If you’ve been an active member of the vape community for a while but have been seeking to move up the ladder and up your game, you have likely caught wind of this mysterious word, “terpenes”. But what are terpenes, exactly? How do they factor into your vaping experience? These questions and more are what we will be taking a look at in today’s guide. Scroll down below for more!
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes: what they are, what they do, and why they are so important to understanding how you can get the most out of your vape.
Chemically, terpenes are a class of hydrocarbons. Terpenes are found in a huge number of life forms, most notably plants. They are responsible for the distinctive smells and aromas of different species of flowers and trees. From the sweet scent of lavender to the telltale sting of a nettle, terpenes are the real miracle workers behind many, if not most, of the floral world’s exciting sensory experiences.
But terpenes can do much more than smelling nice. For proof of that, look no further than the cannabis plant, which is absolutely filled to the brim with hundreds of these compounds, many of which are entirely unique to it! These cannabis-derived terpenes fulfill many important functions; some still remain a mystery to our current state of scientific knowledge.
However, what’s already abundantly clear is that their effects go far beyond providing each cannabis strain with its own unique flavor and aromatic profile. By means of the entourage effect, terpenes can combine or stack their effects with other terpenes and cannabinoids to create entirely new and exciting effects.
The entourage effect makes cannabis terpenes quite tricky to study since their effects in isolation are almost never the same as their effects “in the wild," and those will differ again from strain to strain.
In studies, the terpenes found in cannabis have been linked to a range of mental and physical effects with promising medicinal applications, including aromatherapy. Previously, it was thought that only cannabinoids were responsible for these kinds of effects, but now we know that it is the complex interplay between the cannabis plant’s main active ingredients and these nifty terpenes that really makes the difference.
How to Use Terpenes
When you vape cannabis, you also consume terpenes. The concentration of terpenes in your vape depends on how it was made, as well as on the unique characteristics of the particular strain you’re using. Still, one major downside of traditional vape carts is that they lack a lot of terpenes compared to cannabis flower.
This is a natural consequence of the extraction techniques used to produce vapes. While the use of high-grade, powerful solvents like butane and propane ensures that vape cartridges can be made to offer record-breaking cannabinoid concentrations, this, on the other hand, eliminates many of the plant’s natural terpenes in the process.
This fact is why many have begun exploring the possibility of adding terpenes to their vapes to get the best of both worlds: the known health benefits of cannabinoids such as CBD and THC as well as additional health effects courtesy of the hidden power of terpenes. Of course, the entourage effect dictates that vaping these terpenes standalone will produce quite different results compared to smoking an herb that already contains those same terpenes.
Terpenes come in many forms, and it is important to remember that you’re not restricted to just the terpenes found in cannabis, either! Popular choices include gum terpene oil, citrus oil, and more! In liquid form, these can be easily added to your choice of e-liquid to provide a smooth and highly potent string of effects right out of the box.
Is Vaping Terpenes Safe?
The idea behind adding terpenes to your vape sure sounds exciting, but the question is whether it’s a smart idea. Is vaporizing terpenes a risky game? Can you get something out of it without jeopardizing your health?
Thankfully, there isn’t much need to worry. As long as you know what you’re doing and set everything up correctly, using terpenes to add some zest to your vape should entail no grave danger. Terpenes have not been associated with any severe negative side effects to date, and apart from extremely rare allergic reactions, there isn’t much you need to watch out for.
What are the Benefits of Terpenes?
Now, let’s take a look at what these terpenes can do for you and your body! Each of the hundreds upon hundreds of currently known terpenes has its own effects, both on its own and when combined with others. Below, we’ve collected a few of the most well-known and popular terpenes out there.
Many of these are cannabis terpenes, but others are found in a wide variety of other plants, too! All of them are incredibly potent and widely available, making for an easy entry-level option. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best beginner-friendly vape terpenes available today!
Benefits and Effects of Limonene
Easy to identify, limonene is one of the more widespread terpenes around. You will immediately be able to recognize it as the terpene that lends citrus fruits such as lemons their distinctive sour, pungent flavor. You will also find it as an artificial fragrance in plenty of soaps, detergents, and beauty products.
Limonene is one of the most therapeutically promising terpenes. It possesses numerous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory traits and has been shown to protect the functioning of the gastrointestinal and cardiovascular systems to some extent.
Limonene also functions as an immunomodulator, increasing the body’s resistance to infections, tumors, and even several types of cancer.
Benefits and Effects of Alpha-Pinene
Alpha-pinene represents one of nature’s most widespread and well-studied terpenes. As the name implies, this terpene is most commonly found in the resin of the pine tree and is responsible for its sweet, recognizable scent.
A common ingredient in cannabis, alpha-pinene has been isolated as one of the most notable non-cannabinoid compounds responsible for the physically relaxing effects of many of the best weed strains. Alpha-pinene relaxes the nerves, allowing you to focus more easily on important tasks while lessening symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Benefits and Effects of Linalool
Linalool, a widespread terpene that colors the aromatic hues of species as diverse as lavender and cinnamon, is a real powerhouse with plenty of health benefits to its name. The flavor of linalool can be summed up as spicy and fresh—no wonder that mint contains one of the highest concentrations of this terpene!
As for its effects, linalool is a highly potent mood stabilizer, capable of reducing stress and calming the mind. It can also act as a mild but powerful sedative, perfect for sleep support and the like.
Benefits and Effects of Geraniol
Geraniums are some of the most popular houseplants found in gardens and backyards around the world. Their striking purple colors, gentle, pleasant scent, and easy-to-keep nature make them a very enjoyable flower to grow.
