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HOW ARE TERPENES EXTRACTED?

August 17, 2022 5 min read

HOW ARE TERPENES EXTRACTED?

HOW ARE TERPENES EXTRACTED?

Terpenes are responsible for the distinct and pungent smell found in plants. For terpenes to be extracted, they need to be isolated and separated from other cannabinoids. Some of the different ways the terpenes can be extracted include; solventless, solvent-based, and mechanical extractions.

Terpene's popularity grew when individuals learned about the benefits and the floral scents or sweet aroma they give. This made people interested in extracting them. Terpene extraction has brought about a world full of great possibilities in the market. They range from cosmetics additives to food and beverages as well. However, for them to be used, they must be extracted first, and their properties should not be lost in the extraction process. Technological advancement has brought up different ways to extract the terpenes without losing their value. Some extract solvent-based terpenes, while others use solventless extraction.

How can Terpenes be Extracted and Isolated?

There are several ways in which terpenes can be extracted and isolated. However, the different ways are sometimes ineffective because many terpenes are lost when undergoing the different processes. Some even get contaminated in the process. A lot of care is needed to care for the terpenes. This is because they are very delicate, and their distinct smell and aroma need to be preserved with great care and proper handling. However, there are different ways in which one can be able to extract the terpenes. This can be done by using too much heat and temperatures by combining or separating them. Some of the components one looks forward to getting rid of include chlorophyll and fats to ensure the terpenes are not interfered with. The advancement in technology has brought up new ways in which terpenes can be extracted and isolated. Depending on the terpenes' size and polarity, these are based on solvent-based and solventless extractions.

Extraction of Solventless Terpenes

According to Filly et al (2016), extracting the solventless terpenes can be made possible through hydro distillation and distillation by steam. For steam distillation to be possible, the hemp plant must first be placed over a container with boiling water. Hydrodistillation undergoes a similar process; however,  the hemp plant is placed in a way that steam can pass through it. The lighter oils that have the presence of terpenes are taken to the condensation flask. At this point, the oils and the water are liquified and cooled down.   

Extraction of Solvent-Based Terpenes

These terpenes are great because they offer the greatest performance. This process is carried out at low boiling points using hydrocarbons such as ethanol and carbon dioxide. Using this method, a vacuum is introduced to minimize the heat and keep the temperatures at their lowest. This will help in preventing the bioactive compounds from being damaged.

Since carbon dioxide hydrocarbon is used, the most common technique for extracting terpenes is CO2 extraction. A lot of pressure and heat need to be used for this process to be effective. They help change the CO2into a fluid passed through the hemp plant. In the process, the resin concentrate is produced and refined in the vacuum, thus allowing the space in which the concentrate terpenes are isolated from the extracts. This process is great as it assures the purity of the final extract since there are no solvent or water traces. The great thing about this process is that it is effective and safer. This is because CO2is not flammable.

Mechanical Extraction

The downside of using this process is that the final product will not be fully isolated, and they will still have the presence of other cannabinoids. Solvents are not involved in this process. Technology advancement has enabled the techniques to use a lot of heat and pressure to make resin. This process can also be used to get the terpene liquids present in the buds. During this process, the hemp plant is put in freezing temperatures so that its properties cannot be tampered with, and when they are completely isolated, it can still have the presence of the sweet smell and aroma that it normally has.  

Different Types of Terpenes

Myrcene

This terpene is mostly found in herbaceous plants. They are common in mangoes and lemons. They are mostly known for the soothing effects it has on the body by calming the body and mind. The soothing effect helps relieve anxiety and insomnia, as explained by Veeresh (2012). Insomnia refers to the long hours that one stays without getting some sleep. The calming effects are what make one have ease when sleeping.

Caryophyllene

This terpene has a powerful and sour scent. They are dominantly found in black pepper and cloves spices. They help relieve stress, anxiety, and also issues associated with moods. Baron et al. (2018) explained that the caryophyllene terpene has anti-inflammatory properties that assist in relieving pain. They perform this function by blocking harmful substances from entering the body and damaging the healthy cells that cause inflammation.

Linalool

According to Russo (2011), linalool terpene is mostly known for its relaxing effects on the body. Most of the terpene has been used to make essential oils and diffusing oils that can be used in spas and parlors. They are also used in aromatherapy session because of the relaxing and floral scents it gives to the body. It is mostly associated with the lavender plant. This is why lavender is mostly used to make wellness and self-care products.

Conclusion

Most terpenes can be lost during the process of extraction. This may mean that their benefits may be tampered with, or they may not have the strong and distinct smell it possesses. When extracting them from the hemp plant, proper handling should be implemented. During the mechanical extraction, the terpenes can be put under freezing temperatures to protect them from losing their sweet smell. When they are done with the extraction process, they are separated from the rest of the compounds and put under normal temperatures, and you will get to enjoy their benefits and distinct smell.

References

Baron, E. P., Lucas, P., Eades, J., & Hogue, O. (2018). Patterns of medicinal cannabis use, strain analysis, and substitution effect among patients with migraine, headache, arthritis, and chronic pain in a medicinal cannabis cohort. The journal of headache and pain, 19(1), 1-28.

Filly, A., Fabiano-Tixier, A. S., Louis, C., Fernandez, X., & Chemat, F. (2016). Water as a green solvent combined with different techniques for extraction of essential oil from lavender flowers. Comptes Rendus Chimie, 19(6), 707-717.

Russo, E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid‐terpenoid entourage effects. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1344-1364.

Veeresh, B. (2012). Screening of natural antioxidants by using l-arginine induced acute pancreatitis model. International Journal of Drug Development and Research, 4(4), 0-0.