August 2018

C annabis companies that want to go beyond THC and CBD content can focus on a part of the plant that’s increasingly front-of-mind for consumers: terpenes.These plant-based chemicals can set your marijuana products apart from rivals – and bolster your bottom line. Terpenes are the molecules in mari- juana that give the plant its smell, taste and, some argue, added effects beyond just getting users high. If you’ve ever smelled or tasted pine, lemon or pepper in your cannabis, you’ve experienced some of the many different terpenes known to exist in marijuana. Marijuana companies are becoming more aware of the revenue potential offered by terpenes. Vape cartridge companies, in particular, are incorporating the cannabis compound into their products to add flavor and natural aromas.Makers of concentrates and edibles also are adding terpenes. Consumers, too, have a growing awareness about the effects of the whole cannabis plant. And while there is still a heavy preference toward high-potency products, growers and manufacturers now confront new marketing opportunities and products thanks to consumers becom- ing more savvy about the effects terpenes can deliver.They can range from a heady, inspirational pick-me-up to a calm, focused, relaxed state. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Cannabis consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the added benefits of terpenes, plant-based chemicals in marijuana that give the plant its smell, taste and – some argue – added effects beyond just getting users high. Growers, retailers, edibles makers and other MJ businesses hoping to cash in on the craze have several ways to set their products apart. They can: • Work with companies that produce botanically derived terpenes to supplement cannabis extracts and infused products. • Extract terpenes from cannabis to be added to products like beer. • Cultivate cannabis in ways to maximize terpene yields. • Help curious consumers understand the science behind terpenes, including the “entourage effect.” Educate clients about ways to add terpenes to their concentrates, such as terp sauce. Cannabis connoisseurs also are ask- ing more about terpenes at retail stores, causing concentrate manufacturers to offer products that include a full range of terpenes similar to those you would get from raw plant material or flower. “There’s always going to be a con- sumer coming in looking for the highest potency, and we’ll have a product for them,” said Chris McElvany, co-founder of Denver-based Organa Brands, an extraction and manufacturing company that produces vaporizers. “But I want to have a product that appeals to the headier, discerning consumer.” For instance, more and more concen- trates customers are asking for strain- specific terp sauce to add to their dab rigs. And at $40-$50 per gram, the potential income for producers and retailers is substantial, given that consumers will pay more to get the added effects of terpenes. In short, there’s a lot more going on in that terp sauce than the cannabinoids can provide on their own, and knowledgeable customers are asking for it. Take terpene-infused beverages, for example. Prominent craft beer companies such as New Belgium in Colorado have brewed ales infused with hemp-derived terpenes – although the federal govern- ment has blown the whistle on brews containing cannabis terpenes. One com- pany in San Diego,Two Roots Brewing, is working on several recipes that incorpo- rate the smell and taste of cannabis, which is remarkably similar in genetic makeup to the hops used to brew beer. In the following pages you’ll find tips and advice for how to employ and develop terpenes – and leapfrog beyond the race for the strongest cannabis products. Extracted terpenes are bottled at Organa Brands in Denver to be used in infused products. Photo by Matthew Staver August 2018 • Marijuana Business Magazine • 57