Botanical vs. Cannabis-Derived Terpenes: What’s the Real Difference?

close-up shot of cannabis flower

Botanical versus cannabis-derived terpenes is at the center of the rapidly-growing cannabis industry. At its core, it depends on one’s preference for consumption. Botanically-derived terpene vape products offer their own niche appeal, but at Happy Valley, our philosophy differs. We stay true to the form of the plant, so we create vape products that use cannabis-derived terpenes. We only use terpenes extracted from the cannabis flower grown in-house.

What are Terpenes, and How Do They Affect the Cannabis Experience?

Terpenes are the strong-smelling oils found in the vast majority of plants. These are the chemical compounds that make pine trees smell “piney,” roses smell sweet, and a complex array of other distinctive fragrances a plant can produce. In cannabis, terpenes influence the character and effects of cultivars. Cannabis terpenes interact with cannabinoids and human biology to produce unique experiences.

Like cannabis, terpenes are crucial aspects of wine, perfume, aromatherapy, and herbal tea, since terpenes can sedate, stimulate, or delight.

What are Botanically-Derived Terpenes?

Botanically-derived terpenes come from non-cannabis plants. Sometimes, botanically-derived terpenes are called “plant-derived terpenes.” Most botanically-derived terpene products that mimic a cannabis cultivar’s profile are mixtures of roughly five to 15 terpenes. Generally speaking, botanically-derived terpenes are cheaper than cannabis-derived terpenes, since they can be bought in bulk.

What are Cannabis-Derived Terpenes?

Cannabis-derived terpene extracts are a complex mixture of dozens of terpenes, terpenoids, flavonoids, phenols, esters, and other chemical compounds. This variation and complexity gives cannabis terpenes an intricate, delicate flavor profile. Though “strain-specific” botanical terpene products try to copy the signature profile of cannabis cultivars, they are much simpler by comparison. This difference in complexity makes a huge difference in the cultivar’s character.

Consistency in terpenes

Individual terpenes are identical to each other. Whether they’re derived from cannabis, fruits, herbs, or any other natural source, terpenes are identical on a molecular level. What sets cannabis-derived terpenes apart is the fact that a cultivar’s profile is a chemical fingerprint of aromatic compounds that interact with one another. 

Happy Valley’s new vape flavor, Temple of the Dog, has 19 different terpenes. Seven of these terpenes have concentrations above 2000 parts per million. There are certainly more terpenes present in this flavor, but they’re not assayed in the standard terpene profile analysis in the state of Massachusetts.

Although some of the rarer terpenes like delta-3-carene or cis-beta-ocimene may be present in lesser amounts, the way some terpenes bind to receptors of the olfactory epithelium in our sinuses cause their perceived aroma to be more pungent. Each terpene has a unique concentration-intensity curve (terpene A smells more pungent than terpene B at the same concentration) and minor terpenes play just as important of a role in the overall flavor as a terpene in much higher amounts.

The “Entourage Effect”

The term first popularized by Dr. Ethan Russo known as the “Entourage Effect” has gained popularity as cannabis and its chemical composition has been studied further. The incredibly complex physiological processes that result from consuming cannabis are due to the “ensemble” of the sum of its parts, and many of these psychoactive effects are driven by the terpenes within. According to NCBI, cannabis has the among the richest and most diverse assortment of terpenes of any plant in the world, and cannabis’s array of medicinal qualities are attributed not only to its cannabinoid compounds, but its terpenes as well. 

Happy Valley’s Cannabis-Derived Terpene Extracts

At Happy Valley, we strive to replicate the true flavor profile of a cultivar by formulating a cannabis-derived terpene extract that represents a “broad spectrum.” Our proprietary blend combines premium terpenes from both live and cured cannabis flower, which lends a vape experience that embodies the flower’s unique flavor profile. 

Nonetheless, the perception of smell is a subjective experience and each person will be drawn to botanical or cannabis terpene products for different reasons. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy your cannabis, as long as it is safe to consume. 

At Happy Valley, we believe in the medicinal and recreational power of the plant, and we offer the purest and most authentic products to help you unlock your experience—no matter how you consume. Be sure to check out our cannabis-derived products, available for pre-order or in-store purchase.

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