Vitamin E has been in the news as of late. As more and more people are admitted to hospitals with lung illnesses related to cannabis vaping, some state and federal investigators are pointing to vitamin E as a possible culprit. That’s because vitamin E is the one common ingredient found in all of the samples studied. But where is the vitamin E coming from and why is it used? As liquid terpenes become more and more popular among cannabis DIYers, some are asking the question: do terpenes contain vitamin E?
The Basics of Terpenes
For those who don’t already know, terpenes are the natural aromatic compounds found in all plant life. They give pine trees their refreshing forest scent and make it easy for drug-sniffing dogs to know when you’re trying to sneak a gram of pineapple kush through the airport (we’ve all been there).
But terpenes do more than just smell good. They’ve also been studied for their therapeutic effects. For example, pinene (found in pine) has been associated with asthma relief. Linalool (found in lavender and rosewood) has been studied for its effectiveness in treating anxiety disorders. People use limonene for depression, myrcene for insomnia…the list goes on. This is why terpenes make up the foundation for essential oils.
The terpenes found in cannabis help to promote the entourage effect, a heightened effect that occurs when different compounds—like cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes—work together in concert. For example, the right ratio of CBD and THC may help to soothe your anxiety, but if you add an anti-anxiety terpene like linalool to the mix, the effect can potentially be even stronger.
Cannabis naturally contains over 100 terpenes, but the concentrations vary from strain to strain, and sometimes the terpenes you want are only available in trace amounts. That’s why some cannabis manufacturers and users are adding liquid terpenes to create their own customized entourage effect. Add the right terpene to your favorite bud and get precisely the effect you’ve been looking for.
The Problem With Vitamin E
While researchers still aren’t entirely clear what’s responsible for the recent rash of lung illnesses, they have highlighted vitamin E acetate as a possible or even likely cause.
Though it doesn’t occur naturally in cannabis, vitamin E acetate is sometimes used as a thickening agent for THC oil in cannabis-based products to achieve ideal viscosity. It’s not pure vitamin E, but rather an oil derived from vitamin E. The oil is commonly used in nutritional supplements and topical skincare products, but it may be hazardous when inhaled. Researchers are still investigating and haven’t yet drawn any formal conclusions.
Do Terpenes Contain Vitamin E?
With the recent news headlines surrounding cannabis products, many users are taking a much closer look at what terpenes actually consist of. Terpenes themselves do not contain vitamin E in any form. Terpenes and vitamins are separate organic compounds. A plant will usually consist of both terpenes and vitamins (e.g. lemons contain both limonene and vitamin C), but these compounds don’t overlap. So in a pure terpene extraction, like the kind required to manufacture liquid terpenes, vitamins should not be present.
However, just because terpenes themselves don’t contain vitamin E doesn’t mean that terpene products won’t contain the ingredient. Consider that in the products that caused lung illnesses, vitamin E acetate was found in the carrier liquid, not in the cannabis itself. So if you’re shopping for terpenes, it’s very important to look at the full ingredient list and only buy from companies that offer a complete certificate of analysis from a third-party lab.
At Vapeur Terp, we have long understood the importance of manufacturing products with only the most essential natural ingredients. That’s why, when you browse our selection of Pure Terpenes and Strain Specific Terpenes, you’ll notice that every product is made with just the plant-derived terpene ingredients. There’s no glycol, no glycerin, no foreign ingredients, and no vitamin E acetate. Every product includes a complete certificate of analysis, so you can see the complete breakdown for yourself and be an informed buyer.
The important thing is to always do your homework when shopping for cannabis products and additives, and never buy unless you’re 100% certain of what you’re getting.