Most people are aware of cannabinoids and the role they play in the cannabis experience, but savvy cannabis consumers are just waking up to the impact that terpenes have on the overall cannabis picture.
Terpenes play a major role in the effect that cannabis has and the overall experience of using cannabis, yet many cannabis extractors ignore them altogether or see them as an afterthought, typically because terpenes are notoriously difficult to extract and preserve. However, modern extraction techniques can effectively capture the plant’s full terpene profile with minimal losses.
Terpenes are the organic chemical compounds created by all plants responsible for much of their taste and smell. So, while terpenes aren’t unique to cannabis, the cannabis plant is fairly unique in the wide range of terpenes that it produces.
When people talk about the distinct aromas that cannabis strains have, they’re referring to the unique blend of terpenes in that strain. So, if a strain has a fruity, citrus, botanical, gas, or even skunk smell, terpenes are the culprit. Terpenes are also behind the distinct cannabis taste.
Research is also just beginning to understand that terpenes add more to the picture than a unique smell. Each terpene has its own effect and influence on the body. Some are calming. Some make people sleepy. Others are energizing. There are even terpenes known to help with pain and inflammation. It depends on the terpene. In addition to the amazing benefits of terpenes, science now understands that they play a critical role in the entourage effect, which states that the components of cannabis are more effective together than isolated.
There are two main ways terpenes are extracted from cannabis: steam and hydrocarbons. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Hydrocarbons are highly-flammable chemicals, like butane, which are known to be excellent solvents. They can pull plant compounds, like terpenes and cannabinoids, out of the cannabis plant, leaving the undesirable parts of the plant behind. This method is a favorite of many cannabis extractors because it doesn’t rely on heat, which is known to break down terpenes.
However, hydrocarbons are dangerous. They’re combustible chemicals that release flammable gasses into the air. There’s also the danger that hydrocarbons can be left behind in the final product, along with cannabinoids and terpenes. Extraction operations that rely on hydrocarbons need to meet high safety standards and implement extra measures to ensure that these dangerous compounds don’t cause an accident or end up in a product people consume.
Steam is a safer, more natural option that can pull terpenes out of cannabis along with water. While there are dangers associated with the temperatures and pressures associated with steam, they can be easily managed, and there’s no risk of contamination in the final product. Unfortunately, heat can accelerate terpene breakdown, but if temperatures are managed properly, terpene losses can be minimized.
ENTEXS produces a truly modern terpene extraction solution that preserves the plant’s complete terpene profile while producing a high-quality end product that can be used in a variety of cannabis products.
The ENTEXS terpene extraction system utilizes steam to naturally extract cannabis terpenes without using flammable or toxic solvents. The ENTEXS terpene extraction system solves the problem of heat in two key ways.
First, the system uses an advanced vacuum system to create low-temperature steam that effectively extracts terpenes while preserving them against high heat. This system allows for the best of both worlds in terpene extraction. The process remains natural and solvent-free while guarding terpenes against thermal breakdown.
Then, like all other ENTEXS systems, the terpene extraction system is fully automated. Automation allows for a convenient, hands-free extraction process that requires less oversight, maintenance, and, ultimately, employee intervention. It also ensures product consistency. The system can maintain set parameters for optimal extraction, also helping to ensure that terpenes are preserved. Automation can be tailored to any operation’s requirements, allowing the system to produce extracts to the most stringent standards.
Once the extraction process is complete, this turn-key system also features a sensor that detects water in the resulting essential oil. It can be quickly and efficiently separated to ensure the final product contains only the purest essential oil.
Terpenes are vital in producing premium-quality cannabis products, and the right extraction system is crucial to preserve the plant’s natural terpene profile. With a progressive extraction system, it’s possible to produce terpene extracts that exceed even the most discerning expectations.