Is Cannabis Terroir Important?

How Terroir Affects the Quality, Benefits, and Characteristics of Cannabis Strains

Visit any winery in Napa Valley and an expert vintner will proudly describe the unique aromas and taste profiles of their wines. These exclusive qualities and characteristics are known as the wine’s terroir, and they are established by the environment the grape’s are grown in, and the wine maker’s distinct cultivation process.

Cannabis growers and adept medical dispensaries like Abide will jump at the opportunity to discuss their cannabis products and their rare terroirs with the same flourish. Cannabis terroir directly influences the taste, smell, effects, and health benefits every individual strain variety provides. At Abide, our team has vast knowledge on the cannabis terroir of all our products, and takes great care to provide this expert insight to all our patients.

In this guide we look at the importance of cannabis terroir and how it affects your experience.

What is Cannabis Terroir?

Terroir (pronounced “tear-wahr”) is a French term that means “of a place.” The wine-growing regions of France widely adopted the concept of terroir in the middle of the 20th century to authenticate the quality and place of origin for their unique wines.

Similarly, cannabis terroir is like an environmental fingerprint that expresses distinct characteristics and traits the land imparts. Cannabis farmers in California’s Emerald Triangle developed cultivation methods over generations that express the rare terroir of this acclaimed area. However, fragile terroir characteristics can be diluted or erased altogether if not grown or cared for properly, making this expert knowledge invaluable to the heritage of these high-quality cannabis strains.

Cannabis terroir is largely influenced by these specific factors: 

  • Where the cannabis was grown 
  • When the cannabis was grown 
  • A grower’s unique cultivation process
  • How the cannabis plant is harvested

Each factor plays an important role in developing specific characteristics, and qualities, that  patients experience when they consume the final cannabis product.

Terroir and Cannabis Appellations

Northern California’s Emerald Triangle is made up of Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity counties, and is the largest high-end cannabis-producing region in the nation. The microclimates found in this area drastically influences cannabis terroir and produces some of the most notorious strains in the world.

Counterfeit cannabis strains claiming to be from this heralded area are found throughout the nation. Without proper authentication processes there’s no saying if a cannabis strain actually originated from these areas.

In order to protect the reputation of local growers and ensure patients have access to the specific strains they require, a strong movement for a cannabis appellation system is on the rise. This appellation system will certify cannabis product’s authenticity by regulating  the naming, labeling, and otherwise claiming of an area of origin for all legal marijuana products.

There are three characteristics a cannabis strain must adhere to inorder to certify its Appellation of Origin (AO):

  • The cannabis plant was cultivated outdoors
  • The cannabis plant was grown in the ground
  • The cannabis plant must be grown in full sunlight

In other words, any cannabis product grown under artificial circumstances is not allowed to claim an appellation of origin. This ensures the reputation of terroir associated with cannabis grown in the area remains upheld as well.

By instituting cannabis appellations, local growers and medical dispensaries like Abide will be able to provide patients a certified guarantee of the quality and authenticity of  their cannabis products before they buy or consume them. 

How Terroir Affects Cannabis Terpenes

Terpene compounds are found in all organic plant life on earth. From flowers to fine wine, terpenes are responsible for all the flavors and smells of all your favorite (and least favorite) things. All the palatable characteristics you love about your favorite strains are thanks to cannabis terpenes. The earthy taste of Northern Lights, and the tropical scent of Pineapple Kush are the unique terpene compounds these strains produce as it grows. 

Cannabis plants can produce more than 200 different terpenes throughout their growth cycle. In the wild, these automatic oils help attract essential pollinators to the plant while also repelling pests that pose a risk to them.

Cannabis terroir plays a direct role in defining and developing the terpene profile of this medicinal herb. Environmental factors such as temperature fluxuations, sun exposure, altitude,  and soil composition directly affect the types of terpene compounds a cannabis strain produces. 

How Terpenes Influence the Effects of Cannabis Strains

These terpenes aren’t just for the senses. Each terpenoid compound interacts differently with the cannabinoids (THC, CBD, Ect.) found in the strain as well. When they are consumed, they synthesize together and produce specific medicinal benefits that help with things like pain, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, and even seasonal allergies.

The balance and development of each terpene requires a careful understanding of the cannabis terroir to achieve the desired quality product and proper medicinal benefit. Over generations, cannabis growers have developed a deep understanding to the terroir in specific areas, and utilized this knowledge to cultivate strains with specific terpenes profiles like:

  • Limonene (Sweet fruits and Citrus) – helps with stress relief and mood elevation
  • Myrcene (Earthy Spices) – aids in sleep, and muscle relaxation
  • Pinene (Fresh Pine Trees) – Boosts energy and focus
  • Linalool (Florals) – helps manage depression and stress
  • Humulene (Earthy Hops and Spices) – Energy boosting and anti-inflammatory

Discover Cannabis Products With the Top Terroirs in California at Abide Dispensary

At Abide, our goal is to guide our patients through the cannabis selection process and find the relief they’ve been searching for. We work closely with all our cannabis vendors to source certified sun-grown cannabis from some of the rarest appellations in California’s famous Emerald Triangle. 
Visit our new cannabis dispensary in downtown Napa for a personal guide through a selection of high-quality medical cannabis. Or order your favorite strains online for curbside pick-up or same-day local delivery!


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