How to Use Terpenes: Adding Terpenes to Cannabis Products at Home

It’s high time we talk about terpenes—specifically how we use them in our products, how other industry folks are using them, and how you might use them at home in your own cannabis journey.

There are a variety of reasons why you might want to harness the powerful physiological effects of naturally derived terpenes. But remember that high quality cannabis products are naturally rich in terpenes! So before you start infusing CBD distillate or hemp flower with terpenes, ask yourself if you even need to in the first place.

Before we jump in, let’s take a quick look at the basics…

Natural vs. Artificial Terpenes

Natural Terpenes are also known as “botanical terpenes,” these oils are produced by almost every kind of plant (and even a few insects.) They are the backbone of nature’s diversity of flavor profiles.

Artificial Terpenes are synthesized in laboratories, which can be more cost-effective than botanical extraction.

In theory, artificial terpenes are safe to consume. But remember that any synthesized product is crafted by humans and therefore subject to human error. Quite simply, there needs to be more research with regard to the safety of artificial terpenes. At Lucky Elk, we tend to believe that no matter how much we humans celebrate ourselves, the feats of our species will never match the incredible complexity and beauty that abounds in nature. So in short, why mess with a good thing?

We only recommend working with botanically derived terpenes when it comes to cannabis.

Adding Terpenes to Distillate

Technically, you don’t add terpenes to distillate. You add terpenes to products made with distillate, like tinctures and creams. See our blog to understand the differences between distillate, tincture, and concentrates.

Infusing CBD Tinctures

The reason for adding terpenes to CBD tinctures is simple: flavor. For the record, we do enjoy the taste of unflavored CBD tincture, but some people find it a little on the bitter side. (We’ve actually changed some minds on this topic … when folks try our tinctures, they often remark on the enjoyable flavor that comes from our organic and sustainably grown hemp.) 

Still, we admit that when a CBD tincture is properly infused with terpenes, it’s incredibly delicious. So how can you do this at home? It’s easy…

  1. Buy some natural terpenes from a local retailer. (If you can’t find them locally, support a small online business that sources sustainable and organic botanical terpenes.)
  2. Add terpenes to unflavored CBD tincture at a rate of 1% of total weight. For example, if you have 100 grams of CBD tincture, add 1 gram of terpenes. If you’re infusing a very small amount of CBD tincture, add 1 drop of terpenes at a time, testing the flavor as you go, and increasing the amount to your liking.
  3. Shake vigorously. Terpenes will quickly dissolve into your CBD tincture, giving you a homogenous solution without any special equipment. Easy!

Blending Terpenes

Feel free to mix and blend your favorite terpenes to create unique flavor profiles. For ideas, try these tasty CBD Drops with delicious, and mood-enhancing terpene blends:

“Lemon Verbena Citrus Blend” — Awake | Full Spectrum CBD Drops | 1500 mg

  1. Limonene
  2. Valencene
  3. a-Pinene

Shop Hemp Flower

“Blueberry Lavender Lemonade” — Relax | Full Spectrum CBD Drops | 1500 mg

  1. Caryophyllene
  2. Bisabolol
  3. Terpinolene

“Cool and Sweet Spearmint” — Focus | Full Spectrum CBD Drops | 600 mg

  1. Pulegone
  2. Cedrene
  3. b-Pinene

Adding Terpenes to Flower

By adding terpenes to your cannabis flower, you can theoretically enhance the ‘Entourage Effect.’ This refers to the concept of how the naturally-occurring full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes work together to create powerful effects beyond what any single compound can achieve on its own.

The highest quality cannabis—whether it’s hemp or weed—grown in rich, living soil should have 2-3% terpenes. This natural concentration provides plenty of flavor and health benefits—without having to add any supplemental terpenes! If you’re starting with good flower, then you honestly don’t need to worry about infusing it with additional terpenes. 

But perhaps you have a particular palette and just have to recreate your favorite mix of sharp citrus and funky cheese… well alright then.

Or maybe you found Pop’s old stash from his hippy days, and you want to breath some life back into this dried up bag of herb?

