10 Things to Know About Terpenes

The cannabis industry is abuzz over terpenes. Everyone in the know is claiming it’s “all about them terps brah,” but do you truly understand these magnificent compounds? Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about the intoxicating aromas of cannabis.

1. Terpenes are everywhere. These wildly diverse organic compounds are produced by an array of plants and insects, and exist abundantly in nature. From orange peels to pine resin their powerful scents play a major role in our lives that we hardly ever consider. Their distinctive scents shine brightly in cannabis, from fruitiness to skunky, it’s all in the terpenes.

2. Terpenes interact with cannabinoids and are understood to have vital roll in the effects of the plant on the brain. They can increase and decrease dopamine and serotonin production, speed up THC absorption, and alter our moods. Whichever dominant terpenes are produced in a particular plant make a huge difference in the resulting “high” when consumed. The differences between myrcene and limonene are not only the scent, but also in the psychological and physical effects of the plant and the human body.

3. There is in fact a ‘terp wheel.’  Similar to the color wheel, which at its core is composed of sweet, sour, bitter and spicy. Many cannabis strains will exhibit a multitude of these flavors, before and after smoked, or ingested.  As you move farther out the wheel flavors get more specific.

4. Terpenes are volatile organic compounds that alter after a plant is harvested. Once the flower is dried and cured they are technically considered terpenoids. Proper curing procedures will keep these compounds intact, but excessive heat while drying can ‘cook’ them off. Hence the importance of proper dry room conditions.

5. The therapeutic values of the terpenes found in cannabis have been greatly understated until now. From anti-carcinogenic to anti-inflammatory, the ‘terps’ offer amazing benefits. It is commonplace for laboratories to offer terpene testing, and as greater understanding of these compounds arise, choosing the terpenes that suit your particular taste, or health conditions, will become the norm.

6. You can buy terpenes in a bottle. In fact, some producers have even mimicked the aromas produced by certain strains. While these essential oils may offer you the scent of Gorilla Glue #4, remember it is the cocktail of thousands of chemical compounds that create the wondrous effects of this magical cannabis strain. Some concentrate producers have even begun spiking their products with aftermarket terps. While there is technically nothing wrong with this, stick to the trusted goodness of full flower or a producer that you trust isn’t trying to dress up a mediocre product.

7. Don’t just look to THC percentages when choosing a strain.  At the 2016 Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa, California, the vast majority of top 20 finishers didn’t even break 20 percent THC. This is obviously due to the multitude of other beyond the plants most famous intoxicant. It is becoming more and more obvious that terpenes play a magnificent role in the overall effects of cannabis.

8. Feed your terps. When cultivating cannabis the food you feed it will help or hinder its terpene production. Organic feeds are widely considered the premier way to produce the most flavorful of flowers.

9. Flush. Dosing your plants with plenty of fresh water before your harvest is a basic know how, but it also plays an integral role in allowing your terp profiles to shine brightly. Chemical or salt build-ups in your soil can block your plants expression of one its most crucial goodies. Give your plants at least a week of pure fresh water before you hack them down and taste the difference.

10. Savor the flavor. Proper storage of your cannabis flower and concentrates not only maintain the THC content, but also the terpenoids. Overheating, overdrying and overcooling can turn your terp rich Black Lime Reserve into flavorless brick weed. Treat your nugget with respect and it will return the favor and flavor.

TELL US, are you curious to learn more about terpenes?

The post 10 Things to Know About Terpenes appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Celebrate 710 With This Complete Guide to Cannabis Concentrates

For many enthusiasts, concentrates are among the most enjoyable and versatile of cannabis products. While a little concentrate goes a long way, these extracts are easily vaporized, smoked, or used to make infused topicals, edibles, and more. Not all concentrates, however, are created equal. The way that different cannabis concentrates are prepared has an impact on the end result. 

In order to delve deeper into the past, present and future of cannabis concentrates this 710, we have called in the expertise of the team from Oleum Extracts. The Washington-based, multi-award-winning processor company is considered to be one of the best in the industry, developing consistently innovative products — like their THCA crystalline Wizard Stones — and producing high-quality extracts.

