Terpinolene: A Vapor Caper

“Listen Daddy-O, cartridges are square. Smoking flower is the ginchiest way to get zooted.” Terpinolene laid it out.

“You’re lunchin’, bro. Vape cartridges are a critical aspect of a true head’s diet. They are convenient, discrete and get you high as hell. Of course, smoking flower is a wonderful way to scratch that itch, but I’ve learned all too well that there are certain things it’s best not to scratch in public.” Myrcene laughed at his own joke.

“Plus, you never really know what’s in those cartridges.” Terpinolene replied.

“Speak for yourself, you rare ass organic compound. I know exactly what’s in those cartridges …Me! Also, dispensaries are required to test and list the ingredients on the back. That Vitamin E Acetate invasion was just a bad batch from, how would you phrase it, some bad news squares” Myrcene huffed.

“Them’s heavy words, cat, but I can dig it. When I blaze herb, it’s a tactile ritual that I can blend and balance. Do your thing though, but I’m going to stick with what I can touch and feel, Daddy-O.” Terpinolene responded freshly, “au Naturel.”

“That’s why you aren’t in that many strains bro. You can be a real snob. Let’s just disagree to disagree.” Myrcene walked off in a puff.

“Myrcene, noooo!” Myrcene and Terpinolene were working on the extract machine producing vapor cartridges. Terpinolene was balanced on the end of a dropper measuring out cannabinoids and terpenes, while Myrcene held down the other end and squeezed the bubble. When Myrcene let go of his end Terpinolene fell into a bottomless pit of stainless steel yelling “Motherfu…….!” as he faded into the darkness.

Meanwhile the team were going about their daily routine. Tensions were unusually high, none of the strain recipes were coming out correctly. “Another ruined Jack Herer!” Pinene exclaimed in a shower of pine needles. “It just doesn’t have its usual fresh citrusy smell. What are we missing?!” Pinene was always overpowering the subtlety of Terpinolene’s essential oils, never conferring respect on his confir-ness. He looked over and around Terpinolene’s seat at the conveyor belt, oblivious to his obliviousness.

“I don’t get it” Limonene squeezed out of gloves and boots as she came back from behind the Strainify 3000 all-in-one-cannabis-cultivator. “Nothing is wrong with the machine; it must be one of us.” She looked at the group and realized Terpinolene was missing. She was always a little sweet on him because they grew up in the same aromatic neighborhood. “Does anyone know where Terpinolene is? Who was the last one to see him?”

Myrcene looked up from rolling a blunt. “Yeah, I was just with him. We were filling carts in the laboratory, we were talkin’ shit, and then, um, …” He blinked a couple times, the last few hours a swirl of blunt smoke and munchies. “And now I’m here. Present in the present. I wonder where he is.”

Cary cuffed him on the head. “Oh Myrcene, your buddha mentality might be leaning a bit too heavy into that buddha. You know we work in pairs in the lab. With all those potent solvents and machines, it’s not safe for a terpene to be in there alone.

Terpinolene’s absence is probably why everyone’s been a little spicy. You could smoke the tension in here with a bong.”

“Speak for your peppery self, Cary.” Linalool said, “I’ve got plenty of chill vibes to go around.”

“It’s always good energy around here.” Limonene chimed cheerily as she grabbed the freshly rolled blunt out of Myrcene’s hand and sparked it up. “Without Terpinolene the scene is just a bit more tense, and a bit less fresh tasting.” The cherry turned into a torch and half the blunt flamed up. Limonene coughed a giant cloud of smoke. Choking on her words. “We better go find him…” She reached for a lemonade, still coughing.

Terpinolene had a moment of vertigo as he opened one eye, staring through a glass sphere. Opening both eyes, the world looked warped through a fishbowl lens. What’s the dealy-o daddy-o? He questioned reality, like he did every time he woke up. But something was different. He tried to move. Slurp, his hand came partially out of the sticky amber syrup he was submerged in. Bummer, he looked around complacently. His ability to reduce anxiety, especially in strains with higher THC, made him unusually relaxed in most situations. Sometimes too much so.

