Terpenes are compounds in botanical materials that give the plant its smell. In marijuana, each strain of the cannabis plant smells different because of the various aromatic terpenes.
Aromas and tastes are associated with the following cannabis terpenes:
limonene: sweet, orange, citrus
myrcene: herbal, woody, rose, celery, carrot
beta– caryophyllene: spicy, peppery, clove, dry woody, camphoreous, citrus
alpha-pinene: woody, pine, camphoreous, herbal, spicy, tropical
beta-pinene: fresh, pine, woody, resinous, minty, camphoreous, spicy
linalool: sweet, rose, woody, dusty
terpinolene: sweet, fresh, pine, citrus, woody, lemon peel
Terpenes don’t just smell nice (or funky, depending on the strain) — they have medicinal benefits as well. In fact, terpenes are believed to be responsible for the subtle difference in effects among strains that possess similar amounts of cannabinoids. For example, the terpenes myrcene and beta-caryophyllene have anti-inflammatory properties and help with pain, while limonene (citrusy scent) has shown to have an anti-depressant effect.
Terpenes are very popular in both recreational adult-use and medical cannabis products so it’s important for processors to know how to properly extract them.
Subcritical on the left, supercritical on the right
Once the terpenes have been extracted, customers move on to subcritical and supercritical extractions. These extractions pull the higher-molecular weight materials (like waxes, paraffins, lipids and resins) from the plant, allowing for a more complete extraction and higher yields. However, these non-desirable waxes, etc., will need to be removed via a process called winterization.
If a processor or machine operator extracts everything out of the plant in a supercritical run, post processing is required to refine the oil by removing the unwanted fats, waxes, and lipids. A common process to remove the fatty substances is winterization.
Apeks offers all its customers a free two-hour, hands-on class demonstrating how to winterize oil. Classes are held at the Apeks Supercritical manufacturing facility in Johnstown, Ohio. Non-customers can attend as well for a fee.Steps to winterization: Mix the extract with 200-proof alcohol and put in a deep freezer for a minimum of 24-48 hours. When it’s ready, pour the mixture into a funnel through filter paper which collects and traps the thick waxes. Repeat several times until all the unwanted substances have been removed. Next, remove the alcohol by using gentle heat and a rotary evaporator. Because alcohol boils at a lower temperature than the oil, it boils off and is captured for reuse.
To review a video of the winterization class, click here:
Apeks winterization class in action
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