As more states legalize marijuana, more people in the U.S. are buying and consuming cannabis — and the kind of strains they can buy have become much stronger. A study of cannabis products seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration found the potency increased from about 4% THC in 1995 to about 12% in 2014. By 2017, another study showed, the potency of illicit drug samples had gone up to 17.1% THC.
However, THC and cannabidiol (CBD) aren’t the only things that one should put emphasis on when choosing a strain. Cannabis contains a variety of other cannabinoids and rich bouquet of terpenes that shape its aroma, flavor, and effects.
Terpenes are compounds in cannabis that give the plant distinct aromas and flavors, the idea is that terpenes enhance the health benefits of the products either alone or synergistically with other terpenes, THC, CBD, and other minor cannabinoids found in cannabis. The cannabinoids THC and CBD have been buzzwords in the mainstream for some time now but in order to enjoy the effects of these cannabinoids, they ought to be accompanied by terpenes.
Terpenes are found in cinnamon, lavender, oranges, mint–everyone has experienced them. Simply put, terpenes are what gives an orange its bright, citrusy smell and pine trees their unique, sharp aroma. They’re even responsible for the relaxing effects in lavender. Essentially, they are chemicals that determine how things smell, can bring nostalgia, and lend themselves to a full bodied flavor when consuming cannabis.
“One could say that terpenes lend themselves to the aroma-therapy aspect of smoking cannabis. If the terpenes taste good, even if the THC content in your cannabis product isn’t the highest, it can still be a wonderful experience with a more sustained and effective application. While relief is linked to CBD and THC, whole plant therapy has been the most common use,” says Wesley Pagano, Regional Sales Manager of Sparx Cannabis.
Sparx Cannabis is a vertically-integrated, family-owned and California-grown cannabis lifestyle company, with its terpene-based Excite and Exhale product lines available in collectives throughout the state of California. Sparx flower is lovingly and sustainably grown in Salinas, California.
“The whole plant, not just a single compound, does the best job, not just a single compound. Meaning that your cannabis is full of terpenes, it comes from a strong, well rounded plant,” Pagano adds.
Given that terpenes are what give each cannabis plant its unique odor and flavor, it comes as no surprise that cultivators use products and techniques to specifically target maximizing terpene production. As the cannabis industry evolves, there is an interest in synergistic benefits of cannabinoids and terpenes; cultivators are employing a few primary ways to increase terpene production in their plants such as using full-spectrum LED lights can encourage cannabinoid and terpene production, resulting in richer products with amplified benefits.
When it comes to cultivation practices, Sparx Cannabis, one of the pioneers in using solar power to grow cannabis, is all about sustainability and producing full bodied, full flavored cannabis. The plants that Sparx Cannabis grows are already are already terpene driven but this profile is enhanced through Sparx’s use of organic pellets, soil with organic compost, proper perspiration levels, carefully monitored air quality, pH balanced water via drip system, and use of sunlight through solar panels.
“There are ways to grow your cannabis with a green heart the whole way through. When you start getting into bigger operations you always have to make sure that the plants are still being taken care of,” says Pagano. “You want as clean and careful of a process as possible, Sparx Cannabis is really setting the bar for that.”