What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are the aromatic oils secreted by the hemp plant’s trichome glands. Over 100 different terpenes have been identified, each with its own distinct smell and taste.
Terpenes Are Important in the Medical and Recreational Markets
In the extraction industry, an emphasis is placed on hemp extracts’ terpene content and their roles in flavor and aroma. This is true in both medical and recreational markets.
In medical markets, patients have preferences in taste as they move into a "prescription" based dosage form of the medication. In recreational markets, flavor can trump potency as consumers seek a fuller experience.
The photo above shows a strain-specific pure terpene mixture that is free from any actives. These terpenes are great for flavor additives in butane extracts and supercritical CO2 extracts. For the producer, there are some important facts about terpenes that should be considered when formulating a product.
Terpenes Have a Tendency to Degrade
First fact is that most terpenes are highly reactive and react with the matrix and with each other and can produce off odors and off flavors. This reaction starts to occur upon exposure to air and continues through processing. A product leaving your production facility that has the desired taste may not have the desired taste a week later when it is sold to the customer.
The terpene conundrum is more pronounced because there really is no standard on taste. In fact, some people may prefer the off odor of flavor. Therefore, it is important to take steps to prevent degradation of the terpenes in your formulation.
How to Collect the Best Terpenes and Avoid Degradation
One way to do to prevent terpenes from degrading is to remove them from the oil during production, then add them back in just before shipping in a very small amount. A GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) preservative can also be added to the formulation if allowed.
However, there is another method that allows for the collection of pure terpenes with little to degradation before the extraction process. By using extraktLAB's terpTRAP cold trap terpene collector, you can capture pure, unadulterated terpenes during decarboxylation. This makes for the highest quality terpenes that can be reintroduced during product formulation down the line.