For the marijuana novice, weed is just weed. But for the cannabis connoisseur, there’s a whole world of flavours, scents and effects – and it goes beyond just different types of strains.

The next frontier of curating a cannabis experience, experts say, lies not in a strain of the plant – the Sour Diesels and Pineapple Kushes that your dispensary will surely have on its menu – but in harnessing the terpenes within cannabis.

“Terpenes are essential oils found in different botanicals and plant matter. They’re why lemon has that citrusy smell, why pine needles smell like pine,” said Seth Yaffe, operations manager at Ermont Inc., a nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary in Quincy, Mass.

Terpenes are mostly known for giving plants their unique aroma, which is why there are essential oils of lavender and eucalyptus. But when they work in conjunction with cannabinoids like THC and CBD, “it’s an entourage effect,” Yaffe said, meaning terpenes can actually change or heighten the therapeutic effects of marijuana.

To take advantage of terpenes, many labs isolate them when they process the cannabis into a concentrate.

“Most people processing for THC strip out the terpenes and other minor cannabinoids to get to a clear product,” explained Norman Olson of High Tech Extracts in Maine. “Then to get flavour and aroma, you add the terpenes back. That’s the sommelier art of it.”

Speaking of wine, Yaffe actually worked in the restaurant industry for 25 years, where he wrote wine lists. He’s seen how people can smell a certain strain and know right away what it is, “just like a sommelier would be able to blind smell wine.”

But with terpenes, his role goes above and beyond suggesting flavours and scents someone might like. It’s about the kind of high these terpenes bring with them, too.

“It might be the same level of cannabis, but by adding in different blends of terpenes, we’re able to promote specific effects … like promoting more relaxing sleep,” Yaffe said. “The four major effects of the line we carry are concentration, helping sleep, anti-anxiety and the ability to have more energy.”

This is the customisation that is taking over the business side of cannabis, Yaffe said. People aren’t necessarily looking just for certain strains anymore, but for a curated high, and terpenes help achieve that.

Still, terpenes are “new to the game” in terms of what we know, Yaffe said. Though there hasn’t been a lot of scientific research around cannabis and all its components yet, experts in the industry hope that with its acceptance – like the legalisation in Massachusetts – comes more knowledge about it.

“Regardless of medical or recreational, a tremendous amount of people are cannabis users that are really looking for an effect,” he said. “It’s the importance of those terpenes and how we understand them, how we move forward with science to be able to manipulate and safely add them, that will allow for the creation of new products.”

Source: September 18 – Metro US

It only makes sense that a classic California beer company would end up teaming up with a cannabis company

Last week, Lagunitas Brewing Company debuted their SuperCritical Ale, a beer brewed with terpenes, aromatic compounds of essential oils that are extracted from some plants, including cannabis and hops. “What we’re trying to focus on really has nothing to do with the drug component,” explains Lagunitas brewer Jeremy Marshall in a promotional video for the beer. “Instead what we’re interested in is a molecule known as a terpene.” Sixty barrels of the hoppy beer were produced and they do not contain THC, the chemical in marijuana that triggers a psychoactive effect.

The beer, which is only available in a few California locations, is part of a partnership between Lagunitas and cannabis-extract manufacturing facility, CannaCraft Inc., who provided the terpenes needed for the beer. In exchange, Lagunitas helped them develop new vaping products and obtain a beer-like aroma for a product of theirs that does include THC.

Lagunitas has been pro-marijuana for some time. One of their beers, the Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale, recognises a 2005 raid by state Alcohol Beverage Control agents who sought out to arrest employees smoking pot at the beer company’s plant in Petaluma, CA. The raid happened on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, when legend says that employees planned to smoke an eight-inch joint with the circumference of a dime. At the time, the brewery threw weekly open-house parties for employees and regulars at smoker-friendly 4:20 p.m. on Thursdays — and the raid occurred during their largest open-house yet.

They aren’t the first company to combine booze and weed. There are weed-infused wines on the market in California, like Canna Wine. And Humboldt Distillery in Northern California has brewed batches of vodka infused with hemp These partnerships are a sign of the times, as California gears up for the legalisation of recreational marijuana use that kicks in on January 1, 2018.

Source: August 27 – Mens Health

Netflix has co-created a set of cannabis strains based on a selection of its most popular original shows.

The set, called The Netflix Collection, will be sold as part of a pop-up event at Alternative Herbal Health Services in West Hollywood from 25-27 August to legal medical marijuana card-holding customers. Federal laws prevent the products being available by mail and Netflix will not be profiting from any of the sales.

“Each strain was cultivated with the specific shows in mind, designed to complement each title based on their tone,” a press release read. “For example, sillier shows may be more indica dominant, while dramedies will be more sativa dominant to help the more powerful scenes resonate.”

The shows featured include Orange is the new Black, which has spawned Poussey Riot, meant for “kicking it with somebody, talking, making mad stupid jokes”, Arrested Development, which has been labelled Banana Stand Kush ideally for a “big yellow joint” and Grace and Frankie, the Peyotea 73 – an “uplifting sativa hybrid”.

Other strains are inspired by Bojack Horseman, Lady Dynamite and cannibal comedy Santa Clarita Diet, which will “really ramp up your appetite”.

The collection also features three varieties based on new show Disjointed, a sitcom starring Kathy Bates as the owner or a marijuana dispensary, the inspiration for the pop-up event. The show, from The Big Bang Theory’s Chuck Lorre, has received mixed reviews. The New York Times’ James Poniewozik called it “a mess of a comedy that doesn’t feel as if it belongs anywhere”.

Source: August 25 – The Guardian