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What are Botanical Terpenes?

botanical terpenes closeup on leaves

Terpenes are found in all plant life – but it’s likely that if you’re reading this article, you’re used to them being discussed within the context of cannabis.  That’s because the terpenes in cannabis play a critical role in the effects that we feel, alongside the cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and others that act as the primary compounds that make cannabis’ effects so unique.

Generally, a cannabis product can contain one of two types of terpenes: botanical or cannabis-derived.  That excludes flower, which can only contain cannabis-derived terpenes (often abbreviated to “CDT”), as you’re consuming the whole plant.  Let’s dive deeper into the world of botanical terpenes, as it’s a term you’re likely to come across when shopping for hemp products.

What are Terpenes, and What Do They Do?

Terpenes are compounds that are present in all plant species.  They determine the aroma and flavor of a plant, and are the active compounds in essential oils.  They also play a major role in the effects of the plant that can be beneficial.  Different terpenes have different properties, and how those terpenes are configured in any given cultivar of cannabis represents its strain. 

For example, strains that are high in myrcene are indica strains, and myrcene, being a calming terpene, plays a huge role in the perception that indicas are anxiolytic and even sleep-enhancing.  Linalool, a terpene found prominently in lavender, can be found in many cannabis strains, adding a woodsy and floral taste while offering anti-inflammatory and stress-relieving properties.  Then you have a terpene like limonene, largely associated with citrus fruit, which gives many sativa strains their lemony notes, while offering a mood boost, and enhanced energy levels. 

There are over 100 individual terpenes that can be found in cannabis, and each one serves a very distinctive purpose in how we experience the plant.  But, what purpose do these compounds serve in plant life?  Well, terpenes mainly act as a plant’s defense mechanisms.  They prevent certain animal and insect species from consuming or infesting them, and even have properties that can fend off diseases – sort of like miniature immune systems. 

Cannabis-Derived vs Botanical Terpenes

Now, let’s bring things back to a cannabis context.  Hemp products that are made with an extract – like, say, delta 8 distillate, or CBD isolate – may also contain terpene extracts to make them full spectrum – in other words, products that contain the complete variety of compounds in hemp, as they would exist in nature, for the full variety of benefits and synergistic enhancement.

Terpenes can be extracted in one of two ways.  One is through cannabis itself – in other words, taking a strain of hemp, and extracting the terpenes directly from it.  The alternative is botanical terpenes, which means that terpenes are isolated from other plants, and configured to match the terpene profile of a strain.

The second method may seem like it’s more complicated and time-consuming.  After all, why come up with an alternative method, when you can simply extract hemp all at once?  Well, the main reason is cost-effectiveness.  In hemp, these terpenes exist in small concentrations.  But, let’s say you’re trying to extract limonene.  It’s abundant in lemons, so it would actually cost less to extract limonene directly from a lemon, rather than concentrating the trace amount found in a sample of hemp.  This also allows for a much purer terpene extract.

Why Botanical Terpenes Can Be a Good Thing

Botanical terpenes come with lots of advantages for consumers, as well.  In other words, this alternative method doesn’t just exist as a way to save companies money.  Naturally, a more cost-effective product on behalf of the manufacturer should mean a lower-cost product for the consumer, which is always a good thing.

Secondly, botanical terpenes are purer and more potent.  As a result, you can get stronger terpene effects when botanical terpenes are added to a product.  This also means that the flavor and aroma will be cleaner, stronger, and more vibrant.         So, in fact, many people notice that products that contain botanical terpenes actually satisfy them more.

Botanical terpenes are actually produced under strict regulations, much like the rest of the hemp industry’s product output.  In many cases, the botanicals used are grown hydroponically under careful watch, to ensure that the terpenes develop as perfectly as possible for a stunning finished product.  Then, they’re isolated and extracted using carefully developed methods that preserve their chemical stability and purity.

Botanical Terpenes are a Must-Try!

Basically, botanical terpenes make it possible for hemp companies to keep costs low on products, while offering some of the highest-quality terpenes you can possibly consume with your favorite cannabinoids.  While many brands do still use cannabis-derived terpenes, there’s a reason why their botanical counterparts have been taking off.  Explore them for yourself, to compare the difference and discover what botanical terpenes can bring to the table.

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