The last thing he remembered, Myrcene and he were filling up cartridges. Duh. He had just fallen into the extraction machine and ended up in a cartridge. He wondered if the team had even noticed he was gone. As a less prevalent terpene he is easily overpowered by the more prominent ones. He is a subtle part of the full spectrum but his impact on the entourage effect is immeasurable. Even small traces of his presence amplify the bouquet and contribute to a simultaneously uplifting and calming euphoria. Although his unique gifts seem to be contradictory, they have been carefully cultivated through years of training with master herbs such as sage, lilac, and rosemary. People chill, but they don’t know what it takes to chill this hard.

He took stock of the situation. This cartridge feels distillated, like I’m just an isolated chemical compound blended with propylene glycol. It felt like when he hung out with all the high THC kids in college. Super heady but also kind of artificial. Wait a second, everyone is here. He looked around and saw his friends. But as he got closer he realized they were just cardboard cutouts of plant derived terpenes reintroduced into the cartridge to improve taste and viscosity. THC was sitting alone on a pedestal, expressionless, with a neon arrow sign blinking 99% purity and some newfangled strain name. Quadruple OG Sour Apple Macadoodle Doo. I feel so disconnected, all of the natural terpenes and other full spectrum compounds have been stripped from this sterile experience. He began to doubt his whole identity. Looking down at his hands. Am I even a cannabis derived terpene anymore?

Trying to keep an open mind, he took a little sip of the sticky soup. His lips puckered the whole way around his head. This shit was almost pure THC…. “AWOOOOGAAA!” His brain exploded.

As the crew congealed into the lab, Limonene tried to squeeze more info out of Myrcene. “Do you remember which machine you were working with when you abandoned him?”

Myrcene looked offended, “that sounds accusatory. I was only distracted for… Oh well… I think it was that one,” he points to a giant Co2 extractor machine. “Or maybe that one,” he points to a Butane Hash Oil Machine. “Or maybe that rosin press.” Through Myrcene’s eyes the room looked like a medieval torture chamber of chores.

“Oh Myrcene, if he got sucked into that Distillate extractor he could have been stripped down to his basic ethyls, fated to be added by the droplet to distillate cartridges to improve taste and viscosity. If he got sucked into the CO2 or BHO machine then he could be in any of these full spectrum or resin cartridges. Can you at least remember if you were cold? That would narrow it down to the live resins.” Caryophyllene added.

“Bro, I don’t even know what any of that shit means.” Myrcene replied.

“How are you a cannabis terpene when you don’t even know the first thing about concentrate extraction?” Pinene exclaimed.

“You don’t need to know how to get high in order to get high bro.” He said matter of factly as he hit the blunt so deep he farted a little cloud of smoke which lifted him off his seat. “Gesundheit” he smirked sheepishly.

“Fuck, we are never going to find Terpinolene. The only witness is a hashstronaut and he has already entered outer space.” Cary exhaled in a peppery huff.

“Wait a second, I think I can feel him in these cartridges over here. I think he’s speaking to me through the entourage effect.” Myrcene started opening packages and hitting random cartridges. “Terpinolene, can you hear me? Terpinolene?!”

Pinene shook his needles. “Myrcene, you’re an asshole. Stop messing with the inventory.”

“He’s not totally wrong about the powerful effects of our entourage effect though.” Humulene added gingerly. “If we all work together, we may be able to sense him in the spectrum of the cartridges.”

… Terpinolene woke in a pitch-black cave that smelled so strongly of him could pick up the individual traces of lilac, pine, nutmeg, and cumin. Everything smelled floral, and herbaceous, with hints of tea tree and citrus. Above all else was the overwhelming aroma of freshness. He tried to remember more about whatever happened to leave him in his current predicament, trapped into some sort of weeded Groundhog Day scenario.