Here’s what every aficionado needs to know about cannabis concentrates.

The Evolution of Cannabis Concentrates

PHOTO Oleum Extracts

Oleum Extracts believe that the evolution of cannabis concentrates has seen a shift away from the wants and needs of producers towards those of the consumers.

“As consumers become more educated, they are asking better and more meaningful questions regarding the products they are ingesting/consuming, which is a good thing,” said Team Oleum. “New topics such as cannabinoid profiles, terpene profiles, how the products made, what kind of materials are used, and knowledge of the manufacturers are making their way into the purchasing decisions of consumers.”

They also think that as consumers become savvier to which companies and products have the most stringent production policies and consistent products, “brand trust and loyalty are beginning to make their presence felt.”

When purchasing cannabis concentrates, asking for the cheapest products with the highest THC levels should not be at the forefront of consumers minds and Team Oleum believes “we’re starting to see this shift happen away from that type of thinking.”

Recent developments of isolation products demonstrate “the evolution of concentrates that can be seen in THCA, THCV (appetite suppressant), CBDCBGCBN (sleep aid) and Delta-8-THC (anti-nausea).”

“We are anxious to see what comes out of the isolation of these other cannabinoids, as these compounds are often only found in trace amounts in flower form (less than 1%). Now that we are able to isolate them, we will be able to see the implications of larger doses and combinations of these cannabinoids and/or cannabis-derived terpenes on the human vessel.”

All About Solvents

The majority of cannabis concentrates require a solvent to extract. A solvent is a substance, usually a liquid or a gas, that separates trichome resin glands from unwanted plant material. The separated essential oil is then collected and further processed to create the high-potency oils and products that are so popular today.

Many different solvents can be used to make cannabis concentrates. Of these, however, there are three solvents that dominate the market: butane, carbon dioxide, and ethanol. Each of these solvents is used to effectively remove cannabis resin from the plant and concentrate the resin into the sap-like oil aficionado’s everywhere have come to know and love.

Butane

Butane is one of the cheapest solvents to use when making cannabis concentrates. It was also the first solvent to be used to make concentrates for dabbing, and concentrates made with this solvent are often referred to as butane hash oil (BHO). In general, concentrates extracted with butane tend to preserve more aromatic qualities than those extracted with carbon dioxide. For this reason, butane is used to make live resin, a concentrate rich in aromatic molecules called terpenes. No other solvent can be used to make live resin.

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is most commonly used to make syrupy extracts for vapor pens. The solvent, however, can also be used to make other forms of concentrates. Oils extracted with carbon dioxide can be dabbed, used to fill capsules, or used as oils put underneath the tongue. Unlike butane, however, carbon dioxide tends to remove much of the terpene aroma molecules found in cannabis flower. As such, CO2 oil can feature a strikingly different chemical composition than the cannabis plant from which it came.

Ethanol

Concentrates extracted with ethanol are among the most expensive around. And yet, this solvent is perhaps one of the best to use during cannabis extractions. For those hoping to maintain aromatic terpenes in their concentrate, products made with ethanol are typically the way to go. Ethanol captures more terpenes and pigment molecules called flavonoids than other concentrates. Concentrates made with ethanol are sometimes processed into full spectrum cannabis oil (FECO), while others are used to make products for dabbing.

How To Spot Quality Concentrates

PHOTO Dankshire for Oleum Extracts

Searching for truly high-quality material? There are three basic factors to keep in mind: color, consistency, and lab reports. A hallmark sign of quality in almost all cannabis concentrates is a golden-amber coloration. Most solvent-based concentrates should appear amber, although the color can range a light gold to warm rust.

Some concentrates, like FECO and RSO, may look almost black. The deep coloration in these products indicates that greater amounts of chlorophyll were extracted along with other cannabis compounds. While more chlorophyll may provide a bitter, herbal taste, the inclusion of a greater variety of plant chemicals may make these types of concentrates more appealing to medical consumers.

The introduction of alternative methods and new equipment has resulted in an improvement in cannabis concentrates — good news for the aforementioned medical patients and dabbing enthusiasts alike.

