Cannabis Cultivation | Growing your own
Have you ever thought to you yourself, why don’t I start my growing my own cannabis? Every year I encourage hundreds of people to grow a cannabis plant. Many people wonder why I would encourage that, they say “Bailey, aren’t you scared they won’t purchase from you if they are growing?” The answer is no, I’m not worried about that. Yes, I do own a dispensary, yes, I would love it if everyone would choose to spend their hard-working dollars with me. But I have always had a bigger goal in mind, and that public service in educating the public about what cannabis really is. Cannabis may be a weed, but it is not an easy one to cultivate.
The Differences between Marijuana and Hemp
The number one topic when it comes to the cannabis plant is educating the public about the difference between marijuana and hemp. Often I’m asked, “Are they not two different plants?” and the short answer is no. They are the same plant, the difference being the types of cannabinoids these plants produce. Marijuana produces larger quantities of the cannabinoid THC, and hemp produces larger quantities of the cannabinoid CBD. THC being the euphoric cannabinoid that we associate the high with and CBD being non euphoric but having many known medicinal properties. Both are difficult to grow if you are aiming for flower that you see in dispensaries. Anyone over the age of 21 years can grow a cannabis plant and in the State of Alaska your legally allowed to grow 6 plants yourself. However, to produce the beautiful buds you see in our shops takes a lot of love, care and knowledge. I think any cannabis consumer should try to grow one themselves so they can truly appreciate what we all offer in our dispensaries, and that labor of love that our amazing cultivators put in.
Female Cannabis Plant is What You Smoke
Another bit of information most consumers don’t realize is that everything they smoke is from the female cannabis plant. Most cultivations will cull male plants as soon as they are identified because they do not want female plants pollenated unless they are for breeding. When a female cannabis plant is pollenated, it switches over form cannabinoid production to seed production. At that point you cease to cultivate what we all love consuming. No one wants to find seeds in their flower, they are heavy and is an indicator that it will be lower testing in cannabinoids.
Many cultivations have what we call clone rooms, where they grow large female mother plants, rather than starting each plant from seed. The cultivators take small cuttings from these mother plants and place them into their growing medium of choice. Cannabis can be grown in soil, water (hydroponics), rock wool, cocoa etc. From here the plants go into what we call the vegetative stage, where they are allowed to mature and prepare for the final stage of growth that we call flowering. When cannabis in its vegetative state the plant is grown under a blue spectrum of light, this promotes plant growth, when the plant is moved to the flowering room the plant is grown under a red spectrum of light as it promotes the flowering. This is in line with what we see in the natural world. Blue spectrum makes its way through our atmosphere in the height of the summer months and as we get to fall the light and the angle of light as it moves through the atmosphere is more in the red spectrum. Many cultivators do as much as they can to mimic our natural seasons to cultivate only the best cannabis flower for you.
Dry Curing Cannabis
Once flowered the cannabis plant is cut down and goes through what we call a dry cure process, slowly the moisture, that if left would cause these buds to mold, is released. Each cultivator has their own way of dry curing their cannabis. Once cured it is ready for our shelves and for you, the consumer, to consume! As with any agricultural product the flower can grow molds. This is why monitoring the humidity and carefully bringing down the moisture content is a process that takes finesse.
The Patience and Horticultural Knowledge to Grow
While there are so much more nuances to the story of cultivating cannabis, this is the basics in a quick nutshell. It is an incredible plant that takes patience and horticultural knowledge to grow what you see in my shop, Green Jar. And remember if you ever have questions feel free to give my shop a call! We love getting into the science of cannabis.
Adjunct Professor UAA
Green Jar | Owner