How to Increase Terpenes When Growing Cannabis

For many marijuana users, the scent of a fresh cannabis bud is hard to beat. It also can help users determine the quality of the bud. Opening up your newly purchased cannabis can be an experience unlike any other.

But, what exactly is responsible for the smell cannabis plants have? And, why does smell matter? We’ll dive into the role of scent in marijuana buds below.

What Are Terpenes?

When it comes to the smell of a particular marijuana plant, we have something called terpenes to thank.

Terpenes are aromatic compounds. When it comes to cannabis, terpenes are responsible for the scent and smell of each marijuana strain.

There are more than 200 different terpenes in existence (that we know about right now). Though there are so many kinds of terpenes, the levels at which specific ones are present in plants will vary. Sometimes only trace amounts of particular terpenes are present. The most prominent terpene profile in a plant is what drives the different scents strains have.   

You’ve likely noticed the tiny hairs that cover cannabis plants. These give plants their crystal-like sheen. These are called trichomes, and these are responsible for the terpene production in marijuana.

What Are Terpenes

The Entourage Effect

In addition to giving different strains their signature smell, terpenes have another crucial role to play as well. 

Terpenes have been shown to work with other compounds found in marijuana, like THC and CBD, to enhance the effects they offer or take away from the results.

This is credited to the entourage effect.

The entourage effect, or ensemble effect, refers to the support different compounds give each other. It essentially states that all compounds produce better and more balanced effects working together than they do when alone and isolated.

Why Do Growers Want to Increase Their Crop’s Terpenes?

Because terpenes play such an essential role in the makeup of marijuana, many growers work to find ways to increase their plant’s terpene profile. But, aside from their benefits as part of the entourage effect, why should they put in so much effort?

Growers often want to increase terpene production in plants because:

  • The smell is important to consumers. The nose can play a significant role in helping users decide what strains they want to purchase. The stronger the aroma, the more appealing a strain will be to customers.
  • They improve flavor. Like the smell, the taste is another common deciding factor when you wish to try new strains of marijuana. Terpenes help influence taste and smell, so more terpenes mean a more flavorful bud.
  • They provide benefits independent from cannabis. Though the effects of marijuana are determined mainly by its cannabinoid makeup, terpenes can bring their benefits to the table, too. For example, myrcene (a terpene) is known to increase the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD. This is why the entourage effect is vital. So, stronger terpenes can produce more potent effects for users.

Overall, a solid terpene presence can create a better marijuana bud. These flowers will appeal to more customers, leading to more sales and more revenue.

How to Increase Terpenes When Growing Marijuana

How to Increase Terpenes When Growing Marijuana

While terpenes are naturally occurring in nature, there are some steps growers can take to increase their presence while growing cannabis. Here are some tips to help you ensure you have the most terpenes possible in your strain.

  • Know that genetics plays an important role. No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to turn a low-quality plant with a low terpene profile into a highly aromatic and flavorful plant. When purchasing clones or seeds to grow cannabis, make sure they are of high quality and have a good genetic background.
  • Soil matters. Though indoor growers can grow marijuana via methods other than using dirt, doing so can impact your terpene profile. To ensure you get the best terpenes possible, use quality soil to grow your plants. Good soil will contain the nutrients they need to flourish.  
  • Monitor sunlight exposure carefully. Good light can do a lot to increase your plant’s terpene profile. Not only does good, regular light exposure ensure your terpenes are present, light exposure can also influence the strain’s effects.

Note: To ensure light is adequate when growing your plants indoors, make sure they are well-spaced out in their containers.

  • Defoliation is important. The process of trimming your cannabis plant’s leaves is called defoliation. By keeping your leaves trimmed, you’ll open up space in the canopy, which will allow more light to reach your plants. More light, as we know, means a better terpene profile at the end.
  • Handle your plants with care. Trichomes are fragile and can easily be destroyed when the plant is handled. To preserve your plant’s trichomes and thus ensure maximum terpene production, limit how often your buds are handled or moved. When you do touch them, be as gentle and thoughtful as possible.
  • Harvest your buds at the right time. You’ll want to harvest your buds when they are at the maximum terpene-producing stage. If you harvest your plants too early, there will be fewer trichomes present, which means less terpene production. On the other hand, harvesting too late can mean the plant’s terpene profile is already starting to break down and degrade.
  • A correct curing process is essential. Finally, the process of drying your buds (called curing) is critical in preserving the terpene profile of your plants. Slow-drying your plants at the proper temperature will help prevent terpenes from degrading as they dry.

Terpene Production in a Nutshell

Terpenes play a crucial role in determining the smell, taste, and effects different cannabis strains have to offer. A strong terpene presence can mean a better product, which will leave you with happier customers and more money in your bank account.

Though terpenes are naturally occurring, there are things growers can do to ensure a strong terpene profile. When it comes to enhancing your terpene profile, genetics, soil quality, light, and even the harvesting process play a role.

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