August 2018

Hurley said. “Terpenes give you that calming effect. Or anti-inflammatory or pain management.” If you purchase a terpene additive, manufacture a vape pen with it and the product gives your customer a specific, positive effect, then you can re-create that effect for them every time. “Because we’re not able to identify everything that’s in the cannabis flower, it’s really for us to then identify what’s beneficial to somebody,” Cassiday said. “If we can separate those out, and give them to somebody in a specific formula, and we can tweak that formula until it gets to a point that they’re receiving relief,” then the company feels as if it’s achieved something. Terpenes Build Brands Most of the companies Cassiday works with are blending terpenes with THC distillate. But he said smoking raw distillate by itself is a limited expe- rience. It won’t help you become creative or inspired. “Terpenes are like lighter fluid,” he added. “They really accelerate the whole process.” Cannabis companies can use terpenes to produce a specific, effects-based brand. For example, if your company hopes to appeal to millennials who want an after-work relaxation product, you can find a terpene profile that creates a calming effect. Aside from the aforementioned ben- efits, adding terpenes to vape cartridges can reduce the viscosity of distillate or cannabis oil, giving vape pens a smoother smoke. Typically, companies will use about 3%-10% terpenes in their oil or distil- late mixture, so the terpenes also can help stretch out and make your raw product go further. “As a product manufacturer, add- ing terpenes to your product saves you money,” Cassiday noted. TERPENE CULTIVATION TIPS W hen it comes to growing cannabis for maximum terpene yields, selecting the proper strain with the terpene profile and effects you’re looking for is an important first step. “Absolutely number one is genetics,” said Dillon Hryze, lead grower at Denver-based Medicine Man, a vertically integrated cannabis retailer. “After that, it’s sweet, tender care.” Hryze is very careful with humidity and temperature levels. He said the ideal temperature range for his crop is 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity around 40%. That also helps to keep pests and powdery mildew under control. Keeping your marijuana healthy is crucial to allow the plant to direct its energy toward developing terpenes versus fighting off disease or pests. “If it’s fighting something else, it’s not working on its job,” Hryze said. He added that applying pesticides could dramatically reduce the production of trichomes, the crystals on the cannabis flower that generate terpenes. Hryze knows the plant is in the sweet spot for terpenes when the crystals, or trichomes, are around 25%-50% amber in color. “You’ll have different trichomes changing colors at different times,” he said. “They’re not all going to change at exactly the same time. You’re looking for more of a percentage.” That can be difficult to time, because each strain has a differ- ent life cycle, and each time you plant you can get varied results. “It’s really playing with the genetics you have,” he said. If the plants become too ripe, the terpenes will evaporate. Hryze has noticed an increase in terpene yields from using more organic soil mixtures, meaning more carbon-based nutrient mixes in place of salt-based mixes. For example, he adds more kelp and seaweed instead of relying too much on liquid salt. As for lights that yield strong trichome production, Hryze prefers to use high-pressure sodium single-ended lamps. He said they might have slightly reduced yields in terms of plant weight, but the trichome production is better. In his experience, double-ended lights increase yields, not tri- chome production. “A lot of that has to do with how much heat they put out,” Hryze said. He maintains a distance of 18-22 inches from lights to canopy at Medicine Man. His lights are on adjustable chains that can be shortened or lengthened, depending on the plants. As far as strains, he prefers to grow Shaw Bud for terpene and trichome production. “It looks like it’s coated in sugar,” Hryze said, referring to the trichome crystals. – Bart Schaneman TAPPING INTO TERPENES 62 • Marijuana Business Magazine • August 2018