The secret is in the soil: What is a cannabis terroir and how it works
In recent years, there has been a trend among growers seeking to equate the concept of terroir, known especially in the wine industry, with the emerging cannabis industry. But what does it mean and how can it influence the global cannabis industry?
You don't have to be an experienced farmer or a certified teacher to understand that various factors in a plant's growing environment will have a decisive influence on the nature of the final product.
For thousands of years, regions of the world have earned a good reputation for a particular agricultural culture characterized by unique traits obtained in the local farming environment. Wine is a good model, champagne for example, produced in Champagne in France and exclusively in Champagne to be able to benefit from the name.
Currently, more and more professionals, want to adopt the Terroir concept in the cannabis industry and to determine cannabis strains according to the particular geographical areas in which they grew up. So are we soon going to start using the terms provinces or territories to describe modern cannabis strains? And what are the environmental factors that most influence the chemical profile of cannabis?
Ancient Wisdom Promotes DNA
The term 'terroir' comes from French and means 'earth'. The full meaning means "soil taste" and defines the set of environmental factors that influence the phenotype (expression of certain genetic traits) for an agricultural crop.
This term is mainly used in the wine industry, but today various references to terroir can be found in the cultivation and production of other products such as coffee, tea, maple, olive oil and many more. Moreover.
The term is commonly attributed to the region of Burgundy in France, where from about the XNUMXth century local monks, members of the Benedictine and Cistercian orders who held extensive agricultural lands, used to make large-scale distinctions regarding the effects of different soil types on wine produced. Some legends have even been able to tell that there were monks who tasted the land itself
Thus, for centuries, the idea has developed through the distinction of different characteristics in wines grown and produced in different provinces of the country, or in different vineyards of the same district and sometimes even in different regions of a same vineyard.
Although the term terroir has been attributed to the French since the beginning of the last millennium, winemakers in antiquity have already recognized the fact that each geographical area has the potential to produce a wine with unique characteristics, even in cases where grapes of the same variety are used. Thus, in ancient Greece it was customary to seal the jug of wine with a seal indicating its area of cultivation and production, and over time different regions acquired a reputation attesting to the quality of wine.
Today, the concept of terroir is the basis of French wine naming and which in practice is an example of wine name management systems in the world.
Important differences in the composition of terpenes
It should be noted that there is still controversy in the scientific community regarding the reference to the concept and the question of which elements exactly fall under its somewhat vague definition, but it can be said that there is a general consensus that that various environmental factors can affect not only crop yield but secondary chemical and metabolic profile (such as terpenes and flavonoids(s) agricultural product.
For example, one survey conducted in 2015 by the University of Sokorova in the city of Adana in Turkey, examined the effect of terroir on the cultivation of white grapes of the variety "Muscat Boronova" in three different environments. The results of the study showed significant differences in the composition of terpenes obtained in wines depending on their growing environments.
Similarly, a joint US-Chinese study published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science in 2019 showed how growing the same tea plant in different geographical areas significantly affected the level of terpenes in plants, with some tea plants producing 50% more terpenes from from the same tea bush. plants in the same areas.
The famous terroir of California
In light of these findings, as well as in light of many years of experience in a variety of other agricultural crops, it is likely that the growing environment of the cannabis plant will also have a decisive impact on the product. final.
One of the main advocates for the adoption of the concept of "terroir" in the cultivation of cannabis was the legendary Frenchy Cannoli, deceased Last year. Cannoli advocated the approach that all environmental factors are integral to the characterization of cannabis.
Another proponent of the concept of terroir is Professor John Bershaw of the University of Oregon in the United States, who has conducted a survey in which he grew cuttings of two strains of cannabis in five different types of soil taken from different growing areas in Oregon. Barsho says more research is needed on the subject, but his preliminary findings suggest there is definitely a difference in the chemical makeup of plants depending on the type of soil they were grown in.
In recent years, there has even been a initiative on this issue by cannabis growers in Northern California, the cannabis growing capital of the world. As part of the initiative, called The Mendocino Appellations Project, growers approached the state Department of Agriculture with a request to implement an official cannabis labeling system based on its zone. of specific culture
What constitutes a cannabis trio?
As mentioned, the exact definition of the term trout is still controversial, but if the most salient elements of the concept of agricultural cultivation such as cannabis are to be characterized, the following factors can be mentioned:
- Climate : Temperature and humidity ranges, rains, winds, clouds, etc.
- Salt : The size and composition of soil particles, level of acidity, mineral composition and total organisms present in the soil.
- Line : The height of growth can affect the level of sun exposure, the level of water consumption and the availability of nutrients to the plant. In addition exposure to UV rays has an effect on the production of trichomes in cannabis.
- Topography : Besides the height line of cultivation, there are other topographic features that have an impact, such as cultivation in the mountains, in the valley, on the slope near a natural body of water, etc.
- Environmental organizations : Various animals such as animals, rodents, insects and birds that are near the habitat and defecate in the ground will also cause certain changes in the soil and environment.
- Local traditions and practices : Many people also attribute the concept of trout to traditional practices that have evolved over the years, generation after generation, for the particular farming culture. That is to say, some also consider part of the direct human impact on some of the characteristics of terror.
In one article on the land cannabis, French researcher Dr Pierre-Arnand Chouvy argues that a Moroccan kif produced using the traditional method can be defined as part of the terroir of Morocco's famous reef ridge, but it would not be correct to refer to it because the new extracts produced there in recent years are made using more modern techniques.
As you have probably understood, because the terroirs are characterized by the climate, the type of soil, the topography, it is not possible to determine a "terroir" for the medical cannabis which according to the procedures must be cultivated in a controlled substrate. “Terroir” cannabis can only be used for outdoor or greenhouse cultivation and not for indoor cultivation.