The cannabis plant has hundreds of terpenes. These terpenes are what give each cultivar a unique scent and flavor. By adding popular terpenes to cannabis products, you can enhance the aroma of everything from concentrates to foods to cosmetics.
Currently, only a handful of these terpenes are commonly used in commercially-available products. However, ABSTRAX, a company specializing in the study and production of terpenes, has recently discovered the secret to cannabis “gas.”
Using a new analysis technique, they’ve been able to identify more than 400 unique botanical aroma compounds. ABSTRAX developed the nomenclature and measurement system for these gas properties and are calling it “the Gas Factor.”
Founding Partner and CEO of ABSTRAX Max Koby explains the term: “Through our extensive research efforts, we’ve been able to identify compounds native to cannabis that impart the gassy, dank, skunky aroma thought unachievable by botanical terpene blends.”
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The Gas Factor
The company has identified the compounds and created a tool for comparing them, giving cultivators and customers deeper insight into the quality of each strain’s aroma profile.
Lead Research Scientist of ABSTRAX Dr. Iain Oswald explains: “After confirming the chemical composition of the gassy aroma, we developed a metric we call the ‘Gas Factor’ to easily quantify how gassy a strain is.
We did this by having cannabis experts rate strains based on gassiness, look for trends in the data, and develop a mathematical model to relate these results back to consumers in an easy-to-understand numerical metric.”
How Are the Terpenes Analyzed?
ABSTRAX is the first company to utilize three-dimensional analysis to identify cannabis terpenes.
Lead Research Scientist for ABSTRAX Dr. Iain Oswald explains:
“We used 2-dimensional gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry to take a ‘panoramic’ look at the aroma compounds produced in a flower of OG Kush.
This analysis separates compounds (a necessity when correctly identifying and quantifying them) much more completely than typical laboratory methods, such as 1-dimensional gas chromatography — the gold standard in QA/QC labs in the cannabis industry.”
This breakthrough allows researchers to isolate and study every compound in any type of plant (cannabis or otherwise).
These isolated compounds can then be used to create flavors and aromas for a huge variety of industries, both within and outside of the cannabis industry.
Why Does it Matter?
This discovery is important for both cultivators, manufacturers, and consumers.
Cultivators can compare the “Gas Factor” of various strains, allowing them to identify desirable traits.
Manufacturers can create non-cannabis-derived botanical terpenes that closely mimic the taste and smell of cannabis terpenes, but do not have a psychoactive effect.
Customers will appreciate the enhanced aroma and taste of products that use the new-found terpene profiles.
These isolated aromas cost much less than traditional terpene isolates and can be recreated consistently with high purity. Further, these terpenes are legal across the globe.
These aromas can be used in concentrates, perfumes, cosmetics, and in foods and beverages. ABSTRAX is collaborating with perfume developers to create “intoxicating aromas” based on specific strains.
They’re also working with cosmetic makers to demonstrate the benefit of aromatherapy in topicals and salves. Plus, they’ve created a series of water-soluble flavorings to pair with beers, vodkas, and drink mixers to highlight their most popular terpene blends.
Koby further underscores the importance of the breakthrough, noting: “We looked at hundreds of samples and with a specific focus on the OG family with the freshest buds to help us pinpoint these rare and extremely loud aroma compounds in very small concentrations across all OG strains analyzed.”
He explained that the tech allows them to understand and replicate scents while excluding THC.
“We have also identified what makes exotic strains have that obscure fruity aroma. Such as why Acai Berry Gelato from Sherbinskis has such a unique berry aroma with a sweet earthy back note.
We now understand why that is and are able to measure and replicate it in a botanical terpene blend with zero THC or cannabis,” says Koby.
The ability to measure a strain’s “Gas Factor” is an exciting development for cannabis scientists with endless potential for new product applications.
Follow our podcast Cannabis Tech Talks for a deeper discussion with ABSTRAX about terpenes, gas compounds, and the chemistry of cannabis isolates.