Terpene Buyer’s Guide

Knowing what to look for is the first step to sourcing quality and effective aromatics for your vape pen products.

So here you are, you’ve made a pristine distillate, your vape hardware is on deck and your marketing team has identified the the flavors and effects consumers are asking for. It seems the hardest work is over, but there’s still a very important business decision to execute that can make or break your product line. Terpenes.

While it’s easy to look at these compounds as a commodity or even a cost saving opportunity, the fact of the matter is that the flavor and performance of your vape product will the lasting impression your product leaves with your customers. Below you will find some simple considerations that can save your company from delivering an under-flavored or underperforming product by sourcing quality terpene compounds.

PURITY

Pure terpene blends and other concentrated flavors are carrier-free. That means no cutting agents such as vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), medium chain triglycerides (MCT – often fractionated coconut oil) or polyethylene glycol (PEG).

While these substances are commonly added to vape products, they’re not required and apart from helping manage material viscosity, they offer little benefit to the actual experience. Furthermore, there is an emerging debate as to whether some of these are truly safe to consume in vaporized form.

The point of looking at purity is if you’re not careful with your sourcing, you may not even realize that your aromatics are being cut with undesirable agents. The above mentioned ingredients will reduce effectiveness and give you less control of your flavor to viscosity ratio. Unfortunately, it is not an uncommon practice for suppliers to add cutting agents to terpene blends to increase profit margins and while the difference is noticeable, the packaging may not indicate their presence. Always ask for proof that the terpene compounds you are sourcing are carrier-free.

Do you need pure cannabis or botanically derived terpenes or diluent? Contact: sales@trueterpenes.com

POTENCY

This is fairly redundant after reading the above, but when your aromatics are cut with agents that don’t improve the flavor or effect of your terpene blends, the result is terpenes lacking potency.

Potent terpenes allow for the most robust flavor, aroma and effects. They also give creators more control when dialing in the ideal viscosity.

For instance, say your hardware performs best when your formulation is 93 percent distillate and 7 percent aromatics and/or diluent. If your terpenes are not pure and potent, the remaining 7 percent is likely not going to be enough to ensure your flavor is going to be as bold as you would prefer. This may force your company to go to market with an underwhelming experience or compromising your hardware performance by increasing the viscosity beyond the ideal level, risking leaking carts and brand damage.

Click to Learn More About VISCOSITY, the Flavorless and Aromaless Terpene Diluent

ANALYZED

Knowing exactly what is in your products is essential to ensure safety and quality, especially in a relatively unregulated space where labeling and ingredient statements are commonly lacking important information.

When purchasing your terpene and flavor compounds, we recommend requesting Certificates of Analysis (COAs) for the finished goods. These lab results are a good indicator of quality business practices, product transparency and whether or not you’re about to invest in diluted or otherwise substandard aromatics.

FRESHNESS

Terpenes are naturally derived compounds, of course freshness matters. Fresh terpene isolates and profiles have been stored properly and blended/poured recently. This means product that is not sitting on shelves for months on end.

While this may mean your supplier might take a bit longer to deliver, a fresher terpene mix is going to make a better product. Companies with regular depletions and inventory management systems with a focus towards batch freshness are your best bet for getting quality quickly.

PACKAGING

When it comes to how terpene-based finished goods are packaged, there’s a lot to unpack. Proper packaging should mitigate exposure to air and ultraviolet light. There should also be devices in place that offer evidence of potential tampering. Additionally, packaging needs to be informative with compliant messaging about safety, contents and use. Finally, a batch record number printed on the package is a clear marker of the freshness of the product.

When it comes to the bottle, terpenes are best stored in a glass bottle with a tightly fitting cap made of corrosion resistant material. Many potent isolated terpene compounds are corrosive to certain plastics which may cause anything from leaking to contamination to excess air exposure during storage.

The color of the glass is of particular importance as UV damage is a very quick way to unwittingly change the profile of your aromatics in a negative way. Green, amber and cobalt bottles are superior in protecting against UV light than clear or frosted vessels.

The presence of a tamper evident seal is a good indicator the product is the same as it was from the company it originated from. This is especially good to look for if you’re not buying your terpenes direct from the formulator or an official distributor of said company. A good rule of thumb is if a product appears it could have been re-packaged or re-sealed, you have to assume it may have been diluted or otherwise tampered with.

Perhaps the area that is most lacking in terpene packaging is compliance. Pure and potent terpenes are hazardous materials. This comes as a surprise to many given they’re often organically sourced and food grade. The point is that the label should have clear and detailed safety, handling and storage messaging because mishandling or consuming in undiluted form can put users at risk of harm.

FOOD GRADE

This seems like a no-brainer but not all terpenes are intended for human consumption. Make sure the compounds you are putting in your consumer products are safe to be vaped! Your supplier should have a statement of food grade readily available for all of its terpene blends.

PRECISE

A precise botanical terpene blend is achieved through using high-end lab analytics and well-maintained and operated equipment.

Quality lab analytics provide the baseline recipe for blending. This is one of the best ways to stay as true as possible to the source material. The more terpenes that can be detected, the more faithful the rebuild can be. From there, aromatic chemists work their magic to fill in the blanks, the result is terpene blends using upwards of 40 different isolated terpene compounds.

Using proper equipment is essential to creating a complete mixture. Contrary to basic belief, isolated terpenes cannot simply be poured into a bottle and considered homogenized. In fact, not all terpene isolates come in liquid form, and many must be properly prepared and processed prior to meeting their aromatic counterparts in solution. True Terpenes uses state of the art homogenizers in a lab environment to ensure maximum emulsification. Each batch should be created from scratch using freshly cleaned glass, measuring tools and mechanical equipment.

CONCLUSION

The best way to source top of the line and more importantly, safe terpene compounds is to know what questions to ask and to do business with the companies that have the answers.

The next time you’re in the market for terpenes ask yourself and the supplier/seller the following:

  1. Are they pure?
  2. Are they potent?
  3. Are they precise?
  4. Are they analyzed?
  5. Are they fresh?
  6. Are they food grade?
  7. Are they packaged properly?
  8. Are they untampered with?

Integrate the above questions into your buying practices and you’ll be in a great position to make the most of your aromatic investment. True Terpenes is proud to do things the right way so your customers are impressed with your product, safe from harm and hopefully your bottom line is happier than ever as well.

For additional information or consultation about what kinds of terpenes are best for your products, connect with one of our knowledgeable sales team members at sales@trueterpenes.com

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