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What are Terpenes?

What are Terpenes?

Have you ever picked up some cannabis fresh from the dispensary, crack the jar open and get smacked with a strong berry smell?

 

Maybe it smelled like fuel instead; or flowers. These smells and the effects associated with them all come from terpenes. But what exactly are terpenes and why are they so important?

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are fragrant oils that are secreted by the resin glands in the cannabis plant, just like THC and CBD. At least eighty different terpenes have been found and analyzed in cannabis. Each terpene has its own unique smell, flavor and affect.

While it may be near impossible to accurately describe every terpene, here are some of the more common terpenes you may smell or taste in your next cannabis purchase.

Myrcene

If you’ve ever heard that eating a mango before smoking will make you higher, myrcene is why. Mangos have the same terpene, myrcene, as cannabis, and ingesting more of the terpene may or may not enhance the specific terpene’s effects. There is no empirical evidence supporting this claim, unfortunately.

Myrcene will usually give off an herbal and citrusy smell, and has been known to produce more relaxing and sedative effects. The myrcene terpene can also act as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial. Strains with noticeable myrcene terpenes include Blue Dream and Grandaddy Purple.

Pinene

For the untrained nose, a lot of cannabis will smell like a pine tree or a dense forest. An experienced cannabis consumer will recognize these features as signatures of the terpene pinene.

With a smell similar to a pine tree or sage, the effects of pinene can impact memory retention and alertness. Strains like Jack Herer and OG Kush have pinene in their terpene profiles, and this specific terpene has shown to aid in treatment of inflammation and even asthma.

Limonene

Similar to myrcene, limonene is recognized by its strong citrus and lemon scents, without the herbal notes that are found in myrcene. Strains like Sour Diesel and Super Lemon Haze are known to contain this lemon-citrus terpene.

Limonene has acted as an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety strain, and some claim its effects are uplifting while relieving stress. If the next strain you pick up smells like the rind of an orange or lemon, you most likely have limonene in your bud.

Really into terpenes? You can become a certified “interpener” with Max Montrose’s Interpening course at the Trichome Institute and analyze every terpene so you can tell exactly what strain you have, even if the name doesn’t match up.

Learn more about Interpening and Max Montrose’s history with cannabis on The Real Dirt Podcast.

Interpreting Terpenes and Marijuana Strains

Interpreting Terpenes and Marijuana Strains

The cannabis industry is an industry of marijuana strains. Some wild marijuana strains fill the shelves of dispensaries in legal and medical states, but the names attached to them don’t actually tell the consumer anything about it. That is why Max Montrose started the Trichome Institute, and invented ‘interpening’ to analyze terpenes and their affects within cannabis, and how it can be used to truly understand marijuana strains.

Max has created a method for analyzing cannabis through what he calls interpening. Simply put, interpening is the interpretation of terpenes. For the uninformed, terpenes are the oils secreted from the cannabis(Link to terpene article)plant which give it specific smells, flavors and effects.

Take Blue Dream for example. One of the most popular marijuana strains out there today, almost every dispensary will carry Blue Dream on their shelves. The Trichome Institute decided to do some market research on this strain to see how authentic it really was. After getting six different grams of Blue Dream marijuana strains, Max and his team found great differences between every Blue Dream they had, from potency, to flavor, to effects. Four of the six strains weren’t even good enough quality so consume.

“Here’s what’s true. A lot of people also don’t care. A lot of people don’t give a shit, and that’s okay.”

Just like people are ok with drinking cheap, low-alcohol content domestic beer, people are ok with smoking low-quality, less potent, but mainly cheaper, marijuana strains. However beer has much stricter standards to ensure the same product every time, meaning cannabis has more risks to not knowing what’s in it, or if it is even the strain that was advertised.

Interpening Terpenes

However this will all be changing in the future as more people learn to analyze their cannabis to ensure its quality. With help from the Trichome Institute and their interpening courses, more and more people will be able to judge quality themselves, instead of just taking the budtender’s word for it.

