By Robert Bergman, ILoveGrowingMarijuana.com
While many marijuana growers are most concerned about maximizing the yield and getting the most buds out of each marijuana plant, the taste and smell of the end product are also critical factors that can be influenced during your marijuana plants’ lives. In this article, we will discuss how to maximize the smell and improve the taste of your marijuana buds
Taking your time to learn the basics
A surprisingly overlooked way to improve the smell and taste of marijuana is simply to learn how to better grow and care for marijuana plants. If you are someone who just picked up the basics of how to grow marijuana on the fly, then this piece of advice is for you. It is very easy to grow marijuana well enough but maximizing the yield and potency of the buds, as well as the flavor and aroma, takes a few more steps of learning.
Download my free marijuana grow guide at this link for tips on how to grow your own marijuana
It is as important to know how to grow your marijuana plants properly at the beginning of their life as it is at the end of their life. In other words, the harvest is important. You need to know when to harvest your plants to ensure that you are getting the most out of your buds.
After that, the basics of drying your buds comes into play and can make a big difference in terms of how strongly your marijuana smells and tastes. Once you have mastered how to properly do these things, you will already be well on your way to improving the taste and smell of your marijuana buds. That being said, there are also some more detailed steps you can take for ensuring your buds potency in both smell and taste.
In-depth ways of improving the taste and smell of marijuana
There are a number of more complex and detailed ways for making the smell and taste of your marijuana even better. This is, of course, in addition to taking good general care of your marijuana plants, and cannot serve as an adequate substitute for any of the basics.
Let’s look at some of the more specific ways you can improve the taste and smell of your marijuana.
Maximize the terpenes and terpenoids
Terpenes are a somewhat little-known chemical contained within all marijuana buds. Marijuana that has more terpenes is going to have a more potent characteristic smell and taste. In other words, more terpenes are exactly what you need to increase the smell and taste of the buds. Within each terpene, terpenoids are contained. They are also responsible for improving the smell and taste of your marijuana.
In fact, terpenes and terpenoids generally take care of the aroma of your marijuana plants — as well as a myriad of other types of flowers too. Therefore, the best way to get your marijuana to smell better and stronger is to encourage the making of terpenes and terpenoids in its’ buds.
It is important to remember that with every strain has a slightly unique scent. For that reason, you cannot expect all marijuana to smell the same. When you maximize the amount of terpenes in the marijuana buds, however, you will be strengthening the scent of whatever is natural to that particular strain.
How to increase terpenoid content and get more terpenes
To get your plants to produce more terpenes and terpenoids than usual, you will need to stress them out a tiny bit. Please note: this should only be undertaken if you have been growing marijuana for a long time and really know what you’re doing. Otherwise, you could end up with a plot full of dead plants that weren’t even stronger smelling after all your deadly work.
The reason you should have experience before trying out this process is that just the right amount of stress needs to be applied. If you apply too much stress to your vulnerable plants, they could get overly stressed out and either die or end up having a much smaller harvest than they would have had otherwise.
The key is, therefore, to apply a small amount of stress consistently and over a longer period of time rather than all at once. This is best done during your plants’ flowering stage of life, in particular towards the middle or end of it. If you do it just right, within two weeks of the time you are going to harvest the buds, then you will end up maximizing the scent of your buds by increasing the terpene production as well as the trichome level (which affects the potency of buds).
So how do you stress out your plant in a “good” way? You can start by bending or moving the stems without using too much pressure, often referred to as low-stress training (LST). Just be sure that when you do, you are not making physical contact with the buds themselves.
If you would prefer a slightly more active and bold approach, super cropping is an option for you. It is done by breaking certain parts of your marijuana plants’ stems from within. In other words, you are creating breakages without having any exterior damage. Although it is tricky, it is possible and can lead to surprisingly high benefits.
Some growers prefer to actually remove the leaves around the buds on their marijuana plants. This is to give the buds and the surrounding area more exposure — but please proceed with caution here, because not every type of marijuana will end up getting positive results from such a method. Therefore, it is always best to start off quite slow and then build as you start seeing concrete positive results. Some growers prefer to even go one step further and do something called extreme defoliation — but this is not necessary nor recommended for beginners.
