For many years, decades even, the main focus of marijuana cultivators was packing as much THC into each bud as possible. As you may have noticed, they’ve been quite successful. Most of today’s commercially-available cannabis buds are virtually dripping in trichomes, aka “crystals.”
The result is cannabis that’s super-potent compared to weed from the 60s and 70s, and would probably knock the socks off your parents who claim they never inhaled but totally did. Now that modern strain growers have a handle on the THC thing, they’ve shifted their focus on enhancing the potency of flavor and smell as well.
Keep reading to learn more about why it’s important to grow strains with strong flavor and scent profiles, as well as how you can avoid common growing mistakes that detract from the taste of your homegrown cannabis.
Why Worry About The Smell And Flavor Of Your Cannabis?
At this point, you may be wondering why you should be so concerned with the flavor and smell of your cannabis that you alter your growing process. As any home grower knows, it can be hard to zero in on the exact process that produces healthy, potent strains.
Like Major League Baseball players on a home run streak, most growers will stick to that exact process no matter what rather than risk an unsuccessful crop. We think it’s worth re-evaluating that process with taste and smell in mind: your customers want it.
Whether you’re growing medical marijuana as a caregiver for multiple medical patients or selling it to recreational dispensaries, your product must have a potent taste and smell in order to set it apart from the pack. Think about what people do when they’re shopping for flower: they open the jar and take a big sniff. If your buds aren’t pretty and the scent is lackluster, the perceived quality of your product will fall drastically, leading many people to choose another strain.
Another reason to worry about the taste and scent of your cannabis is that it’s directly correlated to the medical value of your plants. As we’ve detailed in past posts, the terpenes that are responsible for a given strain’s flavor and scent profiles are rich in their therapeutic qualities.
The presence of more of these essential oils directly translates to the presence of more medicinal benefits.
Terpenes Are The Secret To Dank Marijuana Flavor Profiles
By now you’ve probably connected the dots: terpenes are the key to cannabis plants that have stunning scents and fantastic flavors. As a strain grower, you have the power to influence the level of terpenes present in your plants, and True Blue can help!
Why Are People So Concerned With How To Increase Terpenes In Their Cannabis?
As we’ve discussed, these essential oil molecules are the chemical compounds responsible for giving cannabis its aromatic diversity. And since our sense of smell is deeply connected with our sense of taste, how your cannabis oil smells will have a serious effect on how people perceive its actual flavor.
So the question becomes: how do you flavor weed? Well adding cannabis oil directly to the plant certainly isn’t the answer. Instead, you have to wait until the raw plant material is processed into cannabis oil. Once you’ve distilled the THC, CBD, and other base components into a concentrated liquid, then you can introduce external essential oils to your products.
What Happens If The Terpenes You Add Are Too Strong?
A lot of people reach out to us asking us how to manage the amount of terpenes they add to their product. While we normally recommend 2%, all isn’t lost if you’ve already gone above that recommended limit. Instead, you can simply dilute your oils. Coconut oil, carrier oils, PG, and PEG are all popular ways of achieving this. However, we do recommend that you do additional research before introducing any foreign substances like that to your product.
Strain Flavor Tips To Try & Mistakes To Avoid
Things you’ll need to produce plants with high essential oil levels, and thus, stronger scent and flavor profiles:
- Specialized nutrients and soil supplements- Don’t use “bloom” nutrients in the veg stage, and always try to avoid chemical nutrients in favor of fertilizing agents made from an organic source (think kelp, bat guano, and worm castings).
- Use strong LED grow lights that deliver UV-B- While most cannabis growers flower their marijuana plants under HPS grow lights, there has been research to suggest that UV-B lights can enhance trichome production as well as strain smell. “Supplementing your flowering plant with UV-B light may increase the potency and smell production by triggering a natural stress response,” explains Grow Weed Easy.
- Keep an eye on temperature and humidity- Indoor cannabis grows often feel like greenhouse operations, but there’s strong evidence to suggest that keeping things cooler and drier can enhance the essential oil production of your plants. During the day, strive to keep grow room temps at 80 degrees or below, and keep the nighttime temperatures 5 - 10 degrees cooler. Humidity should be kept “around or under 50% relative humidity throughout the flowering stage for the best terpene production and overall plant growth,” GWE continues.
- Use low-stress training and branch pinching – An easy way to ‘stress’ your plants is by pinching the branches or by moving branches that don’t get as much light.
- Use harvesting techniques – We know that harvesting too early causes fewer trichomes and that harvesting too late allows trichomes to break down, both cases decrease terpenes.. To make sure you’re harvesting at just the right time, use a magnifying glass to examine the trichomes. The trichomes start clear and become opaque as time goes on. Once the trichomes are amber, you can harvest with the most terpenes.
- Dry slowly before curing – wait 10 – 14 days for the cannabis to dry before curing. Cannabis cured too early decreases terpene levels.
Enhance Your Marijuana’s Flavor With Terpenes From True Blue
Focusing on terpene production can be a little intimidating at first, and you’ll likely go through some trial and error. Don’t worry! Strain flavor can always be enhanced after harvest with the help of terpenes from True Blue.
Take a look at our full selection of fun flavors