That wonderful smell you enjoy as you open your container of the good green herb in bud form comes from a wonderful selection of secondary metabolites called terpenes. If you would like to adjust the flavor and aroma profile of your cannabis, these cannabis terpenes are the place to begin.
To cover the basics, terpenes in the cannabis plant are a special combination of carbon and hydrogen atoms that are produced for the purpose of attracting pollinators, protecting the plant from disease and predators and a variety of other special purposes that allow the plant to survive in its natural habitat. The cannabis plant produces these terpenes in sticky hair-like trichomes which grow across the plant itself. Because the cannabis plant is pollinated by the wind, the trichomes keep the plant safe from herbivores of all sizes.
There are well over 100 different terpenes and can be easily identified by the signature fragrances and sometimes their flavors. They also have special pharmacological benefits that have been documented for centuries. Myrcene, for example, boosts anti-inflammatory action while another terpene, pinene, has been applauded for its analgesic capacity.
The terpenes present in your cannabis will also affect how it is received and used on the market. Customers buy their cannabis product at dispensaries that market to clients on how this can actually make them feel. Much of what goes into providing that unique experience to a consumer comes from the special terpene array that is produced in each one. This means that one customer may come in looking for a relaxing product and another may be looking for something with improved anti-inflammatory activity, anxiolytic activity or energizing action.
But this begins with getting terpene quantity and selection on point. So here is what you need to know about the 6 Important Ways To Increase Terpene Content in Cannabis.
If you would like those large and dense buds that are so envied on the markets today, you would consider including sugar and carbohydrates in your plant’s regular diets. Sugars and carbohydrates are vital to the plant during the budding stage and will have to be applied in carefully measured amounts. Carbohydrates are the most important to improve the bud at the fattening stage, which begins roughly in the middle of the bloom cycle.
However, the plants will not absorb sugar on their own. So, you will need to encourage the production of their own natural sugars. Nitrogen should be eliminated from your plants soil amendments for the final two weeks of the blossoming phase because nitrogen can slow the growth of the bud and hamper the production of terpenes.
Plant nutrients can be found with specially prepared nutrients. JEWEL, for example, helps improve the natural absorption of nutrients by your plants and this will make the plant stronger and healthier. Because this selection of plant food contains absolutely 0% nitrogen, it can be used throughout the flowering stage and still produces a high quantity of terpenes.
Using Soil to Boost Terpenes
You can boost terpene production with plant nutrients in both hydroponic and aquaponic grow systems, but the best results can be found in soil-based growing mediums. Top-quality soil will allow for an improved supply of plant nutrients and a better capacity to absorb them as well. Furthermore, the soil maintains a steadier pH level which greatly increases the absorption levels of plant nutrients and the production of terpenes.
Using Low-Stress Training or Branch Pinching to Boost Terpenes
If your plants are lightly-stressed they can be encouraged to produce terpenes more abundantly. Of course, this has to be done very carefully, if you were to stress them too much, you will produce the opposite effect. This can be done by pinching specific stalks or repositioning the plant so that the leaves that don’t get too much sunlight can also get sunlight. Pruning lower stalks from the main stalk can also allow the plant to focus more on the production power to the cola, which is producing the bud.
Using Light to Boost Terpenes
Lighting is also an especially important part of getting the highest quantity and quality of terpenes. The trichomes located at the crown of the plant are produced to protect the plant from the rays of the sun. If you are growing indoors. This can be supplemented with a UV-B Lamp. Place this over the plants while they are in the last 2-3 weeks of the flowering stage. Make sure there is plenty of space between your plants so that the lighting is amply spread across all the colas.
Using Humidity to Boost Terpenes
The humidity levels of your growing room can also be adjusted to improve the production of terpenes. The best levels are between 50% and 60% humidity for the flowering stages, but if the plants are lightly stressed by dropping this to 30% the effects are dynamic. This will also help to reduce mold growth and other issues that can strike in a humid flowering room. While curing the buds, a pleasant humidity level of roughly 50% will allow the terpenes being prepared in the bud to refine their signature flavors.
Using Harvesting Techniques to Boost Terpenes
You will need to time your harvest perfectly. If you harvest too early or late, you will lose that optimal terpene quantity. If too early, you will not harvest the buds when all the trichomes have formed, too late and many of the trichomes will already begin to break down.
You can use a magnifying glass to identify the perfect time for harvesting. The trichomes will begin clear, but will soon change to opaque and then amber. Once the trichomes have changed to an amber hue, it is safe to begin the harvest.