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How to Increase Terpenes and Terpenoids In Cannabis and Dry Herb

A Cannabis Enthusiasts Guide For Adding Terpenes to Growing Weed and Dry Herb

FOGG Terpenes -
Terpene 10-pack

Most causal and sometimes even experienced cannabis consumers tend to only look at the THC percentage and ignore the terpene when they are buying or growing weed. This is a mistake as terpenes give cannabis strain its aroma, flavor, and other quirks. Consequently, as terpenes have as much, or even more of an effect on your smoking experience as the cannabinoid does; terps should not be neglected.

This article will go into several ways for a grower to increase terpene production, and also explain how adding terpenes to dry herb can increase your enjoyment and benefit of cannabis tenfold.

First of all, I will go over the role that terpenes, terpenoids, and trichomes play in cannabis. Afterward, I will introduce common growing techniques for adding terpenes in weed for both the grower and cannabis consumer.

Terpenes, Terpenoids, and Trichomes, Oh My!

As they are all parts of a cannabis plant and provide a similar function, differentiating between terpenes, terpenoids, and trichomes can be confusing. However, they are all, technically, separate. Below is a description of the trichome, terpene, and terpenoid.

  • Trichomes– Trichomes are the little white crystals that appear on the buds and leaves of the cannabis plant. They are a defense mechanism that makes cannabis flowers taste non-palatable to insect predators, and repels animals looking for food. Trichomes contain terpenes.

 

Trichome
Cannabis Trichome Close Up

Cannabis Trichome Close Up

  • Terpenes-Cannabis has over 200 terpenes; cannabis users though will not feel any noticeable effects with many terps though. (Terps are also considered an organic compound or a part of essential oil) Terps determine the aromatic compounds and flavor of a particular cannabis strain. For example, some terpenes smell like citrus fruit and lavender. Limonene, myrcene, and pinene terpene are among the most common terps found in popular strains. And a lesser, but quite distinctive terpenes is the lavender-smelling linalool.
  • Terpenoid-Terpenoids pretty much serve the same purpose as a terpene. However, terpenoids have been cultivated and/or dried, cured, or oxidized.

Three Type of Terpenes

The three types of terpene categories that you should know about are botanical terpene, cannabis-derived terpene, and synthetic terpene. Each of these will be examined below.

Cannabis Derived Terpenes

Primary and secondary terpenes are naturally present in cannabis. Myrcene and Pinene are examples of primary terpenes that definitely affect your smoking experience. An example of a secondary terp, that you may not even consciously notice, is Borneol.

A Cannabis-derived terpene is considered by many to be the best type as they naturally come from weed. However, there are quite a few drawbacks associated with pure cannabis terps.

Pros and cons of Cannabis Terpenes

PROS

  • Entourage Effect-As the terpenes are cannabis; the entourage effect is able to be more precisely predicted.

CONS

  • Illegal– As cannabis is illegal federally and also illegal in the vast majority of countries, pure cannabis-derived terps are illegal to both purchase and manufacture.
  • Info is Limited-Cannabis is just now being accepted and clinically studied. As a result, little is known about the effect that the various terps of cannabis terps might have.
  • Harsh Smoke– Some pot terpenes are known for not being a smooth smoke.
  • Standardization-Not all cannabis plants are the same; so the exact terpene cannot be guaranteed from batch to batch.

Natural Terpenes

As you likely guessed, plant-derived terpenes are natural, organic, or botanical terpenes that come from organic plant material other than cannabis. Read below for the pros and cons of botanical terpenes.

PROS

  • Cheaper-Natural terps are cheaper as they are made from entirely legal substances and are easier to extract.
  • The same Composition As Weed Terpenes-Organic terps have the same molecular composition as weed terps.
  • Bind to Cannabinoid Receptor-This means that they can positively benefit THC effects.
  • Standardized Product-They are extracted via a steam-distilled standardized process, which ensures a consistent product from batch to batch.
  • Stronger-The natural terpene will most likely be stronger than its ganja counterpart. So, you will need fewer terps.
  • Legal– As they come from legal plants, they are legal to purchase and manufacture worldwide.

 

CONS

  • Smell Different-Plant terp, because of having non-terpene elements often smell and taste differently than pure cannabis terpenes.
  • Entourage Effect- With natural terpenes, It can be hard to exactly duplicate the way in which different terpenes, THC, and cannabinoids react with one another.

