A revolution is underway at the Emerald Cup in how cannabis excellence is judged. The competition that meets every year to elect the best outdoor organic weeds, and their derivatives, will now use a new classification system that is intended for everyone. Consumers, budtenders, dispensaries, judges or growers will be able to use this system which will universally classify cannabis according to its terpenes, its flavor and its effects.
Abandoning cannabinoid levels alone
Until now, the main indicator of potency and effect was based on THC. However, science has converged to prove that terpenes play a major role in the entourage effect sought by consumers.
However, terpenes, with their unfamiliar names and mysterious effects, have mostly added another layer of confusion for consumers, already complicated by overly broad Indica/Sativa/Hybrid terminology, fancy strain names, THC percentages irrelevant CBD/CBD, and other ambiguous factors that make the process of selecting the best or right strain a less than satisfying ordeal for the most seasoned cannabis connoisseur.
In early 2021, recognizing the early signs of this cultural shift and projecting themselves into the 18th Annual Emerald Cup Awards, co-producers Tim and Taylor Blake assembled a panel of leading experts, scientists and experts. former judges – right down to founder Tim Blake himself – to implement a new terpene sorting system that will serve as the basis for judging the competition.
The 2021-2022 Emerald Cup competition will serve as a proving ground to test a new way of categorizing cannabis flowers. Always seeking to level the playing field and eliminate as much bias as possible in the blind sampling performed by Emerald Cup judges each year, event organizers and their testing partners at SC Labs decided to divide the flower categories based on the chemometrics of each cultivar, better known as “chemovar” – the evolution of the term “dominant terpene”.
The all-new classification system builds on last year’s approach of sorting flowers by their primary terpene content, taking advantage of a decade of combined research into cannabis phytochemistry between PhytoFacts®, developed by Napro Research in 2013, combined with a powerful database of over 250,000 terpene tests and aggregated by SC Labs, dating back to the launch of their cannabis terpene tests in 2013.
The main class names have been chosen to reflect current vocabulary. They are already more or less used in industry and are familiar to dispensaries and consumers. To enhance understanding and adoption, each class is further explained using tasting notes, effects, and common strains or cultivars.
Classes in the Emerald Cup cannabis classification based on PhytoFacts® powered by SC Labs include:
“Jacks + Haze” class
- Mainly ‘Sativa’ oriented strains
- Tasting Notes – Fruity, Pine, Haze
- Effects – Energizing, Cerebral, Artistically Inspiring
- Common cultivars: Classic Trainwreck, Jack Herer, Durban Poison, Super Lemon Haze
- Terpene Profile: Terpinolene, Caryophyllene, Myrcene
“Tropical + Floral” class
- Mainly ‘Indica’ strains
- Tasting notes: sweet, floral, tropical fruit
- Effects – Calming, Soothing, Relaxing
- Common cultivars: Super Skunk, Hawaiian, In the Pines, Dream Queen
- Terpene Profile: Ocimene, Myrcene
“Sweets + Dreams” class
- Mainly “Indica” type varieties
- Tasting Notes – Fruity, Sweet, Woody, Hopped, Herbal
- Effects – Relaxation, Couch Lock, Analgesic
- Common cultivars – Blue Dream, Tangie, Forbidden fruit, Grandaddy Purple, Purple Urkel, Grape Ape, Cherry AK, God’s Gift, Purple Punch
- Terpene Profile: Myrcene, Pinene, Caryophyllene
“OGs + Gas” class
- True “hybrid” grape varieties
- Tasting notes: gas, fuel, sweet, citrus and pepper
- Effect: euphoric, stimulating, analgesic and relaxing
- Common Cultivars: Classic OG Kush, ChemDawg, Sour Diesel, Gorilla Glue
- Terpene Profile: Any changing combination or codominance of Caryophyllene, Limonene, Myrcene
- True hybrid varieties
- Tasting Notes – Deserts, Pasta, Citrus and Spicy
- Effects – Uplifting, racy, uplifting, uplifting
- Common Cultivars – Classic Bubba Kush, GSC, Gelatos, Cakes
- Any change in the codominance of Caryophyllene and Limonene
“Exotic” class (rare combinations of terpenes)
- Truly “hybrid” varieties
- Tasting notes – vary based on weed chemistry
- Effect – varied depending on the chemistry of the herb
- Common cultivars – rarest terpene profiles featured in Emerald Cup competition
The “Dessert” class
The “Tropical and Floral” class
The “Sweet and Dreams” class
The “OG and Gas” class
The “Jack and Haze” class
The “Exotic” class
The system will be used for the first time at the 18th Annual Emerald Cup by four expert judging teams in the Flowers, Pre-rolls, Solventless Concentrates and Hydrocarbon Solvent Extracts categories.
This breakthrough in cannabis classification levels the playing field in the 2022 Emerald Cup competition as well as the competition between brands in the market. With six easy-to-understand classes/names/descriptions, the system aims to become an open and globally recognized cannabis classification solution. Just as in the wine industry, where you don’t judge a Chardonnay against a Merlot, this new system allows varieties with a similar profile to be judged against each other. The California State Fair Cannabis Awardswhich will take place in July 2022, will also use this new classification system.
The 2022 Emerald Cup awards will be presented on May 14 at the Green Street Festival in downtown Los Angeles, California. The deadline to submit cannabis products in one of the 50 different Emerald Cup categories is February 25, 2022.