How to Boost Terpene Production

Written by Nicholas Demski

There’s an army of four-legged creatures coming to eat you. Their jaws are specifically designed to tear your limbs and chew your insides to a pulp. If you’re unlucky, you’ll be slowly digested through a series of stomachs. Each one will have a unique vile liquid that dissolves you further. In the end, flies will plant their babies in your excreted leftovers, and the maggots will eat you all over again.

Life is tough as a plant. There’s a gruesome horde of creatures on this planet that aim to turn them into maggot food

Figure 1 A sheep? Or a monster manifested from the nightmares of a dandelion?

So, they’ve evolved their own defense mechanisms; their armory is packed with chemical weapons like arsenic, cyanide, and terpenes.

Though terpenes are used to prevent their consumption and repel their predators, humans have found something unique in them: medicinal benefits and delightful aromas.

If you’re looking to increase your grow’s terpene production, here are a few tips to do so.

  1. Pick Your Cultivar Wisely

Each cultivar has a specific THC, CBD, and terpene content structure written into its DNA (1). While the phenotypes may have varying results, it’s still possible to make an educated decision. So, your first step in maximizing the terpenes present in your plants is choosing a variety with a diverse and abundant terpene profile.

Indicas tend to be heavily concentrated with limonene and pinene while sativas generally have a more complex terpene profile. Avoid northern-focused varieties, as they tend to place more of their energy into staying alive in the cold environment and have less to enrich their terpene content.

  1. Manage the Environment

Plants do their best when they are in the environments in which they evolved. If you’re living in the north and growing a Thai Sativa, make sure you’re operating your grow room in a way that is as close to a tropical environment as you can. Get the temperature right for your plants, but perhaps even more important is controlling the light levels.

The amount of light a plant gets significantly impacts its terpene production (2). So, keeping your light regimen attuned to your plants’ needs is a great way to up their terpene levels.

  1. Attack Your Plant

Your weapon of choice? Pruning scissors.

Pruning your plants makes them think they are being eaten. Remember that plants use terpenes as a defense mechanism? Entice them to bolster their armory by convincing them they are about to be consumed.

Maybe even eat while you’re pruning to make it more real, since plants react tovibrations caused by the sound of chewing (3).


  1. “Variations in Terpene Profiles of Different Strains of Cannabis sativa L.” Accessed May 9, 2018.
  2. “Plant Terpenes: defense responses, phylogenetic analysis, regulation and clinical applications.” Accessed May 9, 2018.
  3. “Plants Respond to Leaf Vibrations Caused by Insect Herbivore Chewing.” Accessed May 9, 2018.

About the author

Nicholas Demski

Nicholas Demski's latest venture is He's a poet, author, cannabis writer, and budding entrepreneur. You can follow his travels with his daughter on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram @TheSingleDadNoma

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