The use of flavorless and odorless terpenes is a new area of fascination emerging among DIYers who prefer to make their own vape cartridges.
Although terpenes are identified in scientific literature as aromatic hydrocarbons and known for the delightful flavors they impart to various cannabis strains (like the terpene profiles we sell here at True Blue), there certainly are the odd di-, mono- and sesquiterpenes that barely give off a scent.
With further refinement, these terpenes can be rendered into an almost completely odorless and flavorless state.
Which terpenes are odorless?
There are a surprising number of these so-called "neutral terpenes” currently being studied by researchers. Here are some examples:
- Alpha bisabolol is a natural monocyclic sesquiterpene and the major active component of chamomile.
- Beta bisabolene is a secondary sesquiterpene commonly found in citrus, and is currently being tested for its anticancer potential.
- Phytol is an acyclic diterpene produced via the degradation of chlorophyll. As such, it's naturally produced in green tea. Currently, it's most commonly used to synthesize vitamins E and K.
- Beta elemene is a volatile sesquiterpene found in fifty different herbs including celery and mint. It’s reported to relieve pain and other side effects associated with chemotherapy.
Of course the above terpenes are nothing like their fragrant and aromatic cousins — such as myrcene or linalool — in terms of market appeal and demand. However they are beginning to draw the attention of DIY vapers and retailers due to a unique role they can play in making a homemade vape cartridge.
What can Odorless Terpenes be Used For?
Vapes have come a long way from simply being a safer alternative to combustible cigarettes. Today millions of non-smokers use vaping pod systems for medical or recreational cannabis use and CBD supplementation, with many opting to make their own vape cartridges in order to have full control over dosing, flavor and consistency.
Nicotine cartridge manufacturers typically use a base mixture of propylene glycol (pg) and vegetable glycerin (vg) to blend their e-liquids and control viscosity. Instead of specific pg/vg ratios, DIYers making non-nicotine cartridges have taken to seeking out flavorless and odorless terpene products to use as diluents for cannabis or CBD e-liquids.
The rationale behind this change is simple: propylene glycol is a non-plant based cutting agent, and would significantly alter the integrity, aroma and flavor of cannabinoids as well as terpenes — completely taking the point out of DIY cannabis cartridges.
Are Odorless Terpenes Worth the Trouble?
At present, it's hard to say whether odorless terpene products are worth the money and time invested in finding them. Virtually all companies currently selling such products bill them as "proprietary blends" of odorless terpenes. This makes it all too easy for them to dilute actual terpenes with non-terpene components such as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) from palm kernel oil, or even carrier oils like shea or mineral oil. True Blue only sells traditional terpenes and as of writing has no plans to stock odorless terpenes in the near future.
Because of this lack of transparency, potential users are at risk of purchasing products bottled in a high diluent, low terpene ratio while still paying pure terpene dollar-per-milliliter prices. For all but the most seasoned of DIYers, this would be near impossible to confirm — unless users are willing to foot the bill in order to have these proprietary blends analyzed at a laboratory.
Until this specific niche within the terpene industry is more comprehensively regulated, odorless and flavorless terpene products could very well be worth the price of admission, but carry real risks for DIYers and bulk terpenes purchasers alike on a case-by-case basis.