Every cannabis strain is unique. Each has its own particular aroma and taste, ranging from fruity, skunky, earthy, and everything between. Of course, big yields and strong buds are every grower’s goal, but little is more exciting to consumers than the tantalizing smell and deliciousness of high-quality flowers. The more pungent buds are the more potent they are, and the more effective.
When cultivating weed, massive yields and nice buds are just some of the factors to consider. For consumers, potency is paramount, possibly the biggest priority. They also want value for money, which means actually getting the right cannabinoid ratios and quantities to be effective for their needs. Smell and taste also add value to a crop, giving each harvest its own character and own natural oils for health.
When presented with buds, the first action anybody is likely to take is a huge sniff of them. A massive lungful of aromatic heaven after sticking their nose literally in it. Taste and smell and undeniably important in regards to smoking preference. However, with so much information available on increasing harvest size and resin production, few guides show how to improve a bud’s smell and flavor profile.
Role of Terpenes and Terpenoids
Terpenes are responsible for giving buds their aroma and taste. According to Science Direct, they do more than that too, containing medicinal properties suitable for therapeutic use. They form inside trichomes, which are small glands on buds, alongside cannabinoids. Increasing the production of terpenes and terpenoids will allow you to maximize the smell and flavor of the strain growing.
Strain genetics decide on the specific terpene profile of a plant, but there are some techniques you can try to boost these aspects. However, for success, you need an idea of the flavor and smell profile you want to achieve. This enables you to choose the best strain possible for achieving this goal, and with a little practice, you will soon find it easy.
Terpenes and terpenoids are the molecules that give cannabis plants their distinct range of flavors and scents. They are not exclusive to cannabis alone, and are abundant in other plants too, especially pine, lavender, citrus, basil, and others. Although they define smell and taste, terpenes also have an effect on the type of “high” cannabis plants produce, so how can you go about manipulating them to advantage:
Use Low-Stress Training Techniques
External stressors, in precise amounts, can increase the production of terpenes and terpenoids in cannabis plants. Experienced growers can get healthy, deficiency-free crops, and many use low-stress methods to achieve it. Although delicate, the process works overtime, giving plants a little stress every day, instead of overwhelming and killing them with too much stress.
To maximize terpene and terpenoids production specifically, low-stress training works best when applied during flowering, either in the middle of or at the end of this stage. It involves exposing plants to stress levels lower than, say, topping or pruning, which are extreme. It makes plants bushier, with more side-growth, which exposes more buds to a light source and stimulates the manufacturing of terpenes.
Feed the Right Nutrients
How much nutrients your plants get can influence how they smell and taste significantly. Supplementing nutrients offers many benefits for cannabis plants, but there are cheaper, more natural nutrients that work just as well. Blackstrap molasses is effective, ideal at the end of flowering, a few weeks before harvest. It provides carbohydrates, minerals, and amino acids, all pivotal for producing terpenes.
Many different types of nutrients exist, some to boost growing, others flowering. Those high in phosphorus are ideal for maximizing terpene production. Natural nutrients work better than chemical supplements, and they include bone meal, kelp, worm castings, manure, and other organic nutrients that break down in the soil naturally over time.
Besides increasing terpenoid content and maximizing all aspects of cultivation, nutrients can play another important role. As with low-stress training techniques, one can also manipulate outcomes by feeding fewer nutrients. During growth, or the vegetative phase, plants use plenty of nutrients to invest energy in growing new foliage, but this is true too during flowering when plants are establishing buds.
However, as growth slows nearer to harvest, around six weeks into flowering, plants require far less nutrients. As plants start focusing all their energy on bud development, terpene production, and cannabinoid manufacture, it is wise to restrict nutrient intake. This will reduce nitrogen levels in plants, which will improve flavor and smell. Too much nitrogen actually causes a harsh taste and whiff.
Choosing the Best Light
Light also has important effects on taste and smell. Being aware of the light used can make a huge difference. Many believe UV light the most effective at enhancing trichome production, and since these glands are what produce terpenes, their impact on smell and flavor is enormous. Specifically, UV-B light stimulates this reaction, since it triggers plants to produce more trichomes to protect itself from rays.
Dry and Cure Properly
Correct drying and curing of buds are integral to maintaining bud integrity and protecting overall flavor and aroma. Drying buds nice and slow is the way to go since slow drying allows them to preserve terpene integrity and ultimately their pungent smell.
By keeping humidity low during drying, you can prevent mold and other issues from developing, which will protect terpenes from damage.
Unquestionably, curing your buds properly is the best way to get the best smell and flavor profile out of them. Storing them right is just as crucial, if not more so.
Use glass jars where possible. Open once a day to allow them to “breathe” for the first few weeks. After this, you do not need to “burp” them so often, and your buds will be ready for use after around one month, but curing for longer is better.
Natural Oils for Health
Terpenes do more than just give buds their unique flavors and smells. Produced by the resin glands in trichomes, they are the plants’ natural oils, which when extracted, are popular for medicines, concentrates, and even edibles for pain. You order edibles online also. The more terpenes and terpenoids present in your buds, the more uses you will have for them, the more potent they will be, and the better they will taste and smell.