Concentrates should feature a fairly consistent constitution. No one, for example, wants to find hard chunks in their budder, nor do they want to find leaf matter or stem fragments in their hash. If a concentrate doesn’t take on the form that is advertised, chances are it is a low-quality product.

“In the beginning, good concentrates were known pretty much by aesthetics and the way they looked,” said Team Oleum. “Followed up with a sniff, the color and smell of the product were the easiest ways to spot a good concentrate back in the day. Now, a concentrate can look great, and even smell ok, but once dabbed or vaped might taste horrendous.”

Third-party lab reports are essential, proving the manufacturer and consumer with information on the chemical constituents in the concentrate, like the terpene profiles of the flower.

“While a concentrate may look attractive, low-quality flower with low terpene content may have been used during the extraction,” said Team Oleum. “Most lab reports list information on the potency and dominant cannabinoids in the product. Some reports, however, will also list the primary terpenes in the concentrate as well. In general, the more terpenes preserved in the concentrate, the greater the flavor and aroma.”

“The only individuals really doing any quality control of the products before going out to market are the producers and processors themselves. If these individuals are not cannabis consumers,  and/or are not trying their own products it is doing a great disservice to both their brand and their consumers.

“If the owners and operators of these brands do a good enough job at this, the reward is consumer trust in both the brand and its products. When people can trust where the material is being sourced, how it is being processed and the care that goes into its production from start to finish. These are the brands that are earning the most market share and seeing the most positive feedback from consumers.”

Most Common Concentrate Preparations

Walk into any cannabis shop these days and you’re sure to find a plethora of containers filled with sticky goo. The market for cannabis concentrates is growing faster than ever, with data suggesting that concentrate sales may surpass sales for dry flower within the next four years. Here are some of the most popular cannabis concentrate products.

Shatter

Cannabis ConcentratesPHOTO RuggedCoast

Shatter is easy to spot in a dispensary but relatively difficult to make for extractors. Shatter is a cannabis concentrate that takes on the consistency of an amber-colored glass shard. These shards can be broken up and dabbed, although the oil’s crystalline constitution makes it slightly more difficult to work with than other concentrate preparations.

Wax

PHOTO David

Wax and shatter are made in essentially the same way, although wax tends to be physically agitated more during processing. As a result, the preparation loses its glass-like consistency and instead develops a waxy, honeycomb-like constitution. Some individual strains may also be more inclined to “wax up” than other strains. In general, waxes tend to be softer and easier to manipulate than shatters.

Budder

Budder is whipped wax. Instead of walking on eggshells trying to create a glass-like shatter, budder is whipped automatically in order to create a smoothe yet opaque concentrate. The end result is soft, fluffy, and easy to manipulate.

Oil

PHOTO Eric Limon

Cannabis oils are concentrates that maintain a consistent liquid state. Oils are most often made with ethanol, which preserves the widest array of phytochemicals found in any cannabis extraction. Oils of this type are often referred to as full-spectrum cannabis oil (FECO) or Rick Simpson Oil (RSO). These oils are often used under the tongue or are ingested orally. Carbon dioxide, however, can also be used to make a syrupy oil, such as that found in vapor cartridges.

Live Resin

PHOTO Oleum Extracts

Live resin is a king among concentrates. Unlike all other concentrates, live resin is made using fresh cannabis flowers that have been flash-frozen in order to preserve terpene quality. These fresh flowers are then processed using butane as a solvent, creating a wet and semi-solid concentrate that features superior flavor, aroma, and overall terpene quality.

Solventless Concentrates

Using a solvent is the easiest way to extract cannabis concentrates. Solvents, however, are not required to make a concentrated cannabis product. Products like hash and rosin do not require solvents at all, which makes them preferable to many consumers. Although, solventless concentrates tend to be less potent than their solvent-based counterparts.

Rocks and Sauce

Cannabis ConcentratesPHOTO Oleum Extracts

“Rocks and Sauce is a product where THCA crystals grow in their own high terpene extraction,” said Team Oleum. “They are often made from fresh frozen material but can be made from dried/cured material, too.”

Hash

PHOTO Frenchy Cannoli

Hash is one of the oldest cannabis preparations available. It’s also one of the simplest to make. Hash is most often made by rubbing dried cannabis flower on a screen, breaking off trichomes via agitation. The broken trichomes are then collected and compressed into hash.

