August 2018

have to convince them we’re the best option.” Botanical Versus Cannabis True Terpenes offers both types of ter- penes – botanical and cannabis-derived – for marijuana companies.The botanical terps are much cheaper to process and formulate, but they are limited in what they can achieve. Cassiday’s company offers about 30-50 different botanically derived ter- penes. By using scientific methods such as gas chromatography mass spectrom- etry, Cassiday and others can isolate the terpenes found in cannabis strains, then produce similar combinations from botanicals, including cloves, lavender and citrus fruits. For example, alpha-pinene, a terpene commonly found in pine trees, also exists in cannabis strains such as Jack Herer. If a vape cartridge company wants to create an oil that re-creates the specific taste and smell of Jack Herer,True Terpenes can source alpha-pinene and other terpenes from common plants or trees to HOWTO TALK TERPS WITH CUSTOMERS B udtender Devin Norton, who works for the Den- ver marijuana retailer Medicine Man, has seen an uptick in customers who ask about terpenes. Usually the customer is a cannabis connoisseur looking for concentrates or vape products that offer more than just a potent dose of THC. “When we sell flower, we tell people THC content doesn’t matter too much,” Norton said. “The terpene content does so much work into how you’re feeling.” That feeling can range from an inspired, euphoric state to one of relaxed calm. As for concentrates, Norton explains to customers that THC doesn’t work that well on its own. “You can have something like distillate that’s 99% THC, but there’s no terpene or CBD profile,” he said. “It does get you high, but you’re not going to really feel those effects.” For the customer who wants to add terpenes to their extracts, Norton suggests adding terp sauce, a concentrate combining terpenes and sometimes THC. Medicine Man retails a combination of live resin “diamonds” and terp sauce for roughly $43 per gram. The retailer also sells the live resin and terp sauce mixed together, which is about 1 gram of activated cannabis. Norton advises curious terpene customers that it’s possible to take the live resin – which is extracted from one strain of cannabis and has its own terpene profile and effects – and add the terp sauce, which is extracted from another strain to get the effects of both types of cannabis. For example, Medicine Man sells a combination of Scream- ing Gorilla indica live resin with a G6 sativa terp sauce. “For someone who’s big into cannabis oil and big into dabbing,” terp sauce is the way to go, Norton said. “Getting that separate extraction gives you a whole lot more combination of flavor and sensation to mess with.” – Bart Schaneman build that flavor and aroma profile. Linda Hurley, senior president of sales and marketing for Ricca Chemical Co. in Arlington,Texas, said the botanically derived terpenes her company formulates are the same as the cannabis variety. She hasn’t found any cannabis terpenes that don’t exist in other plants as well. “A molecule’s a molecule,” she said. “If a molecule comes from cannabis or from clove oil, it’s the same terpene.” But why not just extract the terps straight from the cannabis plant? It’s possible, and it’s arguably bet- ter to do it that way, but it’s far more expensive. According to Cassiday, if you com- pare a Sour Diesel terpene profile that comes from botanicals to one from cannabis extraction, the extracted profile will have many more terpenes. “Literally 200 more terpenes in it,” he said. But it’s cost prohibitive. True Terpenes sells botanical terpenes for $5 per milliliter wholesale and can- nabis terps for $100 per milliliter for top-shelf quality. Ricca Chemical sells its botanically derived terpenes for about $2.50-$3 per gram. Consistency is King So why go through the trouble and spend the money at all? “The point is having a consistent chemical profile within your product,” Cassiday said. Hurley echoed that statement. “Consistency is really important, so your customer gets the same experience every time they use your product,” she said. Cannabis strains can be fickle, Hurley said, and it’s difficult to create an exact, reliable terpene profile from the mari- juana plant every harvest.That’s where her company’s terpenes come in. “Your brand has to be very consistent in order for people to become loyal to it,” she added. Some people think of terpenes as simply flavoring or added aroma, but they also create a reproducible effect. “Part of why customers are using cannabis is for the medicinal effects,” TAPPING INTO TERPENES 60 • Marijuana Business Magazine • August 2018