There is no doubt that cannabis has a very distinct taste and smell. Most people can identify cannabis as soon as they smell it – but if they have never ingested an infused drink or edible, they might wonder about the flavor it can impart. Those who have had infused edibles in the past might describe the smell and flavor as earthy, grassy, or simply “weedy.”
That is not necessarily the case with today’s edibles, where the flavor can be better controlled and managed, especially when producers infuse their products with cannabinoid emulsions. Emulsion technology allows a producer to play up the notes the terpenes impart and cut down on the cannabis aroma and taste.
Terpenes, the oils produced by the trichomes, are what give cannabis its aroma and flavor and increase the cannabinoids’ efficacy. There over 200 terpenes, and each strain has its own unique terpene blend and sensory quality.
Some of the most common terpenes are Beta-caryophyllene, Limonene, Linalool, Pinene and Myrcene. In terms of their sensory attributes, Beta-caryophyllene is described as peppery, Limonene as citrusy and minty, Linalool as floral, Pinene as foresty or piney and Myrcene as herbal or floral.
Consumers should also know that terpenes have therapeutic effects because of the way they interact with cannabinoids. When terpenes, cannabinoids and flavonoids work synergistically, their effectiveness in treating different types of physical issues is enhanced. This is known as the Entourage Effect.
Here’s an example of how the Entourage Effect works. If you were to put CBD oil devoid of terpenes directly onto your skin, a certain percentage of that CBD would interact with the CB2 receptors in your skin. If you combine that same CBD oil with some specific terpenes that potentially act as penetration enhancers, the terpenes would drag more of the CBD into the skin, which means you would be using a much more efficacious product.
As the cannabis industry continues to mature, so do its consumers. Their expectations are elevated, and with each product innovation, the bar gets raised higher for better-tasting products that offer great flavor, reliable dosing and a consistent experience. The next frontier of infused products will feature custom emulsions with unique combinations of terpenes and cannabinoids.
Michael Flemmens is the VP of Technical Business Development for SōRSE Technology, the leading CBD, hemp, and terpene water-soluble emulsion supplier.