Synthetic Terpenes

Synthetic Lab Terpenes

The synthetic terpene isolate is made in the lab via distillation, dilution, and reconstruction. Not taking into account any safety concerns; they do have several advantages over their natural cannabis and pant terpenes counterparts. However, as they are not organic; many users are wary of using them.

PROS

  • Reliability– Synthetic terpenes are lab-made, which means they are easier be replicate and are more reliably manufactured.
  • Less Hassle-As they are lab-made, not garden is necessary. So, the environment and other problems associated with cultivation are not present.

CONS

  • Flavor- With synthetic terps, like with artificial sweeteners and other man-made additives, you are not always able to replicate the exact flavors of any botanical terpenes.
  • Unknown-Granted, they are likely safe. But, synthetic terpenes have a reputation comparable to GMOs, and other non-organic substances.

What Can You Add Supplemental Terpenes Too?

You can add terps to pretty much everything that is cannabis, and cannabis-related. (People have even added terpenes to cannabis hemp flower) The most common items that terps are added to cannabis flower are pipes, bongs, and a vape pen.

What Is a Terpene Profile?

Tasty and pleasant smelling buds are important. But, if you mainly care about if a strain can help you with creative tasks, work as a sleep aid, or if it has any medicinal properties, etc., you need to be familiar with the entire terpene blend and how the various terpenes may interact with one another. A terpene profile is all of the terps that appear in a particular strain. An example of this is the famous OG Kush strain which has the following terpene profile:

Primary

  • Myrcene
  • Caryophyllene
  • Limonene

Secondary

  • Linalool
  • Pinene
  • Humulene

The terp profile of these primary and secondary terpenes interact with one another and are said to provide relief from anxiety, stress, promote overall relaxation, and additionally help control inflammation.

The Entourage Effect

The Entourage Effect states that the various different cannabinoids, terpenes, and terpenoids work in different ways when they are combined vs. when they are alone. I.E. The terp myrcene may affect you differently when combined with linalool than if it were to be used by itself.

The Entourage effect is a theory. However, as a non-scientist, it seems highly plausible as it is common knowledge that both natural and non-natural substances when combined may affect you differently than if a substance is used alone. An obvious example of this is alcohol and opiate painkillers being used together.

In Summary-When you are wondering if a particular strain does “X” examine the entire terpene blend and not just assume a single terpene will accomplish your goals. Best pratices state that you should do research on the indivdual terp and also find out whether or not a terpene may have an unexpected effect if they interact with another terp in the strain.

How Grower’s Can Increase Cannabis’ Terpene Production

There are multiple ways to increase the terp levels. The major ones are listed below:

  • Soil
  • Low-Stress Training (“LST”)
  • Plant Nutrients
  • Humidity
  • Night Time Growing Temperature
  • Flushing Pants
  • UV Lighting
  • Trying ADifferent Strain

Below, each of the methods is explained.

Stress And Terpenes-Terpenes are the cannabis’ plant’s natural method of self-defense. More terpenes will appear when a cannabis plant is stressed or attacked. That’s why many ways to increase the terpene level involve stressing the plant. Of the methods listed above, humidity levels, flushing, low-stress training, and UV lighting all involve stress.

Change The Temperature During Night

Between 70-85°F daytime, and 62-68°F nighttime is the ideal cannabis growing temperature. Per Royal Queen Seeds, your plants will start working overtime in trichome and terpene production if you reduce nighttime temperature to around 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

Low Stress Training (“LST”)

Normally, a cannabis plant only has a single place where it develops buds. LST by twisting or gently bending, and securing plants via string or wire enables multiple areas for the cannabis flower to grow. This results in an even canopy, your plants being better able to more efficiently utilize the sun or indoor light source, and it limits your plant’s height. This is useful for preventing your cannabis plants from outgrowing your grow tent) The stress brought on by branch manipulation also causes increased terpene production.

High-Stress Training (“HST”) vs. LST-LST differs from HST, in that LST, does not cut, prune or physically alter a plant. On the other hand, HST involve drastically pruning your plants. An example of HST is topping off a cannabis plant.

Soil Fox Farm Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil Mix Indoor Outdoor Garden Plants, 51.4 Quart(2 cu ft) ( Bundled with Pearsons Protective Gloves)

Compared to hydroponics, loamy soil is the best medium for maximizing weed terpenes. Loamy soil composed of a combo of silt, sand, and clay, and added organic compounds. It is especially noted for its draining, water retention, and being rich in oxygen and essential nutrients.

