We have probably all seen or heard the many warnings and concerns about the harmful additives that can be mixed into unregulated disposable vape cartridges. It is important that vape cartridges are inspected and approved by regulatory organizations so that you know exactly what you are buying. It’s even more important to take a careful look at the label of any disposable vape cartridge you are considering purchasing. Do your research into how the cartridge was made, and if possible, ask for a certified third-party laboratory analysis of the cartridge. A laboratory analysis will tell you exactly what is included in the cartridge oil and in what ratios.
One additive that you should not be concerned about seeing listed on the label of a vape cartridge however are terpenes. Terpenes occur naturally in plants and can be very present in hemp plants. However, terpenes can be easily stripped away during the extract process. Most disposable vape oil cartridges do not include these potentially beneficial compounds. Read on to learn what terpenes are and what the benefits can be of having terpenes included in your cartridge.
WHAT ARE TERPENES?
In the simplest of terms, terpenes are essential oils that are found naturally in many plants. They are the first thing you smell when you open a jar of dry herb and can be a defining factor in the taste of a strain. In nature, terpenes are used by plants to attract insects, and repel grazing animals and fungus. They can also help plants handle any environmental stress they are subjected to. Depending on the extraction method a hemp plant is put through, these terpenes can be preserved and included in the extract oil that is eventually mixed into vape cartridges.
WHAT TYPES OF TERPENES ARE THERE?
There are currently known to be over 200 different types of terpenes, but a handful that you will commonly recognize the scent of in dry herb. There are thought to be eleven primary terpenes, and twenty secondary terpenes in dry herb. However, when it comes to dry herb and vape cartridges, you will most likely recognize the following terpenes:
Myrcene is a terpene that is also commonly found in thyme, hops, lemon, grass, citrus, and mango. It has a recognizable aroma of cardamom, cloves, musk, earth, and herbs. It is also one of the most common terpenes found in dry herb. It is thought to provide calming or relaxing effects and can be used to relieve inflammation in the body.
The most recognizable terpene with a variety of plants is probably pinene. It has a pine or turpentine scent to it and is also found in pine needles, rosemary, basil, parsley, and dill. This terpene can provide relief from pain, inflammation, and anxiety, especially when working alongside molecules like CBD.
Caryophyllene is the spicy terpene and has a pepper, spice, wood, and clove scent to it. It can also work to relieve pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, and ulcers. Caryophyllene is also commonly and recognizably found in black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon.
Limonene is often found in sativa strains of dry herb and has a distinct citrus scent to it. This terpene is of course found in rinds of citrus fruits, as well as juniper, rosemary, and peppermint. A unique trait of limonene is that it also aids in absorbing other terpenes through the skin and mucous membranes.
Finally, there is the terpene known as terpinolene. This terpene can provide uplifting effects, and has a floral, herbal, pine scent to it. It is found naturally in lilacs, nutmeg, and cumin too. There is also research looking into the antioxidant and anticancer effects of terpinolene.
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF ADDING TERPENES TO A VAPE CARTRIDGE?
There are many natural benefits of terpenes that you can take advantage of when they are included in vape cartridges. There is also an entourage effect that occurs between terpenes and molecules like CBD, which can enhance the effects of these natural plant compounds. This is also known as whole-plant medicine, where multiple molecules in a hemp plant are working to provide beneficial effects.
Terpenes are naturally included when you smoke dry herb, but manufacturers have to work to preserve them in oil cartridges. Terpenes can be preserved if a plant is put through a CO2 extraction process though versus a solvent-based extraction process. But the CO2 extraction method is more time-consuming and expensive than the other.
Oftentimes, manufacturers will mix natural terpenes back into oil that was stripped down to just cannabidiol or tetrahydrocannabinol. The additional benefit of doing this is that the extract oil is thinned to the perfect consistency to be vaped, thanks to the terpenes acting as a thinning agent. This then helps avoid potentially harmful additives meant to be thinning agents being added to vape cartridges. These terpenes also work to add the recognizable flavor of various strains to oil cartridges. Having terpenes included in a vape cartridge is a win-win situation for both the manufacturer and the consumer.