Oh Shit. Myrcene ran me through the distillate machine. No wonder I can’t wake up. He had been broken down to his basic chemistry and he was getting infused back into distillate cartridges a few drops at a time to improve taste and viscosity. He knew he wasn’t feeling like his natural self. He was stuck in a glass jar like a genie in a bottle on a shelf of genie bottles. An essential oil lost in obscurity.

If only he could get someone to dump the whole bottle into the CO2 machine. Maybe he could reharmonize into a full spectrum and get to the right vapor point. But perhaps he is thinking about it all wrong. He began to feel like the sun coming out on a rainy day when you have already committed to sweatpants. Maybe this is actually a vacation. It would be nice to have a full spectrum bath or a nice soak in a live resin. Fuck work, it’s Korean Spa Day!

“Terpinolene! Terpinolene!” His head rang with a strange rhythmic chant. His seventh sense of the entourage effect started pulsing. Hooray! The team finally remembered he was gone, he paused just as he realized he was free. He could only hope their entourage effects were enough to return him to his natural state. Just vaporizing him wasn’t going to do it. He needed to be recarboxylated before he could be decarboxylated. It was pretty carb-plex. He had to rejoin the great mother plant in the sky to be reborn as a cannabis specific terpene.

“Terpinolene! Terpinolene!” The team kept chanting, summoning the ancient cosmic powers of their synergistic entourage effect. They huffed and puffed on a huge hookah brimming over with herbals. As the ritual progressed, the top of the hookah transformed into a volcano and Homey O’stasis’ voice echoed through. “To find freshness, you must release staleness. To find your friend, you must let go of yourself.”

Suddenly Cary jumped up and started flailing around in some sort of possessed dance. He flipped and flopped, hipped and hopped, almost destroying everything in the room and then suddenly collapsed exhausted. A little drop of sweat dripped off his head, bounced off three bottles and rocked a little tincture bottle back and forth. Inside Terpinolene had matched their ritual and summoned all of himself as little copies of himself pushing the bottle back and forth.

Nerolidol saw the bottle still spinning and picked it up. As she opened the top Terpinolene yelled “Smoke meeeee!”

“Of course, the terpene additive section has a bottle of Terpinolene. Why didn’t we look here first. He must have gotten trapped here when he got sucked into the distillation machine.” Nerolidol determined.

“We need to get him into a cartridge in order to vaporize him back into his natural form. Stat!” Cary chimed in.

“So, you want to pour him back into the machine? That’s crazy. How will we know how much to pour in?” Myrcene asked in a stupor.

“If we can prepare a full spectrum cartridge with similar proportions of the phyto-cannabinoids and terpenes found in the original cultivar, then we may be able to use our entourage effect to get him back. We just need to figure out which strain has high enough Terpinolene.” Limonene ascertained.

Humulene contributed, “How about Shipwreck? A hybrid known for being uplifting and mellow at the same time, thanks to our friend Terpinolene.”

“Good call cuz, but it hits a little too close to home.” Cary responded.

“Are you sure the full spectrum cartridge will do it? It’s still just a distillate with reintroduced terpenes and cannabinoids to present similar effects as the original strain.” Pinene doubted cerebrally.

“Damn it man, I’m an organic compound not a doctor! But this is our best hope of getting him back. You can’t get high unless you try!” Limonene’s energy spiked.

“Maybe we should check with Terpinolene?” Linalool looked into the jar and all of the little Terpinolene molecules had formed to give a thumbs up in a writhing mass of thumbs ups. “I guess we are good.” Linalool looked up like she had just seen something terrible she would never be able to forget.

The team dragged the jar over to the extraction machine and everyone released their special essence into it as they balanced the dropper over the edge. “One two three, Dro!” They yelled in unison.

Limonene squeezed a drop of oil from her hair, Pinene shook in some needles, Linalool kissed the breeze, Myrcene burped, Nerolidol rubbed her hands together. Cary and Humulene ground up and added their unique spices.

THC ambled up, ready to blast a plume of potency into the concoction.