Cost is the main drawback to loamy soil. But, for the home or hobbyist grower, that is growing only growing a few plants, the expense should not be that bad. “Super Soil”, (quite expensive though) like Happy Frog, is a good option.

Change Relative Humidity Level

Hygrometer Pen,
Use A Hygrometer To Measure Humidity

Normally, the humidity level should be between 50 to 60 percent for growing cannabis. Changing your grow tent humidity to 30% RH, during the flowering stage, stresses, which in turn leads to increased terpene production. As an added bonus, the reduced humidity also means less mold and other problems that are associated with a humid growing environment.

Flushing

With flushing plants you ONLY water, with an H20 pH of 6, your plants for the last fifteen to twenty days before cultivation. This results in excess nutrients being depleted from your cannabis plants, which in turn boosts terpenes production.

Plant Nutrients

Try adding fertilizer that is specialized for boosting cannabis terpene production. Specifically, nutrients, with amino acids, carbs, and miscellaneous vitamins will work. A DIY method to do this is backstrap molasses, and an excellent store-purchased cannabis nutrient solution is Bud Candy.

Advanced Nutrients Bud Candy Fertilizer, 1L

UV LIghts (“Black Lights”)

Supplemental UV lights, during the flowering stage, have been clinically proven to help increase the overall terpene content. Click Here, for more info on UV light’s role in cannabis cultivation.

California Lightworks SolarSystem UVB Fixture
UVB Grow Light

 

Plant A Different Strain

Different weed strains tend to produce terpenes easier and other strains are harder to grow. As a result, the reason that your crops may not be rich with terps is because of the strain’s genetics or the strain may be either too hard for the average home grower. Growing a different strain may solve this problem.

Cannabis Users Guide For Adding Terpenes To Dry Herb

Why Would You Even Want to Add Terpenes To Dry Herb?

Terp and Dry Herb

This is a good question, which the answer would vary from person to person. The general reasons you’d want to add terpenes to dried bud is that they can improve your overall smoking experience, and provide medical benefits.

Better Smoking Experience

Adding terps to dry cannabis adds to your smoking experience and overall enjoyment of cannabis in various ways. One of which is that adding a quality terp to dry herb can make mediocre weed taste better and it can bring bone-dry, old weed, back to life. Adding terps will allow you to create a strain that can specifically fulfill your specific needs and mood.

Enhanced/ Customizable Medical Benefits

Cannabis has been used, for centuries, for natural healing, and is now legal in 36 US states. The terpenes, in the various different cannabis strains, are largely responsible for these medical benefits. For example, the common terp, Pinene, helps with inflammation and has anti-bacterial properties. Limonene, another common terp, helps with issues ranging from digestion to depression and anxiety. These are just two of the over 100 terps that are found in cannabis.

Of course, every strain may not have the various terps that you desire. And your dispensary may not have your needed cannabis strain. By adding terpenes to dried flower you are able to customize your own cannabis strain that can better serve your own particular medical needs.

Added Benefit of Aromatherapy -Terpenes are recognized for their aromatic compounds; so much that they are used in perfume, wine, soaps, etc. Linalool is a cannabis terpene, which emits a lavender smell. The smell of lavender has has been known to help promote calmness and reduce anxiety.

Guide For Adding Supplemental Terpenes To Your Dry Weed

Adding terps to dry bud and vape oil is relatively straightforward as all you should do is follow the manufacturer’s directions were, via a dropper, apply the manufacturer’s recommended dosage into your pipe, load up your cannabis bud, light up, and enjoy.

Popular Commercial Terpenes

I haven’t had the opportunity to review these products. They are though quite popular and highly rated.

Strain Specific Terpenes (Cali Cure, 30mL)
Cali Terpene
  • P

    Sour Diesel Pure Premium Terpene
    Pure Terpenes

Final Thoughts

Buying the best strain that you can afford and also grow, along with adding terps to dried flower is your ticket for maximizing your crop’s trichomes and terps, and fully enjoying weed. As for growing, taking into account the above ways to increase terpene production is the first. The other step is making sure that you properly dry and cure your weed. Once all of the above is mastered, you will be well on your way to growing weed that will be envied by your friends and family. And for the consumer, beginners should first follow the manufacturer’s directions before you begin to experiment.