Botanical Terpenes vs. Cannabis-Derived Terpenes: Learn the Differences

Terpene Belt Farms
Terpene Belt Farms

Debate sparks when it comes to choosing botanically derived terpenes over true cannabis-derived terpenes. Botanically-derived terpenes have been the go-to for a while now, but is this just because they’ve been the only widely available and affordable option?

Let’s take a look at the differences.

(If you’re diving into the world of cannabis terpene suppliers, get the complete guide to evaluating suppliers 📖)

The Entourage Effect

The compounds that make up a cannabis variety are like personality traits: it’s all of them together that make a complete person. This, precisely, is the “entourage effect”: the concept that terpenes, THC, CBD, and minor cannabinoids all work together to create the real whole plant effect and provide ‘complete’ medicine to the consumer.

Botanical terpene manufacturers often say they recreate the entourage effect. But if you look at the chromatogram (a technical map of exactly what’s in a liquid) of a non-cannabis essential oil, it’s easy to see that botanical terpenes don’t stack up to the real stuff.

As an example, take a look at our Pine #1 (“Similar to Jack Herer”) cannabis essential oil vs. a non-cannabis Jack Herer terpene blend.

Think of the peaks (the pointy EKG looking readouts) as “personality traits” of the variety. Each peak represents a unique compound. Notice the vast number of tall and short green peaks in the cannabis essential oil? Each of these represent a unique compound in that oil. It’s clear that the non-cannabis essential oil is copying a handful of the largest traits in the real oil and creating an artificial lookalike. Copying the top personality traits isn’t enough; the truth is that the small peaks (barely identifiable & unidentified terpenes) combined with the larger peaks are what actually create the entourage effect. You need all of the personality traits to make a full person, not just the most prominent ones.

Cost & Availability

Botanically-derived terpenes have generally been more available and affordable because they don’t come from cannabis. Companies that have made cannabis-derived terpenes available for wholesale have not been able to develop a stable supply chain nor achieve the scale necessary to be competitive on pricing.

Fortunately, this isn’t the case anymore. By farming under the hemp regulatory framework, Terpene Belt Farms now has the scale necessary to make cannabis-derived terpenes globally available at competitive pricing.

Consumer Expectations

As the market matures, the reality is consumers and patients are demanding complete cannabis products: products that include as many of the natural compounds found in cannabis flower and without any non-cannabis ingredients. In mature markets out West, more than half of vape products sold are complete cannabis. And in new markets (like MI, AZ, and MA), brands have decided to lead with complete cannabis products. They know there’s only one chance to set a product quality standard with new consumers.

Today, the quality of your terpenes equates to the quality of your brand.

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