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Conversations with Terpene Science Enthusiasts

Hear directly from those in the cannabis industry about this important and complex topic of terpene science.

This series of interviews encompasses a diverse group of terpene enthusiasts from all areas of the cannabis industry. These experts include Spiritleaf staff, community influencers and high-level executives. Learn how each developed an interest in the subject of terpenes, about common misconceptions, possible new innovations and more.

This first interview is with an individual who is well known in the industry, he is someone who is considered to be both knowledgeable and humble, learn more below.

Please start by telling our readers your first name and a brief intro about yourself.

My name is Basil and I have been in involved in the legal cannabis industry in Canada nearly as long as it has existed. In the early days of the MMAR I would hang around a local compassion club, helping out and rolling joints for patients who were physically unable to. When we transitioned to the MMPR I put my experience to work as an educator within one of the early cannabis focused clinics. Now, my core aim is still cannabis focused education, however I am coming at it from a slightly different angle by trying to support those people who are talking to cannabis consumers every day, our retailers.

How did you first become interested in terpene science and how has this passion influencing your career?

During the days of sitting around the table at the compassion club we were having a basic version of the same cannabis conversations we are having today; “this type of weed smells, tastes and looks different than that one and makes me feels this way as opposed to how that one makes me feel”. As our industry evolved, the conversation started to evolve, and as an educator I saw it as my duty to evolve my understanding of the plant as well. I dove headfirst into the science of terpenes looking to individuals like Curt Robbins, then known by the pen name Gooey Rabinski, who were already working to amplify the conversation around terpenes being the driver of cannabis effects. What started as an obligation to our country’s patients rapidly become a passion of mine and in local circles as well as around the clinic scene I was being recognized as somewhat of a counselor on utilizing the terpenes in our cannabis to our advantage. From hosting shows and podcasts to judging cannabis cups, this recognition provided countless opportunities that ended up contributing to and advancing my career in the industry.

You have already been working in the cannabis industry for some time, in both the medical and recreational sectors.  You also had a very popular YouTube program, for which you won a Canadian Cannabis Award.  Tell us what, so far, has been the highlight of your career?

There have certainly been many exciting milestones in the last 9 years of working in cannabis. From the shows, podcasts and onstage appearances, to travelling coast to coast and having the opportunity to visit and tour more than 25 Licensed Producer facilities, it has been quite a ride. I even had the opportunity to hang out and stroll the Vegas strip with that same author, Curt Robbins, who initially hooked me on Terp Science. However, nothing holds a candle to helping patients directly with their health and wellness. 

What is the most common terpene related question you get asked?

“What’s the name of that one terpene I really like?” – My Mom (usually about once a month) It’s Caryophyllene by the way Mom.

What terpene related product innovations would you like to see or are excited for in the near future?

More and more we are seeing high quality, terpene forward concentrates which is definitely something that excites me. Everyone knows I like a fairly potent product from time to time but what I truly enjoy consuming is something complex, with depth regardless of what a percentage point tells me. 

Variable temperature control has become fairly commonplace with vape hardware, but I would love to see manufacturers align pre-set temps with the proper boiling points of common and abundant terpenes. It is my opinion we would create far more terp chasers out of cannabis consumers if they were more properly equipped to utilize the separate parts of the plant more efficiently and effectively.

When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your time?

I have two boys who are 7 and 4 and are blossoming bibliophiles so we tend to do quite a bit of reading, day and night. My oldest is also borderline obsessed with Zelda so when he is not buried in a book about Link and his adventures we are wrapping and re-wrapping The Ocarina of Time. We live on an acreage with horses and plenty to do so it is never hard to find an excuse to be out back fixing a fence or plowing some snow. We have also recently started renovating our house which has revealed a hidden fondness for cabinet making.

Thanks, Basil, for sharing your knowledge and experiences with our audience!  Due to government regulations, we are unable to show images of any person(s) and encourage you to check out these personal links for more. Connect with Basil here.

Our next interview is with the extraction specialist behind the Greybeard Cannabis brand, someone with a real passion for the subject of terpene science. Continue reading below to find out more.

Please start by telling our readers your first name and a brief intro about yourself.

Mat here, Director of Extraction at Thrive … which is just a fancy way of saying that I get to make amazing concentrates all day. Our focus at Thrive is to stay true to the plants that we care for and terpene preservation plays a big role in the production of our live resin concentrates.

Where does your interest in terpenes come from and how is this passion influencing your career?

My passion for terpenes dates back to 2010, when I began growing cannabis more seriously and started educating myself about all the incredible things this plant has to offer – one of the most incredible being the huge variety of terpenes cannabis can create. My goal is to preserve as much of the plants’ original essence as possible, which drives a constant pursuit of better ways to achieve the same task.

