Terp juice is one of the hottest forms of cannabis extract out there right now. The “terp” part means “terpenes”, so one thing we know is that this juice is going to taste and smell incredible! To refresh your memory on terpenes, and why the ones we find in cannabis are so important, take a look at our Essential Guide to Terpenes in Cannabis.
But What Exactly Is Terp Juice?
So, terp juice is an extract that’s high in terpenes, if the name is anything to go by! What else do we know? Well, it’s essentially a type of live resin, which simply means that it’s extracted from fresh, undried cannabis. Sometimes, the cannabis is flash-frozen prior to the extraction.
So how does it differ from standard live resin? That’s a little harder to answer – and really, it doesn’t seem that anyone else has a clear answer either. From all accounts, most terp juice makers use butane as a solvent, just like standard live resin. It’s sugary, sappy, and a little bit runny, just like live resin should be.
So It’s Live Resin, Basically?
In fact, it seems that after all, terp juice is just another term to describe exactly the same process. There’s really nothing to specifically set it apart from live resin – it’s just a name that some extract artists choose to use. There’s a handful of terms that all seem to be synonymous with live resin and terp juice. HolyWater and Terp Sap are also popular names for the same type of extract.
There may of course be some subtle differences in technique between extract artists. For example, HolyWater is a brand name for live resin from Heisenberg Extracts, while the SpOILed Patients Collective prefers the name Terp Sap. The makers of HolyWater claim to have a unique proprietory process – we don’t know the exact details, but whatever the trick is, it certainly seems to yield fragrant, heady results!
So… Does Terp Juice Live Up To The Name?
None of this is to say that the name “terp juice” is gimmicky or irrelevant. Whether you call it terp juice, Terp Sap, HolyWater or live resin, the process of making BHO from fresh, undried cannabis tends to result in extracts that have a much higher terpene content than other types of concentrate. Flash-freezing prior to extraction may boost terpene content even higher.
On top of this, growers can take various steps to boost the terpene content of their plants, such as light spectrum manipulation, tweaking relative humidity levels, or simply selecting a super fragrant strain. If you’re a grower and you’re hoping to maximize your terpene content, take a look at our recent post How To Maximize Your Terpenes – The Basic Steps. Look out for Part 2, where we’ll go deeper into some advanced tweaks!
With terp juice, neither your nose nor the test results can lie about that intense fragrance. As soon as you open the vial, your nostrils will be assaulted by an explosion of aroma! Furthermore, lab testing shows that terp juice and live resin (or whatever name you choose) are incredibly high in terpenes.
Extracts made from dried cannabis tend to have somewhere in the region of 0.5-4% total terpenes and terpenoids. However, according to the team at Steep Hill Halent labs, HolyWater and similar extracts regularly clock in at 10-20% total terpenes!
But Is Terp Juice Really Higher In Terpenes?
It is interesting to note that a High Times article from 2016 that investigated terpene content in different types of extract found that live resin actually wasn’t the highest performer. Joint first prize went to budder and shatter at 0.846% and 0.842% total terpenes, while live resin came in a poor third with just 0.734%. It’s not clear why this was the case, but according to the article:
“The fact that live resin uses fresh, frozen material for extraction means the extract has a unique fragrance somewhat more similar to fresh material, but extraction from uncured herb is less efficient and therefore the extract does not have a higher terpene content than top-tier BHO made from cured herb.”
Studies have shown that as much as 55% of terpenes are lost in the drying process, and it seems pretty certain that fresh cannabis contains overall more terpenes than dried cannabis. But during the drying stage, what mostly gets lost are the monoterpenes like limonene and myrcene. The heavier sesquiterpene molecules remain intact.
BHO made from dried cannabis could boast a higher terpene content, but it’d mainly consist of earthy, spicy sesquiterpenes. If you want that fruity, flowery, fragrance explosion that only monoterpenes can provide, terp juice may be your best bet!
So, it seems that the question of which extract has the highest terpene content is a little controversial… What do you think? Let us know in the comments!
Photo Credit: Oleum Labs