The cannabis industry is abuzz over terpenes. Everyone in the know is claiming it’s “all about them terps brah,” but do you truly understand these magnificent compounds? Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about the intoxicating aromas of cannabis.
1. Terpenes are everywhere. These wildly diverse organic compounds are produced by an array of plants and insects, and exist abundantly in nature. From orange peels to pine resin their powerful scents play a major role in our lives that we hardly ever consider. Their distinctive scents shine brightly in cannabis, from fruitiness to skunky, it’s all in the terpenes.
2. Terpenes interact with cannabinoids and are understood to have vital roll in the effects of the plant on the brain. They can increase and decrease dopamine and serotonin production, speed up THC absorption, and alter our moods. Whichever dominant terpenes are produced in a particular plant make a huge difference in the resulting “high” when consumed. The differences between myrcene and limonene are not only the scent, but also in the psychological and physical effects of the plant and the human body.
3. There is in fact a ‘terp wheel.’ Similar to the color wheel, which at its core is composed of sweet, sour, bitter and spicy. Many cannabis strains will exhibit a multitude of these flavors, before and after smoked, or ingested. As you move farther out the wheel flavors get more specific.
4. Terpenes are volatile organic compounds that alter after a plant is harvested. Once the flower is dried and cured they are technically considered terpenoids. Proper curing procedures will keep these compounds intact, but excessive heat while drying can ‘cook’ them off. Hence the importance of proper dry room conditions.
5. The therapeutic values of the terpenes found in cannabis have been greatly understated until now. From anti-carcinogenic to anti-inflammatory, the ‘terps’ offer amazing benefits. It is commonplace for laboratories to offer terpene testing, and as greater understanding of these compounds arise, choosing the terpenes that suit your particular taste, or health conditions, will become the norm.
6. You can buy terpenes in a bottle. In fact, some producers have even mimicked the aromas produced by certain strains. While these essential oils may offer you the scent of Gorilla Glue #4, remember it is the cocktail of thousands of chemical compounds that create the wondrous effects of this magical cannabis strain. Some concentrate producers have even begun spiking their products with aftermarket terps. While there is technically nothing wrong with this, stick to the trusted goodness of full flower or a producer that you trust isn’t trying to dress up a mediocre product.
7. Don’t just look to THC percentages when choosing a strain. At the 2016 Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa, California, the vast majority of top 20 finishers didn’t even break 20 percent THC. This is obviously due to the multitude of other beyond the plants most famous intoxicant. It is becoming more and more obvious that terpenes play a magnificent role in the overall effects of cannabis.
8. Feed your terps. When cultivating cannabis the food you feed it will help or hinder its terpene production. Organic feeds are widely considered the premier way to produce the most flavorful of flowers.
9. Flush. Dosing your plants with plenty of fresh water before your harvest is a basic know how, but it also plays an integral role in allowing your terp profiles to shine brightly. Chemical or salt build-ups in your soil can block your plants expression of one its most crucial goodies. Give your plants at least a week of pure fresh water before you hack them down and taste the difference.
10. Savor the flavor. Proper storage of your cannabis flower and concentrates not only maintain the THC content, but also the terpenoids. Overheating, overdrying and overcooling can turn your terp rich Black Lime Reserve into flavorless brick weed. Treat your nugget with respect and it will return the favor and flavor.
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