In the world of cannabis, cannabinoids like THC and CBD tend to garner the most attention, but another type of compound has increasingly been a subject of interest: terpenes. What exactly are terpenes, and why should you care? Let's dig a little deeper.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are plant-derived compounds that are well-known for creating scents that give plants their distinct aromatics. Terpenes are most commonly associated with weed because the cannabis plant contains such high concentrations.
Whether you buy a full-spectrum extract, terp sauce, or flower, you will want to protect your valuable terps. Unfortunately, cannabis terpenes are volatile and far more sensitive to things like heat, oxygen, and light than cannabinoids. So, how do you store weed to preserve the terpenes and retain their therapeutic value and quality?
Just as you want to protect cannabinoids in stored weed, terpenes need to be rightly protected as well. So what is a terpene shield, and what is a terpene shield used for? Here is a closer look.
What is a terpene shield?
Terpene Shield is a term used by Boveda, a company that makes disposable humidity packets which are designed to be used inside a stash jar. The “shield” refers to humidity control, which is key to the protection of your terpenes, as dried out buds tend to lose terpenes quickly.
Generally speaking, if you’re looking for a terpene shield, chances are you need something to add to a stash jar or weed storage container to help protect your terpenes.
Storing weed to preserve terpenes really means being mindful of the elements that can cause terpenes to deteriorate, such as humidity, air exposure, and temperature.
For the most part, terpene shields and similar products help manage humidity, one of the most important elements that can affect cannabis quality. Keeping the humidity level between 55 and 65 percent is a good storage practice for cannabinoid and terpene protection.
How do you use terpene shield packets?
There are several products that can be used as a terpene shield, each with its own instructions for use. Most are some type of packet, however, such as Boveda packets. They are placed in the jar with the cannabis flower and do their work to keep humidity levels in check for terpene protection. They need to be replaced after anywhere from two weeks to several months of use.
However, Boveda's Terpene Shield is not the only, and may not even be the best, product to use to shield your terpenes.
The Evergreen Humidification Pod is a unique terpene protection option as it can be reused over and over for years, saving money as well as keeping waste out of landfills. Additionally, the Evergreen Pod attaches to the lid of the jar and does not bounce around in the jar with your buds, which helps protect the delicate trichomes. Learn more.
What is a terpene shield made of?
Different products can contain different ingredients and systems to manage humidity levels. Most make use of natural salt and water. The water molecules flow out into the jar to raise humidity levels, and the salt regulates how much water is released. This salt/water mix is said to create trichome-coating molecules that help protect the terpenes from evaporation.
How long do terpene shields last?
How long terpene shields last depends on several factors, including:
- Which type of terpene shield you are using
- How often you open the stash jar
- The size of the terpene shield compared to the amount of cannabis stored or the size of the jar
Typically, terpene shield packets last from two weeks to four months, while the Evergreen Humidification Pod usually lasts about five years with proper use.
Can you reuse a terpene shield?
Most standard terpene shields should not be reused. Once the moisture in the packet is depleted, you can't really recharge it or add more moisture. Therefore, many people prefer reusable options when it comes to humidity control for terpene protection.
The Evergreen two-way humidification pod, for example, can actually be recharged with drinking water. Once the moisture is depleted, you can add water and reuse the pod. This means you can literally get years of use from one pod instead of constantly having to invest in new packets.
How to Store Weed to Preserve Terpenes
Terpenes are sensitive to light, oxygen, moisture, and heat, which are the same threats to watch for with cannabinoids. However, terpenes can be even more sensitive to these threats, which means you will have to be even more vigilant with your storage efforts.
Chemicals found in plastics have been known to degrade terpenes, and single use plastic often ends up in our oceans and landfills, so first and foremost, avoid storing in plastic bags or containers. Store your terpene-rich product in an airtight, glass container like an Evergreen jar. Other tips to remember:
- Keep the storage container at an ambient temperature (around 60-68 degrees F or lower)
- Keep the humidity level between 55 and 65 percent
- Make sure the container has an opaque covering, or is in a dark place with no exposure to sunlight
- Open the container in which your terpenes are stored as infrequently as possible
Note: The more the container is opened, the more the terpenes are exposed to oxygen, temperature and humidity variations.
How long do terpenes last?
Unfortunately, weed doesn't last forever—both cannabinoids and terpenes can and do break down with time. The rate of evaporation or breakdown varies depending on how the terpenes are stored. If you follow all the best storage recommendations for keeping weed fresh, you can fully expect most terpenes in your flower or terpene-rich product to last for about a year.
Other Terpene Storage FAQs
Does salt absorb terpenes?
It is a misconception that humidity control devices made with salt will affect terpenes. Salt incorporated into a humidification device will not degrade the terpenes in your product at all; only work to help protect them by maintaining the appropriate humidity level in your storage container.
What temp destroys terpenes?
Different terpenes can start to deteriorate or evaporate at different temperatures. Some are extremely delicate — some may even evaporate at temperatures as low as 70 degrees. For this reason, it is best to keep terpenes and terpene-rich products stored at room temperature or below.
How to preserve terpenes in your fresh weed?
If you are concerned about protecting the terpenes in cured flower specifically, there are a few added things to remember. For one, make sure to store different weed strains separately. Terpenes can cross over between flower strains, which changes the flavor and aromatics of the plant. This is especially possible when storing weed long-term. Two, handle your stash as little as possible. The delicate trichomes where the terpenes are concentrated are sensitive to the heat and oils transferred from your fingers.
What is a terpene shield?
Terpene Shield is a trademark of Boveda, who make disposable humidity packets that are designed to be used inside a stash jar. The “shield” refers to humidity control, which is key to the protection of your terpenes, as dried out buds tend to lose terpenes quickly.
Protect Weed Terpenes with the Best Storage Solutions
Terpenes mean so much to the experience, whether you are smoking flower or dabbing a terpene-rich concentrate. The best storage solutions and methods ensure the valuable compounds are well-protected, and you have the best experience. Be sure to take a look at our collection of storage and humidity-control solutions at Evergreen.