We don’t do it on our farm, but to each their own. And in theory, with the right practice and patience, you might even achieve similar synergistic benefits as you can by mixing weed/hemp strains.

Can you Smoke Terpenes?

Terpenes are naturally found in smoking products—like hemp, weed, tobacco, and herbal blends—so the short answer is, ‘Yes, you can smoke terpenes.’ In fact, if you’ve ever puffed on anything at all then you’ve almost certainly already smoked terpenes. 

But if you’re asking this question, you probably want to know if it’s alright to smoke pure terpenes—terps that have been isolated through botanical extraction or artificially synthesized. Both kinds are widely available online, sometimes advertised as flavoring agents or even room deodorizers. 

We said this earlier in the article, but we’ll say it again at the risk of sounding redundant … stick to natural terpenes for the safest and most potent effects. Honestly, you should be wary of smoking anything with artificial ingredients anyway. For us, it’s just common sense.

Unfortunately, terpenes are commonly added to flower in attempt to boost the smell and flavor of an otherwise poor product.

Coming from the heart of the cannabis industry here in Southern Oregon, we hear stories all the time about lackluster flower that’s been “sprayed with terps.” A lot of folks have jumped on the cannabis farming bandwagon lately, expecting to achieve big results with little to no experience. By the time harvest rolls around, they’ve spent so much time and money on an underperforming crop that they’re willing to do almost anything to recover their costs.

The cleverly misleading practice of adding terpenes to cannabis flower may actually have been invented by the Mexican Cartels, who are known to spray ‘brick weed’ with syrupy soft drinks before sending it over the border. With low-cost Coca-Cola and Fanta, these entrepreneurial organizations can simulate the sticky fragrance of high-quality cannabis flower.

But for the sake of this article, let’s assume that you want to learn how to add terpenes to flower for other reasons. After all, there are even U.S. companies offering spray cans of terpenes online exactly for this purpose. To appease our own conscience we’ll just say this first: Don’t try to cover up crappy weed or hemp with terpenes and then pass it off as “Premium Flower.” This industry has enough hurdles as it is, and we don’t need need you perpetuating the stereotype of a back-alley dealer. Not to mention that these days, most consumers are savvy enough to tell the difference.

How to Add Terpenes to Hemp/Weed Flower

If you absolutely insist on infusing your cannabis flower with added terpenes, here’s how:

  1. Get a sprayer that atomizes the terpene mixture as much as possible. You could use a simple handheld or backpack pump-action sprayer, but we’ve heard of larger operations going with an air compressor and paint spray-gun.
  2. Set up screen tables. Pour out the flower, and spread it out across the table in a single layer. You don’t want your buds touching each other, as this would result in uneven application.
  3. Dilute your chosen terpenes using a tasteless food-grade carrier oil. Industry insiders have advised us that MCT oil can be used, and that the terpenes should be mixed to about 10% of the overall solution. You might need to experiment here.
  4. Use dried flower buds (standard 10-12% moisture content should work). Start by spraying your flower with a very light coat of the terpene mixture. Make sure you apply evenly, avoiding any buildup in a single spot. Carefully flip each flower bud over, and repeat the application to the other side.
  5. Don’t overdo it. A little goes a long way.
  6. It’s been recommended to seal your recently sprayed flower buds for up to 24 hours to achieve homogenization. You can use a Tupperware container, Turkey bags, or some kind of non-leaching plastic. (Fresh terps are rather corrosive.)
  7. Check on your flavored-buds frequently during this initial storage period, mixing them and airing them out as necessary.

Terpenes + Flower Infusion … only as a last resort

Remember that properly grown cannabis flower produces an abundance of natural terpenes in a beautiful balance. This guide is really meant for folks who live in areas where cannabis flower is difficult to come by. But at this point nearly every state has legalized some access to cannabis flower, so hopefully you’ll never have to use the tricks mentioned here. 

After all, you can always go to to enjoy the rich flavor and powerful effects of Organic and Sustainably Grown Hemp Flower — 100% legal and naturally bursting with a full spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids!

Our recommendation: skip the infusion, and start with organic and sustainably grown CBD flower naturally bursting with terpenes.

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