Bubble hash or ice water hash is another type of concentrate made using agitation. Only, this variety of hash uses ice water to freeze trichome resin glands. The cold temperature makes trichomes more brittle, which allows them to more easily break away from plant material. The end result is grainy trichome goo that is then dried and compressed into hash.

Rosin

Cannabis ConcentratesPHOTO RuggedCoast

Rosin is one of the most popular concentrates available today. Like hash, rosin is relatively easy to make. This solventless preparation uses heat and pressure to melt trichomes off of plant material. These trichomes are often melted between two solid hot plates, which compresses them into an almost shatter-like consistency. Rosin tends to be slightly translucent, although it remains mailable and soft, a stark contrast to shatter’s glass-like nature.

Exciting Advances and New Developments in the World of Cannabis Concentrates

Cannabis ConcentratesPHOTO Oleum Extracts

Team Oleum believe that isolates, the separation of cannabinoids and terpenes are exciting developments and new in the field of concentrates.

“We are now starting to understand isolation and separation on a much deeper level,” said Team Oleum. “This allows us to reconfigure ratios of cannabinoids to terpenes — to alter the experience, flavors and effects of these products.

“This has never been an option before with cannabis concentrates, we believe the future will incorporate a lot of these unique and novel combinations into the cannabis consumer’s diet. For instance, our IceWalker is a product that incorporates THCA Crystalline Wizard Stones, Delta-8-AquaTek Distillate and cannabis-derived terpenes. These types of concentrate concoctions were not possible a few years ago, we are excited to see what will come available in the next five years.

“In addition to isolations, we are also starting to retain terpenes (flavors) and their respective cannabinoids in such a way as to mimic the actual taste, smell and effect of the flower it comes from. It wasn’t too long ago that material was just put into a column and blasted with solvent, hoping for the best outcome in the end product and it was often hit or miss. Now, a lot more science, better cultivation, and preparation of materials, and better understanding and innovation of equipment have allowed us to employ much more efficient methods in cannabis extraction and processing. This, in turn, allows us to produce a much higher quality product much more consistently. Something that benefits both the producers and the consumers.

“Last but not least, CRC (Color Remediation Cartridge) seems to be making an introduction by offering solutions to the removal of unwanted colors and compounds in cannabis concentrates. These colors and compounds include lipids, chlorophyll, carotene, xanthophyll, pheophytins and lycopene,” said Team Oleum. “Due to the compounds being used in this process, it should only be done by those with proper equipment/lab and training. It definitely has its place in the concentrate industry as a means of cleaning up product, but in the same breath, good concentrates should always come from good starting material. As the tried and true saying goes, “Fire In.. Fire Out”.

“These methods of remediation can often take away from the true and original character of the strain and extract. We try to stay as close to the original cultivar as we can…in most cases it’s what we and the end consumer prefers.”

TELL US, did learn anything you didn’t already know about concentrates?

Originally published on cannabisaficianado.com.

The post Celebrate 710 With This Complete Guide to Cannabis Concentrates appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Cannabis & Artificial Intelligence: The Arrival of Robopot?

Artificial intelligence technologies are now being crafted specifically for the cannabis industry, and boosters say these two business spheres are on the cusp of a revolutionary convergence.  

New applications of AI in various aspects of the cannabis biz — from cultivation to marketing to financing — are being unveiled at a dizzying clip. 

Smart Growrooms 

Royce Birnbaum, co-founder of CEAD, a Phoenix-based company that develops artificial intelligence applications for the cannabis industry addressed the technology with Grit Daily. CEAD seemingly does not have its own website yet, but is said to be testing its technologies at an R&D center, where the focus is on cultivation. Their systems monitor plant nutrition, growth rates and life cycles. The collected data helps determine feeding and pruning schedules and head off such phenomena as pest outbreaks.  

“One struggle most growers are facing is…the need to have successful, continuous cultivation cycles without potential for deviation or disaster as we see so often in the industry,” Birnbaum said. “CEAD provides any grow operation an unparalleled ability to predict when to water, fertilize and harvest. This will enable an upsurge in quality, while reducing manpower needed to maintain each plant, as well as give a comprehensive overview of all operations and outcomes related to cannabis cultivation.” 

