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How to Use Terpenes

Hello and welcome! You’re here because you’re wondering how to use terpenes.

But we’re going to take it a few steps further than that.

Whether cannabis terpenes have inspired you to use food-grade terpenes in other aspects of your life or you’re wondering how to mix or dilute terpenes to optimize the benefits, we’re spitting the information you need here and now.

Before we get started with the nitty-gritty, you’re probably wondering what terpenes are and how they compare to essential oils.

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds found in all plants. These are what give them their unique aroma.

Terps are quite abundant in cannabis, along with many other herbs, fruits, and plants. In cannabis, these compounds are secreted from the same glands responsible for cannabinoid production.

This is why we hear so much about the way terpenes impact the taste and scent of our favorite strains. But it’s also important to know that these are natural compounds that occur in a wide assortment of other plants in weight.

Do terpenes get you high?

Terpenes in cannabis will not make a consumer feel high. However, some terps are thought of as psychoactive due to the way they can impact the brain.

Even though terpenes aren’t psychoactive, they will impact the high you experience from consuming cannabis.

For example, pinene is said to improve focus and memory retention while limonene is known for its uplifting effect.

So even though terpenes don’t have an effect on your state of mind, they can change how you feel during and after consumption. This is why many cannabis consumers choose to eat specific fruits, like mangos, before they smoke.

What are terpenes good for?

You can use a few drops of terpenes for several grams. – or more – of cannabis flower high. Depending on the type of terpene, adding some to food or drinks is actually quite common.

You can also add specific terpenes to candles, perfumes, and other home goods. Cleaning products, in particular, usually have terpenes added to improve the scent.

How do terpenes affect the body?

The way a terpene affects the body usually depends on the specific type used in the substance.

Although terpenes are not psychoactive, some varieties could be considered to have a sedative effect on the endocannabinoid system. For example, it’s said that limonene helps with muscle tension while caryophyllene can help with inflammation and pain relief.

But other terpenes offer relaxation properties too. For example, it’s said that linalool can act as a relaxant and improve sleep.

How do terpenes mix with cannabis?

If you’re thinking about mixing terpenes with a couple of grams of CBD cannabis or marijuana, it’s important to know which types of terpene are safe to mix. This is especially true if you plan on ingesting the terpene-cannabis mixture due to the way some terpenes can alter a consumer’s high.

That being said, it’s generally safe to mix several grams of CBD cannabis or another substance with culinary terpenes at low concentrations. But we recommend reading more about which types of food-grade terpenes are safest for ingesting before adding them to your preferred cannabis strains.

But even if you’re not going to eat the end product, you’ll still run into trouble if you combine terpenes with several grams of THC cannabis or marijuana. Whether it’s caryophyllene or linalool, adding a non-psychoactive terpene to psychoactive cannabis can alter your high and make it less potent.

And if you’re thinking about mixing terpenes with a gram of CBD cannabis, keep in mind that most of these compounds work best when they’re consumed by themselves.

That’s why the most popular terpenes for adding cannabis flavor are non-psychoactive. Not only will they not interfere with your high, but they’ll also make it smell better too.

Is it bad to smoke terpenes?

Smoking terpenes in highly concentrated forms can be problematic. But terpenes are not addictive, so you don’t have to worry about taking it too far and ending up addicted.

That being said, eating or smoking a gram of marijuana that’s been infused with terpenes without knowing the exact concentration can be dangerous. If you’re using terpenes that are concentrated by nature (like those used in a vape), make sure to research them carefully before adding them to your cannabis products.

What are the best terpenes to vape?

You can find a wide assortment of terpenes for vaping through various online retailers. However, some research suggests that terpenes extracted from natural sources have certain benefits over those synthesized in a lab.

Of course, terpenes aren’t free. But if you’re not interested in buying a full terpene collection at this time, you can always add your favorite cannabis extract to some vape juice. Vaping is a great way to enjoy the benefits of caryophyllene without vaping CBD oil or marijuana.

So there are plenty of options for vaper lovers who want to enhance their high with terpenes before they smoke.

Are terpenes legal?

