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Handle with Care: Techniques for Maintaining Cannabis Terpenes

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Handle with Care: Techniques for Maintaining Cannabis Terpenes

Handle with Care: Techniques for Maintaining Cannabis Terpenes

Ahhh. The wonderful smell and taste of cannabis. A complex and diverse aroma that can range from fruity and sweet to earthy and spicy, all thanks to the presence of terpenes. These aromatic compounds not only provide a unique sensory experience but also play a crucial role in enhancing the effects of cannabis.

What's more, terpenes also have various therapeutic benefits, making them a medical cannabis user's best friend. For example, the terpene myrcene has anti-inflammatory and sedative properties, while limonene is known for its mood-lifting and stress-reducing effects.

However, preserving these delicate compounds can be challenging, especially when it comes to storing and handling cannabis products. For this reason, we've compiled a list of tips to help you preserve the terpene profile of your cannabis so you can enjoy it to its full potential.

 

What makes cannabis smell so good? Terpenes!

Found in all plants, terpenes are essential oils that give cannabis its distinct aroma and flavour. Pinene, for instance, gives off a pine-like scent, while caryophyllene has a spicy aroma reminiscent of black pepper.

In cannabis, terpenes are produced primarily in the trichomes, which are small, resinous glands found on the flowers and leaves of the plant. These trichomes not only contain terpenes but also cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, making them a vital part of the cannabis experience.

Cannabis can produce over 150 different terpenes, each with its unique scent and potential therapeutic benefits. However, many terpenes are volatile, meaning they can easily evaporate or degrade when exposed to heat, oxygen, light, or other environmental factors.

Given the importance of terpenes in the cannabis experience, it is crucial to preserve them properly to fully enjoy their effects and potential health benefits. Improper storage and handling can lead to a loss of terpenes, resulting in a less potent and flavorful product. But how can we preserve these delicate compounds? Here are some tips: 

 

Tips for preserving terpenes in cannabis

Store properly: Terpenes are highly volatile, meaning they can easily evaporate when exposed to heat, light, or air. The optimal storage conditions for preserving terpenes are cool, dark, and airtight.

Consider opaque or UV-protected containers, such as glass or metal jars, to keep your cannabis away from light exposure. Also, store them in a cool and dry place, like a pantry or closet, away from heat sources such as stoves or heaters. 

Maintain proper humidity: The optimal humidity level for cannabis storage is between 55-62% with a moisture content of 11-12%. This range provides a smooth and enjoyable smoking experience while also preserving the terpene profile.

If your cannabis becomes too dry, it can lead to the loss of terpenes and a harsh smoking experience. On the other hand, if it's too moist, it can create an environment for mould growth and spoil your cannabis. Using humidity packs or control devices can help maintain the ideal humidity level, especially in areas with more extreme climates.

Handle with care: As delicate compounds, terpenes can easily break down when exposed to physical stress. Be gentle when handling your cannabis, and avoid crushing or squeezing it.

Minimize unnecessary handling of buds to prevent trichomes from breaking off and releasing terpenes. Use a grinder to break up buds gently before use, instead of using hands to tear them apart. This will help preserve the terpenes and prevent loss through physical agitation.

Use appropriate consumption methods: Certain consumption methods can preserve the terpene profile better than others. For example, vaporizing or dabbing extracts can provide a more concentrated terpene experience compared to smoking flowers. Use low-temp dabs or vaporizers to avoid burning off terpenes.

If you prefer smoking, consider using glass pieces with smaller bowls to prevent excessive combustion and loss of terpenes. Rather than using butane lighters, opt for hemp wick or matches to avoid adding additional flavours to the smoke. 

Buy fresh and consume promptly: Terpenes begin to degrade the moment cannabis is harvested, and their potency decreases over time. When purchasing cannabis, choose freshly harvested flower or extracts, and consume them within a reasonable timeframe.

Storing cannabis for extended periods can result in the breakdown of terpenes, resulting in a less potent and flavorful product. Check the package and harvest date when purchasing cannabis, and try to use it within a few months for optimal terpene preservation.

Keep pieces clean: Much like drinking wine out of a dirty glass can affect the taste, using a dirty pipe or bong can also diminish the terpene experience. Residue and buildup can alter the flavour and aroma of cannabis, so it's essential to keep your smoking pieces clean.

Regularly clean your glass pieces with isopropyl alcohol to remove any built-up residue. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives when cleaning, as they can also impact the flavor of cannabis. A simple soak in isopropyl alcohol followed by a rinse with hot water should be sufficient for keeping your pieces clean.

 

The last word on terpene care

The importance of terpenes in cannabis cannot be overstated. These aromatic compounds not only contribute to the flavour and aroma of cannabis, but they also play a crucial role in the overall effects and benefits of different strains.

Just like any other delicate plant compound, terpenes can easily be affected by external factors. The key to preserving terpenes and maximizing their potential is to handle your cannabis with care.

From the moment of harvest to consumption, being mindful of factors such as temperature, moisture, and cleanliness can make a significant difference in the potency and quality of your cannabis experience.

Keep these tips in mind and enjoy the full range of flavours, aromas, and effects that terpenes have to offer in your next cannabis session. Happy toking!

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