“We’re the only company that has put together a standard operating procedure for what is cannabis flower quality and how to measure it objectively.”

From our understanding of indica and sativa marijuana strains and what they really mean to analyzing whether these titles even mean anything, Max goes in depth about misconceptions about cannabis and how we can inform the public to create a more knowledgeable consumer market.

Learn all about interpening, the Trichome Institute and the future of strain names on the newest episode of The Real Dirt with Chip Baker!

 

Marijuana Seeds vs Clones

Marijuana Seeds vs Clones

If you asked a grower if they preferred marijuana seeds or clones, you probably wouldn’t get a straight answer. That’s because there is a divide between the community on which may be better.

 

Cultivation methods are changing all the time. Both marijuana seeds and clones have the potential to grow into a beautiful and healthy cannabis plant. While each has its benefits compared to the other, both also have downsides that should make you question which option is best for you.

Clones

To start with the end, if you are a new grower, clones are the way to go. Unlike marijuana seeds, clones are pieces of the cannabis plant, usually a lateral branch, that is cut off of the mother plant.Taking a clone from one mother strain will result in a plant identical to the one you took from. However, this does not come without any risks.

If the mother plant has a disease that wasn’t caught before clones were cut, those clones will carry that disease. Clones will also be much more sensitive upon replanting, and have an increased chance of transplant shock.

Transplanting alone can cause its own issues for an experienced grower. Newer growers should be wary of the attention a clone may need before sticking it in some soil and assuming it will grow with some water and light. It wouldn’t hurt to get advice from a master grower, which The Real Dirt has already done for you.

Cheap but risky

Clones overall are a cheap option, and sell for anywhere between $2 and $15 with the exception of the higher priced ones. The wide availability of clones has led to plenty of guides and information about growing individual strains. This means you can know what to expect of certain strains before you plant them.

An unfortunate downside to the wide availability of clones however, is just that; there are so many clones being sold and produced that mix-ups can happen, where a strain labeled one name is actually another. Even worse is shoddy clones suppliers that lie about their product in order to sell more.

If clones don’t seem all that enticing, marijuana seeds may be the better option.

Marijuana Seeds

Seeds are the start of life. Marijuana seeds start from the beginning. While for a new grower this may seem very intimidating, the benefits and rewards may well be worth the extra effort.

Because marijuana is an annual plant, it’s life cycle isn’t meant to last more than a few months. Seeds start young and grow a full life-cycle. This gives seeds stronger hearty roots and a firm tap root that a clone simply can’t achieve coming from a mother plant.

A fresh, mysterious start

Marijuana seeds lack the issues like mildew and bugs that a clone might inherit from its mother. They also have additional tolerances to wind and rain that make them much more vigorous and durable.

One of the downsides to seeds is the mystery. Unless you obtain feminized seeds which are bred to always grow female, you will not know the sex of your plant until a few weeks of taking care of it. There’s also the mystery of how a seed will grow, and it can take time with multiple of the same seed to dial it in and figure out the growth patterns. However there are plenty of seed banks that keep track of their specific strains and phenotypes so you don’t have to worry as much.

 

Lastly, marijuana seeds can be expensive. While some seeds can cost less than a clone, others can be outlandishly priced. Normally one can expect to pay around $10 for a single seed of a basic strain.

Which will you choose?

Both seeds and clones have their pros and cons, and choice of which to grow with is a matter of preference. Marijuana seeds will give the full experience of planting to harvesting and all of the knowledge and complications that come with it. Clones give your grow a kickstart, so you don’t have to worry about germinating and all of the other early stage processes. But, you add the risk of inherited diseases and complications of dealing with a clone.

It all depends how involved you really want to be with your grow. Whether just at the beginning to make sure your clone takes off, or there from the start to watch the marijuana seed you planted turn into a beautiful marijuana plant.

 

Got Spider Mites on Your Cannabis Plants?