“Dankcarys!” The team yelled as everyone put in their part and turned on the machine.

“Swloop!” They watched as the substance came together and went through a tube. A little ding went off and a cartridge popped out.

“Ding,” a loud bong resonated around Terpinolene as he found himself in another towering glass cylinder. He took a little sip of the solution, cautious after the pure distillate experience. Whoa Daddy-O, this full spectrum cart is a gas! He looked around and his friends started to appear around him. These are real cannabis derived terpenes! He thought excitedly as he sipped a little more. It tasted like a terpene party in his mouth, and it had the full spectrum effects of the original cultivar. For a vaporizer cartridge, this was very close to the cannabis experience he knew and loved. A little more sterile but definitely more convenient and discrete. As he let himself enjoy the experience, his natural freshness made it even more refreshing. This full spectrum cartridge almost felt like home, maybe these vapes did have a place in a pothead’s portfolio.

As the buzz set in, his friends refracted into small versions of themselves all around him. The full spectrum cartridge did create similar effects to the flower experience. They did care. The entourage effect seemed to be working. Hooray.

“There he is,” Pinene squinted.

“I can feel him,” Linalool said.

“Let’s blaze that joint!” They roared.

“Entourage effect!” They yelled as they all started huffing the cartridge. Each time they exhaled the vapor, a specter of Terpinolene grew more solid but somehow just wasn’t fully there. Vapor will never feel exactly like smoke.

As the first crispy draw off the cartridge turned him into vapor he closed his eyes and clicked his heels three times. “There’s no place like stoned, there’s no place like stoned…” Poof, he became a vapor cloud, ready to magically return home.

“Tastes so woodsy and Piney” Nerolidol said.

“Hey, that’s my job.” Pinene exhaled. “I’m picking up floral tones”

“Easy there fella, don’t step on my toes,” Linalool

laughed. “I am tasting hints of citrus, no wonder.”

“Funny, I’m almost tasting minty. It’s crazy how Terpinolene has little bits of all of us that create such a unique taste and effect. He definitely plays the background as a team player but he’s a player for sure. There should definitely be more strains with his prominence. Let’s support that as a group.” Limonene said cheerfully.

“Damn you high.” Myrcene giggled in the corner, still huffing the cartridge to the face, talking to himself. “Who wants a pizza? You want a pizza? I want a pizza. I fuckin love pizza. I am pizza”

“Uh oh, this cartridge is almost done and he still hasn’t recombined fully in our metaphysical plane.” Cary looked concerned as he grabbed the almost empty cartridge from Myrcene. Myrcene fell over, high as shit, still lunchin’ on the munchies’.

“Yikes. It looks like Terpinolene might be stuck in that last little bit of the cartridge that always feels like a waste. It’s turning into a zombie cartridge and he is still just a Ghost Train Haze.” Humulene exhaled in despair. The group was completely zonked out of their gourds, but Terpinolene was slowly fading back into oblivion.

“Picture me when you’re rollin’!” Terpinolene cried as he disappeared.

“Damn. What do we do now?” Cary asked.

They all looked defeated. Then a little ding went off. They had totally forgotten that the C02 machine had been running the whole time in the freezer. The next batch of live resin was ready to be carted up.

“We can mourn later. Right now, we have work to do.” Pinene was focused.

They went to work bottling up the live resin into cartridges.

What the?… BRRRRRR. Terpinolene woke up in a winter wonderland. Dammit. He was so close to rejoining the team and now he was stuck in nowheresville. What happened? Even a full spectrum cartridge wasn’t pure enough to get him home. Although it definitely did the trick. He thought as he continued to enjoy the ongoing euphoria. He calmly accepted his defeat with a resolved smile. Well at least I still have my health, and a nice little buzz.

