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How to Design the Perfect Cannabis Extract

How To Design The Perfect Cannabis Extracts For Target Consumers

With the release of the new expanded Health Canada regulations, cannabis companies are faced with a unique opportunity to expand their product lines into vape cartridges, edibles, topicals and concentrates.

Canadian consumers are predicted to follow the US trend towards value-add products and away from cannabis flower. With smaller growers trying to differentiate their products when marketing is largely impossible, innovative product design is essential. 

Product design in the Canadian cannabis space, however, provides a unique challenge: presenting a compliant product that provides unique customer experience and meets Health Canada requirements. 

When designing a product, it is important to follow a pre-production planning process to ensure the final product is in line with the target market. 

The Benefits of Cannabis Extracts

As the Cannabis 2.0 market emerges, the variety of product offerings consumers will seek out will significantly increase. Cannabis extracts offer the ability for licenced cannabis producers to begin to innovate with delivery methods and product design to truly differentiate themselves in a market oversaturated with similarity. 

Some of the benefits of cannabis extracts are: 

  • Heightened cannabinoid purity 
  • Customizable cannabinoid profiles to deliver consumer-segment-specific effects 
  • Accuracy of dosing
  • More discreet delivery methods
  • Economy of product, as less product can equal the effects derived from consuming flower alone
  • The onset and duration of effects can be better controlled

What Is The Cannabis Delivery Method?

Extracts can be used in a variety of products: 

  1. Oral formulas
  2. Vaporizer pens 
  3. Topicals
  4. Edibles 
  5. Beverages

It is important to understand the delivery method before designing a cannabis extract to ensure that it is optimized for safety, efficacy and user experience. For example, bitterness can be a major issue with extracts for use in edibles and beverages. 

EnCann will be offering multiple white labeling options including gel capsules, pre-filled vape pens, tinctures, bulk THC/CBD for use in edibles and beverages and topical creams and ointments. Due to our unique extraction system, premium products can be designed to meet your customers’ needs.  

Who Is Your Target Customer?

According to the latest available data, 17.5 percent of Canadians consume cannabis. Due to the high degree of variation in the demographic, psychographic and physiology of cannabis consumers, it crucial that producers take into account the desired consumer experience when designing formulations. 

For example, an experienced recreational consumer might enjoy higher concentrations of THC, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis. Novice users, on the other hand, might look for a more balanced 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD. Cannabidiol is non-intoxicating and delivers functional, clear-headed effects. 

Conversely, medical cannabis extracts can be formulated to target different ailments. Current available evidence shows promise for multiple conditions including chronic pain and neuropathic pain, chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting and spasticity with multiple sclerosis. 

What Are The Desired Effects?

Cannabis contains hundreds of therapeutic compounds known as cannabinoids and terpenoids, each of which in combination can result in a unique effect. 

Cannabinoids

Currently there are 113 known cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are compounds that bind to receptors in the human brain (mostly CB1 receptors) and in body (CB1 and CB2 receptors) including the immune system.  Cannabinoids from cannabis work by mimicking endocannabinoids such as anandamide and 2-AG, which are endogenous (naturally present in the body) retrograde neurotransmitters that work to maintain homeostasis. 

Terpenes 

Terpenes are aromatic molecules that are created in the secretory cells of glandular trichomes in cannabis plants. Terpenes are responsible for the aromas and some of the physiological effects of cannabis.  

How Cannabinoids and Terpenes Work Together

The intensity, the onset and duration of the effects of cannabis all depend on the ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes. Sometimes referred to as “The Entourage Effect”, cannabis compounds work synergistically to produce the variety of effects seen with cannabis consumption. 

Cannabis Extracts: Aroma, Taste and Texture

Depending on the intended consumption method or vaporizer design, cannabis extracts can be customized in terms of viscosity, taste and scent. 

Viscosity

If your selected product is an oil vaporizer, the extract inside the cartridge must have the proper viscosity. Otherwise, the oils may be too thick or too thin to be able to vaporize within the device. Not only will this have effects on the usability of the device, but viscosity can also have effects on the density of the vapor and the temperature at which the extract can be vaporized. 

Taste and Aroma

Terpenes are responsible for the aromatic and flavour subtleties of cannabis , and make up a large portion of the active compounds that can be found in essential oils. A fact that might surprise you is that terpenes account for between 10 and 20 percent of the weight volume of cannabis resin. Due to the wide variety of aromas that terpenes produce, there are almost endless opportunities to create unique combinations for proprietary formulations. EnCann’s unique extraction technique is capable of extracting full-spectrum oils without extracting any chlorophylls, fats or waxes enabling creation of a flavourful, high-quality concentrate. 

Some of the most common terpenes are as follows: 

Caryophyllene: 

        Aroma: Pepper, Spicey, Woody, Cloves

Myrcene: 

        Aroma: Earthy, Herbal

Linalool: 

        Aroma: Floral, Lavender

Limonene:

        Aroma: Citrus

Humulene: 

        Aroma: Woody, Earthy

Pinene: 

        Aroma: Pine

Terpinolene: 

        Aroma: Pine, Floral, Herbal

Bisabolol

        Aroma: Floral, Chamomile

How Much Product Is Needed 

While batch sizes and production schedule can be customized, it is important to note that the larger volumes can often have lower cost per unit. EnCann can help you to match your biomass volumes to your production schedule by either supplying extra inputs of cannabis or hemp or by purchasing trim you are unlikely to use. This avoids lengthy storage of trim which can lead to degradation and loss of potency. 

 

Set to open in time for the rollout of the concentrate regulations, EnCann will offer industrial-scale cannabis and hemp extraction, white-labelling, formulation services and packaging services. At EnCann, our team can help you to select the best extraction, formulation and packaging options to create a safe, reliable, unique and quality product.  

            Written by: Sarah Roberts, RPh (Chief Science Officer)