Got Spider Mites on Your Cannabis Plants?

I’ve got bad news. Every cannabis grower is going to deal with spider mites at some point.  When you get them the first time, the novice grower panics and sprays something—anything, regardless of the stage of the plants in the garden. Instead, here are some tips to keep from having to use and/or misuse toxic pesticides.

How to prevent spider mites

If you don’t have spider mites on your cannabis plants, then congratulations. The first step to preventing spider mites is not getting them. Now this may not be what you want to hear if spider mites are chewing their way through your precious cannabis, but there is hope! These seven steps will keep you from getting them again and again. After all, one way you may have got spider mites in the first place is that you brought them in yourself.

Spider mite cannabis recipe (delicious)

  1. Keep other cannabis plants outside your grow space mite free or just get rid of them. Keep your grow room clean and don’t allows pets near your plants.
  2. Wear clean clothes that haven’t been outside on in another friends grow room or around pets.
  3. Keep other growers out of your grow room.
  4. Take your shoes off outside of your grow room.
  5. Quarantine new cuttings before you bring them into your grow room.
  6. If your cuttings look clean, spray or dip them anyways every three days with an organic oil-based miticide.
  7. In a clean room, you should still spray weekly as a preventative measure, focusing on the bottom of the leaves and the lower half of the plant.

How to deal with spider mites

If you spot them during vegetative stage of your cannabis harvest or early flower, then you are in luck.

  1. Get high and pluck off every leaf that shows speckling and remove them from the grow area.  That physically removes most of them off your plants. You will notice they a start at the bottom of the plants, so just remove all bottom growth.
  2. If your cannabis plants are small you can dip them in an organic oil based miticide. Dipping gives better coverage and coverage is key. If they are too big to dip, spray thoroughly focusing on the underside of the leaves.
  3. Repeat your dip/spray every three days to kill any eggs that hatch for 12 days. This will ensure there are no remaining eggs hatch.
  4. Go back to weekly preventative sprays up to week two of flower.
Essential Tips About Buying Marijuana Seeds

Essential Tips About Buying Marijuana Seeds

Here’s the deal with marijuana seeds. If you have been growing for a while you may have noticed lots of new companies selling marijuana seeds popping up over the past few years. For those of us that have been growing cannabis and searching for better and new genetics know better than to trust these new start-up businesses selling marijuana seeds before doing a little research.

Not all breeders are created equal

First you need to understand that just because someone makes marijuana seeds doesn’t make them a breeder. It is fine to make a cross of two plants you think could mix traits well and create something special. That is what many of these new seed companies are doing. The process is quick to market as many people never test their product to check for hermi traits or otherwise bunk traits before releasing them to the public for top dollar. Believe me, it is an entirely different thing to actually do real breeding.

Good marijuana seeds and genetics take generations

Without going into too much detail, let’s just say to fix a trait into a new line of marijuana seeds takes many generations and large selection populations. It also takes time and money that most are not willing to invest. These breeders go through many rounds of trials before release and never see a dime from their early generations if they deem them not worthy. These breeders have a passion for the plant and their genetics and truly want to give something beneficial to the world.

Keep in mind that one can create tens of thousands of marijuana seeds off a single 1k light. When you multiply that by what a seed retails for, it invites scammers to cash in by creating some hype and dumping some pollen into the flower room. Meanwhile the real breeders making great crosses with integrity must take their time with the process, sometimes at the cost of their bottom line.

Due diligence with seed companies

It is important to research the company selling the marijuana seeds before making a purchase.  Many places online allow you to talk directly to a representative or the breeder.  You can also go to a trade show and speak with breeders face to face. Ask them questions and see if their story checks out.  Also check for reviews online from previous growers.  There are still a lot of shady characters in this industry and they have been attracted to the seed making side of it since it started.  The true breeders have created the genetics that are the foundation of the strains we love today. Support them and their work and your garden will reward you.

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