Houdini Lab

Terpene Extraction Mastery: What to Do and Why

Because of the expansion of the cannabis sector to cover even a pharmaceutical space, knowing cannabis components is becoming increasingly important. Tetrahydroterpenes, which range from the unusual cannabinoid caryophyllene to the stimulating pinene, play an important role in the definition of the cannabis experience.


While there is no “proper” technique of cannabis ingestion, there are various perspectives on how to consume cannabis. There are two schools of thought on CBD: one believes in isolates such as pure CBD, while the other believes in full-spectrum goods such as natural herb or hemp oil. The industry, on the other hand, has demonstrated that in a world with vapes, tinctures, and other extracts, the middle of the road is frequently the best option.

Those products that are enhanced with strain-specific cannabis-derived terpenes are the most effective at preserving the original essence of a strain. Because there are hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes naturally found in every given flower, there is currently no method to reverse engineer a strain profile with a single isolate. Nonetheless, even when a cannabis isolate does not have perfectly balanced profiles, adding cannabis terpenes to the mix broadens its spectrum and offers a more authentic experience in terms of the entourage effect.


Chemistry has humble beginnings as a natural science topic of study. While science has progressed to the point that it can now separate stem cells, burning objects to reveal their ash or “body” was once considered a legitimate scientific practice. Currently, spagyrics are considered a minority discipline, yet they were once considered the norm.

Science was originally referred to as alchemy, and the equipment used was rather straightforward. To execute the steam extraction of vital plant chemicals, start by heating a container of water on a burner and transferring the steam into a flask containing plant material. After that, the steam should be directed into a condenser tube, where it can be converted into a hydrosol mixture. Water and terpenes are the components of this combination. Once the water is removed, the terpenes derived from cannabis are revealed.

However, despite the fact that this approach has a whimsical appearance and may be used in a garage, steam extraction is notoriously unsuccessful. Not only is the heat so intense that it damages certain cannabis components, but other compounds are left unharvested throughout the process as a result of the extreme heat. For the greatest results, grind the flower to expand the surface area of the flower that is being treated. Steam extraction is a fantastic complement to a home workshop, but it is significantly less appealing for larger-scale processes such as welding and fabrication.


Even though terpenes are a natural component of life, found in plants such as pine trees and pepper, as well as some mammals, they are extremely fragile chemicals. When heat, stress, and other variables can readily disrupt terpenes, it is necessary to use sensitive extraction methods to obtain successful results. Consequently, most commercial extraction methods rely on light hydrocarbon extraction methods, such as propane or butane, to achieve their desired results.

Additional options for enhancing terpene yield include using cannabis that has reached its peak terpene content, which can be achieved by either harvesting it immediately after harvesting it or flash freezing the material. During the hydrocarbon extraction process, a number of cannabis terpenes attach themselves to the mixture, resulting in a sloppy soup like consistency. Using extremely low temperatures, the hydrocarbon can be burnt off of this mixture, maintaining the terpene content while eliminating the solvent, such as propane or butane.


While cannabis is a botanical material, botanical terpenes are terpenes derived from other plants, rather than cannabis itself. For example, fir trees are one of the most plentiful sources of terpenes in the natural world, accounting for about a quarter of all of them. Legal restrictions, such as the prohibition on the introduction of non-cannabis derived terpenes into cannabis products in some states, prevent these terpenes from being as useful to the cannabis sector as they may be. Also of note is that the natural terpene profile of cannabis strains exists for a reason, and supplementing with botanical terpenes may not have the same balanced impact as relying on compounds derived from the cannabis plant.


Milestone unveiled their ETHOS X concept car less than a year ago. This apparatus is capable of extracting terpenes without the need for any type of solvent or other chemical. They can collect the terpenes from the plant itself and its evaporation by applying microwave technology to extract the water contained within the plant. They claim that their equipment is more energy-efficient and precise than the competition. It is possible to target terpenes with pinpoint accuracy with the ETHOS X, and to obtain an extract that is completely free of contaminants.

As with anything, the most appropriate method is determined by personal desire and availability. Steam extraction is completely acceptable for the home grower who is attempting to learn more about their plants’ terpene compositions. It’s a great approach to study cultivars and observe what’s happening on beneath the surface of the leaves. Commercial operations, on the other hand, would benefit from something that is more consistently substantial, whether it is achieved by the use of a hydrocarbon or another experimental method.

Nonetheless, some states permit the use of botanical terpenes, and as a result, there is nothing that is universally applicable. When deciding how to extract terpenes, take into account your financial ability to invest, the total scale of your operation, and what you believe is the most effective way to preserve the experience of cannabis consumption.