There’s nothing quite like the aromatic bouquet of fresh cannabis—whether it’s sweet, sour, earthy, floral, peppery or an enticing, can’t-put-my-finger-on-it combination of scents, this pungent plant delivers olfactory delights along with potent effects.
The elements of cannabis that produce a strain’s particular taste and smell are called terpenes, and they’re an essential part of the cannabis experience. While many infused products and concentrates on dispensary shelves only focus on THC, at äkta, we think that’s missing the point of what makes cannabis special. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice the other seductive qualities of the buds themselves.
Get the scoop on what terpenes are, how they enhance all forms of cannabis and why äkta’s traditional hash-making process ensures that a strain’s unique array of terpenes and cannabinoids can be fully appreciated.
Terpenes are not exclusive to cannabis. Any plant that produces a particular scent, such as citrus or herbs, can attribute its aroma and flavor to terpenes—natural plant compounds that can be made into essential oils. In cannabis, they exist in abundance: More than 150 different terpenes have been identified, and each strain plays host to its own terpene blend. For example, citrus-esque cannabis strains are rich in limonene; caryophyllene produces the striking smells of black pepper and cloves; and strains with high linalool levels boast a rich lavender scent.
The effects of cannabis terpenes extend beyond the psychosomatic and aromatherapeutic. Studies indicate that particular terpenes have potential medicinal benefits, such as the ability to reduce anxiety, promote better sleep or provide pain relief.
While the scientific jury is still out on how different terpenes work in tandem with cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, a nearly endless parade of anecdotal evidence suggests that when multiple cannabis compounds are present, the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) has an enhanced response—this is known as the “entourage effect,” first theorized by renowned cannabis researcher Raphael Mechoulam.
It’s important to note that not all cannabis concentrates are created equal. Some processes for transforming buds into cannabis oil or distillate involve a solvent—which does a great job of isolating the THC from the plant matter, and an even better job of burning away anything else, including terpenes and other cannabinoids.
What’s left is a product that will induce generic “high” effects but will have scrapped the nuance of any given strain, including the pronounced cerebral effects of a sativa or the relaxing body high of an indica. Additionally, trace amounts of solvents such as butane and propane might wind up in the final concentrate as residue.
Consider the complete cannabis experience sufficiently stifled.
One form of concentrate, known as rosin, is produced without solvents. You may have heard that DIY rosin can be made by pressing buds with a hair straightener until hash oil separates from the plant material. Unfortunately, the unpredictable heating used in this messy process can degrade the terpenes and cannabinoids.
Unlike basic rosin, äkta’s process for making Live Rosin goes a step further in preserving the integrity of plant trichomes that contain the terpenes and cannabinoids.
We start with organically grown cannabis from Hava Gardens that is fresh-frozen immediately after harvest. To begin our extraction process, the frozen buds are placed in a bath of ice water. The trichomes are gently separated from the rest of the plant and collect at the bottom to form a robust ice-water hash. Next, the hash is gently heated at a low temperature and pressed to induce the separation of the oil.
The resulting Live Rosin is chemically almost identical to the original buds, setting the stage for a full entourage of effects.
The difference between rosin and Live Rosin made by äkta may not seem like much on the surface, but when our concentrate is enjoyed in a dab, vape or edible, it will become immediately clear that the full terpene profile is there, offering the same smells, flavors and effects as smoking a bowl or joint of a favorite strain.