Whatever method you choose, be sure to keep the humidity down to a lower level than you would have during the vegetative or seedling stages of your marijuana plants. This will increase the number of terpenes contained in your marijuana buds, and it should also make the potency and number of trichomes go up. If you are having trouble with humidity due to the natural climate of your area, invest in a dehumidifier and keep it at or below 20% humidity for the final 14 days of the flowering stage. Additionally, make sure your marijuana plants receive plenty of darkness for a few days before you harvest — total darkness for two to three days should do it.
For an extremely advanced approach, you can try stressing out the plants right at their roots. Do this by drying them out a bit more than they would “like” during the flowering stage. If this is done incorrectly, however, the buds will be damaged not only in potency but also in aesthetics. So be careful!
Further methods of stress
The list of ways to stress out your marijuana plants is practically endless. But which ones are good for increasing the potency of taste and smell? Let’s look at the options below.
First, restricting nutrients can have a strong (and positive) effect if it is done correctly and at the right time. The best time to carry out this method of stressing your plants is by reducing the amount of nutrients given in the last two weeks or less before you harvest your marijuana buds. What nutrients you do feed to your plants should be mainly designed for the flowering stage of marijuana; otherwise, you might end up overfeeding some nutrients and underfeeding others.
Reducing temperatures can have a similar effect. During the flowering stage, keep the temperature of your grow room at least below 80 degrees. Believe it or not, high temperatures can actually cause thermal damage to the terpenes that might already have been produced in your marijuana buds. Therefore, the hotter the room, the blander the taste of your buds. Since terpenes begin to generate in greater numbers starting in the sixth or seventh week into the flowering stage, this is when the temperature definitely needs to remain lower.
In the same strain of thinking, reducing temperatures elsewhere can have a strong effect. This involves dropping the coolest temperatures (in other words, the nighttime temperatures) to slightly below what you usually would want. That being said, never drop it so the air is freezing cold. But a solid difference of about ten degrees between the nighttime and daytime temperatures should do the trick. The beauty of this trick is that it also helps the marijuana look much better once you have harvested it — more colors like purples and reds are going to appear, assuming that the genetics of your seeds allow it.
For people who are growing their marijuana in soil, you are actually already in luck! According to studies, marijuana grown in soil-based mediums have a greater variety and number of terpenes. This especially applies to marijuana plants that were grown using composted super soil. Hydroponics systems, on the other hand, don’t always have the same number and variety of terpenes as soil-grown marijuana does. That being said, it is probably not enough of a difference to make you throw out your hydroponics system altogether.
General tips for success
There are all sorts of unique methods as well as pieces of advice for what not to do to grow some huge, potent, aromatic marijuana plants. However, how about some of the good things many growers are doing? Here are some of these tips:
For outdoor marijuana plants, many growers assert that as much sunlight as possible during the flowering stage of their plants leads to a greater potency in smell and taste in them. The theory is that terpene production is stimulated by sun exposure, but, of course, more research needs to be done.
For indoor growers, supplementing the lights that you already have installed could do the trick. In particular, LED lights should be used as this supplement. This is because LED lights cover a broader spectrum of light colors, and therefore are more likely to cause your plants to produce more terpene. LED lights are the next best thing to the sun itself.
Plenty of growers who use HPS lights for the most part during their marijuana growing season will also add an LED light or two to ensure that their flowering marijuana plants are getting all of the light that is possible and that the end result will be potent and delicious. This is particularly a good idea in the last few weeks before harvesting.
Gentleness is important
It may seem like a minute detail, but being gentle with your plants consistently can work wonders for the final potency, aroma, and taste. The temptation is, of course, to reach out and begin touching all the buds that are surrounding you on your plants in your garden. But you must not do that because it destroys terpenes, and therefore has an adverse effect on your buds’ aroma.
Drying and curing
Plenty of growers will tell you the same: the way you dry and cure your marijuana will determine a lot more about its potency and flavor than the actual growing that you did with these marijuana plants. Once you have obtained the plant matter, you will need to hang it upside down for a minimum of one week — preferably ten days.
Depending on your climate, you may be living in a place where things dry extremely quickly. Marijuana is no exception, and this also does not bode well for you if you live in such a place — you need to dry the marijuana slowly, over a longer period of time. For that reason, if you already know that your plant matter will be at risk for drying too quickly, you should not remove or trim the leaves around and on the buds so that they actually dry more slowly, given the extra layers of moist plant matter. Of course, come mentally prepared with some patience because handling the leaves on the buds after they have already dried is a huge pain.
