How To Grow Marijuana With Stronger Flavor
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 actually 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. Here’s why 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, 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 own 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 to realize that more 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 to 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 the 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. However, we do highly 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 organic source (think kelp, bat guano, and worm castings).
- Use strong grow lights that deliver UV-B – While most growers flower their cannabis 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 actually 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 night time 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.
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.
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Tips For Maximizing Terpenes Within Your Cannabis Plants
Using techniques to boost terpenes production can heavily influence the scent and flavour profile of a strain. These techniques are easy to implement, yet the results are profound.
What is it exactly that makes cannabis strains differ? At the very foundation are genetic variances that result in differences in growth pattern, shape, and speed of growth. The uniqueness of a cannabis strain is also determined on what comes out of the trichomes—small mushroom-shaped glands that inhabit the flowers and leaves of plants. These glands secrete a resin that is loaded with cannabinoids such a THC and CBD. Differences in the ratio set many strains and their effects apart. But cannabinoids aren’t the only substance swimming within this resin; terpenes are created in the trichomes too.
Terpenes are aromatic compounds found all throughout nature and give plants and fruits their signature scents. For example, the terpene pinene is responsible for the pleasurable aroma associated with walking through coniferous woodland, and limonene is the terpene that gives citrus peel its refreshing smells. The terpene profile within a strain influences its taste and smell, making it an important consideration for breeders when growing and cannabis connoisseurs when selecting a strain to smoke.
However, terpenes have been found to play a much larger role within cannabis plants. Not only do they have their own series of medicinal effects, but they have been found to influence the psychoactive effects of the high through what is known as the entourage effect. Examples of this are the ability of myrcene to boost the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD and the ability of limonene to increase the antibacterial effects of CBD.
The additional advantages offered by terpenes have made their production all the more important, and many cultivators are now focusing on enhancing their production during growth. Here are some tips to maximize terpene levels to achieve the smelliest weed possible.
IT ALL STARTS IN THE GENES
There are many reasons growers want to maximize terpenes for scent purposes. For casual growers, it means having some heavenly scented buds to enhance smoking sessions and impress fellow smokers. For commercial growers, it means having a more appealing end product at the end of the harvest. For both, there is the potential to enhance effects. When looking to grow the smelliest weed around, seed selection is an important factor. Starting out with strains that have been specifically designed for terpene production will give you a huge head start.
Carefully read the strain description of the seeds you are planning on buying, and select a terpene profile with the characteristics you are looking for.
QUALITY SOIL IS A GAME CHANGER
If you are growing your crop in soil, it’s worth the extra work to make sure it’s of prime quality. You can easily purchase high-quality soil, or make your own. Many of the nutrients your plants will use to survive and thrive are found within the soil, and higher soil quality is associated with smellier and more flavorful weed. Growing weed in depleted soils will end in disappointing results.
STRESS YOUR PLANTS, BUT NOT TOO MUCH
Stressing a biological organism can go one of two ways. If just the right amount is applied, the organism will adapt, become stronger, and survive. If too much stress is applied and the organism isn’t capable of adapting, it will die. When looking to grow terpene-rich cannabis, just the right amount of stress is required.
Methods such as low-stress training are a great option when seeking buds loaded with terpenes. This technique involves the gentle bending, morphing, and manipulating of branches to force plants to grow in a certain shape. It ultimately creates more main branches that are more spaced out. The end result is a smaller plant that produces larger yields and very smelly flowers.
Defoliation, otherwise simply known as trimming leaves, is another technique that boosts terpene content. Removing additional leaves will open up space in the canopy and allow more light to reach the flowers while simultaneously stressing the plant, boosting trichome production.
BE MINDFUL OF LIGHTING
Lighting is one of the most important factors when it comes to growing, and plays an especially critical role in terpene production. Trichomes produce resin in nature partly to protect plants from excessive light exposure, a behavior that can be taken advantage of by growers. Exposing plants to UV-B lights for around 2–3 weeks during flowering can easily boost trichome production.
UTILISE TEMPERATURE PROPERLY
Almost all environmental factors can be controlled to manipulated optimal terpene production, with the temperature being an important one. Lowering the temperature at night time will get the trichomes working overtime. Ideally, reduce the temperature by approximately 5 degrees Celsius during the night time. Obviously, be careful not to chill your plants too much that other aspects of growth suffer.
ALWAYS FLUSH YOUR PLANTS
Flushing your plants can add to their scent and flavour by removing excess nutrients. Nutrients can build up in the flowers and overpower the natural flavours produced by the strain. Provide your plants with the purest water possible around two weeks before harvest time to flush the plants.
BE ACCURATE WITH HARVESTING
Terpenes are volatile compounds and it really doesn’t take much for them to degrade and breakdown. If you leave harvest time even a little bit too late, you may start to lose precious scents and aromas. Use a magnifying glass to carefully observe the trichomes on your buds as a basic indicator. Be sure to read up on more in-depth harvesting to learn and refine exactly when it is needed.
DRY AND CURE YOUR WEED CORRECTLY
Although it seems like the work is over after the harvest, there are still tasks to be done. Making sure you dry and cure your weed correctly will ensure the smell and flavour are not reduced. Dry your marijuana over a 2–3 week period in a cool environment. Excess heat will begin to degrade the valuable terpenes. Attempt to maintain a humidity of around 50%.
It’s time to cure after drying it over. Aim for low temperatures, no lighting, and a humidity of around 55%. This process will greatly enhance the taste and smell of your buds.
Terpenes are aromatic molecules that are responsible for the tastes and smell of cannabis plants. Several techniques can be used to boost their numbers.