Follow all your senses to choose the perfect medical marijuana strain

Partner Content

When selecting the best strain of medical marijuana flower to meet your needs, there are several factors at play. THC content has long been considered of paramount importance; however, the terpene profile should perhaps be of even more significant consideration.

“A lot of people base their decisions on THC potency, but this is a flawed and outdated way of looking at this plant,” explained Morgan McGovern, cultivation manager at the Sinse Cannabis production facility on Cherokee Street. “People sometimes get tripped up because they’ll see a strain with 15% THC that looks and smells phenomenal, but they’ll choose a different strain that doesn’t look or smell as good because it has a higher THC percentage. People on the THC chase end up missing out on this entire world of cannabis. The strains I underestimate are usually the ones I end up liking the most.”

While the THC content does play a part in the way a strain makes you feel, the effects are more determined by terpenes, which are scent molecules found in cannabis, as well as other plants.

Swade Dispensary, with five locations across the St. Louis area, currently offers over 30 strains of Sinse cannabis, each with unique terpene profiles. “Aromas that are pleasing to your palate tend to provide the optimal effects you’re looking for; if you don’t like the way a strain smells, it’s probably not the best option for you,” said Laura “Lobo” Conley, general manager of Swade’s Delmar Loop location. “Strains higher in citrusy scents are going to provide more energizing effects while the diesel scents are more calming.”

Unlike many dispensaries, Swade provides terpene data for each strain in order of dominance, and the experts at each dispensary can help you determine which terpene profiles will best suit you. At each location’s bud bar, you can view the cannabis under bright lights, read about its cannabinoid and terpene content, and smell the flower to determine what appeals to your senses.

Swade also has mastered a highly involved harvesting process to perfectly preserve the terpenes, as well as coveted cannabinoids like THC and CBD. “In order to maximize the preservation of terpenes, it’s crucial to have the exact right amount of dryness when harvesting,” McGovern said. “If you dry too quickly, you get that hay smell where it doesn’t smell like cannabis anymore. And if you take too long to dry, you get that mildew-y, wet dog smell. There’s a sweet spot to dry just fast enough, but it’s a fine line maintaining that terpene profile.”

At the Sinse cultivation facilities, once plants are cut down, they are hung up to dry as whole plants, rather than cut into individual branches, allowing for the highest quality buds possible. “Missouri is very humid, so you have to watch it carefully. If it takes too long to dry, you risk it molding,” McGovern said. “In our curing room, we keep it around 60% humidity and 65 degrees. Plants should take about 14 days to be at optimal dryness. We’ve definitely got the harvesting process down to a science.”

For more information, visit

This advertisement is intended only for Missouri medical marijuana patients. Medical decisions should not be made based on advertising. Consult a physician on the benefits and risks of particular medical marijuana products.