By Emily Ledger
Vape products have become massively popular around the world as people look for a less harmful and toxic alternative to smoking. However, vaping has also become popular among many people who aren’t necessarily looking for a nicotine hit. The non-mind-altering cannabis derivative, CBD is taking the vaping industry by storm, and in countries where it is legal, THC vapes are also gaining popularity.
Vape juices, or e-liquids, now come in a huge array of flavours. The method of adding these diverse flavour profiles to the product varies from producer to producer. Some manufacturers will use compounds that are used in a variety of products including food, cosmetics, and vape juices, known as aldehydes. However, terpenes, a group of naturally-occurring compounds can also be used to add flavour to vape products.
Terpenes for Flavour… and more?
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are compounds that occur naturally in many plants, contributing to both their appearance, scent, and flavour. The terms ‘terpenes’ and ‘terpenoids’ are often used interchangeably, however, there is a distinction between them. Terpenes are the natually-occurring compound found within the plant. These convert to terpenoids when they undergo some kind of chemical change, such as heating.
These compounds contribute to the flavour and scent of plants and can help to repel potential threats to them. In addition, it is believed that these properties can also attract parasites or predators of herbivores that could destroy the plant. These qualities mean that terpenes are employed as a defense mechanism for many plants.
The Flavour of Terpenes
However, the most interesting quality of terpenes from a human perspective is their flavour. Terpenes can be isolated from plants to create a natural food flavouring. These compounds are found in distinctive-tasting plants such as citrus fruits, herbs, and spices.
Different kinds and combinations of terpenes are found within different plants. For example, Limonene is commonly found in citrus plants and has a distinct citrusy scent and flavour. Food-grade terpene extracts can also be used to add flavour to cannabis concentrates or produce cannabis-flavoured THC-free vape juice.
Potential Health Benefits of Terpenes
Herbal medicine has been around for millennia and is the basis of today’s modern medical practices. In some areas of the world, plants in their raw form, including cannabis, are still used as medicinal treatments for a large number of ailments. It has been found that terpenes can contribute to the medicinal properties of many of these plants.
Different terpenes are described as having different properties. Collectively, it is believed that terpenes could act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, as well as helping with anxiety, depression, and insomnia, for a start.
If you want to know more about terpenes, take a look at our article ‘What are Terpenes? – A Guide to Cannabis‘
Terpenes and CBD in Vaping
The Entourage Effect
Cannabidiol, or CBD, has received ever-growing attention in the health and wellness world in recent years, thanks to its wide-ranging medicinal potential. CBD’s popularity has spanned many demographics, thanks to its non-psychoactive quality.
The cannabinoid is often isolated from other compounds within the cannabis plant for use in products such as tinctures and vape juices. However, some studies have found that the potential of CBD may actually be enhanced when it is combined with other compounds… Other compounds like terpenes. This has been named ‘the entourage effect’.
Making the Most of Terpenes
So, terpenes could be good for your health as well as for flavour, so maintaining them in CBD extracts is a no-brainer, right? Well, yes but there are some things to take into consideration.
Some studies have shown that heating terpenes too much prior to inhalation can actually be harmful and unpleasant. This means that manufacturers need to be mindful of striking the perfect balance. This includes being aware of how terpenes can be affected in the vaporising process.
For example, Hiatus, a British vape pen brand, ensures that their vape juices, which contain high-quality CBD isolate alongside premium naturally derived terpenes, are heated to the ideal temperature. This feature maintains “the integrity and purity of the cannabis oil”, terpenes and all!
When adopting the caution and the available information, CBD vape brands should be able to harness the power of terpenes to create a great vape product that is as effective as it is tasty.