As cannabis legalization spreads, more people can try cannabis products legally. For years, consumers had no choice but to consume products with synthetic terpenes – or break the law – because the industry wasn’t ready for cannabis-derived terpenes.
But what are terpenes, anyway?
Terpenes are compounds found naturally throughout nature. They deliver aromatics and flavors and can be found in over 1,000 different plant species. This, of course, includes cannabis and hemp, which produce over 100 different types of terps.
Consider terpenes the “fingerprint” of cannabis and hemp. These are what give these plants their specific aroma profiles, giving them natural protection against pests.
But are cannabis-derived terpenes better?
Recently, I spoke with cannabis advocate Kitty Chopaka about her exciting new endeavor in Thailand: Chopaka Shop products that imitate the flavor and aroma of popular cannabis strains.
Are Terpenes Legal?
Kitty told me about her assortment of products, and to be perfectly honest, I was worried about the legality. But she assured me these products are entirely legal in the Land of Smiles, and for export abroad.
Can you buy terpenes legally? Yes, of course. Since these compounds aren’t derived from cannabis and do not contain any regulated cannabinoids, they’re totally legal to have, sell, export, etc.
For those wondering why terpenes are legal, the fact of the matter is that these compounds are found in all types of plants. From the cilantro in Chipotle’s rice to the lavender in your skin cream, terpenes are EVERYWHERE!
Think about it this way. Plant-derived terpenes don’t have to come from the cannabis plant. They can come from various plants. And while some are also found in cannabis, plant-derived terpenes can actually be used to mimic the flavor and scent profile of popular marijuana strains.
Living in Thailand for the last four years, I know all too well that cannabis is still a touchy subject in the Kingdom. Sure, things are changing. But you can never be too careful.
However, equally important to know the fact that you can buy terpenes legally. They’re sold all over the world without any legal restrictions. And while you’ll need to dilute concentrated terpenes, you can purchase plant-derived terpenes and products made with them legally.
Following a quick discussion about how terpenes facilitate the way cannabinoids bind to our cannabinoid receptors, Kitty sent over the goods for me to try. Besides discussing these compounds (cannabis-derived terpenes and artificial), I’m going to talk about my experience baking and devouring these terpene-infused brownies.
Kitty Ruined Regular Brownie Mix for Me – & I’m Never Going Back
A bold statement, I know. But seriously, even though these don’t contain cannabis-derived terpenes, I have to say, all brownies deserve a terpene infusion.
But honestly, I was clueless before. I thought these terpene combinations naturally occur in the actual plant.
I know we can isolate terpenes. But I didn’t think it’s possible to combine certain terpenes to match other living plants. Especially a particular strain.
That’s right. You can add non-cannabis-derived terpenes to foods and drinks to get the exact smell and taste of your favorite marijuana strain profiles.
While no psychoactive effects were to be had – we’re talking terpenes, not THC – the brownies taste phenomenal.
As a cannabis consumer while in the states, I’ve missed the satisfying terpene blends of my favorite strains. Girl Scout Cookies, Sour Diesel, Northern Lights, OG Kush, Aurora – and the list goes on.
So when Kitty told me about her brownies – and gummies – I couldn’t stay away. I had to try them out, despite sugar’s effect on my waistline.
Chopaka Terpene Fudge Brownie Mix
I haven’t tried the Terpene Matcha Brownie Mix yet. But I’ll do a write-up on those as soon as I make them. I imagine they’re just as good, if not even better. Both mixes contain the same OG terpene profile, and the Fudge mix was incredibly tasty.
In-The-Mix: OG Terps
How to Make Kitty’s Terpene Fudge Brownies
The mix only requires the addition of a binder (2 eggs) and an oil. But it lists that you can use butter alternatives like vegetable oil, Greek yogurt, mashed banana, or avocado. Kitty also mentioned that she likes cashew nut butter, which I’ll have to try for myself ASAP!
I used coconut oil for my brownies, and they came out great. The whole process was super easy, as well.
Step 1: Preheat the oven & line or green an 8″x8″ pan.
Step 2: Mix all of the ingredients well and transfer to the pan.
The ingredients are combined easily with a fork, but you can use a mixer if you want.
Step 3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until cooked thoroughly.
I may have put a little too much oil and didn’t (couldn’t!) wait for them to cool enough before slicing into it. Regardless, they were devoured without hesitation. My only regret is that I didn’t top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
My Review of Chopaka Fudge Brownie Mix
The combination of individual terpenes in these brownies felt like a piece of home I’ve been missing. It reminded me that not all recreational marijuana is created equal – and that the flavors I’ve been missing are available, even if I can’t legally get ahold of the flower I adore.
As a recreational baker, I know what goes into making brownies, cookies, etc., from scratch. It’s time-consuming fun, but it takes time nonetheless.
This brownie mix is nothing short of satisfying. From the fudginess of the brownies themselves to the terpene infusion offering an experience comparable to opening a jar of my favorite bud, this is a top-shelf experience I’d recommend to all cannabis consumers.
