All posts by bccannabis

Side by Side Grow LED vs HPS

This past year I have had the opportunity to complete several harvests using an LED grow light for the first time, alongside the usual high pressure sodium set up. It was a great learning experience to see how the same strains responded to alternate lighting environments. The first and more obvious trait that differed among the two, was the final yield. Using feminized white widow seeds for both growing environments, I saw a difference of 4.5 ounces of dried flower. Not only was there more weight overall, but there was also a much higher weight per bud. My LED simply could not compare when it came to the main colas produced via the high pressure sodium. While both crops used the same growing medium and nutrients, the wattage on the lights used were not equal. The HPS uses 1000 watts, while the LED puts out 600. There is no doubt that a 1000w LED would have increased my yield to a noticeable degree. However, I know the buds would remain smaller and it still wouldn’t reach those monstrous HPS yields.

Getting a bigger harvest is always an attractive sales pitch to us cultivators, but it certainly isn’t everything. The quality was comparable in both environments and
it would be hard to judge a winner when it comes to potency, flavor, and duration of effects. They would also be hard to distinguish visually had the buds been of a comparable size. Controlling the temperature and minimizing electricity are where the LED lighting systems shine. They don’t generate much heat and are easy to cool a tent or grow area without a bunch of ducting and high powered fans. Your electric bill will hardly notice a difference ( definitely not the case for HPS).

The last difference I would like to mention was noticed while harvesting one day with a friend. We had knocked out the high pressure sodium grow in as few as 3 hours just between the two of us. Yes, there were only 2 plants, but there was a lot of buds. The leaf to bud ratio was low and after pulling the fan leaves the fine trimming was minor. It was great and we both couldn’t believe how fast we had finished in comparison to past grows with high pressure sodiums. A few months later, it was time to cut down the ladies under the purple lights. We had also left an entire afternoon/evening to complete the job. Unbelievably, after 9 hours we still hadn’t finished. There were so many leaves to manicure, and it simply was an extremely tedious process. We finished it the next morning, but in all it took us over 3 times as long as the previous crop! So if you plan on using LED’s to begin or to experiment with I highly suggest consistent manicuring and trimming during the vegetative stage to keep things under relative control before harvest day.
The final decision comes down to performance and budget but either route can lead to beautiful medicine.

Sweetstone Gummy Bear Edibles

If you have a sweet tooth and love shoveling down gummy bears one after another, you should be extra careful when dealing with Sweetstone’s edibles.  I haven’t written any articles about any other brand of edibles and there is a reason for that.  No other medicine in oral form has delivered a comparable potency in my personal experience.  My own experiences with edibles have been extremely disappointing overall as I’ve spent tons of money on different varieties of products with either little to no effect.  The gummy bears from Sweestone has been a far different story.  These were the first edible I ever felt and I immediately fell in love with the overwhelming effects of a 11-Hydroxy-THC high.  I’m not even going to lie about it I ate these things in excess when I first discovered them.  It was like discovering weed again in a way for the first time.  For the first time ever I could consume cannabis in a stealthy manner and be higher then ever for hours at a time.

In my case, I would eat the entire thing which according to the labeling was 100mg of thc.  I think they are underestimating, but again that’s only being based on comparisons of other brands I have tried in the past with similar or higher thc content.  For people new to edibles or smoking, I would not even eat more than a leg to be honest.  It is likely it will not be enjoyable if you are exposed to more than that.  Even for those who consume a decent amount of cannabis, I would start with half and wait at least an hour.  Sometimes the full effects don’t hit for 2 whole hours though, so play it safe the first time and take less then you think you can handle.  There is also a variety of flavors to choose from with cotton candy being my personal favorite.  While the flavoring helps somewhat to cover the overwhelming taste of strong cannabis oil, it is definitely noticeable.  I guess at least you know it’s in there right?  That would be the one negative that you should be prepared for when it comes time to eat them.  (Also they do make me pretty tired, probably because I’m eating the whole thing).  I have had edibles that tasted far worse though. so they are still killing it in my book.  While the company is headquartered somewhere in California, they might be stocked at your local dispensary.  That is where I find mine, and Cali is a long drive from the Midwest.

So give them a try, they’re the only edible I recommend to both those using it medicinally and those trying to relax and have a good time.

 

 

 

Cannabis Drying Technique

In order to grow the best quality medicine, you need to have an understanding of the techniques growers have been using for decades to dry their harvests.  Nobody wants to put 3 plus months of effort and investment into a beautiful crop that will not burn or taste right due to poor drying technique.  There is far too much at stake to rush the process or not research what methods work best for your precious flowers.  Just like the cultivation process, there are many different ways to accomplish positive results.  Whether you decide to whole plant dry, trim when you harvest, or some sort of combination, with the right technique the drying stage will go smoothly and you’ll be left with some top shelf buds that are ready to cure.

