Next time you visit your access point for Cannabis ask for a suggestion and note the answer. What sort of metrics was the answer provided in? Did they suggest a product because of the high THC content? the terpene profile? freshness? appearance? structure? All of these things are relevant but none are entirely telling. Each of them is just one attribute of the product that interacts with many others to create a particular experience. Observing, recording, and presenting an analysis of this 'experience' requires a standardized process. The practice is referred to as organoleptics and it is common for many FDA approved products. Is it fit for shelf? Does it taste like the packaging? Is it fresh? How does it strike the palette?
We visited one of the testing facilities The CPC relies on, Confidence Analytics and discovered a powerful organoleptics tool that is impacting decision making across the market.
The organoleptics sessions are comprised of members from all parts of the industry. When these disparate perspectives sit down to dive into a particular sample of Cannabis the true complexity of the plant arises. Before judging the sample, observations are made about the shape, structure, hairs, trichome distribution, trim/leaves, coloration, reaction to abrasion, and more. Various forms of taste and smell tests are performed with and without combustion of the plant material. The rigorous format helps to focus the attention of the participants and to literally open up the senses to the experience.
The process goes far beyond a simple toke and talk in order to facilitate and record participant feedback. ISO standards are followed, and thematic analysis is applied in the same way any scientist would to turn qualitative feedback into significant and relevant data. The producer of the product gains insights into the quality and condition of their final product far beyond numbers and graphs. Downstream, retailers can use the information to make smart buying decisions and ensure their inventory is well rounded. Most importantly, when you as a consumer ask for a suggestion, you might get a different answer than you expected, and it might come in the form of a question, "What type of experience are you looking for?"
Confidence Analytics continues to host these sessions as more Cannabis producers learn the value of an organoleptic analysis. Regardless of how much attention you give this idea, it will continue to expand it's influence on the market you operate in. As a larger portion of the population begins using Cannabis for some form of palliative care, the subtleties between strains and phenotypes will mean the difference between relief and intoxication. The industry members participating in the sessions leave with a new appreciation for the role sensory experience plays in Cannabis analysis. They are empowered with a tool that can be drawn upon in many different scenarios, and instilled with desire to educate others on the multi-variable nature of "good Cannabis".