All About Terpene Mixology
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What does it mean to dilute terpenes?
Terpene isolates and blends are highly concentrated and on their own can be hazardous, therefore dilution (weakening the overall strength of a solution) is necessary for safe consumption and/or use. Terpenes can be diluted in a number of ways, such as with carrier oils, emulsifiers, being directly added to products, or ideally with our specialized Floraplex Terpene Diluents. Your method of dilution is going to vary depending on the use of your terpenes and the desired consistency of your finished product. Typically, you will want a 1-5% or 5-10% concentration of terpenes in your solution. These percentages vary depending on which terpenes you are using, the desired taste and smell, and final products. If you are unfamiliar with mixing terpenes, it is best to start small and gradually increase concentrations until you find a mixture you like. Be sure to refer to the terpene profile and description before beginning the mixing process.
What is a carrier oil and emulsifier?
Terpene isolates and blends have an oily consistency. In their natural state, terpene isolates will separate from liquids and create a mixture that does not have an even distribution of terpenes throughout it. Carrier oils are used to evenly distribute terpenes and sufficiently thin mixtures. The exact carrier oil used will vary widely depending on the use of the terpenes. For example, when using a terpene isolate for cosmetics or topicals, oils such as argan oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil are used. For other products, common carrier oils are medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT) or propylene glycol (PG). Each carrier oil has its own properties and benefits, and ultimately it is up to the mixer to decide which is best.
Often times, you may not want your final product to have an oily consistency. In this case, a carrier oil is not your best option but rather an emulsifier is. An emulsifier is composed of a hydrophilic (water loving) head and hydrophobic (water fearing) tail. The composition of an emulsifier allows it to attach to both oils and waters at the same time, which then allows the two substances to evenly mix and combine. Emulsifiers are commonly used with essential oil diffusion, infused teas, and terpene infused lotions. As with carrier oils, which emulsifier you use will vary depending on desired outcomes but the most common one is lecithin.
Do I have to use a carrier oil or emulsifier?
The short answer is, no. Still, it depends on the desired final product and what you are using the terpene isolates and/or blends for. Terpene isolates can be mixed into products on their own. When done properly, the terpenes will mix throughout the solution and even thin its consistency, making it easy to use in many cases. Many prefer this method for its minimal ingredients and simple mixing process.
Safety when mixing terpenes
The highly concentrated nature of terpene isolates and blends means they are volatile and flammable. It is important when working with terpenes to take safety precautions for your own health and the quality of your mixtures.
- Always wear protection –rubber gloves and safety glasses
- Do not smoke, have open flames, or significant heat sources nearby
- Work in a well ventilated area
- Have a clearly marked eye wash station and fire extinguisher within sight of the working area
- Use precise measurements and clearly track your mixtures