The method that has brought the most pleasing results to my harvests, is to trim each branch as you go before placing them on hangers.  This is my favorite method because not only has it brought great results, but it makes the trimming process easier as leaves and stems are easier to remove when the plant is fresh.   Once all the small leaves harden and dry up into the buds, it becomes very difficult to get stems without removing parts of the flowers as well.  When you are dealing with large yields, trimming is enough work on its own so there is no reason to make the process more tedious then it has to be.

In the drying area your nipples should be hard because you’ll need a cool dark and well ventilated space.  It is definitely important to have a fan circulating the air around the buds but you do not want to have the fan blowing directly on them.  The buds will dry up much faster and have the potential of being too crispy and breaking up into dust when you grind it.   In these environmental conditions the drying stage should take around 4-5 days.  Another good way to verify that they are actually ready to begin curing is to break one of the branches.  If it snaps clean then it’s already too dry and you left them hanging too long but if you break it and it fractures slightly without much resistance that’s the sweet spot.  Getting it down inside the correct time frame is so key because curing too early leaves the possibility of molding out your due to trapped moisture.  Taking them down too late will also make buds lose the sticky feel connoisseurs are looking for.

Timing and using your best judgement on buds appearance/feel is essential to maximizing your product’s potential.  I don’t think people weigh the importance of the drying stage and treat it as a minimal stage in the cultivation process instead of a determining one.  While the method of drying can change, the drying environment can not so don’t settle for using drying racks or not properly controlling/ventilating the designated drying space.  I truly wonder how much of the lower shelf medicine available was actually grown professionally but ended up how it did due to poor processing techniques.

 

Getting Involed in Disc Golf

Sports have been an interest of mine my entire life.  Mostly as a result of being encouraged to stay active from a young age.  Competing athletically has always been very enjoyable for me and I was a part of numerous sports teams throughout high school including baseball, cross country, and basketball.  Taking sports seriously and putting hours in every day to improve your skills is awesome and rewarding, but at the same time it can be too time consuming.  Once high school ended, I gave up my athletic career to study business management and begin working to cover my financial responsibilities. It wasn’t until I was working my way through college I discovered disc golf, and I couldn’t believe I had never paid any attention to it before.

I was introduced from a coworker who had constantly been talking about how he recently got into frisbee golf and how it’s pretty much the most chill sport ever.  The laid back pace was compared to regular golf but he said it’s superior because it requires much less patience and skill while being nearly as rewarding.  He offered that we hit up one of the local courses sometime so I could see what it was all about.  I didn’t have my own disc set at the time, so I took responsibility of supplying the weed for the day instead.

It didn’t take more then a few holes to get in a groove and expand my range with the disc.  Everybody has played frisbee at some point in there life but the discs for disc golf are much smaller in diameter and heavier then traditional frisbees.  After adjusting to the learning curve, I became addicted to the sport rather quickly.  It’s just the perfect sport for smoking because it’s slow paced and there isn’t any running or strenuous activity, only some walking.  In addition, most courses are secluded in the woods and are perfect for lighting up without drawing a bunch of attention.  These courses were built with smokers in mind!  Although you shouldn’t really have to hide your marijuana use from all the other stoners that are on the course doing the same thing.

I believe that playing disc golf is so enjoyable for me personally because it combines 3 of my favorite things in life into one activity.  Being out in nature, smoking weed, and competing with friends are usually all separate activities.  But to be able experience them all in one great activity is always something to look forward to.  There is just this certain peaceful vibe that you can’t get out on the court or baseball diamond.  It’s the simplicity of taking turns throwing a disc into the chained basket.  There are no complex rules or thinking required, it’s just all throwing technique.  When you have to focus on a million things, using marijuana isn’t always the best route.  However with disc golf it’s the opposite and you might even find yourself forgetting the score.  Nowadays I probably play disc golf more than I do any other sport.  I never thought that being a part of the cannabis culture would result in me discovering a new favorite activity.  It’s just one of the million things that I’ve realized go hand in hand with cannabis.

 

Using Tents vs. an Open Grow Room

One of the many decisions that you will have to make as a cannabis cultivator is how exactly you want to use the available space at your disposal.  If you have a bedroom or basement that can be transformed into a cultivation facility, should you purchase and put up a bunch of separate tents or just use the space as it is?  I would like to say that it’s a straightforward answer and everyone should be using tents but like most things in life each option has it’s benefits.