A surprisingly big reason for that is their highly prominent natural terpene, the appropriately named geraniol. Quickly becoming a vape favorite, geraniol is associated with antioxidant, relaxant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects.
Also used as a fragrance in many perfumes and hygiene products, geraniol, interestingly, does double-duty as a potent insect repellant. Just another interesting quirk for those considering this miracle terpene, whether for use in your next vape cart or not!
Benefits and Effects of Myrcene
Ever noticed how a surprising number of weed strains seem to share that mysterious earthy, vaguely fruity scent? It’s all because of myrcene, one of the most numerous cannabis terpenes that also appears in plenty of spices and herbs.
Because of its association with cannabis, myrcene has been very closely studied with regard to its effects. The results indicate that myrcene plays a large role in the kinds of physical stimulation that you’ll recognize from any heavy-hitting Indica plant—in other words, the infamous couch look.
As a powerful sedative and immune booster, myrcene ticks many of the same health boxes as its other terpene relatives. However, it ups the ante by also functioning as a powerful analgesic, treating symptoms of even strong, chronic pains, as well as lowering inflammation throughout the body.
How to Use Terpenes in Vape
If the above got you all excited to load up and light up some terpenes, read on carefully to find out just how! Terpene isolates cannot be used completely on their own. This would be like trying to enjoy tea by just adding the leaves to your vegetable salad! In the same way, we need a base liquid to hold the terpenes and make them useful.
Vegetable glycerin is a popular choice, with propylene glycol being the most notable alternative. Both of these have their advantages and disadvantages, especially relating to possible allergic reactions, so do your own research and find out what works best for your body and your immune system in particular.
The next step is to add any cannabinoids or other active ingredients you might like to combine with the effects of your terpenes. For example, many choose to go with a combo of terpenes plus CBD and/or THC. Others will add nicotine for a stronger buzz that has its own unique qualities. In the end, it’s up to you what you add to your terpenes for vaping.
No matter what, the actual terpene (or terpene mix) is what you should add last. This is because terpenes are extremely potent and will display effects at as little as 1% concentration within your choice of vape oil. As a final step, also consider a cutting agent. This offers a neat way to dilute your terpenes and tone them down a bit without negatively affecting taste, aroma, or effects.
How to Make Terpenes for Vape
Nowadays, you can buy liquid terpene isolates in pre-packaged form, making it a child’s play to incorporate these compounds into your daily smoke. But what if you’re looking for a terpene combo that retailers don’t stock on their shelves?
Likewise, finding ready-to-use cannabinoid concentrates with your favorite terpenes baked in is not that easy, even in 2022. That’s when the time comes to take matters into your own hands. While making your own vaporizing terpenes is a bit more of an involved process, it does give you a far greater degree of freedom.
In order to make your own terpene liquid, you need some basic supplies. First, you need a pure form of your choice of terpene or terpenes, as well as the base you want to infuse them with, such as a CBD or THC cannabis extract, for instance.
The following steps require you to fine-tune small amounts of liquid using syringes, droppers, and measured containers while applying high heat. If your courage is not wavering, read on!
For optimal results, mix your terpenes and concentrate or extract them together in a glass container. The ratio between the two offers some room for experimentation depending on your intended results, but it’s wise to not exceed one gram of terpene for every two to three grams of concentrate.
Next, you need to apply high heat to your container to melt all the solid parts of the terpene’s structure and allow it to fuse with your extract. A temperature of just below 70 degrees Celsius should be sufficient. After enough time and plenty of stirring, the blend should have stabilized and can now be loaded into a vape cart.
Simply infuse your choice of e-liquid with your newly created terpene mix; for precision, it’s best to use a small syringe. Remember, terpenes are extremely potent, and you don’t need more than a drop!
Best Terpenes for Vaping
If you’re still new to the field of vaping terpenes, you might be overwhelmed with the sheer variety and the choices available to the average Jane or Joe these days.
There are the top-ranking five terpenes we took a look at above, but then there are also countless more, hundreds of which are known to be found in the cannabis plant alone! Instead of succumbing to analysis paralysis, take our word for it and take things slow.
A great starting point in your terpene vape journey is all-in-one solutions such as full-spectrum vape cartridges. Our Delta-8 THC Vape Cart is an excellent example of this class, with a highly purified and concentrated expression of the popular Berry Blossom Indica strain. Unlike run-of-the-mill carts, you can really make use of the full terpene package with this one.
This is because we at Botany Farms pay extra attention to refining and optimizing the extraction process to retain as many of those minor compounds as possible. The end result is a cart with a 94% cannabinoid concentration that still manages to replicate the authentic flavors and health benefits of its template strain. This advantage makes full-spectrum products a perfect entry point into the exciting world of vaping terpenes!
If you’re really looking to maximize those relaxant benefits, check out our Delta-10 THC Vape Cartridge instead. With the power of Pineapple Haze, one of our all-time most popular sativas, this high-terpene cart provides a buzz that’s so smooth that you’ll have to feel it to believe it!
If reading about Delta-10 alone makes you yawn, consider something with more horsepower—something like an HHC Vape Cartridge. Packing more oomph than even Delta-8 THC, and based on the venerable Bubba Kush Indica, this is no cart for curious beginners. However, seasoned veterans will come to appreciate the cart’s complex flavor rich in cocoa and earthy tones, as well as its trademark couchey effects that’ll leave you dazed and stimulated for the whole evening and then some.