Common Scents: Chemistry and Sespe Creek Talk Terpenes
Updated: Sep 21
Lavender. Citrus. Pine Trees. You probably don’t need scratch and sniff to recall what these smell like thanks to terpenes! These aromatic compounds (found in the trichomes of the cannabis plant) aren’t exclusive to our favorite plant, but are the natural aroma of oils found throughout nature. Terpenes bring smell to life!
Terpenes also play a major role in the entourage effect, working together with the plant’s cannabinoids, flavonoids and other minor biomolecules to create a strain’s end effect on your unique biochemistry. The makeup of a strain’s terpene profile is also highly influenced by its terroir, or where and how the plant was grown. Just like wine grapes, for example.
That’s why we work solely with sun-grown, craft farms in Northern California. Cannabis grown in its natural environment exhibits a complex and delicate terpene profile that’s heavily influenced by the terroir. Our extraction and refinement methods were developed to not only maintain these precious terpenes, but the full-spectrum of entourage molecules our farm partners work tirelessly to cultivate.
Our single origin ethos: One strain. One farm. One product.
That’s also why we steam distill the live terpenes in our new Live Terp Cart line directly at the farm during harvest, giving the vape a fresh, never frozen flavor and heady effect.
We sat down with Sespe Creek, a Sun+Earth Certified dispensary in Ojai, California, to talk terpenes and what makes our Live Terp Cart line unique, flavorful and potent.
Sespe Creek: What inspired Chemistry’s Live Terp Cart line?
Chemistry: Live Terp Carts (LTC) are our response to the “live resin” category, but made in a way that’s true to our full-spectrum roots. The term “live resin” has become kind of a marketing gimmick that’s applied to many different types of product in the market. We wanted to do something different. Like all our single origin products, the base of each LTC cart is our full-spectrum cured cannabis oil. But then we re-introduce live terpenes captured directly at the farm during peak harvest to give each release the loud flavor that cannabis enthusiasts love. It’s as close to rolling up and smoking fresh single origin weed as you’re going to get in terms of flavor and effect. (If you could actually smoke wet weed, that is. 😁)
Sespe Creek: Can you tell us a bit about your terpene harvesting process and what makes it unique?
Chemistry: Similar to high end essential oils, we steam distill small batches of flower with water to gently harvest its terpenes. We do this for both the live and cured product lines. The strain specific terpene essential oil then undergoes a multi week curing process until the nose is right and it’s ready to be reintroduced to its single origin cannabis oil counterpart. The entire process is time consuming and not easily scalable, which really highlights our dedication to creating products that taste and feel like the strains we release. It’s also solventless, unless you want to get really technical and consider water a solvent.
Sespe Creek: How does your live harvesting process change the terpene experience in cured versus traditional frozen live resin?
Chemistry: Terpenes are extremely volatile and evaporate quickly, that’s why you can smell them. By harvesting live terpenes onsite and moments after harvest, we capture the plant’s terpene profile before it’s lost those precious, highly volatile (i.e. lighter) terpenes during the curing process or by the time it’s been frozen and unthawed in large batches. Our final product truly maintains the flavor profile of the live plant.
Sespe Creek: Is the flower still being frozen after the steam distillation in your Live Terp Carts?
Chemistry: No. After steam distillation, we dry out the flower and then utilize it for extraction because the material is still rich in cannabinoids like THC and CBD. The heat during the steaming process actually decarboxylates the cannabinoids (e.g. THCA > THC), so the post-steamed flower is still perfectly suited for our full-spectrum oil products. Being ecoconsience is extremely important to Chemistry, so we make sure nothing goes to waste!
Sespe Creek: What unique terp profiles have Chemistry's Live Terp Carts featured?
Chemistry: Our initial Live Terp launch consisted of 5 strains: Cherry Cheesecake from Sonoma Hills Farm, Jungle Pound Cake from The Bud Farm, Strawberry Banana from Alpenglow Farms, Super Lemon Haze from Foothill River Farms and Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Radicle Herbs. Each tested between 4% and 10% terps!
Jungle Pound Cake (4.9% terps) has a pinene-dominant profile that features a pleasant kush aroma, balanced by rich, earthy flavors and a tangy, almost sour note.
Our latest Live Terp Cart, Cherry Punch from the OCAL-certified Coastal Sun in Santa Cruz County tested with a 9.2% terp profile and has a fruit-forward flavor from limonene, with a spicy aroma backed by β-caryophyllene and a hint of gas.
SC: Are there any other thoughts or information you’d like to share on terpenes and their effects?
C: Our LTC vapes have a high THC percentage on par, but that’s really only part of the story. Terpenes and the plant’s other minor cannabinoids all play a crucial role in the end user experience. In fact, many of our lower THC vapes hit harder because of the total terpene and cannabinoid count found in the sun grown cannabis we source. You can find these numbers on the back of all our boxes and we’ve also started adding the terpene percentage to the front of each box next to the THC count. Some of our recent live batches are yielding 10-12% terpenes, though that’s about the max we like to see. Anything higher hits kind of harsh.
And as always, support heritage farms! These small farms are being hit hard right now as the industry continues to consolidate. California’s legacy and heritage farms, the same ones the entire industry has been built on top of, are buckling under the weight of corporate cannabis with its endless funding and economies of scale.
Our new mantra is: Where’s your weed grown? Can you answer that question? We can.
Our weed is sourced from beautiful regenerative farms and grown by mindful humans that care about the earth and its inhabitants. These people pour their hearts and souls into their land and plants because they believe in the restorative power of cannabis. And you can taste + feel the difference. Give sun grown a try… we think you’ll agree. ✌️💜🌱
Why Sespe Loves Chemistry. “Chemistry and Sespe Creek, dare we say it… have chemistry! Our cannabis philosophies couldn’t be more in line. They source from craft, regenerative, sun-grown farms and curate a full-spectrum array of products, taking what we love about our flower menu to every other category in the shop. From their Cannabis for a Cause program to their unparalleled support to their farmers, dispensaries, and customers — we couldn’t be happier with our partnership. We know where our cannabis comes from, and we can in good conscience recommend Chemistry every time.”