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What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are extremely valuable compounds that give cannabis strains their unique and pungent aromas, as well as attenuate the psychoactive effects of flower, concentrates, and vape pens. Preserving volatile terpenes throughout the extraction and purification process is exceedingly difficult, yet terpene content is one of the major criteria by which extracts are judged.

The Main Issue with Terpene Extraction

The most volatile and aromatic terpenes (monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes) are typically lost to the extraction solvent during solvent recovery or off-gassing or thermally degrade in subsequent post-processing steps, forming foul smelling compounds.

In a conventional extraction and distillation process flow, the terpene fraction from Root Sciences’ wiped-film molecular distillation machines contain valuable diterpenes and triterpenes as well as some cannabinoid content and is, therefore, a valuable process stream. However, due to their thermally sensitive nature, any monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes would degrade into foul smelling contaminants that are removed. Regardless, the first pass terpene distillate is often used in conjunction with other terpenes, either non-cannabis derived botanical terpenes purchased from a third party, or cannabis derived terpenes. This results in an incomplete terpene profile that lacks the pungent aromatics that give each strain their unique aroma and flavor.

Any effort to preserve terpenes requires differential extraction techniques, such as subcritical CO2 extraction, or cold-hydrocarbon extraction. These techniques can produce terpene rich extracts, but significantly diminish the throughput of a processing lab’s beating heart – the extractor. In addition to reduced productivity, these techniques still require the use of solvents to extract terpenes, and therefore incur significant losses of the most volatile terpenes during the solvent recovery stage.

The Solution: STX 90 Solventless Terpene Extractor

Enter the STX 90 Solventless Terpene Extractor. By directly evaporating the most valuable aromatics straight from the biomass prior to conventional extraction, these prized molecules can be preserved, and the biomass processed as usual. The terpenes can then be recombined with the concentrates or distillates, resulting in a full spectrum, terpene rich product that resembles the original biomass as closely as possible.

As it is a solventless separation technique, the terpene isolate created by the STX 90 is unrivaled in quality, aroma, and authenticity. With no loss of valuable volatiles during a solvent recovery step, the terpene profile – a unique fingerprint that differs from strain to strain – is perfectly preserved. When mixed with first pass terpene distillate, a complete and unadulterated terpene distillate can be achieved. This is an excellent ingredient to add to second pass cannabinoid distillate to produce completely cannabis derived solventless terpene vape pens or innumerous other products. Regardless of which extraction methodology is utilized, the STX 90 Solventless Terpene Extractor will ensure that the unique terpene fingerprint and therapeutic entourage effects of your carefully grown biomass are preserved.

A small amount of these terpenes can be used to create many, many vape cartridges, so only a small fraction of the biomass needs to be processed in this way. There is no degradation to the biomass during this process, and it can be extracted as normal afterwards, so this equipment can be seamlessly integrated into your process.

More Information on Terpene Extraction

Contact Root Sciences here for more information on the STX 90 solventless terpene extractors.

Root Sciences is the global leader in the distribution of equipment and support services for processing facilities in the cannabis and hemp industries, providing premium extraction, distillation, and other post-processing technologies as well as business planning and lab/facility design and consulting services. However, we are also in the unique position of being much more than just equipment distributors.