Terpenes are 100% legal. Since natural terpenes can be derived elsewhere, there’s no need to get them from cannabis. And, for those looking to add some terpene drops to consumables, synthetic terpenes are the go-to because they are easier to work with and maintain the aroma and flavor better.

People are allowed to use terpenes. However, even though terpenes are legal, potent distillate and other cannabis extracts that contain these compounds are not always legal.

Regardless, for those who purchase quality terpenes to add flavor or aroma to their consumables, or vape, you’ll only need a small amount (usually a drop or two) to achieve the smell you crave.

Are terpenes dangerous?

Terpenes are not meant to be used at full potency. It’s crucial to dilute terps before adding them to anything.

But we’ll talk more about that later.

Pure terps should never come into contact with your bare skin. So, if you’re handling them, you need to know that it’s crucial to use the right skin and eye protection. And make sure you’re working with your terps in a well-ventilated area.

Are Terpenes and Essential Oils the Same Thing?

Terpenes and essential oil are not the same. In fact, terpenes are used in some essential oil and other consumable flavors to provide a specific aroma or taste. But the term “essential oil” means something else entirely!

Essential oil is distilled from certain parts of plants, usually either flowers or leaves. This is why you see different aromas associated with different types of plants around your home; lemon comes from lemons (Citrus limon), pine comes from pine trees (Pinus spp.), etc.

Terpenes can be found in many natural things like citrus fruit, lavender, and even chocolate! So if you’re looking to add flavor without altering the plant’s effects, consider using terpenes for that purpose instead of this oil.

These oils have their applications. However, it’s probably best to go with terpenes over oils if you’re looking for additional benefits. The oils don’t always offer the targeted benefits of high-quality terpenes.

How to Use Food Grade Terpenes

A food-grade terpene is usually non-psychoactive because it won’t alter the effects of a cannabis product. Which is good news for people who want to enjoy an enhanced high without taking in psychoactive compounds.

Artificial terpenes are popular for cooking with marijuana because they enhance flavor and aroma without affecting the potency of your end result. But these are usually artificial terpenes as opposed to natural because cooking with natural terps tends to alter the smell.

The first thing you need to know is that a terpene profile is challenging to match if they’re derived from a plant. This is because while a plant might contain terps with a variety of natural benefits, products that use natural ones don’t achieve the same quality.

This is why artificial terps might be added to CBD. Surprisingly, this is a common practice in the CBD industry. But it’s also common to use these in the consumables and fragrances industries.

How to Dilute Terpenes

We recommend you avoid exceeding 8% concentration. This means you’re going to have to dilute your terps.

Think about what you’re making. If you’re making a food product, coconut oil is usually your best bet. Add a few drops to your coconut oil and add more as necessary.

The same goes for vape juice. You want to avoid high concentrations as even a drop or two in a small amount of isolate or extracts can be excessive.

For example, regardless of the marijuana it came from, if you likely have grams of extracts you want to add terpenes to. If this is the case, you’re likely best off mixing some terpene drops with several grams of oil beforehand.

Begin with a 3 percent concentration and raise it from there. You can increase it by 0.5 percent or 1 percent increments to achieve your personal preference. But remember, don’t let pure terps come into contact with your skin!

Terps are not water-soluble. Thus, you’ll need to mix it with marijuana extract, coconut oil, vegetable glycerine, or something else. Terpene homogenization occurs with agitation, and you can speed this process up by applying some low heat.

How to Safely Use Terpenes in Cannabis Products

Each plant, including marijuana, has its own terpene profile. It’s possible to replicate the terpene profile without using anything derived from cannabis.

This is because we can take the same terpenes from another plant to recreate the terpene profile of specific types of marijuana by mixing them together.

We don’t even have to get terpenes derived from another plant because it’s possible to make them in a lab. While a lab-made terpene might not offer the same benefits as naturally occurring terpenes derived from a plant, these are better for mixing with marijuana products for therapeutic purposes.

To safely use terpenes to recreate a marijuana terpene profile for your oil or other products, you need to add some oil to the terpenes. The oil lowers the terpene concentration, and once the oil is ready, it will contain the terpene profile you’d like to add to your products.