Before you begin to cure your buds, there are a few key things to remember. First, remember that your dried product should not be perfectly dry. It will need a certain amount of moisture to cure properly. You can rest assured knowing that the jarring (curing) time has come when the plant matter that has been hanging upside down feels dry to the touch on the outside of it.
Download my free marijuana grow guide at this link for more growing tips
Whatever you do, don’t try to speed up the drying process. This will lead to disappointment reaching you faster rather than you simply being patient to begin with. If you feel some dampness on the outside of the buds, the time to cure has not yet come. If you did attempt to cure the marijuana at this point, then certainly mold and other contaminants could develop, causing the product to eventually taste and smell awful.
In the final few weeks before you are going to harvest your marijuana plants, be sure to flush out all the nutrients that you had been feeding them before. Do this by feeding them plain water with a neutral pH level for a minimum of several days and as many as several weeks before you decide to harvest your buds. Although it is likely you have already lessened the amount of nutrients you were feeding your plants during this stage of their lives, it is still a good idea to do the neutral water flush.
If you have any doubts about how much nutrients you fed your plants, you should absolutely do the water flush. If there is a possibility of any buildup of any of the nutrients you have been feeding your plants throughout their lives, flush the system out. Or if you are simply a meticulous grower who prefers to do everything right and is willing to work for it, then do this just to be safe.
Mistakes made with marijuana smell and taste
Unfortunately, it is relatively easy to completely ruin the way your marijuana will smell and taste. Below are some things you should not do, unless you like taking massive risks.
Some people try spraying an air-freshening spray or mist on or around their marijuana plants, but that is not a good idea — especially if it occurs during the flowering stage. In fact, anything with a clean scent at all should be thrown away or at least left far away and never used, as it could cause a number of issues.
First and foremost, the fact that your plant has been exposed to air that is also wafting chemicals can be a problem. If you do let it happen, the smell and taste will inevitably be compromised in those marijuana plants. Of course, if you make the mistake of doing it once, you likely won’t have massive issues — the real problems arise when a product like this is used consistently over a longer period of time.
Other types of odor neutralizers are also dangerous in terms of ruining the taste and smell of your marijuana buds, so it is better to avoid them altogether unless you are deliberately trying to get a bud that can’t even be recognized as marijuana (which is unlikely).
A much more dangerous problem that can arise with marijuana plants during their flowering stage is mold or mildew. Any bud that has mold, mildew, or bud rot is going to need to be discarded immediately because its very presence will endanger the rest of your harvest as well. Mildew and mold can spread very quickly, and sometimes they even are never seen and go right into the product you want to smoke.
If you do ever smoke a marijuana product that has mold or mildew in it, you will notice a significantly more irritating, harsher feeling when you inhale. It can also cause other, longer lasting effects such as the development of a cough or throat discomfort. For this reason, you should also look through every bud you have slowly and thoroughly to ensure they are safe to smoke. Throw away anything that has mold or mildew on it.
Choosing the right strain
Despite all these other tips and tricks, it’s important to remember that the marijuana with the most potent smell and flavor is likely a type of marijuana strain that is already prone to a strong smell and taste to begin with. Selecting the right strain is how you can start maximizing the smell and taste of your marijuana plants before you have even started to grow and take care of them.
Be sure to do your research on which strains are the best in terms of smell and taste, and read the reviews for those particular seeds to ensure that the description and information provided by the seed provider is accurate. Of course, not all aromas are created equal: some are highly unpleasant while others are incredibly easy on the nose. Therefore, read about the type of scent as well.
There are a number of strains of indica dominant strains, hybrids between sativa and indica plants, and sativa dominant strains that will help you meet your goal of getting stronger smelling and tasting marijuana. Although these are the most common types of strains to be found, autoflowering marijuana plants are also an option for certain grow setups or types of people who are looking for that.
Whatever you do, just make sure that you are choosing a strain that will work in your environment, will have the potency, smell and taste you desire, and will be easy enough to grow for your own personal level of experience. Don’t skimp on prices here, because it will have a lasting effect on the final result of your marijuana harvest.
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