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Macro detail of cannabis concentrate live resin extracted from medical marijuana on a dabbing tool

What Is “Terp Sauce”? Everything You Need to Know, Explained

High There

By High There

February 17, 2022

When you think of on-the-rise cannabis concentrates, none springs to mind quite like terpene sauce, more commonly known as “terp sauce”. Terp sauce is currently all the rage for lots of cannabis users due to its flavor, versatility, and cannabinoid enhancing effects.

But what is it? Terp sauce is a type of extract that is made primarily from the terpenes of the cannabis flower; by itself, terp sauce has a runny, syrup-like consistency. Many “terp sauce” products come pre-mixed with pure THC for ease-of-use, but a growing number of enthusiasts choose to combine terp sauce with THC or CBD in the custom ratios of their own choosing to achieve their desired effects.

Keep reading for the full rundown on this up-and-coming extract – From how it’s made, its benefits, and how to consume it.

What Are Terpenes?

Terp sauce has a strong concentration of terpenes – Oily chemicals that contribute to the smell, taste, and overall cannabis experience. Varying levels of terpenes are considered to enhance cannabis consumption and alter the effect profiles.

Terpenes are

found in all plants responsible for their smells. In the case of cannabis, they can cause the plant’s aroma to be earthy, citric, or the all-too-familiar “skunky”. Isolated terpenes are even used to produce day-to-day aromatic products such as perfumes, food goods, and essential oils.

Cannabis terpenes in particular are produced by resin glands contained by what are known as “trichomes”. Trichomes can be found on plant buds and are recognized by their stickiness; they can also be found on the leaves and stems of a plant.

Terpenes have fairly low boiling points, which means that if the temperature becomes too hot during the manufacturing process, it can cause them to deteriorate or completely evaporate. Temperature control is

, and one of the most important points to monitor when producing cannabinoid-related products at an industrial scale.

Cough Drops cannabis THCA crystals in terpene sauce, by AYEHAB via iStock

How Is Terpene Sauce Made?

Before we delve into how to make terp sauce, a note:

We strongly advise against attempting to create terpene sauce at home, as the process involves chemical reactions, heat, specialist equipment, and possibly solvents depending on your methodology. 

We recommend that you leave terp sauce manufacturing to trained professionals. However, for informative purposes, we’ll cover the processes involved.

To ensure you have a good end product, it’s important to have a high-quality starting material. Using a cannabis strain with a high amount of terpenes is likely to give you the biggest terp sauce yield.

Typically, those who create terp sauce first make live resin with fresh flowers, which is another complex process. In brief, this first involves flash-freezing the buds prior to the extraction process as to retain more terpenes. Next, the buds are put through a butane extraction rinse; again, we strongly advise against attempting this at home as butane is a highly flammable solvent and can lead to accidents, injuries, and even death.

The resulting extract is then put under gentle heat to purge the majority of the remaining solvent via evaporation. At this point you now have live resin, but there are more steps involved when making terp sauce.

The live resin extraction process is shortly followed by pouring the extract, which should have a thick syrupy consistency, into a mason jar. The jar should be stored at just above room temperature in a dry and dark place for around 2 to 3 weeks.

During this time, the extract will crystallize. You should notice the terpenes rise to the top to form a sludgy layer. At the same time, you should notice

and sinking to the bottom of the jar.

At the end of this process, you should remove the terpenes from the top and collect the THCA crystals. The terpenes are further purged for approximately 60 hours under the same method, whereas the crystals are purged again for up to 72 hours.

Once the remainder of the solvent is removed the terp sauce and crystals can either be reunited to form a highly potent cannabis extract or packed separately into UV-proof containers – These containers are used to slow the process of terpene degradation. From here, the product is ready for use.

What Is the Meaning of “Full Spectrum” And Why Is It Important?

You may have heard the term HTFSEs, meaning “high terpene full-spectrum extracts” being thrown around. Terp sauce falls under this umbrella as it is a cannabis concentrate containing high levels of terpenes.

