Hypermetrics: Developing a Modern Cannabis Aroma Lexicon

December 7, 2023

As we all know, consumers are making many conscious and subconscious decisions when they decide to purchase, and more importantly, re-purchase a product that fits their personal preferences. The opportunity to use new tools to tap into, and influence, these purchasing decisions will be a major differentiator for truly great brands.

There is currently a significant gap in how the industry describes and communicates aroma. With this research, we present a comprehensive sensory evaluation of cured cannabis flower and the first steps towards the development of a robust framework to accurately characterize aroma profiles. To the best of our knowledge, this study presents the first published cannabis aroma wheel developed using methodology derived from the field of food science and validated by trained human panelists.

A few key points:

A comprehensive and reliable tool is needed for new and experienced cannabis users to navigate and describe the complex aromatic profiles of cannabis products.

Citrus, tropical, and floral type odors yield higher liking scores, whereas certain biological, packaging and agricultural odors may penalize liking.

In addition to traditional food aromas, nature, materials, and urban-type aromas contribute significantly to cannabis aroma character and their inclusion in the lexicon enables more adequate characterization.

Terpene % based aroma descriptions are a fallacy, and are typically marketed with a narrow vocabulary or lexicon. There is opportunity in tapping into the complexity and depth of the consumer olfactory, with terminology they can experience to be true.

Our goal is for this information to be used by brands to help consumers in calculating their “value equation”. Understanding and catering to their preferences with a more transparent and accessible aroma description system may be the first step. How this happens will also undoubtedly require change, collaboration, and the desire for product differentiation.

We’d love for you to check it out, and share your thoughts and perspectives with us and your peers. You can read the paper here.

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