A Complete Guide to Vaping Terpenes
Terpenes are slowly reaching a market size of over a billion dollars in themselves. With a compound annual growth rate [CAGR] of over 4.5%, public demand in the terpenes space no denies public need. Yet, if you'd asked people just five years ago, 99% of people wouldn't know. Nowadays, many more people are in the know about terpenes. But for those less familiar, we've put together this complete guide to terpenes and how they can be used for vaping.
A Crash Course on Terpenes
Terpenes are a diverse group of organic compounds produced by plants to serve several vital functions, including the attraction of pollinators and protection against herbivorous predators. In addition, these aromatic hydrocarbons are responsible for the unique scents and flavors of various forms of plant life- including flowers, fruits, herbs, and spices. Outside of nature, terpenes have been used in perfumes, food additives, and aromatherapy for centuries. They can also be helpful for:
- Reducing inflammation
- Killing bacteria and fungi
- Controlling anxiety
- Promoting better sleep quality
- Repelling insects
- Relieving chronic pain
Everyday products containing terpenes include essential oils, like lavender oil and lemon oil, perfumes, cleaning products, and various skin care products. Over 20,000 different terpenes have been identified in nature, each distinct taste, smell, and effect. Contrary to popular misconception, there are more novel ways to utilize terpenes than topical or aromatherapy products. In the rest of this post, we go over everything you need to know about vaping terpenes, from safety and sourcing information to the most common ways people are vaping them today.
Natural vs. Synthetic Terpenes
While true terpenes are extracted from natural sources like plant matter, their synthetic counterparts are pretty different. Synthetic terpenes have become popular as ingredients in consumer products like cleaning supplies, cosmetics, or e-cigarettes. These terpenes are produced in laboratories via chemical manipulation and refinement, whose objective is to create terpenes with perfected or customized aroma, flavor, or effect profiles. The popularity of synthetic terpenes comes from their ability to mimic the scent and flavor of natural terpenes. This makes them ideal for use in products that require a natural aroma or taste but where the use of natural terpenes is not possible or desirable. Synthetic terpenes also have several other benefits, including longer shelf life and more excellent stability than natural terpenes. However, synthetic terpenes are known to the throat or nasal passages, and they can be toxic at high concentrations. Moreover, there is evidence that synthetic terpenes may interact with other common chemicals in food products that could harm the human respiratory system. Therefore, it's essential to use caution when using or to ingest synthetic terpenes.
Examples of Popular Terpenes
Today's most commonly vaped terpenes also have some of the most attractive scent and aroma profiles and the most valuable therapeutic benefits against common health conditions. Let's look at some examples below:
- Limonene is found in the peels of citrus fruits like lemons and oranges and has potential benefits. For example, limonene has been shown to boost immunity, fight the proliferation of cancer cells, and improve digestion. Besides, limonene has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. These are just some of the reasons limonene is being studied for its potential role in the future of natural medicine.
- Alpha pinene is a terpene found in many plants, including conifers, rosemary, and eucalyptus. Alpha pinene is also one of two primary constituents of turpentine. It has a piney, woodsy aroma and is used as an additive in food and beverages and aromatherapy.
- Pinene is one of a few terpenes that increases skin permeability, making it a prime candidate for incorporation into everyday topicals like insect repellents and cold creams.
- Myrcene is the single most abundant terpene in cannabis. It has a sweet and musky odor and is found in hops, thyme, and lemongrass. Furthermore, myrcene is known for its relaxing and sedative effects and its ability to lower resistance across the blood-brain barrier. This ability is why myrcene is believed to be the single most significant example of the entourage effects.
- Caryophyllene is a terpene that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. It's found in many plants, including cannabis, black pepper, and cloves. Caryophyllene has a spicy, woody aroma and is used in perfumery and as a food additive. More than that, it's been noted in some studies for its ability to relieve anxiety, pain, and muscle spasms.
Two Ways You Can Vape Terpenes
One of the challenges of vaping terpenes for new dabblers is acquiring the proper devices for their desired use case. Let's take a quick look at the most common methods of vaping terpenes today and what you'll need to try them.
Terpene-infused vaping e-liquids, otherwise known as vape oils, can be purchased at brick-and-mortar vape shops or dispensaries, depending on laws in your area. Furthermore, terpene-infused vaping e-liquids can also be purchased online. Finally, more adventurous vapers can also create their own infused vape oils to create formulations with terpene blends and proportions that suit their tastes or needs. These are called "DIY" vape oils. Terpene-infused vape oils can be used with most standard vape mods and cartridge and tank systems. DIY oils may require vaporizer devices with non-proprietary attachments or refillable pods or cartridges. Terpene-rich flavors like Skunk XL, Jack Herer, and OG Kush- or even independently-developed hybrid terpene profiles- are another way consumers can vape terpenes. This will require a dry herb vaporizer, a niche product, but well worth it for individuals looking for a complete experience when vaping terpenes.
However you decide to vape terpenes, you must be sure you've done your due diligence on terpene boiling points and the proper operation of vapes.