To start off, lets go over why I have used grow tents in all of my medical marijuana grows.  In my situation space has always been a constraint when it comes to producing the amount of plants that I would like to.  If you only have one room that you can dedicate to your garden there is no reason why you shouldn’t be using tents unless you’re really short on cash for equipment.  By adding tents you can have multiple stages of growth going on all contained and controlled separately.  This is a huge advantage because if you have grown cannabis in the past you know it takes a minimum of 3 months for the entire process from plant to harvest.  If you didn’t buy any tents and didn’t go through all the work of separating your room into a bunch of individual sections, your entire garden will be in the same growth stage.  To trigger flowering requires that there is only 12 hours of light per day, so if you want to have different growth stages you have to block the light from entering the flowering area.  In this business it’s all about the turnaround and if you can have another tent right behind your flowering one, there will be many more harvests in the same amount of time.

Tents are great for more then just separating the light cycles from the different areas of growth.  They also make containing the scent of your buds much more manageable than an open room full of skunky scents.  Adding a carbon filter to the air that is trapped inside will make it near impossible for uncleaned air to exit the tent.  In addition, all tents that I have installed also have hanging poles on the top making it easy to hang fans, lights, and carbon filters without any extra equipment.

If tents are so great then why do so many people still opt to go with the open grow room?  The most likely scenario where you would see rooms with no tents is in warehouses full of 5,000-10,000 plants.  If you are going to be producing on a large scale then using tents is going to be a waste of resources and just more unnecessary costs that you don’t need.  People that have multiple rooms can do the same separation I spoke of before, but on a much larger scale and without tents.  Rooms can be climate controlled just as easy as a tent so that is not an issue either.  When it comes to smell, the warehouse cultivation centers in recreational states don’t have to worry as much as most home growers with neighbors.  Hanging all your equipment and keeping plants of different heights at the appropriate distance from lighting will just take some extra creative designing on your part but still makes much more sense than installing a bunch of separate tents.

For those that grow on a small to medium sized scale at home,  I would highly suggest using tents to get the most money out of the same amount of time.  There is no doubt in my mind that it’s possible to grow high quality buds without containing your grow inside tents, but at the end of the day you might just have less bud and a stinky house.

 

 

 

Mexico Legalizes Medical Marijuana

The President of Mexico, Enrique Peña on Monday had made a decree stating that cannabis is now legal to use for medical purposes in the country.  It’s surprising, and this seems to be the opposite approach to what he has had in the past.  This comes after a landslide victory for the same bill in April of this year in the lower house in parliament and this momentum seems to have something to do with the president taking action.

Products made and sold will have to contain less than 1% THC or lower currently. However cannabis cultivation of the whole plant for scientific or medical purposes will not be a punishable crime.  Which is very important language luckily that was added to the proposal.  I hope in the future both raw cannabis and extracts with high percentages of THC and CBD are available by purchase like we have in the states so they also can have safe reliable access.  Within the next couple weeks the Health Ministry will be establishing guidelines and regulations for this brand new medical marijuana movement.

Like anywhere Mexico has plenty of people suffering from a number of severe and minor aliments that could be treated by this plant.  Many of these conditions need all the chemicals that the entire natural plant produces and this most definitely includes THC. To try and reduce the amount of this important chemical is almost defeating the point of using the medicine in the first place.  Yet, this is still an important move because it is a clear signal from the government that the people and legislature can’t be ignored for long.  As we hear more about exactly what patients are allowed to possess and their rights, we’ll get a better idea on how Mexico plans to treat the thousands of suffering people who are looking for a natural alternative to harmful medications.

Dealing with Tolerance

Any seasoned smoker will tell you that cannabis produces noticeably milder effects when you use it too often.  For some people their tolerance takes much longer for it to increase and they receive the full effects of cannabis even when using it consistently.  I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’re wishing that person was you.  However, there is something that you can do about it and you don’t have to stop using weed for long periods of time.

The best way to approach a high tolerance is the next time you want to indulge, just use far less then what the your normal routine is.  So if you normally smoke an entire joint at a time then next time you smoke just smoke a quarter of the joint and put it down.  Time is your enemy when it comes to lowering your tolerance and if you wait even just a few hours before re dosing this will definitely help increase the intensity of your medicine.  Don’t get me wrong, nothing is better then just stopping completely for a few days to a few weeks when it comes to resetting tolerance. At the same time,  you would be surprised with what using less each time and consuming it fewer times then normal will do after a while.  Pretty soon that small amount will get you feeling just as high if not higher than the whole joint did back when you were smoking all day long.

For those of us that like to use the concentrates regularly just switching back to flowers will also work wonders.  Hitting the rig after a week wax break will have you floating away again after you cough out a lung or two.  Switch up your methods of consumption from using your heady piece to rolling up some joints etc.  Repetition is what can make a valuable experience mediocre and something new always seems to have an added effect.  Even changing up the location or the activity you usually end up doing can make a big difference.   There are so many things you can do without quitting completely to strengthen the effects of cannabis.  The rule of thumb is to change up your routine and dosage and taking occasional breaks to reset the mind.