Being mindful of cannabis aroma and flavour is one of the best ways to get a complete experience from your plant during consumption. The complexity of the plant itself leads to its unique characteristics, displaying a range of scents and flavour profiles in every strain. There’s an art to training yourself to be more aware of these properties that starts with understanding what causes a strain’s aroma and flavour and knowing what to look for when consuming or tasting it.
Approaching cannabis with these tips will awaken your senses even more to the robust genetics growing from your seeds.
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Understanding Cannabis Aroma and Flavour
Two words every grower should know and understand are terpenes and cannabinoids. Both are part of all cannabis plants’ chemical structure, but are responsible for different characteristics.
Terpenes are the most sensory-perceptive feature of the two, which determines a plant’s aroma and flavour. On the other hand, cannabinoids impact the actual effects when consuming cannabis. THC and CBD fall under the cannabinoid umbrella, delivering uplifting, sedated, or counteractive effects to your high.
Terpenes and cannabinoids are both found in the trichomes of your plant, or the white crystals coating your buds. The more trichomes visible on your plant, the stronger the effects these chemical compounds will have.
When studying the art of cannabis smell and taste we’ll spotlight terpenes. Terpenes are features of all plants, fruits, flowers, and even some animals. More than 20,000 exist, but only a fraction of 200+ are found in cannabis strains. This common characteristic that cannabis has with the rest of the plant world is why you’ll discover similar scents and recognisable flavours when consuming it. The good news is that you can use your knowledge of terpenes to know what to look for when detecting what kind of smell and taste your plant has.
Cannabis Aroma and Flavour From Different Terpenes
Cannabis plants have a combination of terpenes that work together in each strain. This phenomenon is referred to as the entourage effect. It’s when the blend of terpenes combined with the different cannabinoids interact with your body to produce the high sensation. As you know, every high is different, thanks to the range of compound combinations in each strain. While it’s difficult to single out every individual terpene in your strain, understanding the most common terpenes will give a better idea of the smell and tastes associated with them. With the right smell techniques, you’ll know what’s present in your strain.
These are the most common terpenes:
Aroma is one of the primary ways to tell which is dominant in your strain. Once you know how a strain smells, you can predict its taste. Each has distinctive features that make them instantly recognisable to the trained nose.
For example, growing strains like the Kosher Tangie Kush and Lemon Haze will give off heavy citrusy and fruity aromas. It’s evidence that both strains contain concentrations of limonene. You can expect a similar flavour of citrus and fruit when consuming them. Seeds containing pinene genetics will have a strong pine needle aroma when they begin flowering. Strains like the Dutch Duchess and Royal Choco are good examples and will leave a lasting taste similar to hops and basil when consumed that confirms the terpene presence.
Myrcene is one of the most common terpenes that gives most cannabis strains some level of an earthy scent. The more dominant this smell from your plant, the more indica-related body highs you can expect. It’s a terpene instrumental in the entourage effect that helps more of the cannabinoids of the plant interact with your body for a deeper, richer high. It’s a terpene also found in mangoes, which is why many people report feeling elevated highs after consuming cannabis while eating the fruit.
Detecting Cannabis Aroma and Flavour
Now that you know common scents and flavours to look for in your cannabis plant, it’s time to develop your sense of smell and taste to detect them. It takes some practice to recognise their presence, but with practice, you can get past the obvious skunky scents to reveal the true bouquet of aromas.
Detecting aroma can be done while growing your plant or when examining your buds after harvest. Scents are most potent during the flowering stage, when you should get hints of aromas associated with your strain. It’s when knowing your strain genetics is beneficial. If you know you’re growing a strain with high levels of limonene, you should be looking for that citrusy scent compared to a floral lavender-related scent typical in strains with high linalool genetics.
Good ventilation helps isolate the scent of your plant and avoid interfering scents from other plants.
Detecting flavour is only done during the consumption stage. Aroma plays a major role in how we taste, and knowing the scent first will help give more flavour sensation when consuming. The way you consume is critical for maximising the flavours. Be sure to check our cannabis tasting beginners guide (https://www.amsterdamgenetics.com/cannabis-tasting-101-a-guide-for-beginners/) to learn steps for extracting the full flavour profile of your strain.
Starting your grow with premium cannabis seeds helps ensure strong genetics in your plant. With proper grow techniques, you’ll achieve a successful harvest and enjoy the full benefits of your cannabis aroma and flavour profile.