Many cannabis enthusiasts might be tempted by the idea of their cannabis concentrate tasting like a Pina Colada. However, such flavors, achieved by the addition of flavoring agents, can often come at a cost that doesn’t just defeat the purpose of consuming pure cannabis extracts, but can even pose health hazards.
What are flavoring agents?
Molecules called aldehydes and ketones give certain fruits their particular flavors.
Fruits, though,have low concentrations of those molecules, and high levels of other natural compounds which create synergies of aromas and flavors, like the entourage effect in cannabis varieties.
Flavoring agents are chemical compounds with high concentrations of specific molecules, often synthesized in a lab.
This is why we often associate the distinctive flavor and aroma of certain fruit not with the actual fruit itself, but with a product that contains those synthesized compounds. For example, some people love coconut candy like Raffaello or Bounty but are disappointed by actual coconuts.
Why use flavoring agents instead of the real deal?
The reason why manufacturers synthesize those molecules instead of using real fruit is because the latter would simply be way too expensive – they would have to use far more fruit to achieve the same flavor.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that some manufacturers use flavoring agents as cutting agents to achieve the viscosity of the extract required for vaporization.
So, why put flavoring agents in your cannabis concentrate?Because cannabis terpenes, responsible for the flavors and aromas of cannabis,can volatize during the extraction phase, and as we all know, people like things that taste good.
Just because it tastes good, however, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
Should you put flavoring agents in your cannabis concentrate?
As the general rule of thumb, natural is always better, and this couldn’t be any truer when it comes to cannabis and the respective concentrates and extracts.
There’s a reason why an orange smoothie is more expensive than a glass of orange concentrate with water – the first is natural, healthier, and more time, energy, and cost-consuming than the second.
The same goes for cannabis concentrates, but with one important addition – flavoring agents you vaporize in some cases can turn out particularly hazardous to your health. Even if a flavoring agent isn’t harmful, it couldtransform into a toxic compound when heated to vape temperatures.(1)
Various flavoring agents are being used without the required in-depth testing and analysis of their chemical and health implications when vaporized. For these reasons, if you crave flavored cannabis concentrates, your best bet is adding real cannabis terpenes to your product. If that’s not an option, consume pure cannabis extracts and then go have a nice Pina Colada, made with real coconut milk as opposed to creamy syrups. If that’s not possible, it’s ok. That one isn’t as important.
- Troutt and DiDonato, Carbonyl Compounds Produced by Vaporizing cannabis Oil Thinning Agents, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Vol. 23, No. 11,org/10.1089/acm.2016.0337