Which terpene do you find the most fascinating and why?

That’s a tough one… There are so many terpenes that modulate how you experience cannabis, but actually, one thing that many people don’t know, and that I find incredibly fascinating, is that terpenes are the basis of so many common compounds. For example, testosterone, oestrogen, and cholesterol are all terpenoids based on terpenes. Also, any of the acyclic polyterpenes like latex or polypropylene (hard plastics) are in the same category. Terpenes are incredibly diverse and never cease to amaze me!

What is the most common terpene related question you get asked?

“Is there such a thing as too many terps?” – I get asked this one a lot, and my answer is always “Too much of anything, is never a good thing”. While I don’t have direct, cannabis-related data to draw from, there are plenty of studies that have looked at terpene exposure in the workplace and the general consensus is to proceed with moderation.

Is there something in particular you would like to share about terpenes, something that might often be misunderstood?

Cannabis produces a wider variety of terpenes than any other plant that we know of, with individual plants producing multiple different terpenes and, in some cases, changing their terpene profile completely depending on where they are in their growth stage. All of this to say, producing cannabis (or cannabis extracts) with a consistent terpene profile is as difficult as producing identical wines, two years in a row. I believe this is something that isn’t well understood by the masses just yet.

Is there another terpene expert in the industry you admire, who is it and why?

Tony Verzura comes to mind. Tony became well known in 2013 for popularizing full-spectrum cannabis derived terpenes and incorporating them into a variety of cannabis products. He’s since gone on to develop a line of high-terpene cannabis extracts that he produces with his patented solventless technology. 

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Learn everything you can about everything you can. Never stop learning. That, and “…find better weed.”

Thank you, Mat, for sharing your knowledge and experiences with our audience!  Due to government regulations, we are unable to show images of any person(s) and encourage you to check out these links below. 

Thrive Cannabis is dedicated to one mission…learn more about their AAAA flower and premium concentrates by following this link

A cannabis educator and public speaker!  Kelsey educates others about plant science to make cannabis a more approachable subject for all.  See below to find out more about this ‘women in weed’.

Please start by telling our readers your name and a brief intro about yourself.

My name is Kelsey Cannabis, and I am an Alberta-based Cannabis Educator and Public Speaker who has certifications from the Cannabis Training University, The Trichome Institute, Cannareps, and the University of Alberta. As a long-term medical cannabis patient and Brain Care Centre Ambassador, I love to share my first-hand knowledge of the therapeutic properties of cannabis. I strive to educate the Canadian cannabis community about the facts of this plant and am committed to being a powerful voice, speaking about where the industry is headed and how we can debunk the myths (and improper terminology) plaguing the industry.

Where does your interest in terpenes come from and how is this passion influencing your career?

My interest in terpenes comes from the intoxicating knowledge that cannabis has to offer. Sharing terpene-specific education influences my career drive to educate more people about this form of ancient plant medicine. 

In March, you hosted an online event featuring Terpenes, about what they are and why consumers should care. Can you give our readers a brief summary to explain more?

In cannabis plants, terpenes can be found in the trichomes. These trichomes contain the resin glands where terpenes (and cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, etc.) can be found. This is quite important in that the therapeutic properties of cannabis, whether being used for recreational or medical purposes, can be found not only in cannabinoids but also in terpenes. If you do not learn about terpenes, where they are located, or how to protect them from degradation, then the quality of your flower, or even your brand reputation, can suffer. 

The industry is leaning more towards product-specific chemistry, instead of labeling everything Indica or Sativa. What role do you think terpenes will play as consumers become more educated?

Science-based research is showing that the terms Indica and Sativa have no direct correlation to predicting cannabis effects. Going forward, terpenes will play a significant role as consumers become more educated in both terpene and cannabinoid profiles.

What terpene related product innovations would you like to see or are excited for in the near future?

A terpene-related product innovation that I would like to see going forward is a QR code on brand packaging that includes a total terpene percentage and a breakdown of the most dominant terpenes present, as the more experienced consumer will be able to infer advantages and benefits from this information.

What’s your hidden talent?

I believe my “hidden talent” is my ability to make a difference in people’s lives and I have always been grateful for that privilege.

Thank you, Kelsey, for sharing your knowledge and experiences with our audience!  Due to government regulations, we are unable to show images of any person(s) and encourage you to check out these personal links for more. Connect with her here , on LinkedIn and Instagram. Check out these educational events Kelsey is hosting this week, here and here.

