How To Find The Correct Terpene Ratio for Cartridges
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are naturally occurring organic elements that that can be found all around us. They are the tiny elements that combine to create the complex aromas and flavors of organic matter. The smell of fresh flower, The sweet citrus tang of an orange, These can all be attributed to Terpenes! Because of this terpenes are used for wide range of aromatherapy products, Topical ointments, and Food/Beverage products. But for the purpose of this blog, We're going to focus on the use of terpenes in vape cartridges.
Why add Terpenes to cartridges?
The majority of cartridges on store shelves are made from winterized distillate oil. This process removes all natural occurring terpenes from the starting material and results in a clear, uniform end product that is devoid of any smell, flavor, or defining characteristics. Manufacturers will often reintroduce terpenes back into the product to create the desired taste, aroma, and viscosity for a cartridge.
Can Terpenes be used with Non-Winterized extracts (shatter, budder, wax, rosin, ect)?
Yes! 1-2 drops per gram can be added to greatly increase the flavor and aroma of a concentrate. When added in higher levels, Terpenes on their own can break down the extract to the appropriate viscosity for use in a cartridge without the need for a cutting agent. Determining the exact amount of terpenes to add depends on the starting material, we'll cover some steps in this guide to help determine the appropriate ratio.
What are the Best Terpenes for Vape Carts?
In this guide we'll be using the Terp Liquefy Brand. Terp Liquefy is comprised entirely of 100% pure terpenes. It doesn't contain any additives like PG/VG/PEG, Coconut Oil, or Vitamin E Oil. It's just natural terpenes that are blended to match popular strain profiles. What sets this product apart, is that in addition to the strain specific terpenes, each blend is reinforced with additional odorless and flavorless terpenes that do a fantastic job of breaking down extracts and stabilizing them so they can be used in a cartridge without having to add any potentially harmful cutting agents.
How To Find The Correct Terpene Ratio for Cartridges:
When using Distillate: Heat a small amount of distillate to 40-50 Degrees Celsius using a magnetic hotplate, then add 5% ratio of terpenes and blend well to combine. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and check the consistency. If it's still too thick for a cartridge, repeat the process until the desired viscosity is achieved. When using distillate, avoid exceeding a 15% ratio of terpenes to distillate.
When liquefying non-winterized extracts such as shatter, rosin, budder, wax:
Due to the varying amount of lipids/fats contained within these extracts, it can be a bit tricky to nail down the correct ratio to reach the desired consistency for a cartridge. That being said, Carts made from these extracts are amongst the best because of their natural taste and aroma.
It's recommended to mix small test batches to determine the best ratio for any given extract.
Steps to determine the correct terpene ratio for cartridges:
Step 1: Add 1 Gram of extract to a mixing vial
Step 2: Decarboxylate the extract by heating it to 225F. This process can take up to an hour. You'll know the extract is decarbed when the bubbles start to dissipate. (see photo)
Step 3: Add 4-6 drops of Terp Liquefy to the extract and mix well to combine
Step 4: Heat the mixture again to 200F for about 20 minutes.
Step 5: Add an additional 1-2 drops of Terp Liquefy and mix well to combine
Step 6: Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and check the consistency.
If the mixture is still too thick for a cartridge, Repeat steps 4-6 until the desired viscosity is achieved.
Note: With this particular method, It's not recommended to add higher than a 25% terpene:extract ratio. That translates to about 10 drops per 1 gram of extract. If the extract is still too thick at this ratio, or is showing signs of separation. It means that there were just too many waxes and lipids within the extract to be broken down by terpenes alone. In this case, a few drops of an extract liquefier such as EJ Mix will be necessary to reach the desired consistency for a cartridge.
Don't be afraid of thick oil!*
The goal is just to give the extract a little help without diluting it more than necessary. This will yield a super potent and flavorful cartridge without the use of cutting agents, utilizing only the magic of pure terpenes!