How to Extract Terpenes From Hemp

Posted on November 28th, 2021 to Education

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What Are Hemp Terpenes?

Terpenes are chemical compounds that give plants distinct flavors and smells. Hemp terpenes are the specific terpenes found in hemp strains. These include but are not limited to Myrcene, Pinene, Limonene, Linalool, etc. Effects of terpenes in hemp are widespread and provide more for the end-user than just the characteristic aromas. When shopping for hemp products, a highly sought-after product is typically a CBD and terpene-rich hemp oil or tincture.

What is a Terpene Rich Tincture?

This is a question we’ve been asked often, and while there may be tinctures available that feature solely terpenes, most people that ask this question are looking for a Full Spectrum CBD Tincture. Full Spectrum CBD Tinctures will contain CBD and terpene-rich hemp oil, since full-spectrum products include all parts of the hemp plant, not just the CBD. Check out our terpene-rich Full Spectrum CBD oil to learn more. Be sure to read the customer reviews to see how others feel about the product as well.

Why Do Terpenes Matter?

Just as there are different strains of high-THC cannabis, there are different strains of high-CBD hemp. Part of what distinguishes one strain from another is the terpene composition. Different terpenes have different aromas. Limonene, for instance, has a citrusy scent. Others have scents that are earthy, fruity, piney, or spicy.

Our understanding of how terpenes work is still developing. However, one thing is for certain: they matter. The terpene content of different strains contributes to the overall effectiveness of the products made with hemp. However, getting that terpene content from the plant to the final product is a delicate, multistep process.

What is Hemp Terpene Extraction?

Terpene extraction from hemp must be done before the CBD is extracted. This is because the high-quality CBD oil we make is made through a process known as CO2 extraction. While this type of extraction is great for cannabinoid purity, it is not ideal for terpene preservation.

We use gentle extraction methods first to get all those valuable terpenes from the hemp before extracting the CBD. There are 150 different identified terpenes, and they all occur in hemp in different concentrations. By carefully removing them first, we can keep this delicate balance for a terpene-rich product.

What Does Terpene Rich Mean?

A terpene-rich oil or tincture is one that contains high concentrations of terpenes. This is different from a CBD isolate product, which will only contain CBD and no terpenes or other cannabinoids. Similarly, sometimes there are products known as broad spectrum hemp, and they may feature terpenes or they may not. This is why it’s always important to read the lab results or contact the company directly with your questions.

How Are Terpenes Extracted?

Terpenes can be extracted from hemp through a number of processes, each with their pros and cons.

Steam Distilled Method

Solventless terpene extraction uses heat and pressure to pull out terpenes. One method is steam distillation, which involves suspending the plant matter above boiling water. Steam passes through the plant material, drawing out the oily terpenes. These are then captured in a condenser. While this avoids issues of dilution, some terpenes can be damaged by heat.

Ethanol Extraction Method

Solvents like ethanol (the same alcohol that is in a mixed drink) can extract terpenes at lower temperatures. If a strain’s dominant terpenes are ones that are affected by high heat, this can be a solution. This sort of extraction should only be performed by experienced, conscientious laboratories, to ensure that a pure product without any residual solvents results.

Does CO2 Extraction Remove Terpenes from Hemp Oil?

Supercritical CO2 extraction removes everything that isn’t CBD. Unfortunately, terpenes are on that list. Most terpenes are degraded by heat. Extracting them in a preliminary process helps preserve them, that way a full-spectrum product is still possible.

Adding Terpenes Back

What you wind up with once we’ve saved these terpenes and added them back are products that preserve the original benefits from the whole, live plant. We are committed to full-spectrum products that are as close to the terpene content and ratios in the hemp strains that produced them. We ensure that terpenes from our Vermont-grown hemp are carefully preserved. Check out our full product collection to find what’s right for you.

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