by Spencer Grey
In the interests of keeping up with all the new trends in the smoking world, we’ve been learning more and more about the evolution of cannabis concentrates. While many of us prefer to stick to dry herb, somebody’s got to be the guinea pig and enter the brave new world of dabs first hand. As the company’s resident millennial, I usually get the short end of the stick—but I’ve got to say that this time I’m pretty excited to experiment.
While visiting my local dispensary—the Renton location of The Evergreen Market—something new caught my eye. They called it “terp sauce”, which sounded pretty intriguing if a little off-putting. I decided to go home and do a little research before picking some up, and what I found out was appealing.
What the Hell is Terp Sauce?
Essentially, it’s a high-powered relative of good ol’ butane hash oil (BHO). You may also have heard of “live resin”, another extract with a leg up on BHO. Add terp sauce to the trio, and you have three extracts that form a confusing triangle.
Live resin is made just like BHO, but made using only freshly cut and frozen flower rather than dried, cured bud. Terp sauce though, is a “full spectrum extract” that’s meant to preserve as many terpenes as possible. It differs from the other two in a few ways. For one, it can be traced back to a single guy: Dr. Daniel Hayden, founder of the company Extractioneering. According to him, there are many producers labeling their products as full spectrum that also claim to use fresh frozen flower to make their concentrates—a method that Extractioneering stays away from.
Emerald City Extracts, however, often uses fresh frozen flower and sometimes combines it with the cured stuff. The result is a delightful fresh flavor to all of their extracts.
True terp sauce goes through an extra step in the extraction process. Because terpenes and valuable cannabinoids have different boiling points, a true full spectrum extract separates the terps and certain cannabinoids at a particular point in the process, before the heat degrades them. They’re then added back to the rest of the extract near the end of the process.
This results in a texture that’s significantly different than regular BHO or live resin. BHO can come in nearly any form, from a hard shatter to a sticky goop. Live resin is generally a light colored crumble with a liquid sheen. Terp sauce, on the other hand, is a combination of thin liquid and tiny crystals. It should form a droplet when you take it out of its container. If you see any stickiness or strands while pulling your dab tool away from the container, it’s likely what you’re dealing with is a live resin or plain old BHO with a misleading label.
What Did You Try?
I picked up a gram of 9lb Hammer terp sauce by Emerald City Cultivation. I went back to The Evergreen Market and was surprised to see terp sauce on the menu for so cheap. At $35 per gram (and cheaper with my loyalty program discount code!), it was the cheapest I’ve ever seen for anything labeled “terp sauce”, and I was pretty skeptical that it was legit.
However, the numbers on the package were impressive: THCA: 83.21% and THC 3.16%. Some complex math means that the total THC of this sauce was 76.1%, and definitely nothing to sneeze at. The terp count is massive, at 13.22%. These numbers are right in line with what Extractioneering considers to be a full spectrum extract.
The stuff had the right look to it as well: a beautiful gold liquid, generously studded with crystals of all sizes. When I tipped the jar on its side and held it up to the light, I could see the liquid portion of the sauce start to move immediately, followed shortly by crystals floating across the bottom. When I dipped my dab tool into it, there was no viscosity to speak of, and my single serving quickly beaded up into a manageable droplet. Long story short: this terp sauce did seem to be the real thing, and I couldn’t wait to try it.
So, How Was It?
Phenomenal. I went for a high temp dab and a low temp one a bit later, to compare the flavor. Let me tell you, there’s absolutely nothing like a low temp dab to let terps really shine. The high temp dab was fine, but totally lacking in flavor. Notably, both temperatures delivered vapor that was exceedingly smooth, and barely irritated my lungs at all. The lab results did not include the specific breakdown of terpenes, but my low temp dab was bursting with the citrusy goodness of limonene, and underpinned with the fresh but woodsy flavor of pinene.
The effects of the terp sauce were delightful, to say the least. 9lb Hammer is an indica-leaning hybrid, so I had expected to try this out and drift right off. However, thanks to the invigorating effects of the limonene and pinene, my experience was superbly well-rounded. I felt an immediate drop in general anxiety about upcoming deadlines, bills, and in-law visits, and was quickly wrapped in a comfortable sense of general well-being. I could have fallen asleep if I wanted to, but I instead opted to play one of my favorite video games. I found myself focused, but incredibly calm, and able to engage with the art and music in ways I never have before. It was almost like being temporarily enlightened. There was no dry mouth and no munchies to speak of, just a strong feeling that all was right with the world. Colors seemed to have more depth, I was hearing new nuances in old favorite songs, and I even got some fiction writing done. The effects weren’t terribly psychoactive, and I can absolutely see this having fantastic medicinal applications.
Terp Sauce: Smoking Outlet Approved
All in all, I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this terp sauce. In fact, I may go pick up another gram or two and keep them on hand! At Evergreen’s price, they’re going to be an instant buy whenever I can scoop them up.