Here, we have a newcomer to the cannabis industry!  Someone who is both well-educated and sentimental about the subject of cannabis science.  Read more below to learn about his experiences so far in the industry.

Start by telling our readers your first name and a brief intro about yourself.

Hi, my name is Vincent, and I’ve got a tremendous passion for cannabis and everything surrounding it. Life has had its downside for a long time, but I have changed a lot in recent years and aim to change that around. Our life’s battles don’t have to define who we are but shape us into the people we want to be. Recently, I have completed my cannabis health specialist diploma, and it has been a tremendous experience. I’ve learned a ton about myself as much as I have learned about the many unique subjects surrounding cannabis. Included in this course was the topic on terpenes in cannabis and how these fantastic chemicals combine to create a special entourage effect within our bodies.

Where does your interest in terpenes come from and how is this passion influencing your career?

My interest in terpenes comes from my class at Elevated Learning Academy while learning about cannabis and all the various chemical compounds and how they interact with our bodies. Terpenes are, of course, a massive discussion in the cannabis world. One of my favourite things about cannabis is how unique each cultivar can smell. Learning about terpenes will help me define how I produce future content that I have been currently working on. I aim to become a social media influencer, advocate and educator for cannabis. I just want to keep on learning, and to help other people learn about cannabis on a much deeper level.

Which terpene do you find the most fascinating and why?

For me, I’d have to say I find that Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene are the most fascinating to me. But that’s a personal preference. The smell of pine brings me back to the scent of British Columbia’s interior and all the camping and outdoor things I used to do back home when I was younger. I love being outdoors, and B.C. has no shortage of great outdoor activities to go do. Both these terpenes, when I smell them, just flood my mind with unforgettable memories of going camping and just being with friends and family.

What should consumers know about terpene science, in general?

Terpene is a word used to categorize a wide variety of secondary chemical compounds produced by almost all plants on Earth, and cannabis is no exception. These secondary chemical compounds are produced by plants as a by-product to support their primary compound’s production. Sometimes that can be the fruit they bear, sometimes it’s the flowers they bloom, and in the case of cannabis, these main preparatory compounds are the cannabinoids we enjoy consuming, like THC and CBD. These secondary chemical compounds called terpenes function in several ways that help support the plant’s ability to grow healthy. Terpenes have many different effects on external and internal stimuli that may impact the plant, including bacteria, fungus, insects, cellular growth irregularities, and other stress sources. Terpenes are responsible for the distinctive smell of plants and can impact their flavour as well. If we think back to our high school Biology classes, you may remember that pleasant smells and tastes can encourage animals to spread plant seeds and pollen. Thereby promoting the widespread growth and reproductive success of a plant species. So terpenes not only act as repellants to animals that might harm the plant, but they also serve as lures to animals that can have symbiotic relationships with the plant as well. Bees and how they pollinate flowers are an excellent example of this symbiotic relationship between animals and plants.

You recently completed the Cannabis Health Specialist program, congrats!  Share something you learned about Terpenes that surprised you during the course.

At Elevated Learning Academy, I took their four-month compact course that supplied me with so much knowledge on cannabis. It was quite the experience, and I’m still trying to figure out where I fit into this industry. But learning about terpenes themselves was a surprise to me. It surprised me to know that these smells are everywhere and everything we use in our day-to-day lives. They are pretty amazing chemicals to learn about and how they collaborate with cannabis’s primary compounds such as THC and CBD to make this synergy when you consume cannabis. I think it’s such a fascinating subject, and for me, it isn’t only about these primary compounds, but the look, feel and smell that cannabis has, has always been what drew me to this lucrative plant. This plant has helped me discover myself and helped me through so many tough times in my life, and I want to take what I’ve learned from this class to help further educate myself and others on how cannabis may benefit our lives and our planet.

If you had to choose only 3 adjectives to describe yourself, which would you choose?

If I had to pick 3 adjectives to describe myself, they would be that I am Enthusiastic, Compassionate, and Courageous. I’m incredibly enthusiastic about cannabis and any goals that I set my mind to. I’m a very compassionate and caring person, and I’m always ready to listen to people’s problems and happy to be there for anyone in their time of need. Then courageous because of how much I have fought and overcome in life.

Thanks very much, Vincent, for sharing your knowledge and experiences with our audience!  Due to government regulations, we are unable to show images of any person(s) and encourage you to check out these personal links for more.  See his professional website, FacebookInstagram, LinkedIn profiles for more.

Discover more by taking the Spiritleaf Terpene Tour, by following this link. Learn more about the recreational cannabis retail experience by visiting a Spiritleaf location nearest you, click here. *Must be of legal age.

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THC: 20-26%

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