Green plant cells with a yellow barrier separating the cells from the sun

How Do Cannabis Plants Change in the Summer?

Like any other agricultural crop, cannabis plants are grown in cultivation centers where they are cared for and monitored by expert botanists. But these plants are still ruled by Mother Nature, which means there are seasonal fluctuations that technology cannot change.

So does that mean cannabis plants react to seasonal changes just like other plants? The short answer is yes!

Terpenes = Cannabis Sunscreen

Cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabidiol (CBD), are only slightly impacted by seasonal changes. That means THC content - the compound that gives cannabis its psychoactive properties - remains relatively stable in the summer. The main components of the cannabis plant that vary by season are the terpenes, secreted from the same glands that produce cannabinoids.

When the plant is exposed to the bright, white light of the late spring and summer months, it will become stressed and try to defend itself from the UV rays. In exposing cannabis plants to full sun in the summer, they will produce the maximum level of terpenes, which can be much higher than that of the late fall and winter months.

Terpenes are found in just about every plant, giving fruits, vegetables, and flowers their robust fragrances. The same can be said for the cannabis plant and the flowers it produces. That means during the summer months, the flower from the cannabis plant - the buds that you smoke - have higher levels of terpenes.

More Terpenes Means Stronger Impact

It’s a common misconception that the higher the THC, the better the experience. A true cannabis connoisseur knows that terpenes are what really sets a product apart from the others. Think of cannabinoids (e.g. THC) as a boat and terpenes as the rudder that steers the compounds toward a desired effect. This combination of cannabinoids and terpenes - known as the Entourage Effect - is what gives cannabis products their unique experience.

Items like vapes, edibles, and tinctures have a set level of cannabinoids and terpenes, which means they remain consistent all year long. Marijuana flower, on the other hand, is more like any other seasonal plant -- we can only control it up to a point because Mother Nature is still in charge.

Recreational cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Ohio and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and certified patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.