If you have kept yourself up to date on cannabis news and science, you have probably heard a lot about terpenes over the last few years. Terpenes are organic compounds found in all sorts of plants, from pine trees to citrus fruit, and are responsible for plants’ scent. Cannabis can produce more than 100 different terpenes, and different blends of these compounds are what give different strains their distinctive scents.
Cannabis with a high terpene content smells and tastes better, which is why both commercial growers and hobbyists are interested in growing terpene-rich cannabis. However, the scent isn’t the only bonus. Terpenes can also interact with THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids to alter the final effect that a strain has on a user. This is known as the entourage effect. Effect-wise, terpenes are responsible for a strain’s unique experience. So, how can you increase your plant’s terpene production?
Grow in Soil
Wine aficionados will tell you that if you take a single batch of identical grape seeds and grow half in Washington and half in France, wine from grapes grown in one soil will taste distinctly different from the other. This isn’t snobbery – it’s a fact, and it applies to cannabis as well. Whether you grow indoors or outdoors, it’s important to start with high-quality soil.
Use Plenty of Light
If you want flavorful, terpene-rich cannabis, you can’t be stingy with light. Make sure you use lights that offer the full range of the spectrum that your plants need to be healthy. And, whether you’re growing inside or outside, make sure your plants have enough space in between them that lights falls across every cola.
Low Stress Training
Putting your plant through a lot of stress might kill it, but a small amount will cause it to become stronger. Training your plant can help it direct energy to the flowers, which will cause it to develop more trichomes and increase your yield in the process.
Flush Your Plants
Two weeks before harvest, stop providing your plants with extra nutrients. Allow your plant time to metabolize what’s left in the soil and the plant itself. Nutrients can build up in the buds and cause the smoke to taste harsh and unpleasant. Recent research has shown this may be less of a factor as we once thought.
It doesn’t increase the number of terpenes, but it may help those flavours and aromas cut through a little better.
Harvest and Trim Carefully
Trichomes – the structures that contain the terpenes – are very fragile. Leaving your plants for too long without harvesting can cause the trichomes to degrade, so keep an eye on the trichomes with a magnifying glass. That should help you decide when is the perfect time to harvest. When trimming, try to handle the buds as little as possible to avoid damaging the trichomes.
Curing properly is the most important factor to having the best possible final product. The best grown plant can turn into a tasteless dried out bud if you miss this step.
Curing too quickly can cause your cannabis to smell like grass, and it can also have a negative effect on the terpene content. Keep your cannabis in a dark room with low temperatures and a humidity of 45-55%, and your buds should turn out great. Many terpenes will evaporate at temperatures as low as 25 degrees celsius. Dry and cure your buds in a cool place with a consistent temperature.
There is a genetic component to not just which terpenes a strain will produce, but also the amount. Some strains just produce more, and if you’re looking for a particularly flavorful strain, it may be worth doing some research. However, if you follow all the steps in this article, just about any strain should taste excellent!
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