The Order defines a characterizing flavor as a “distinguishable taste or aroma, or both, other than the taste or aroma of tobacco or marijuana or a taste or aroma derived from compounds or derivatives such as terpenes or terpenoids derived directly and solely from marijuana, as defined in RCW 69.50.101(y), or hemp plants that have been grown and tested as required by state law, imparted by a vapor product.” The key part in that first sentence is “other than the taste or aroma of … marijuana or a taste or aroma derived from compounds or derivatives such as terpenes or terpenoids derived directly and solely from marijuana.”
Consumers can be happy to know that Washington vapor products won’t contain any additives other than genuine cannabis terpenes and terpenoids. This DOES NOT mean those added terpenes have to be the exact profile of any single strain. Not at all. Genuine cannabis terpenes are added in precise amounts to extracted oils in order to produce a desired aroma or taste - the sky really is the limit.
Evident in the terpene profile below, whole cannabis flowers are tested to evaluate a crop, but can also be used to identify a strain (shown is Laughing Buddha, as grown by Raven; 2019). Those with the most pleasant and fragrant terpene profiles sell very well, and, it is suspected, are often given branded names that further obscure strain identities.
|Shown is the terpene profile of Laughing Buddha, as grown by Raven, 2019.
On the very basic positive side, this means a talented extractor with a high-quality set of terpenes can take a mixed batch of low-grade flower containing very little oil, perhaps testing around ten percent Total THC (perhaps devoid of scent and therefore rejected from most retailers), and turn it into a golden treasure as recognizably delicious as Dutch Treat, Strawberry Cough or any number of combinations.
Before declaring a negative side, one should ask if this artificial creation from natural sources is any different than the selective breeding that created the strain and its distinctive terpene profile? Is a breeder selecting a chosen scent any more noble than a terpene scientist adding microliters of selected terpenes to a volume of oil to duplicate that scent?
The commercial realm of perfume has no stigma against the artificial or natural. The terpenes in your cannabis vapor product will be only those derived from wholesome cannabis plants. Ambergris however, one of the world’s rarest components of perfumes, is extremely rare because it is found only in the bowels of whales.
We like things that smell pleasant, right? If one thinks a certain way, ambergris can be considered something other than whale uh… excrement, but is it? All we seem to care about is that it is safe, and that it does what we want it to do - impart an attractive scent.
Whether natural cannabis terpenes are already present in whole flower or re-introduced post-extraction to an oil, they have been evaluated as safe by the Food and Drug Administration to enhance the flavor and aroma of cannabis products. Terpenes create the taste and aroma of cannabis - and they simply belong.
In coming reports Seattle Bliss editor, Jeff Cole will attempt to demonstrate how flavors are preserved, enhanced or re-created in cannabis oils available to Washington consumers. Be sure to subscribe at SeattleBliss.com.