Curing cannabis is the last step in producing quality cannabis. Though all the steps involved in harvesting and producing pot is important, far too little people understand why curing is so important. At the same time, far too little people pay attention to the terpene levels of the strains they consume.
But curing isn’t exclusive to cannabis: we’ve been curing our food since time immemorial; it’s what enables us to preserve food for longer periods of time and thus, survive. With cannabis, curing is essential for preservation while maintaining its flavors and health benefits linked to potency in cannabinoids and terpenes. This is because cannabis starts to degrade as soon as it’s harvested, reducing the quantity of enzymes and nutrients found in the plant.
Now, new research from an Israeli terpene research firm Ebyna Technologies has just revealed more insight from a study, highlighting even further the importance of curing cannabis. The study was broken down into three phases, and the researchers collected data on the terpene profile of plants at each stage. They utilized their proprietary Headspace technology to learn more about the chemical makeup of the plants; the technology, traditionally used in fragrance businesses, is meant to provide insight into the chemical makeup of plants when they are optimized aromatically.
It is also the first time this technology has ever been used to study cannabis.
The plants were monitored closely, grown in controlled greenhouses. They collected data from the top colas on each plant to reduce the chances of error, while focusing on analyzing terpene pattern changes in every stage of the cannabis plant life cycle. The end goal was to determine any phytochemical differences until they were dried and cured.
They found that specific terpenes degraded and evaporated, while others were preserved during different stages of the life cycle and manufacture. Customers can find this helpful information as they learn how to decipher how the cannabis plant changes from the moment they are harvested until they reach the dispensaries.
Ebyna Technologies discovered that when cannabis plants are fresh and planted, it has the highest concentration of monoterpenes including Beta Pinene, Beta Myrcene, Limonene, and Alpha Pinene. But following a week into drying as well as curing, the terpenes content notably dwindled. On the other hand, others increase, such as sesquiterpenes, germacrenes, and alpha-humulene.
Cannabis businesses can benefit from this valuable insight as it explains why many people prefer consuming live concentrates compared to cannabis in extracted, dried, or cured form. Additionally, Ebyna’s data shows that live resin has a much more distinct aroma profile, and this is related to the concentration of monoterpenes in the plant during its stage in the life cycle.
“By advancing our research tools to capture every single note the fresh cannabis flower produces, pushing each raw material to the highest level of purity, and the great passion of our team for the diversified cannabis aroma – we were able to make a new category of live botanical terpene profiles,” explains Ebyna Technologies CEO and co-founder, Nadav Eyal to Green Entrepreneur.
The Importance Of Cannabis Terpenes: The New Kid On The Block
With most consumers still looking at a cannabis strain’s cannabinoid content or its classification to tell how potent it is, there’s still much we have to do in educating the public about the importance of terpenes.
There’ so much more to cannabis than simply just going for sativa or indica or hybrids. To make the most out of cannabis’ therapeutic properties, whole plant medication is always best and that means including its terpene levels. Terpenes may still be the new kid on the block, but they are completely responsible for a strain’s flavor profile and aroma but they also have valuable therapeutic properties of its own.
In other words, think again when you are looking for a strain that will relax you: it doesn’t matter if it’s a sativa or an indica, if a certain terpene is present and in enough amounts, you WILL still feel relaxed. Though there are some terpenes that are more commonly found in sativas or indicas, there is no guarantee especially with the way breeders now experiment more with various strains. Add to that the fact that so many popular strains have undergone decades of cross breeding, and you can be 100% sure that you can no longer just rely on names or classifications.
If you really want to get under the skin of a cannabis strain, and know before you buy, then it’s best to start with asking for terpene test results. It would be great if your favorite dispensary has access to terpene test results, but if not, you can always use your nose. Terpenes are famously known for their individual aromas, and you can start by logging down your observations in a journal.
In the long run, it will help you remember that aromas you detect in certain strains, and which of them work well for you. This will help you understand which aroma is associated with cannabis effects, so you can avoid those strains that tend to give you headaches, paranoia, or sleepiness.
Myrcene: the most popular among all terpenes, even referred to as the mother of all terpenes, smells fruity and earthy, sometimes more of a grape flavor; energizing and uplifting effects
Limonene: citrusy, like lemon, lime, orange; great for treating depression, anxiety, and acid reflux
Beta-caryophyllene: resembles clove buds or black pepper; great for antiseptic effects, anti-inflammatory
Alpha-pinene: piney, earthy, can resemble basil, rosemary, and other herbs; great for anti-inflammation and treating asthma
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