Terpenes Derived from Cannabis Plants Versus Artificial Terps
Let’s get one thing straight; cannabis-derived terpenes are great and all, but cannabis isn’t the only plant giving us those flavorful, aromatic compounds.
Anyways, regardless of the plant, it’s possible to extract terpenes. Cannabis, lavender, eucalyptus, fruits, pine trees, and many other natural sources exist.
And then there are the artificial terpenes.
While marijuana is considered illegal in Thailand, the legal system here has nothing to say about terpenes derived elsewhere. Whether extracted from plants or derived from a lab, this is good news for anyone who enjoys the aromas and flavor of high-quality cannabis strains.
The artificial terpenes used in Kitty’s Terpene Fudge Brownies are naturally identical. This means they offer the same qualities as the natural stuff, but without a quick expiration date.
Unfortunately, natural terpenes aren’t as stable when they’re used in food products. Cannabis plants fall into this natural category. So, to get the precise flavor and aroma of cannabis-derived terpenes in our food and drinks, we need artificial terpenes.
The terpenes Kitty uses are also made in Thailand – with FDA approval. So, nothing to worry about there.
One of the other issues with cannabis-derived terpenes is that they’re not always legal. For example, Thailand hasn’t fully legalized cannabis. So, if these were cannabis-derived terpenes, these brownies would be prohibited.
Are Cannabis-Derived Terpenes Expensive?
Another consideration is the price. Extracting terpenes from cannabis? It’s pricy.
Cannabis sativa plant flower ranges in price. But it’s still more expensive than extracting from fruit material and other respective plants.
Think about what it would cost to extract cannabis terpenes. The sheer amount of product needed to extract enough cannabis-derived terpenes to make one batch of brownies wouldn’t be worth the price.
But Why Not Use Cannabis-Derived Terpenes?
Cannabis-derived terpenes don’t make sense for most products. While terpenes extracted from cannabis are desirable, non-cannabis-derived terpenes are exactly the same as cannabis-derived terpenes.
The main differences are the source and the entourage effect cannabis plant extraction offers.
Non-cannabis-derived terpenes don’t guarantee the entourage effect. However, if you find terpenes from other plants or buy artificial terps, you can experience the entourage effect the same way as when you consume strains that contain THC.
Whether artificial or botanical terpenes, the medicinal benefits are still the same – especially if you’re consuming other cannabinoids 30 minutes after your dose of terps.
Cannabis terpenes and non-cannabis-derived terpenes are the same. Regardless of where you get your terpenes, the flavor profile and other unique properties remain the same.
Extraction for terpenes from actual plants – including non-cannabis plants like lavender – is usually the same steam distilling process. But getting high-quality terpenes from cannabis sativa is too expensive to justify the cost.
Common Cannabis-Derived Terpenes
If you’ve ever had cannabis that smells like cloves, you’ve probably been around some caryophyllene. Caryophyllene is a terpene found in cannabis strains such as Girl Scout Cookies and OG Kush.
It also assists with increasing the potency of other THC-laden terpenes by binding to cannabinoid receptors, which helps boost their effects on your brain.
Pinene is in many marijuana strains, too. If you’ve ever had a strain that smelled like pine needles, you can thank pinene. Pinene is not an active ingredient in cannabis, but it does increase the rate at which THC may enter your bloodstream.
Pinene terps are also found in things like rosemary and black pepper, as well as other fragrant herbs and spices.
Linalool is one of the most fragrant terpenes found in cannabis strains. It’s commonly used as a perfume additive and is also often used to flavor food.
While it doesn’t have any psychoactive properties, this does not mean that linalool isn’t important for other reasons: it has pain relief qualities, which come with anti-inflammatory effects.
Terpinolene has a sweet, unique smell found in cannabis varieties like Sage and Sour Diesel. This terp is said to have sedative properties, which can help reduce anxiety and stress levels – by boosting serotonin levels and inducing feelings of calmness.
Terpinolene has been shown to assist with migraines, as well.
Ocimene is a terpene that is also found in hops and lavender. It has an earthy, citrus-like aroma and can be used to create cannabis strains with sweeter flavors. Ocimene is able to break down cholesterol deposits which might lead to heart attacks or strokes if left untreated.
Limonene is one of the most common market sourced terps because it’s a citrusy, fragrant odor used in many household products such as cleaners and hand soaps. Limonene terps are often found in cannabis strains like Orange Skunk or Lemon Haze.
Limonene also has some medicinal properties which can help combat depression and anxiety disorders by boosting serotonin levels.
Should All Terpenes Come from the Cannabis Plant?
If you had asked me this a week ago, I would have said “yes.” But after my experience eating these fudgy brownies infused with the aromas of OG flavored terpenes, I’m more informed.
Had I known that it’s possible to produce strain flavors with these tasty chemical ingredients, I would have tried it sooner.
Long story short, if you’re a cannabis connoisseur and love the flavor and aroma of the strains you smoke, Chopaka Fudge Brownie Mix is well worth a try and comes ‘highly’ recommended.