Begin with a 3 percent concentration and work your way up from there. You can increase the oil concentration by add 0.5 percent or 1 percent increments. But make sure you don’t exceed 8 percent.

Types of Cannabis Terpenes

Many types of terpenes exist, with over 30,000 natural terpenes derived from plants like basil, mint, rosemary, lavender, and others. But marijuana has an impressive concentration, offering beyond 100 different terpenes.

Marijuana strains have unique terpene profiles and compositions, which is why this substance is commonly associated with these organic compounds. Anyone familiar with these substances has heard talk about terpene profiles. But what types of terpenes are commonly found in marijuana?

Here’s a list of some of the most common types of terpenes you’ll become familiar with if you love marijuana as much as we do:

Myrcene

Myrcene is the most common terpene found in marijuana. It’s actually responsible for the sedative and intoxicating effect of weed. So if you’re about to go to bed, choose marijuana that’s high in myrcene by weight!

Besides marijuana, myrcene is found in hops and lemongrass. You can also get myrcene by mixing other terpenes with coconut oil, though the effect won’t be as strong or sedating.

Limonene

This is another common terpene in marijuana. It’s associated with citrus scents like grapefruit and lemon, so you’ll find it in any strain that smells like those popular fruits!

Linalool

Linalool is another terpene often found in marijuana that’s also found in lavender. It’s responsible for the sedative and relaxing effect of weed, though it can cause intoxication as well.

Caryophyllene

Caryophyllene isn’t just associated with your favorite Christmas spice. It’s also found in marijuana terpene profiles and it’s responsible for the anti-inflammatory and antidepressant effects of weed.

Alpa-pinene and Beta-pinene

Alpa-pinene and Beta-pinene are the terpenes commonly associated with pine trees. You can also find them in marijuana terp profiles, especially those that smell like a Christmas tree!

Eucalyptol

Eucalyptol is found in a variety of plants, including eucalyptus and rosemary. It’s also commonly used as a flavoring agent because it has a minty flavor with spicy undertones. You’ll find this terpene in marijuana terpene profiles that smell like those popular herbs!

Trans-nerolidol

Trans-nerolidol is another terpene commonly found in marijuana strains and it’s responsible for the sedative effects of weed. Along with its relaxing properties, Trans-nerolidol is also associated with reducing pain.

Humulene

Humulene is a terpene found in hops. You’ll also find it in marijuana strains that smell like the popular beer ingredient!

Humulene is actually used as an appetite suppressant because of its anti-inflammatory and appetite curbing properties. It’s good for reducing pain, too, which means more than one reason to pick out a strain high

Delta 3 Carene

Delta 3 Carene is another terpene you’ll find in marijuana, though it’s not as abundant. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is responsible for the sharp smell of pine trees, sage, rosemary, and basil.

Camphene

Camphene is responsible for the pungent smell of a campfire. You’ll also find it in marijuana terp profiles with earthy and woodsy scents like rosemary, basil, pine trees, and more!

Borneol

Borneol is found in plants like rosemary, mint, lavender, and ginger. It’s also responsible for the minty scent associated with marijuana terp profiles.

Terpineol

Terpineol is another terpene found in marijuana and it’s known for offering a sweet and flowery scent. It’s also responsible for the sedative effects of some marijuana oil.

Valencene

Valencene is another terpene you’ll find in marijuana and it’s responsible for the citrus smell of weed. It has anti-inflammatory properties that are especially good for depression patients!

Geraniol

Geraniol is a terpene you’ll find in marijuana, too. It’s responsible for the fruity smell associated with weed!

Concluding on How to Use Terpenes

Terpenes are a lot of fun when used appropriately. They allow us to transform how we experience products, and improve the experience cannabis offers.

For more information on terpenes, feel free to reach out at any time! We love to help whenever we can, and we’re always ready to spit the facts!

Lesley Murr
Lesley R. Murr, American vegan activist and writer, travels throughout Southeast Asia exploring vegan cuisine and eco-friendly product producers. She blogs about vegan health, recipes, and products. Her passion for animals guides her writings, and she's currently based out of Belmont, California.
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