Cannabis-Derived Terpenes Vs. Botanical Terpenes

Terpenes are chemical compounds that occur in Cannabis sativa and are responsible for giving different strains (or cultivars) their aroma, flavor, and sometimes color. These compounds are quite beneficial for health and provide a distinct taste when smoked. Terpenes have earned immense popularity as people got to know more about their health benefits.

Terpenes are not derived from cannabis plants exclusively. Over 20,000 terpenes have been identified, and roughly 400 of these occur in cannabis. Only a select handful, however, occur in high enough concentrations that they impact effect and flavor. These volatile compounds occur in all plants, and can be obtained from many non-cannabis species. Though the aroma, flavor, and chemical profile of cannabis-derived and botanical terpenes are the same; there are a few key differences. Let us see those in detail.

Cannabis-Derived Terpenes

These terpenes are extracted from cannabis plants, which can be done by using modern technology. Hundreds of terpenes are present in cannabis, some of which lend a distinct flavor, aroma, and set of effects. While the compounds do occur naturally, when they’re extracted they can also be added to various cannabis products to enhance their taste. Cannabis-derived terpenes from hemp plants are also widely used to prepare essential oils.

But a question arises here: are cannabis-derived terpenes legal everywhere in the US? The answer is, somehow, both Yes and No.

Federally, it is legal to use cannabis-derived terpenes in the US, but the laws in each state vary. Cannabis-derived terpenes are banned in the states where cannabis is illegal, unless they are derived from hemp plants that contain less than 0.3% total THC.

It was initially difficult for companies to provide (or purchase) a continuous supply of cannabis-derived terpenes. But with time, we have seen an increase in regularity of their production. Cannabis-derived terpenes are sold at competitive prices now by a few trusted manufacturers across the US. Some companies, including Passion Flower, also use their own unique extraction processes to boost the terpene profiles of their products.

Botanical Terpenes

Often confused with synthetic terpenes, botanical terpenes are extracted from non-cannabis plants in which they occur naturally. Since they are readily available, cost much less to extract from the plants, and are legal everywhere, manufacturers often prefer botanical terpenes over cannabis-derived.

Since it is easier to formulate botanical terpenes, they can be used to create distinct profiles that would be otherwise difficult to create with cannabis-derived terpenes.

These terpenes are affordable and easily available in the market.

Cannabis-Derived Terpenes Vs. Botanical Terpenes

The isolation of terpenes from cannabis is usually done using either CO2 or propane, both of which are clean methods that (when done correctly) do not leave residual traces of solvent behind. Botanical terpenes, on the other hand, are extracted using processes that typically do leave behind solvents. This can create difficulty later in the blending process – especially for companies that focus on providing clean products.

The experience provided by cannabis-derived terpenes is unmatched since you get 100% of the plant’s original flavor and aroma. This means that you’ll get the strain’s authentic flavor, no matter what product it is added to.

Though botanical terpenes can mimic the taste and aroma of a particular strain very well, there is always something off about it that you will readily observe if you have tried both terpenes. But since botanical terpenes are cheap and readily available, they can often turn out to be more consistent.

Experts should do the blending of botanical terpenes in order to obtain the exact properties of the strain. Even a small mistake could take you far away from the desired results.

While many cannabis products, including vapes, are made using blends of botanical terpenes, customers with well-developed palates for cannabis almost always prefer those made using cannabis-derived terpenes, as they offer a genuine flavor and aroma during puffing. This cannot be achieved through botanical terpenes as they are merely replicating the taste and effects of cannabis strains. 

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