To be an HTFSE, products are generally required to have at least a 13% terpene content with around a 50% cannabinoid content. Terp sauce that has been combined with cannabinoid extracts usually consists of around 30% cannabinoids and 70% terpenes.

So why does this matter? It used to be that cannabis products containing high levels of cannabinoids were most sought after as they would produce different psychoactive effects on the body. However today, terpenes are also valued for creating flavor and aromas, as well as supposedly dictating the effects of the cannabis product.

The idea of a “full spectrum” product is that it enables the cannabis product to deliver its full potential, by containing terpenes, THC, and other cannabinoids found naturally in the plant it’s been extracted from.

Even more, some people believe that terpenes can impact or boost the sensations you experience when high on cannabis. This theory is known as the “entourage effect”, which posits that when terpenes and cannabinoids work together in unison, it constitutes a more amplified or balanced effect.

However, we believe it is important to stress that this effect may not even be a real phenomenon. For those curious about a deeper dive into the topic, we discuss this concept and more in our article about

.

Other Benefits of Terp Sauce

There are many reasons why terp sauce is becoming increasingly popular with cannabis users. Firstly, when it’s combined with pure THC or other cannabinoid extracts, it can be very potent. However, it’s worth noting that pure terp sauce alone won’t provide many effects beyond a (hopefully) pleasant taste – Only after it has been recombined with cannabinoids will it be psychoactive.

That said, due to the high terpene levels, terp sauce can be very flavorful – A big appeal for many cannabis users. It’s considered to have an enhanced flavor even when compared to that of live resin, which is already considered a potent and flavor-packed product.

Some cannabis consumers report that the effect of the terp sauce combined with cannabinoids may produce a myriad of effects, including anti-inflammatory benefits, mood-boosting impacts, and sedative effects.

Users also note that terp sauce is aromatic, which is due to the high concentration of terpenes. As mentioned, terpenes are responsible for the smells present in cannabis concentrates, so you may find the aromas smell pine-like, earthy, or sweet.

Ways to Consume Terp Sauce

Cannabis consumers have found several different ways to use terp sauce, but the best-suited method will vary depending on your personal preferences.

Macro detail of dabbing tool with small piece of cannabis oil aka shatter suspended over a metal rig - medical marijuana concentrates concept by rgbspace via iStock

Dab It

Dabbing is probably considered the most common way for terp sauce to be used, as its popularity as a way for users to consume cannabis concentrates has grown in general. 

For those unfamiliar, you’ll need a glass dab rig, a dabber tool, a torch, and a carb cap; if you’re not sure what these terms mean, make sure to

. Generally, though, a dab rig looks similar to a typical bong, but instead of a traditional “bowl”, you have a banger that is normally made of glass or a mineral such as quartz.

To dab your terp sauce, you use a butane-powered torch to heat the banger until you reach a temperature between 500°F and 700°F. Next, gather up a small bit of your concentrate onto the tip of your dab tool, lower it into the banger and inhale as the high radiant heat of the banger vaporizes your concentrate (and as with most methods, please take care when using heat).

Those who opt for the dabbing method favor the ease and ability to play around with the rig to reach the desired flavor and overall experience, but it can be a somewhat expensive hobby to get into (and if you’re looking for a dab rig of your own, we have a few

!)

Vaporize It

Those who like to vaporize terp sauce enjoy the flexibility by either consuming through a vape pen or tabletop vaporizer. Much like with dabbing, start with a small amount of terp sauce and work up; you can also try combining your terp sauce with ground-up bud, for a truly potent experience!

are perfect for unobtrusive usage if you are out and about. You can also buy pre-filled vape cartridges which have terp sauce already mixed in them if you would prefer this method.

Use a Nectar Collector

Using a nectar collector is becoming increasingly popular with terp sauce users because it is convenient to use. Nectar collectors are typically made from glass or metal with silicone, with the shape and name for this stemming from a hummingbird.

These work by heating one end of the thin tube and then placing the other end at your lips like a straw – We again need to stress caution and responsibility here about being careful with the heat, so you don’t burn your mouth at the other end. Next, gently touch the tip at the end of the nectar collector onto your terp sauce and inhale. 

