High Terpene Full Spectrum Extract (HTFSE)

Noun | ˈhī ˈtər-ˌpēnˈfu̇l ˈspek-trəm ik-ˈstrakt

A term used to describe one of the two portions that are formed when a full-spectrum extract is made from cannabis flowers and is allowed to seperate in a lab setting. In marijuana based extracts, this fraction contains more terpenes than the High-cannabinoid Full Spectrum Extract portion of a full-spectrum extract. High-terpene full-spectrum extracts are usually composed of roughly 50% THCA and anywhere from 13% to 40% terpenes, depending on the composition of the starting plant material. Depending on their overall texture, HTFSE can sometimes be called Sauce.

“Which has a more potent aroma; a high terpene full spectrum extract or a high cannabinoid full spectrum extract?”

“Which terpenes are prominent in this HTFSE?”

More About HTFSE

High-terpene full-spectrum extracts (HTFSE) are, as the name suggests, a full-spectrum extract characterized by relatively high concentrations of terpenes. Full-spectrum extracts are extracted with the goal of preserving the complex range of compounds within the raw cannabis plant. In a cannabis context, the term spectrum is used to denote the full range of compounds produced within the plant’s trichome glands, without undesirable molecules such as waxes, lipids, and fats. 

The effects we experience from cannabis are the result of complex developments of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes that go on within the plant’s glandular trichomes. Though the most prominent cannabinoids, namely tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are largely responsible for marijuana’s most noticeable effects, terpenes and flavonoids make a major contribution by working synergistically with cannabinoids. 

Popular extracts that may be considered full spectrum include sauce and live resin. Sauce can be a full-spectrum product, but it’s not guaranteed as the process of removing the solvent used for extraction may alter the spectrum of desirable compounds. Live resin is also not guaranteed to be a full-spectrum extract, but it does typically retain more of the plant’s terpenes than any other extract. 

Whether or not a particular sauce or live resin can be considered HTFSE depends on how the product was extracted and whether it was part of an extraction that separated high-terpene extract from high-cannabinoid extract. 

HTFSE vs. HCFSE

The difference between high-terpene and high-cannabinoid full spectrum extract lies in the way the two are extracted and separated from one another. When a full-spectrum extract is made from cured flowers, it will separate into two fractions under specific conditions, HTFSE and HCFSE. HTFSE tends to take on a gritty liquid or saucelike structure, where HCFSE tends to materialize as a sugar or diamond extract. When extracted from marijuana varieties, HCFSEs are about 90% THCA, while HTFSEs are roughly 50% with a higher terpene percentage ranging from 13% to 40%. THCA is the acidic form of THC, and decarboxylates into the active THC when exposed to heat. 

Though the spectrum within an HTFSE or HCFSE is not the same as that of a live plant, they are still considered full spectrum because they have captured all of the available compounds at the time of extraction.

Why Terpenes Over Cannabinoids?

If one is coming to cannabis concentrates for potency and effect, why would one choose a 50% THCA extract like HTFSE over a 90% THCA extract like HCFSE? It’s because THCA alone may not necessarily be more effective, both in terms of therapeutic effect and intoxication, than a lower-THCA extract with higher amounts of other compounds, including terpenes. 

You may have heard the term entourage effect floating around. It’s a term coined by Israeli researcher Raphael Mechoulam to describe the combined effect of cannabis compounds working together to produce an overall greater effect. It’s the reason that a combination of cannabis compounds can be more potent and more therapeutic than one isolated compound, including THC. 

Ultimately, choosing between an HTFSE and HCFSE depends on personal preference, as well as how cannabis affects you as an individual. Though lower in THCA than HCFSE, HTFSE typically contains a higher amount of terpenes and other desirable compounds, and may ultimately bestow a broader range of desirable effects.