Preserving terpenes from harvest to roll

Published Mar 3, 2022 02:00 p.m. ET
iStock / LYagovy

The process of preserving terpenes isn’t a complicated one, but it does take the right steps, know-how, and appropriate tools to get the job done. These elements are worth saving, after all, they provide everything from the delicious taste to aromatic smells and effects, and this is something cultivators should be thinking about long before it’s time to harvest. As such, we’ve created a guide that any grower, big or small, can follow for the most spectacular results.

1. Create a preservation plan

Your preservation plan should contain all of the necessary details, including temperature and humidity starting from at least one day prior to harvest. You don’t want to let the space warm up to the point that might be damaging to cannabis terpenes, many of which have an incredibly low boiling point. Maintaining a temperature below 62°F is essential to keep things cool enough. It should also be noted that too much handling can also pose an issue, so be sure to keep it to a minimum.

2. High-quality climate controls

Climate controls and monitors are imperative, both inside grow spaces as well as just outside any doors that might be opened. Hygrometers throughout can help you to keep track of any significant fluctuations, allowing for corrections to be made before damage can take place. From one-day post-harvest and through the rest of the process, humidity maintenance is key. Too little could result in dryness that could wreak havoc on terpenes, and too much could make the plant materials sweat, making drying and curing far more difficult.

3. Adjust drying humidity with purpose

It is just as important to adjust humidity at certain stages, like during drying and curing to eliminate excess moisture that could pose a problem. Aggressively removing humidity in all phases of drying is essential because as the water leaves the plant materials, it will go right into the air, which will quickly increase humidity levels. To do this, you’ll need to frequently check all monitors so you know when and where to make the necessary adjustments.


4. Maintain consistent humidity during curing

Once you make it to the point of curing, maintaining consistent heat humidity levels is still imperative, despite the common misconception that there’s no reason to fear beyond the drying phase. Especially when burping jars, a room will take on massive influxes that need to be controlled. Most experts recommend keeping a constant 55% humidity at this time to protect the fragile terpenes from harm.

5. Don’t stop until those buds are in the appropriate storage containers

If your goal is to preserve terpenes, then it’s important to keep up all of this hard work until all plant products are stored away in their forever packages. Anytime before that, these desirable cannabis elements are at risk, so you can’t stop until the job is done. This means weeks and in some cases, even months of constant monitoring and adjustments, but at the end of it all, you’ll be able to see, smell, and taste the difference.

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