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Botanically Derived vs. Cannabis Derived vs. Synthetic Terpenes: Cliff Notes

Introduction to Terpenes

If you're new to the market, you should know that terpenes are what make plants smell and taste the way they do. People take terpenes from plants to make essential oils, which are used in many things like soap, lotion, and even fruits and vegetables.

Terpenes are found in all plants, including cannabis. But there are different kinds of terpenes that come from different sources such as plants, cannabis, and labs. If you want to learn more about terpenes and where they come from, you can check out our blog post on What are Terpenes and Why do They Matter?


Botanically Derived Terpenes or Cannabis Derived Terpenes

When we talk about terpenes in the cannabis industry, botanically derived means they come from plants that aren't cannabis. Cannabis derived terpenes come from actual cannabis plants. Synthetic terpenes aren't natural, but we'll talk about that later.

Some terpenes have special properties. For example, limonene can fight bacteria and alpha pinene can reduce swelling. Our terpenes are all natural and come from plants. We use them to make strong concentrates that have unique effects.

You can check out our selection of botanically derived terpenes on our Essential Terpenes product page.  For more information on the medical benefits of terpenes, check out our blog post, The Benefits of Botanically Derived Terpenes


Why Add Terpenes?

Cannabis users can be picky about the stuff they use. Terpenes are what make the product smell and taste good, and give it special effects. That's why we see many products with lots of terpenes, like vape cartridges and oil.

People like to be able to choose how much they use and how it affects them. The way cannabis is harvested affects the terpenes it has. So, we can add terpenes back into the plant to get the effects we want. Visit our website to see tips on how to do this with our How to Use Terpenes page.

Other plants have terpenes that are like the ones in cannabis. So, what's the difference between the terpenes in plants and cannabis?


Which Type of Terpenes Should I Use?

Let's talk about different types of terpenes. There are two main types: cannabis derived terpenes (CDTs) and botanically derived terpenes (BDTs). CDTs are taken directly from the cannabis plant and have the same taste and smell as the plant. BDTs, on the other hand, are taken from other plants, fruits, and natural things. Both types of terpenes can be used to create different tastes and entourage effects in cannabis products.

Sometimes, other plants have the same terpenes as cannabis. For example, tea tree oil has a terpene called terpinolene, which can also be found in certain cannabis strains. But because of the way cannabis works with our bodies, the terpinolene in cannabis might have a different effect than the terpinolene in tea tree oil. It's important to remember that everyone's body is different, so what works for one person might not work the same for another person.

These individual terpenes are just as much a part of cannabis as they are tea tree oil or lavender. Advanced technology allows us to isolate these terpenes in any plant or other botanical material, which is why more and more companies within the cannabis industry are beginning to introduce these individual terpenes back into their products.


Why Use Botanically Derived Terpenes?

Extract Consultants and other terpene companies use botanically derived terpenes instead of cannabis derived terpenes for a few reasons. One reason is that it's cheaper to extract terpenes from plants like lavender than from cannabis. Cannabis is already an expensive plant, so it makes more sense to use cheaper plants to get terpenes.

When making terpene products, it's also easier to use botanically extracted terpenes after the product goes through a high-heat distillation process. Botanical terpenes are also more available in bulk than cannabis terpenes, which makes them cheaper as well. This is because there are more botanical materials available and it's easier to extract terpenes from them than from cannabis.


What are Natural Terpenes vs. Synthetic Terpenes?

Let's talk about natural vs. synthetic terpenes. Natural terpenes come straight from plants and foods, like lemons or oranges. They can be compared to using a real strawberry to flavor a milkshake instead of strawberry syrup. Synthetic terpenes are made in a lab using chemicals.

Natural terpenes are like organic foods, which means they come from natural sources. It's important to know that "organic" in this sense is about the type of material used to make the terpenes, not the USDA's "Certified Organic" label. For more information on the "organic" vs "certified organic" discussion, check out our blog post on Organic Terpenes.

So, when you see "natural terpenes" listed as an ingredient, it means they come from real plants and foods. And when you see "synthetic terpenes," it means they were made in a lab.


What You Put in Your Products Matters

It's important to pay close attention to the products you use. Can you trust the label? Does it contain natural or synthetic terpenes? Are terpenes being added to the final product? Are the terpenes being added to the final product botanically derived or cannabis derived?

These are some of the questions you may want to ask your providers, and it's why we focus on having strong regulatory and customer support available to you to answer any questions you may have about terpenes.

If you have any questions for us at all regarding our products or processes, please visit our Contact Us form, email us directly at, or call us at 1-888-541-9089 to speak with one of our trained staff members.



Do you want more details?
Read the full-length, academic-level blog post from our original Talking Terpenes series Behind the Blends.



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What are diluents?

Diluents, by scientific definition, are substances that dilute, or weaken, other substances that they're mixed with. They do this by essentially thinning out the other substance. Common examples of diluents include medium chain triglycerides (MCT oils), and propylene glycol (PG), which are also both substances that are commonly used in vape cartridges as a thinning agent.

Vape cartridges contain active extract material, terpenes, and a diluent. Our Solvent Free Terpenes contain zero thinning or diluting agents whatsoever, while our TasteBudds Flavors are based in either MCT or PG. Because of this, our terpenes are of the highest quality and are incredibly concentrated, and our diluent based flavors are highly concentrated as well, with a base concentration that's still 4-5 times stronger that most flavors today.