Hemp-Derived or Marijuana-Derived Terpenes? An Overview Of the Difference

Posted by TL Knowledge Team on 23rd Aug 2023

Hemp-Derived or Marijuana-Derived Terpenes? An Overview Of the Difference

In the thriving botanical industry, driven by the expanding legalisation of cannabis, there's a growing fascination with terpenes—those naturally occurring aromatic compounds found in Cannabis sativa and various other plants. With the increasing recognition of cannabis's therapeutic potential, a multitude of products now replicate the distinct flavours and psychosomatic properties of specific cannabis varieties using these terpenes.

Terpenes Unveiled

Terpenes, often referred to as 'terps,' are volatile chemical compounds used by the cannabis plant for various purposes. They serve as chemical precursors for more complex molecules and exhibit pheromonal activity that attracts pollinators. Essentially, the aromatic profiles of different plants, especially various cannabis chemovars, are influenced by these terpenes.

Extraction Sources

When discussing terpene extraction for industrial applications, particularly in the cannabis sector, two primary sources come to the forefront: marijuana-derived and hemp-derived terpenes. Hemp, a specific Cannabis sativa variety, is traditionally known for its robust fibres, but it's increasingly used for medicinal products with CBD extracted from hemp. However, hemp inherently contains lower levels of cannabinoids and terpenes compared to cannabis.

Legal Considerations and Implications

The legal framework around hemp offers a compelling reason for its popularity as a terpene source (read more here). Hemp cultivation is permissible in many nations, regardless of the legal status of recreational-use or medicinal cannabis. Since terpenes are not restricted by laws, it's feasible to establish a hemp-focused growth and extraction setup in numerous countries.

Challenges with Hemp-Derived Terpenes

Hemp, while legally favourable, presents its set of challenges:

  1. Yield: Hemp genetically cannot match the terpene levels in cannabis, necessitating a significantly larger hemp volume to extract an equivalent terpene mass, leading to higher production costs.
  2. Bio-Accumulation: Using substantial hemp volumes can inadvertently increase its role as a bio-accumulator, potentially resulting in end-products with elevated toxin levels. This poses health concerns and requires additional purification efforts during manufacturing.
  3. Taste and Aroma: The need for a greater hemp biomass can influence the end product's taste due to compounds like chlorophyll. Hemp's characteristic earthy and grassy aroma also presents purification challenges.

The Marijuana-Extract Advantage

While ongoing research explores terpene sources, the current consensus leans toward marijuana as a more efficient choice over hemp. It requires less starting material, yields higher-quality terpenes, and avoids potential toxicity concerns associated with hemp extractions. However, in regions where marijuana remains illegal but agricultural resources are abundant, hemp extractions remain a viable alternative. The ultimate goal remains the comprehensive legalisation of cannabis, facilitating optimal practices without compromising on quality.

Our Terpene Tonics: Exceptional Quality

To conclude, we'd like to highlight our Terpene Tonics and the meticulous steps we take at Terpene Labs to ensure our products stand out:

  • Traditional and Sustainable Cultivation: Our terpenes are extracted from cannabis plants cultivated at high altitudes in small batches. We employ time-tested farming practices and organic fertilisers to produce resilient cannabis plants, resulting in enriched terpene variety and concentrations.
  • Optimal Sunlight Exposure: Elevated terrains provide extended sunlight exposure. Our cannabis plants benefit from approximately 12 hours of daily sunlight, cultivating healthier plants. While competitors' exact metrics remain elusive, the advantage of high-altitude regions in receiving more sunlight is well-established.
  • Precision in Terpene Extraction: At Terpene Labs, we swear by steam distillation for terpene extraction, widely recognised as the gold standard in the industry.

In a world where consumers demand not only efficacy but also product integrity, our Terpene Tonics collection, driven by thorough research and a commitment to offering the best, speaks volumes about our dedication.