What gives Cannabis its smell and flavor? Terpenes, the aromatic and medicinal chemicals found in the trichomes of the plant, as many as 200. What makes one variety, or “strain” as it’s commonly called, different than another? The mix of those Terpenes create the characteristic flavor. That’s why Blue Dream smells and tastes different than Sour Diesel. Terpenes are considered Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the U.S. FDA, so they are legal to use in foods and beverages.
Using radar charts of Terpenes published by Confidence Analytics on Leafly, I keyed-in this table of popular varieties and their relative Terpene mix, or ratio. If one wanted to say make a hard candy or soda with the flavor of Northern Lights, one could mix either non-Cannabis or Cannabis Terpenes in the ratio of Humulene at 9.6%, ß-Caryophyllene at 19.6%, α-Pinene at 12.5%, Ocimene at 4.3%, Terpinolene at 14.2%, Myrcene at 23.1%, Linalool at 4.3%, and Limonene at 12.5%.
Note, the eight main terpenes found in most marijuana are listed below, but there are way more, as many as 192 more! Your formulation might need a little tweaking to get the smell or flavor just right, but this is a good start. Sodas, candies, perfumes, fresh and frozen desserts, room fresheners, all are possible for this application.
By Richard Rose. Download here the Excel file used to make this graph and table: