Terpenes and oil – A magical combination
It is important to understand why there is a need to add terpenes to oil at all. While it is an additional process requiring accurate measuring and mixing, terpenes are added for pretty good reasons. These include:
Unmatched aroma and flavor
Being aromatic, terpenes are added into oils to provide a strong scent. Since the sense of taste is so closely related to the sense of smell, the flavor is also enhanced as a result. Oils can have various flavor profiles, like citrusy, fruity, floral, or piney depending upon the terpenes added in.
The addition of terpenes creates an entourage effect that involves the interaction of cannabinoids and terpenoids and enhances the effects of each component as a result. Meaning cannabinoids and terpenes become even more effective when mixed.
Mixing certain terpenes with certain oils can customize the aroma as well as the desired effects on the body. This means you can personalize each blend according to your needs and preferences.
Mixing terpenes with oil – Measurement is the key to the perfect mixture
In most cases, terpenes are mixed in with Cannabis sativa flower extract, but terpenes can also be added in with edibles though this is a more complicated process. The correct way to formulate a terpene mixture is to figure out the right percentage, which can be difficult when making edibles where there are multiple ingredients involved.
In most cases, it is easy using the number of drops. For instance, 1 gram of water contains 20 drops. This measurement is not as applicable to terpenes as sometimes 1 gram of terpene is made out of 10 drops while at the other times it may be made out of 15 drops. To get an accurate measurement, it is important to measure the liquid in grams rather than based on the number of drops.
Secondly, is to know exactly what percentage of terpenes you want your mixture to be so you can determine the exact amount to add-in.
The third thing is determining the number of diluents you wish to add. These again need to be decided based on the percentage of the final solution.
In short, you need the weight of the final formulation, like 100 grams, let this be 'W', the percentage of terpene concentration which should be in percentage terms or 'T'. Based on this, you can use a simple formula to calculate the grams of terpene you will need for your solution. Here is the formula:
You can use a lab scale to measure the amount of the terpenes in milliliters and then convert it into grams. Though not accurate, this will work out just fine to get proper quantities of terpenes.
Getting the mixture just right is key. You can choose any percentage you want, but it should be between 2% and 5%. Concentrations of terpenes less than 2% have very little impact, the flavor and aroma are hardly discernable, and it has little positive effects in the solution itself.
In contrast, a formulation containing more than 5% of terpenes will become overly aromatic and hard to stand. It is all about getting the right balance and making it just right for yourself.
Step-by-step process of mixing terpenes with oil
Mixing terpene into oils produces multiple benefits. However, the process is not a simple one. While you can follow the rule of the thumb regarding maintaining a ratio between 2% to 5% for the final solution, there needs to be an understanding of why this may not always work.
Different oil extracts have different lipid profiles, which makes it hard to ascertain the potency and thus the final quantity needed to get the ratio just right. Depending upon the oil you use, a little trial and error is involved. Here is a step by step breakdown of the procedure to get the terpene ratio just right:
Start with 1 gram of the oil you want to add the terpenes into. Start small, so even if you mess up, there is less wastage. Also, with smaller quantities, it is easier to take corrective measures by adding in more oil.
Heat the oil up to 225°F for an hour or until the bubbles within the oil disappear. This process is called decarboxylation and consists of decarbing the oil so the terpenes can be mixed well.
Add in the terpene drops measured according to the formula mentioned above. Again, start small because you can always go back and add in more terpene drops.
Keep the mixture heated at around 200°F for 20-30 minutes. Mix the terpenes in and make sure the heat is maintained so the oil can blend in seamlessly.
Look at the consistency of the oil. You might need to add in a few more drops of terpenes at this stage. Add in 1 to 2 drops and mix well.
Let the mixture cool down at room temperature before you can check the consistency. If it is not the desired consistency, too runny or too thick, then repeat the process until you are satisfied with your mixture.
Word of caution
As you can see, mixing in terpenes is not as simple as it may sound. The process involves accurate measurements, determining the formulation, and executing a safe mixing procedure. You need to have the right tools and undertake the necessary safety precautions, and only then can you achieve success. There is a lot of trial and error.
Further, terpenes come in so many different types/forms. There are isolates with different potency levels, so one measurement may not produce the same results due to the different types of terpene use.
The best thing you can do is keep experimenting, with all safety precautions in place, and with time you will get better at mixing terpenes with oil.