An overview of evolving AI applications for cannabis in Medium notes that devices such as high-resolution crop sensors are being used to give accurate growroom conditions, while robotics are employed to automate or remotely control aspects of plant care. 

Medium cites the Israeli start-up Seedolab, which is offering a self-contained automated hydroponic cannabis “grow box.” As Cannabis Now noted last year, the company is plugging the net-linked device as the world’s first fully automated organic cannabis cultivation product. 

A similar overview on the tech site Produvia says “Automated Marijuana Operations” can “track the growth rate of cannabis plants in their vegetative stage using machine vision and artificial intelligence.” This methodology can also “recommend malting setting and schedules based on CO2, temperature, humidity and PH using artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT’s).” Montreal-based Motorleaf is named as one of the companies pioneering this kind of hi-tech growroom monitoring.

Smart Strain Personalization 

Medium lists several applications beyond the growroom. In Canada, more than 30,000 different strains are being offered on the legal market, often leaving medicinal users at a loss as to which is best for their specific needs or condition. AI is being used to parse existing data from studies and peer-reviewed journals to match strains to symptoms and ailments. Namaste Technologies and Citizen Green are named as companies developing such systems.  

The latter has teamed up with a firm called with Spartans AI to devise the app Prescriptii for this purpose. A promo video for the app on YouTube says it “transforms the patient-retailer relationship and creates better medical outcomes while driving business growth by leveraging innovative technologies and a cryptocurrency-based loyalty rewards program.” 

User reports on effects from particular strains build up a database that over time will refine the process of connecting patients and products — a method that has been used by researchers before

The Produvia review calls this a system of “custom tailored marijuana strains” that can “find weed strains best suited to treat symptoms (insomnia, asthma and cancer) by reading peer-reviewed medical journals and surfacing relevant studies on cannabinoids…” 

CNBC reported on another app called Potbot that uses AI to “read” through medical journals to find studies on cannabinoids, pairing 37 symptoms with branded cannabis strains. 

Potbotics CEO David Goldstein said the company has raised $5 million to date. The app is available in Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store. 

“We definitely see there’s interest in the industry, for sure,” Goldstein told Produvia. “It’s one that has real potential in the United States and internationally. A lot of investors like non-cannabis touching entities, because they feel like they are hedging their bets a little bit.” 

The financial end of the biz is of course also utilizing AI. Produvia reports that researchers at the University of Georgia, Athens, are developing an app to “predict stock markets based on social media mentions of #marijuana using data mining.” 

Smart Unemployment?

There is definitely a sense of anxiety underlying the enthusiasm here, however. In a YouTube exercise in mutual promotion, Lior Romanowsky, founder and CEO of Spartans, was interviewed by Yael Rozencwajg, CEO of its partner Blockchain Israel. Romanowsky said cannabis companies “are at a point where they understand that f they don’t implement artificial intelligence today or tomorrow, they will be at a disadvantage relative to all their competitors… and that’s really crucial.” 

And amid this seeming inexorability, the same questions are raised about potential social displacement caused by automation of the cannabis industry as in any other economic sector. 

A March 2017 headline in the New York Times vindicated what many Americans have long intuited: “Evidence That Robots Are Winning the Race for American Jobs.” The story quoted an MIT study that found: “Robots are to blame for up to 670,000 lost manufacturing jobs between 1990 and 2007… and that number will rise because industrial robots are expected to quadruple.” In some areas, “each robot per thousand workers decreased employment by 6.2 workers and wages by 0.7 percent,” although nationally the effects were smaller, because jobs were created in other places. In Detroit, “each robot per thousand workers decreased employment by three workers and wages by 0.25 percent.”

This inevitably brings to mind the recent news from British Columbia, where the leading Canadian licensed producer Canopy Growth has shut down two huge greenhouse facilities, laying off hundreds of workers. The decision seems to have been informed by a determination that the market had been overestimated, and that outdoor cultivation is more cost-effective. But in the near future, the lure of robot-grown cannabis may also enter the accounting of downsizing and worker lay-offs. 