Looking around, it appeared he was trapped in a crystal on a trichome. The bud had just been harvested and then flash frozen, retaining its natural freshness. By the bud not being cured and dried, the terpenes did not undergo decarboxylation which then supported the preservation of the complete terpene profile. As he looked up, he saw the CO2 machine looming above him. Here we go again. He thought as he got sucked into the machine. He was twisted, tumbled, and tugged and popped out into a vat of golden live resin extract on the sunny side of town, somewhere between sauce street and wax boulevard.

As everything solidified, he took a sip of the situation and sat back gently. Oh wow, that’s nice. He was present at nearly 5%, which is very rare. Losing himself in his own effects, he balanced the intensity of the THC and blossomed into a creative, pleasant, not overwhelming euphoria. It was like he was in the same mind state as before he partook, just a little sunnier and laid back. This live sauce had the comprehensive experience of flower with the convenience of a cartridge. It was no wonder this format was taking over a strong share of the market. He could also see the dangers of this accessibility. These little carts packed quite a punch whether you were ready or not.

Well, if he was going to be stuck in a cartridge for the foreseeable future then it may as well be a live resin. He started moving things around to get comfortable. Shaping the solution into couches and representations of his friends. He could feel them all around him even if they weren’t fully present. I wonder what strain I’m in anyhow.

As Limonene added the label, she stood there stunned. Jack Herer. Live resin. “Oh, my sweet ganja goddess!” Looking harder into the cartridge she could see a terpene mini-world.

Terpinolene was sitting there looking calm yet uplifted. He had recreated their living room in the live resin, with representations of the other preserved frozen terpenes. Cary and Humulene were playing chess in the corner. Myrcene was in the kitchen cheffin’ it up. Terpinolene was sitting on the couch drinking tea with Limonene and Linalool, appearing to be having a lively conversation. Pinene was horizontal being used as a table and footrest. It was sweet in a contented, defeated kind of way.

Limonene yelled to the team, “Someone get a 510 a battery, quick! This might be our only chance before he fades back into obscurity as the minty lurker that he is.” Terpinolene didn’t even notice as he was screwed in and the team pressed the battery and started to inhale.

A giant blast of flavorful vapor blew the whole team back. The battery was set to 3.5 volts. “Whoa guys, this battery is set way too high. A live resin cart should be enjoyed at 2.5 to 3.3 volts for best balance between flavor and vapor output.” Limonene coughed.

Myrcene looked guilty. “That was my bad.”

They turned down the battery to 2.9 volts. “One more time guys.” Linalool harmonized everyone with a calming deep breath.

As they each took a long, slow, low temp draw from the vape they each faded back and their vapor combined into a swirl. Terpinolene materialized on the couch, still holding his imaginary tea, still in conversation. Then he looked around and blinked.

“Oh hey, what’s up guys?” Terpinolene said cheerily.

“Hey! He’s back! Terpinolene. Hooray!” the team cheered. Then a calming uplifting euphoria cleansed the room.

“What a trip, Daddy-O.” Terpinolene blinked in wonder, looking around at the group, “And you were there, and you were there and you were there.”

“Now that I have done my deep dive into cartridges, I have come to agree with you Myrcene. Cartridges do have a critical part in the stoner’s repertoire. I will always love the full spectrum effects and tactile experience of smoking flower but there is definitely something to be said about the convenience, reduced heat and product purity in cartridges. I will work on being more present in a variety of strains. That way I can build up my resume, in every form of cannabis.” Terpinolene said with a humble smile. “You were right, cartridges are a great way to experience my unique terpene presence.”

The whole team passed around a fatty and exhaled a giant cloud of relief.

As the story fades out from the vault into the storeroom a customer picks up a cartridge and comments on the unusuality of the Terpinolene prevalence. Terpinolene smiles as he hears how excited people are about his increased presence. “This Dubman OG Live resin has 4.1% of Terpinolene and 12.2% total team terpene profile. No way,” A customer exclaimed, “This Fruity Pebbles OG Pearls has 5.32% Terpinolene and 16.17% total terpenes. That shit is crazy!” The group packs up for the day, all stopping to pat Terpinolene on the back.

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