If you’ve been shopping for your cannabis products based solely on the percentage displayed next to the THC, then it’s time to expand your label-reading repertoire.
The one-product shopping experience of the grey market days seems like the distant past. It used to be that you showed up at your plugs place and he presented the goods. If it smelled good, it probably smoked good, too.
But with legalization came the great THC rush, and brands can push the THC percentage higher and higher. Multiple years into the world of legal weed, THC content now often reaches the 30% range, and the focus has shifted to the good stuff. Or at least, the flavourful stuff.
When it comes to flavour, terpenes are where it’s at. These aromatic essential oils in cannabis strains create the plant’s diverse array of flavours and scents. There are well over 100 terpenes in cannabis alone.
Here are a few of the most terpene-heavy strains available in Canada right now.
Terpene content: 3.25%
Licensed producer: Sugarbud Craft Growers Corp.
Potency: THC 18–24% | 180–240 mg/g
Sugarbud touts its Mule Fuel, a cross between GMO and Lurch, as a prominent example of a terpene-rich bud. Myrcene, the most abundant terpene in cannabis, leads the charge here providing a strong earthy note. Supporting terpenes caryophyllene, limonene, and pinene add touches of sweet floral and citrus.
The current batch of Mule Fuel came back from the lab with a measured terpene level of 3.16%, but the brand has put out batches as high as 4.5%. Mule Fuel is available in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario in 3.5g flower format, and in 3 x 0.5g pre-roll format in Alberta and Ontario.
Terpene content: 2.5–5.5%
Licensed producer: Rubicon Organics
Potency: THC 19–28% | 190–280 mg/g
White Runtz is an organic hybrid that stems from crossing Zkittlez and Gelato cultivars. It’s got a sweet vanilla and citrus nose, with hints of pepper and herbs on the palate. All White Runtz batches have been above 2.4% terpene, with the last three all measuring above 3.75%.
Simply Bare tracks its organic products’ terpene content on its website and includes percentage breakdowns for each cultivar. The latest batch of White Runtz (#WRPGA003) happens to be the most terp-forward yet: 4.49% total terpenes, with 1.7% limonene, 0.47% trans-caryophyllene, 0.43% linalool and 0.3% beta-myrcene.
Beyond a funky aroma and rich flavour, terpenes also influence how your weed will hit you. If you yearn for a more uplifting experience, stick with strains with the more energetic terps like pinene, on the sativa/hybrid side of the dispensary. Or if you prefer to swing low in the hammock and chill out, opt for indica strains rich in terpenes like myrcene, linalool, and beta-caryophyllene.
Terpene content: 2–5.7%
Licensed producer: Cannara Biotech Inc.
THC: 22–30% | 220–290 mg/g
Tribal‘s cultivar has a high terpene profile—reaching up to 5.7—and is comprised of terpinolene, ocimene, caryophyllene, and myrcene, which work together to produce a spicy lemon and gas aroma. You can find Tribal’s Cuban Linx in pre-rolls and dried flower in Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan, with B.C. availability in early October.
Terpene content: 3.5–5.3%
Licensed producer: Atlas Growers
Potency: THC 25–32% | 250–300 mg/g
Ghost Drops leans on a number of growers to produce its popular First Class Funk hybrid. While THC and terpenes always test high with this cultivar, the latest batch just might be the best yet—measuring in at 32.29% THC and 5.38% terpenes.
The buds are rich in limonene, caryophyllene, terpineol and pinene. The robust profile create a creamy and dank aroma, a funky almost-licorice flavour, and one of the best buzzes in the business.
Terpene content: 3–4%
Licensed producer: Organnicraft Inc.
Potency: THC 24–30% | 240–300 mg/g
Organnicraft harnesses some of the most experienced legacy growers in its Vernon, B.C.-based operations, producing top-shelf flower like Platinum Grapes. Its crystal-covered flower shows plenty of orange pistils and purple undertones. It gives off a distinct grape flavour and boasts lasting effects.
The strain’s complex terpene composition is dominated by farnesene, caryophyllene and limonene, which combine for its namesake sweet fruit flavour. Platinum Grapes also contains myrcene, linalool, and humulene, which add layers of complexity that are a pleasure to explore over multiple sessions.
Terpene content: 3–4.4%
Licensed producer: United Greeneries Ltd.
Potency: THC 26–32% | 260–320 mg/g
Liberty Haze from Manitoba’s 18twelve averages around 3% terpenes, but has hit as high as 4.4%. This enticing strain is dominated by limonene, myrcene, and caryophyllene; the profile provides a lemon-lime aroma and sweet floral palate.
A cross between G13 and Chew Dawg, Liberty Haze is the winner of the 2011 High Times Cannabis Cup. This cultivar has bright green frosty flowers covered in red hairs. Consumers like this Liberty Haze for its refreshing lime taste and its high THC potency.