Terpenes are naturally occurring chemical compounds that are responsible for producing distinctive aromas, flavors, and even colors in various plants. When collected, they can enhance a host of different products in smell, taste, and therapeutic benefits.
Creating unique profiles can be a fascinating and enlightening experience, as there are over 20,000 different types of terpenes to choose from. But in doing so, it helps to know the principles of terpene mixing to get better results.
Read on to learn more about the basic techniques when adding terpenes and how this process can entirely boost the properties of varying products.
Why Use Terpenes?
Terpenes serve multiple benefits for both people and the environment.
Thanks to these aromatic compounds, plants have distinct fragrances ranging from the sweetest to the muskiest scents. These are then used to produce an assortment of items, giving the world a wide selection of aromas in the form of sprays and oils to fit any mood.
Taste is another selling point of terpenes. As the one in charge of the flavors in most greens and flora, terpenes can improve the overall taste profile of food. It can also stimulate certain sensations, such as hot, cold, spicy, or creamy, allowing for a more enjoyable and multi-sensory experience when eating.
But more than its sensory roles, terpenes are known to aid numerous physical and mental health concerns. Limonene, for instance, is found to have antibacterial properties that target a parasite cell membrane. Meanwhile, beta-pinene is a particular terpene type that interacts with the pathway receptors for adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin.
So, when extracts and concentrates lose their potency during the manufacturing or extraction process, isolated terpenes make the perfect add-on to retain and even enhance their smell, flavor, and effects.
How to Mix with Terpenes
It takes more than just the simple pour-and-stir method when it comes to mixing terpenes, as a lot of factors come into play to do it right. Check out this step-by-step guide when using terpenes in formulations to get started.
Step 1: Ready your equipment
Before getting to work, all the necessary equipment needs to be prepared first. While the tools one will need may vary depending on the size and complexity of the operation, beginners will most likely have to gather and ready the following:
- Syringe – Don’t have a filling machine? No worries! A glass syringe with a large tip will work just fine. Unlike other syringe types, glass is non reactive to terpenes and is easier to reheat. One with a wider end also eliminates clogging, saving a lot of time and issues during the mixing process.
- Pipette – Pipette comes in a variety of sizes. Choose one that would be most appropriate in measuring the ingredients for the batch.
- Digital scale – Mixing with terpenes requires accurate measurements, which is why opting for a digital scale that can measure even 0.01 grams is the way to go. Also, pick a size that would best suit the production needs—not too big, not too small.
- Mixing containers – Much like choosing a syringe, go for glass mixing containers that are big enough to accommodate the batch in the works.
- Mixing tool – Don’t forget about the mixer! For this one, as long as they can blend extracts and carriers evenly, any glass or stainless steel mixing device would do.
- Well ventilated area– a well ventilated area will be needed, preferably a fume hood. This will prevent build up of the aroma chemicals.
Step 2: Brush up on terpene knowledge
It is of utmost importance that the person administering the mix understands how to safely use terpenes, as some need to be handled with extreme caution. As a newbie in the process, be sure to take a terpene refresher before working on new and improved scents, flavors, and effects.
There are many to choose from in today’s terpene market. All offer varying properties and purposes, so take the time to read about the different types—or even try them out, if possible—to find the one that fits a preference.
As for the percentage, most finished products should contain 2-5% terpenes. Concentrations under 2% might lack the flavoring and aroma one might hope to obtain from a particular terpene. On the other hand, those containing more than 5% terpenes might come off profusely strong in smell and taste.
Step 3: Get the conversions right
Believe it or not, dealing with terpenes involves a bit of math. Knowing conversions is especially important since precise measurements are key to a perfect terpene mix. If a computation is off at the slightest, it can significantly alter the end product in more ways than one.
When an item’s mass is listed in kilogram (kg), milligram (mg), or gram (g), keep in mind that:
1,000 mg = 1g
1 g = 0.001 kg
The same applies to volume. When a component on the list has microliter (ul), milliliter (ml), or liter (L) measurements, take note that:
1 ml = 1,000 ul
1 ml = 0.001 L
When it comes to identifying how much terpene needs to be added in the mix to hit a certain percentage, remember that:
1 g of oil + 0.0105 g of terpenes (or 0.0126 ml) = 1%
1,000 g of oil + 111.5 g of terpenes (or 133.8 ml) = 10%
Meanwhile, to know how many grams are in a product measured in milliliters, just think that:
0.5 ml = 0.415 g
30 ml = 25 g
1 gallon = 3,785 ml = 3,215 g
Step 4: Start mixing
When all prep work is done, it’s time to start mixing! Feel free to get creative, as just about anything can benefit from quality terpenes.
On the lookout for recommended products to use them with? Check out these mixing instructions below.
Adding terpenes in oil products has become common to enhance the overall oil experience. But while smelling terpenes has been determined safe, it is still best to start small when mixing it in individual cartridges.
Starting point: 1% by volume
Example: 9.5 grams of distillate/clear, add 0.5 grams of terpenes/flavors
Note: Adjust the ratio accordingly. Recommended terpenes rate is 5% at most.
Shatter, wax, rosin, etc.
