Cannabis concentrates are always evolving. Depending on your level of dabbing expertise, this can be a good or a bad thing. Either way, you’re going to want to know about terp sauce. This stuff just might be the Holy Grail of dabs, thanks to its super-concentrated levels of both cannabinoids and terpenes. For the most flavorful and potent dabs available, you’ll have to get lost in the sauce!

What Are Terpenes, and Why Do I Care?

In short, terpenes are what make marijuana smell so damn delicious. Also known as “terps”, these chemical compounds are secreted as aromatic oils in the trichomes of the cannabis plant. A nice dense nug will release a burst of scent when you crack it open, and what you smell depends entirely on the strain’s terpene profile.

The citrusy punch of Lemon Haze, for example, is thanks to the limonene dominating its terpene profile. Yes, that’s the same limonene that’s also found in the oils of lemon rinds! The skunky smell we associate with the best strains and highest quality is called myrcene, and it’s also found abundantly in hops. Another common cannabis aroma is pine, which (surprise!) is conferred by the terp pinene. By now you’ve caught on that terpenes are found in many plants, not just cannabis. Linalool is found primarily in lavender and other flowers, but also in strains like Amnesia Haze. The list of terpenes is long, and so is the list of their possible effects.

Ever heard of the “entourage effect”? It’s the idea that the interaction between multiple compounds in cannabis produces a synergistic effect, greater than the sum of its parts. It’s thought that terpenes contribute to this effect in different ways. For example, strains high in limonene tend to confer a more energetic, cerebral high. In other words, more terps mean a more dynamic and rich high.

So What’s With the Sauce?

With the above definition in mind, the term “terp sauce” should make more sense. Terp sauce is a type of cannabis concentrate marked by a loose, runny texture and high terpene percentage. Many extractors are a bit loosey-goosey with labels and will call their product terp sauce when it’s simply runny live resin. What separates true terp sauce from the imitators? Real terp sauce is what’s known as a “full-spectrum extract”.

Terp sauce was pioneered by Dr. Daniel Hayden of the company Extractioneering. He and others at the company have specified that their tried and true formula for terp sauce does not use freshly cut plant material like live resin and that a good cure is essential to the final product.

A full-spectrum extract aims to preserve every compound and cannabinoid found in the plant’s trichomes. Its extraction is more complicated than your average BHO, which is why it’s so difficult to find. Terp sauce comes in two varieties: High Cannabinoid Full Spectrum Extract (HCFSE) and High Terpene Full Spectrum Extract (HTFSE). In order to qualify as HTFSE, the sauce needs to have a minimum terpene content of 14%. It’s no slouch in the THC department either and should have cannabinoid content measuring 45% or higher.  

What Does it Look Like?

Liquid gold, my friend. Liquid gold. A legitimate terp sauce will consist of runny, gold liquid, sometimes punctuated with small white or yellow crystals swimming about. If the liquid is a darker amber brown color with large clear crystals, it’s not truly a full-spectrum extract. There’s nothing wrong with a High Terpene Extract (HTE), but it’s unlikely to contain a full terpene profile or enough cannabinoids to produce heavy intoxication.

terp sauce container

How Do I Use It?

Terp sauce is best enjoyed with a quality dab rig and a fresh, clean quartz bucket. If it’s really warm where you’re dabbing, you may have some trouble with the runny texture. If the sauce is slipping right off your dabber, feel free to pop it in the fridge for a couple of minutes to firm it up.

Like all dabs, terp sauce is best enjoyed when vaporized at a low temperature. Most terpenes vaporize in the range of 300-400°F, and any temperatures hotter than that result in terps being combusted and lost. Keeping the temp low allows you to experience the full flavor profile of the sauce, and the flavor is pretty much the whole point.

What’s it Like to Dab Terp Sauce?

It’s a borderline transcendent experience. Full-spectrum extracts are “dewaxed”, which means all the waxy leftover is removed during processing. The waxes are what make low-quality dabs hit so harshly, so terp sauce is the smoothest, cleanest flavor you can get. The high obtained from terp sauce can be described as clean as well, dominated by clear-headed euphoria and a general sense of well-being.

Physical effects are generally not debilitating, and even when consuming an indica strain, the bodily sedation does not usually run into couchlock. Terp sauce is ideal for shifting your perspective on everything from washing the dishes to your running regimen, and is definitely one of the top ways to consume cannabis!

Spencer Grey is a staff writer at Smoking Outlet