What About Terpenes?

What About Terpenes?

It’s no secret that terpenes play an important role in cannabis and hemp. Terpenes give hemp its flavor and smell and work together in “profiles” to provide a balanced and therapeutic effect. Terpenes can be used in conjunction with cannabinoids, or by themselves to provide a number of health benefits. The importance of terpenes is slowly becoming the popular narrative.

While the value of terpenes is undeniable, the question remains on how best to stabilize and extract terpenes. Fresh hemp has the highest quality terpenes. However, almost immediately after harvest, hemp biomass begins to breakdown until it is stabilized by drying. Terpenes, on the other hand, are easily damaged by extended periods of high heat, meaning most terpenes can burn off during the drying process, if not carefully monitored. Even during hang drying, there is some degradation of terpenes. While it is impossible to collect every molecule of terpenes, IEC Thermo, a US-based hemp dryer manufacturer, has made some very exciting steps in this direction.

IEC Thermo is known for their CBD-friendly hemp dryers, with 90 second dry times and low temperature operations. Their patent-pending process is recognized to be gentle on hemp and cannabinoids. New studies have shown that IEC H.E.M.P. Dryers also help preserve terpenes too! In conjunction with @Iron Laboratories, we conducted a study looking at terpene preservation, using 3 different samples of shredded, hemp biomass. These samples included 1 raw wet sample at 78% moisture, 1 sample dried by Iron Laboratory using their drying technology, and 1 sample dried through an IEC Model 3000 Dryer to 10% moisture.

Data Summary

Raw Wet Feed Lab Dried Sample IEC Sample 
Moisture Content 70.84% Theoretically Zero 10.53%
Total Terpenes 0.96% 1.82% 2.26%


What we found was in all samples, there was an increase in total terpenes, which was to be expected as the water is removed during the drying process. In many cases, laboratory drying technology is considered the “ideal”, however in this study, the IEC H.E.M.P. Dryer outclassed the lab dryer. There is a notable difference in the amount of terpenes in the IEC sample as compared to the lab dried sample, with IEC capturing almost 0.5% more terpenes, particularly common terpenes including Myrcene, Pinene, and Limonene.

This is an incredible development as the industry progresses, and companies and businesses are looking for ways to differentiate their products in this saturated market. By leaving more terpenes preserved in dry biomass, that means more terpenes are able to be extracted and processed, creating a higher quality final product or even multiple final products. As the industry shifts away from the cannabinoid tunnel vision, more and more of this plant’s potential will be utilized and monetized. CBD is just 1 molecule, of hundreds, whose benefits have been studied. As we explore more parts of the hemp plant and its applications, the opportunities are endless!

IEC Thermo is committed to the scientific advancement of the hemp industry; with that, we welcome additional testing and peer-review based dialogue.

Terpene Reports