Most terpenes get cut out during the purification process for common butane hash oil (HBO) extracts like shatter, wax, and resin. Because of this, the need to make up for the lack of flavors and aromas becomes essential.
Starting point: 1% by weight
Example: 2 grams of product, add 0.02 grams (approximately 1-2 drops)
Terpenes are innate in plants for multiple helpful reasons. Specifically for flowers, they can help attract pollinators and even make an effective repellent reaction against predators.
Starting point: 1% by weight
Example: 1 gram of product, add 0.01 grams (approximately one drop)
Instructions: Lightly and evenly spray buds using a pump mist sprayer that does not fully saturate the flower, and gently toss in a confined container to cure.
Note: Always use glass or an approved high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic sprayer to avoid untoward reactions.
A terpene blend can create new and improved flavors that are guaranteed to elevate any dining experience. For food enthusiasts and happy eaters alike, the possibilities are endless!
Starting point: 0.5% by weight
Example: Hard candy batch weighing 14 grams, add 0.07 grams of terpenes
Note: Adjust the ratio depending on the edible. As much as possible, do not let the terpene overpower the food.
Cocktails, champagnes, and other beverages
If terpenes can upgrade full course meals, it can certainly do the same with drinks! Whether it be for everyone’s favorite bottle of champagne or someone’s secret cocktail recipe, such an add-on can make glass after glass even more enjoyable.
Starting point: 4 drops per liter
Example: 1 bottle of champagne, add 1-2 drops of your favorite terpene
Skincare and cosmetic products
As previously mentioned, some terpenes have properties that can prevent or aid in certain health problems. The types that have anti-inflammatory agents make a great ingredient to include in skincare and cosmetic products. Plus points for those with calming and soothing scents!
Starting point: 1% terpenes by weight
Example: 1 ounce of lotion (28 grams), add 0.28 grams of terpenes
Blank isolates make the perfect test subject for terpenes mixing. Having a taste-free base allows for various combinations to create the ideal product that features just the right amount of flavor, aroma, and effectivity altogether.
Starting point: 2% by weight
Example: 1 gram of product, add 0.02 grams (approximately 1-2 drops)
Using Terpene Diluent
A terpene diluent, also known as cannabis oil thinner, is a substance specially designed to dilute a solution. This particular game-changer in the extraction practice works to liquefy isolates and dilute winterized extracts.
Typically, an organic-based diluent helps lighten the shade and strengthen a concentration without affecting its thickness, stretching a product out further. However, when used in an already thin product, it will result in an even thinner consistency.
Utilizing diluents is actually optional, as many terpenes available in the market are ready to be incorporated into products. Terpene diluents are incredibly useful in the mixing process, and that is why knowing how to use them properly is just as important as understanding how to work with terpenes.
Below are ways on how to handle diluents for a terpene mix:
- Operate with a mixing calculator. Precision is what one should aim for when dealing with diluents. When working on getting the right ratios for a batch, having a mixing calculator on deck is sure to make all the difference.
- Use a dropper or syringe. A dropper or a syringe is necessary for diluent work, much like handling terpenes. These tools provide great control in achieving the right measurements for diluents, which one must not exceed in the procedure.
- Store it properly. Terpene diluents have a shelf life, and while they typically last for a long time, it is still best to check the date before using a solution. When finally utilized, be sure to store it appropriately—away from moisture or elements that can damage it.
Terpene Mixing Tips
Just like any other work with terpene, there are several best practices to consider when combining them with extracts and concentrates. Here are some tips and tricks for first-timers to get the best results during the terpene mixing process.
- Pick a fitting terpene for the product. More than preparing the tools and learning the techniques for the mixing process, it is only essential to be thorough in selecting the right terpenes for the project. Whether it be a familiar blend or an entirely foreign one, make sure to weigh every available option before getting started.
- Follow the safety guidelines. Especially in terpene work, safety should be a top priority. Use all necessary apparatus for the process and follow the suggested proportions in the mix to get that perfect (and safe) terpene balance in the product. For any uncertainties amid the procedure, do not hesitate to reach out to the experts.
- Practice the low-and-slow principle. Never forget the idea of starting low and going slow when dealing with terpenes. For instance, when incorporating it into inhalable products, beginning with a very low amount—around 0.5%—is the way to go. It is advisable to start with even less with food or beverages. When mixing, always keep the concentration in mind, and go gradual if adjustments are needed.
- Mix properly. A few concentrates harden and dry easily when finished. Because of this, it is crucial to time the actual mixing just right. When dealing with shatter, for one, terpenes must be added and mixed thoroughly before the product dries up completely.
- Have fun with it. Terpene mixing is meant to be a creative process, so go ahead and test out combinations until a blend checks all the required upgrades in a product. Enjoy and expect more vibrant scents, tastes, and an overall unique experience from your terpene-mixed items.
Explore the Endless Possibilities of Terpenes
Knowing the dos and don’ts in the terpene mixing process before venturing into it makes all the difference. Being in the know determines whether you will get an awesome experience or a miserable one.
Now, more than ever, the number of enhancements a terpene can do to all sorts of products is limitless. If you’re looking for high-quality and food-grade ones, visit Medical Terpenes and browse through our wide selection of terpenes that are sure to give you the best results for your mixing projects and more!