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Today we look at a question that’s on every dabber and extract artist’s mind: which method of extraction contains the most terpenes? We’ll compare different types of butane hash oil, dry-sift, rosin and molecular distillates. 

The lower the temperature during processing the more the terpenes will be preserved!

A dabber’s preference for live resin, shatter, crumble, budder, dry-sift, bubble hash or rosin depends on each individual’s taste. With so much talent in the industry these days, each and every method has an expert churning out some fire product. Even though each product has its own audience, many are still curious as to which hash or hash oil has the most terpenes, and would like to know to the mysteries behind the fragrance of each product. We’ll learn that even if an extract has more or less terpenes than another, each extract is its own thing and deserves a place on the shelf.

As it turns out butane hash oil (BHO) of the budder type had the highest terpene content with 0.846 percent, followed as a close second by BHO of the shatter type with 0.842 percent. These two numbers are well within each other’s margins of error, meaning the two are actually tied for First Place.

In Second Place comes dry-sift non-solvent hash with an average of 0.751 percent terpenes by mass. This type of extract has exceptional levels of volatile components especially considering that no solvents are used.

Live resin took Third Place with 0.734 percent terpenes by mass. 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. (For a breakdown on the terpene content of live resin, read: What is Live Resin?)

Crumble took Fourth Place with 0.681 percent terpenes by mass. Understandably, the porous nature of crumble, akin to that of volcanic rock, allows terpenes to evaporate during storage and under vacuum during purging.

Rosin took Fifth Place with 0.662 percent terpenes by mass. Rosin offers an excellent method of solvent-less extraction that yields a nice shatter in some cases, but the method may require some refining if it stands to compete with BHO or dry-sift for raw terpene content.

Understandably, “The Clear” came in dead last place with no measurable terpenes. The Clear is the trade name for short path distillation, sometimes referred to as molecular distillation. This method isolates cannabinoids from less-than desirable starting material, and gives an extractor the option to add foreign terpenes (cannabis-derived or otherwise) back into the product.

In light of the recent raid on California cannabis company Care by Design for allegedly producing BHO, the world needs to realize that there is nothing wrong with making oils using butane. When done by professionals it is just as safe as any other chemical process occurring in laboratories around the world. If the law prohibited BHO, the cannabis community would lose an important method of extraction that yields excellent medicinal products.