The nectar collector has also been popular with other cannabis concentrates such as live resin, wax, and budder.

Add It to Your Joints

Some users prefer to add a small amount of terp sauce to their joints if they prefer smoking weed in the traditional sense. As a reminder, terp sauce is incredibly potent so you will only need a tiny amount, especially to start with. You can then slowly work your way up to larger amounts if you desire.

FAQs

Can I Make Terp Sauce at Home?

In theory, you can make terp sauce at home, but we highly recommend leaving this to trained professionals, especially if you have no experience in making it. That being said, we will walk through a pseudo-terp sauce making process purely for educational reasons.

A product very similar to terp sauce can be made through several different methods, with the most common being

. However, to avoid using solvents, today we’ll be going through an alternative, less-dangerous method, very similar to . Note, though, that you will need to keep close watch on your extraction, to ensure your temperatures don’t get too high, ruining your end product.

You’ll need: 

  • A rosin press
  • The cannabis plant material in a budder or wax form
  • Rosin filter bags
  • A heating pad
  • Parchment paper

Heat the rosin press to 130°F / 140°F and place the material tightly in the filter bag, ensuring none is sticking out. Then fold the bag’s opening over, and put some collection paper in place to catch the extract.

Next, place the bag in the rosin press with the opening end facing you. This is so that you can see the terpene-rich sauce flowing out. Start pressing the product and work up to full pressure, which you should hold for around one minute or until no more product is coming out.

Now you should collect and remove the product, and then replace the collection paper. You will repeat the pressing process except with the heat being between 175°F and 190°F. This time, the product should have a yellow tone to it, and a more chalky consistency.

Once again, repeat the process with the temperature being around the 250°F mark; you should notice the extract melting out, and turning into a crystal texture once it starts to cool. This crystal can be broken up into small pieces.

Is Terp Sauce Different from Distillate?

Yes, distillate is a cannabis extract that has been purified in order to separate cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. Terp sauce is an extract with a high concentration of terpenes but doesn’t necessarily contain any cannabinoids.

Some cannabis enthusiasts choose to combine terp sauce and distillate to result in an extract that matches the ratio they prefer in both terpenes and their favorite cannabinoid.

Cannabis buds, by Felipe B. Marques via Pixabay

Which Part of the Cannabis Plant Do Terpenes Come From?

Terpenes are found in the resin glands of a plant, which are found in trichomes. Trichomes are normally found on plant buds and have a sticky texture. However, they can also be found on the leaves and stems of plants, but in far fewer quantities.

Is Terp Sauce Potent?

Terp sauce has an especially high concentration of terpenes, but this doesn’t necessarily make it a potent product. It’s only when terp sauce is mixed with cannabinoids that it becomes psychoactive and potent. If you do have this kind of terp sauce, then it’s important to start with an incredibly small amount of terp sauce for users to grow accustomed to it.

Final Thoughts

It goes without saying that terp sauce takes a lot of time to create, with the extraction and manufacturing processes ultimately taking lots of time, patience, and specialist equipment. The resulting product has changed the game for many cannabis consumers, though; drawn now to the enhanced flavors, aromas, and effects given by consuming terp sauce.

Users also favor the variety of ways the product can be consumed and note that the product is gentler on their lungs compared to other methods. That being said, we believe it is important to still emphasize that as terp sauce can be potent and sometimes contains high levels of THC, make sure you’re using it responsibly, and start with very small amounts.

If you would like to seek further advice or if you have any cannabis-related questions,

and we’ll be happy to help.

Happy smoking!

High There

About The Author

High There

HIGH THERE MISSION

WE’RE A CREATIVE COMMUNITY — EXPLORING THE SCIENCE, CRAFT, AND CULTURE OF CANNABIS.
WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS ERADICATING THE STIGMA, MISINFORMATION, AND INEQUITIES SURROUNDING THIS PLANT, SO WE CAN UNLOCK ITS TRUE POTENTIAL FOR ALL.

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