TELL US, do you think growing cannabis will become something that is fully automated?

The post Cannabis & Artificial Intelligence: The Arrival of Robopot? appeared first on Cannabis Now.

By Any Other Name

It takes a lot of chutzpah to claim a place. Alex Schutz knew that he was treading on hallowed ground when he named his cannabis business after Williams, a small town in Southern Oregon just over the border from California’s northernmost Siskiyou County. Williams has a long legacy of cannabis cultivation, much like its Emerald Triangle neighbors to the south, with a solid population of territorial growers who could contest such a name. But Schutz says he’s been in Williams for years, he’s growing cannabis genetics from a family who’d been in the town since the ’80s and he’s using natural inputs from the land itself, so why not?

“It’s a bold feeling to be claiming the Williams name and putting it first,” Schutz says. “But as the cannabis industry started to take hold in Oregon and we started to see what the consumers were buying and what they liked, we saw they were gravitating towards name brands that were trending and I didn’t have any — and I still don’t mess with them. What I grow are all Williams genetics and so I decided to name this company Williams Canna Co.”Schutz first made a name for himself in Oregon as a breeder in the medical marijuana industry through his company Supermodel Seeds. Today, more than many other breeders, he avoids working with trendy strains and phenotypes (you won’t find a Purple Punch or a Zkittlez in his lineup), but instead works with those more classic and obscure genetics — and focuses on growing the strains he has created with the most regenerative methods he can muster.

When it comes to farming in Williams, Schutz says the process of building his cannabis flower operation has always been about creating healthy soil using resources from the land itself.

“The more you recognize what is available to you in nature right next to you, the less you find yourself looking for things you don’t need,” Schutz says. “My goal is to bring absolutely nothing into the garden that didn’t come from our property next year.”

Today, Schutz says that Williams makes its own mulch and composts from decaying matter gathered from the land, grinds rocks into soluble phosphorous and potassium to use as fertilizer, and cultivates native plants to be harvested and used around the farm.

“This farm is my organism to play with and I’m making it as beautiful as I can with very little resources,” he says.

The work to breed and grow quality strains with regenerative inputs seems to be paying off, as Schutz says the company is increasingly recognized among “respected heads” in Oregon and wholesalers are willing to pay him twice what they did in the fall 2018.

However, these past few years in Oregon’s cannabis industry have not been easy going. After the state’s legal adult-use cannabis market launched in 2017, many farmers struggled in the face of a huge glut of flower, rock-bottom prices, and increased regulations and taxes. The state’s decades-old medical marijuana program slowly dwindled in the face of higher costs of entry for patients and producers alike.

In 2017, Schutz was unsure if he wanted to stay in the medical market or switch to the recreational side. But by the end of the 2019 season, he says he knows he made the right choice.

“We decided to go ahead and prove ourselves on the recreational market, and I was a little nervous having a menu of strains few people had heard of,” he says. But he has no regrets: “I couldn’t have asked for a better time to be in the rec game.”

Williams Canna Co. is currently growing F2s of Supermodel Seeds genetics, clones from the Humboldt Seed Company, inbred F1s, and “a whole host of generations of stable, deeply related, true-bred seed stock,” Schutz says.

In the future, the farm plans to conduct its own genotyping on-site with advanced testing machinery, which will allow it to greatly speed up its genetic projects.

“I’ve been trying to stay true to who I am and my mission in the industry and I’m not trying to rush to have genetic backcrosses that are feminized and that are cooked up from the same female plants,” he says. “I’ve been working slowly but surely on true-bred lines.”

This slowly-but-surely mentality applies to his cannabis cultivation practices as well, where he says the years of hard work on the land itself is allowing the cannabis to take care of itself, to burrow its roots more firmly in the ground.

“The more you establish your garden, the less work you have to do,” Schutz says. “The herb looks better than ever before. It’s unbelievable, I can’t believe it. It’s pushing the limits with how it can do everything on its own.”

TELL US, have you ever wanted to grow your own weed? What strain would you choose to start with?

Originally published in Issue 40 of Cannabis NowLEARN MORE

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