seem silly to add terpenes to distillate back after they’ve been removed, it gives you control over the user experience. Essentially, you can fine-tune the flavor, aroma, and overall effects for your consumers. Plus, mixing terpenes with extracts and concentrates just requires a bit of knowledge, a few specific pieces of equipment, and your terpenes of choice.

Terpenes for Vape Cartridges

We feel like this one is pretty obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning. Regardless of what type of vape product a consumer wants to purchase (cannabis, non-cannabis, hemp, etc.), they’re looking for an experience. They’re looking for specific flavors, aromas, and they’re looking for a vape that makes them feel some kind of way. Terpenes can be used to create vape cartridges that meet those exact consumer expectations. 

Creating a vape cart that promises energy with a complex citrus flavor? Lemon Jack terpenes are just what you need. Maybe your consumers want a vape that helps them wind down and chill. If that’s the case, GDP provides a heavy dose of relaxation with notes of grapes and berries. When it comes to using terpenes for carts, you have endless options.

Terpenes for Edibles

Consumers purchase edibles for the overall experience. Yes, that first bite, sip, or crunch might be all about the flavor or aroma. Maybe they’re searching for that bitter kick of coffee, bright citrus, or smooth chocolate. However, good edibles have more than just great taste. They give consumers a one-of-a-kind experience with effects they’ll come back for again and again. Using terpenes in edibles definitely gives those products an advantage over the competition.

Sure, psychoactive cannabinoids leave consumers feeling pretty lit. But what if someone wants an edible that helps them unlock their creativity, be more conversational, or unwind before bed? Basically, cannabinoids help people “take off,” but terpenes are what dictate their “destination.” 

Terpenes for Food & Beverages

We’ve talked a lot about cannabis products (can you blame us?) but terpenes can be used for non-cannabis products too! Trust us when we tell you that using terpenes for food & beverages is one of the easiest ways to add flavor, aroma, and effects. Plus, terpenes won’t add calories or sugars, so they’re even perfect for things like seltzer water.

Honestly, there’s a surprising amount of versatility when it comes to using terpenes in food & beverages. From ice cream and barbecue sauces to beer and sports drinks. We don’t know about you, but a terpene-infused cocktail would definitely start our happy hour off right. 

Terpenes for Personal Care

It’s pretty easy to understand why you might infuse terpenes into products you eat, drink, or inhale. However, there are some serious benefits to using terpenes in personal care products. 

For example, D-Limonene can increase product absorption through the skin and provide sunburn protection against CPDs (cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers). CPDs are the lesions produced when DNA is exposed to UVB light. The antibacterial properties of certain terpenes make them phenomenal additions for hand soaps, skincare, and even acne treatments. Want to take your topicals to the next level? Try an isolate like beta-caryophyllene that has analgesic properties. How about personal care products designed for the outdoors? Try an isolate with anesthetic properties like Eugenol for bug bites.

So, terpenes not only provide desirable aromas, they can actually increase the effectiveness of personal care products. From shampoos and lotions to sun protectants and massage oils. Using terpenes in personal care products immediately increases their value.

This Is Just The Beginning For Terpenes

There are so many different ways to use terpenes. We didn’t even get started on using terpenes for aromatherapy products! Let’s just say that terpene-infused candles are the next big thing.

If you’re interested in adding terpenes to your products, selecting the right terpene profiles, or even custom terpene formulations, don’t hesitate to contact us today. This is what we do, and we want to help you get the most out of your products with terpenes.

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