Using Smell to Determine Quality Cannabis

When it comes to cannabis, follow your nose. In this episode of Senses, DOJA talks terpenes and essential oils. Created with DOJA.
Created with DOJA

Above: Bees pollinating lavender fields. Like cannabis, lavender features the aromatic terpene linalool, which provides a light floral scent. Photo courtesy of DOJA.

They say scent leaves the strongest memory. In this episode of Senses, DOJA Cultivation Manager, Dylan, talks with Sarah, an aromatherapist specializing in natural skincare and essential oil blends. 

Together, they explore the top terpenes in a cannabis plant, dominant versus secondary fragrances, resetting your palette, and offer excellent advice on how smell can help you select quality cannabis.

“When you’re smelling the different strains of cannabis,” says Sarah, “They say to follow your nose.” And there is a good reason for this—the aroma of cannabis offers insights into the chemical compounds that the plant produces. Each flower offers its own distinct perfume, and aromatic molecules called terpenes are responsible for these unique scents. 

“While there’s a wide range of terpenes that a cannabis plant will produce,” explains Dylan, “there’s typically one or two that stand out.” These terpenes make up the aromatic heart of a bud. Other terpenes make up a supporting cast, adding nuance to a blossom’s aromatic bouquet. 

Varieties with a strong floral aroma, for example, may feature a similar terpene profile to the lavender plant. Flower with a sharp pepper aroma may harbor aromatic molecules similar to those in pine or black pepper. 

The best way to release the subtle aromas of a cannabis bud is to grind your flower material. A flower that gives off a strong aroma when it is ground is a mark of quality cannabis. When grinding is not possible, however, it’s still worthwhile to follow your nose. 

In premium cannabis, like DOJA, the heart of the fragrance should be easily detectable. If the cannabis has been properly stored and cured, subtle aromatic qualities will support dominant terpenes, creating a complex blend that gives each bud a notably distinct fragrance. 

 “If it smells really good, and is appealing to you, that’s the one you should be choosing,” says Sarah. There’s never been a better reason to stop and smell the flowers. 

Watch to find out more!

Created by Doja
September 16, 2019 — Last Updated September 17, 2019
Written by Anna Wilcox
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