WHAT STATES ALLOW CULTIVATION OF CANNABIS?

Cannabis laws around the U.S. are taking shape and finally starting to see positive reform. Thankfully some political leaders in some states are starting to realize the importance that cannabis holds for society in general.

Through the perseverance of education, and by sharing factual knowledge and information, minds are being changed on a continual basis. The following are the laws as they were written as of September 21, 2016. Unfortunately, some of these laws have changed for the worse while only a few have changed for the better.

This shows the importance of spreading factual information so that people are allowed to make informed decisions on their own and not believe the propaganda that is still being spread by political leaders in the pockets of private special interest groups.

Here are the laws state-by-state that allow cannabis beyond the form of just CBD.

Alaska Ballot Measure 8 was passed in 1998 by 58% of voters, allowing for one ounce of usable cannabis and 6 plants. Adults can legally cultivate 3 mature and 3 immature plants at any given time.

Arizona passed Proposition 203 in 2010 with 50.13% of the vote, allowing for 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis and up to 12 plants to be cultivated at home by medical marijuana patients.

California passed Proposition 215 in 1996 by 56% of voters allowing for 8 ounces of usable cannabis. Proposition 215 allows MMJ patients to grow six mature plants or 12 immature plants at one time.

Colorado passed Ballot Amendment 20 in 2000 and Amendment 64 in 2012. These allow for adults (patients or not) to grow 6 plants, with three being mature and three immature at any given time.

Connecticut passed House Bill 5389 in 2012, allowing for 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis but has no growing laws in place for patients.

Delaware passed Senate Bill 17 in 2011, allowing for 6 ounces of usable cannabis but has no laws in place allowing patients to grow cannabis.

Hawaii passed Senate Bill 862 in 2000 allowing for 4 ounces of usable cannabis. Medical marijuana patients are allowed to grow 7 plants.

Illinois passed House Bill 1 in 2013, allowing for patients to possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis which should be used within a 14-day period. There are currently no laws allowing MMJ patients to grow cannabis.

Maine passed Ballot Question 2 in 1999, allowing MMJ patients to possess 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis. Adult patients are also allowed to grow 6 plants.

Maryland passed House Bill 881 in 2014, allowing for patients to possess a 30-day supply with an amount to be determined. They currently have no laws in place allowing patients to grow cannabis.

Massachusetts passed Ballot Question 3 by 63% of voters in 2012, allowing for a 60-day supply of up to 10 ounces for personal medical use. They currently have no laws in place allowing adult patients to grow cannabis.

Michigan passed Proposal 1 in 2008 with 63% of voter’s support. This allowed for 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis. Adult patients are allowed to grow 12 plants.

Montana passed initiative 148 in 2004, allowing for one ounce of usable cannabis. Adults are allowed to grow 4 plants to maturity and have 12 seedlings at any time.

Nevada passed Ballot Question # 9 by 65% of voters in 2000 allowing for 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis. Adult patients are allowed to grow up to 12 plants.

New Hampshire passed House Bill 573 in 2013, allowing for 2 ounces of usable cannabis during a 10-day period. New Hampshire currently does not have laws allowing patients to grow cannabis.

New Jersey passed Senate Bill 119 in 2010, allowing adults to have two ounces of usable cannabis. They currently have no laws allowing adult patients to grow cannabis.

New Mexico passed Senate Bill 523 in 2007, allowing six ounces of usable cannabis for patients. Adult patients are allowed to have 16 plants with 4 mature plants and 12 immature plants at any one time.

New York passed assembly bill 6357 in 2014, allowing for a 30-day supply of nonsmokable marijuana. New York currently does not have any laws allowing patients to grow cannabis.

Ohio passed House Bill 523 in 2016, allowing for a maximum of a 90-day supply of cannabis with the amount to be determined. Ohio currently does not have laws in place allowing patients to grow cannabis.

Oregon passed Ballot Measure 67 in 1998 and Measure 91 in 2014. These allow for patients to grow 6 mature and 18 immature plants, and for recreational consumers over the age of 21 to cultivate 4 plants in one residence.

Pennsylvania passed Senate Bill 3 in 2016, allowing for a 30-day supply of cannabis. Pennsylvania currently does not have laws in place allowing patients to grow cannabis.

Rhode Island passed Senate Bill 0710, allowing for patients to possess 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis. Adult medical marijuana patients in Rhode Island are allowed to grow 12 plants at any one time.

Vermont passed Senate Bill 76 in 2004, allowing for patients to possess 2 ounces of usable cannabis. Adult patients are allowed to grow 9 plants at any one time with two being mature and seven being immature.

Washington State passed Initiative 692 in 1998 for medical purposes and Initiative 502 in 2012. MMJ patients in Washington State are allowed to grow up to 15 plants at one time however recreational consumers are not allowed to cultivate their own.

SAVE TIME AND MONEY WITH THC/CBD RATIO TESTING

By Leah Braggs

THC:CBD ratio testing is a new offering that has been popping up at analytical laboratories across the country over the last few years and saving growers serious time and money in the process. Imagine the electricity, soil, money and not to mention 8-10 weeks of flowering-time to determine if a particular strain suits your mission.

Well those days are over thanks to science– chemists are finding that a cannabis strain’s ratio of THC to CBD stays relatively similar throughout the life of the plant. Ratios are not always precisely the same in all strains, but the variances are small enough that a CBD focused horticulturalist can submit early leaf material from several new potential varieties and find out which one is scientifically more likely to produce the CBD’s they desire.

Beyond the ratios, Phylos Bioscience in Portland, Oregon offers a genotype test, resulting in a detailed report highlighting heritage and relationship data for each sample you submit, along with a time-stamped certificate.

You also receive a digital ID card to share with your customers via your website and social media, which links to the Phylos Galaxy, a 3D visualization of cannabis strains utilizing DNA sequence data to map the relationships between cannabis varieties and shows the position of your sample based on its genetic relationship to every other sample in their database.

The galaxy is truly amazing and can be seen online at: phylosbioscience.com/the-phylos-galaxy

TAKING THE CONFUSION OUT OF CANNABIS GENETICS

By Amari Emani

Basically, when it comes to landrace cannabis, it could be described as a strain of cannabis that grows wild. It also refers to an isolated subspecies of a cannabis strain that is specific to a geographic region. When you have an understanding of the history of a plant’s genetic profile, you gain insight into the particular climates and zones in which that plant will thrive outdoors. This will help you select varieties of cannabis most suitable for growing in your garden or crop. Once you have isolated landrace strains suitable for your geographic location, then from there you can choose those strains most likely to deliver the balanced flowers you desire.

Cannabis Ruderalis is a particular type of cannabis that comes from areas such as Siberia, Eastern Europe, and the Himalayas. These are often small plants that are adaptable to weather in climates that can be best described as harsh. They do not pack a punch with potency for smokers looking to get baked, but have their own unique niche with breeders, and increasingly in the laboratory.

Cannabis Indica is a variety of cannabis that traces back to India, Pakistan, and the mountains located in Afghanistan. A typical Indica plant will grow an average of 4-6 feet while having wide leaflets. They’re also known for taking a shorter period of time for the flower to mature. Often skunky even musky aromas are associated with cannabis indica strains. These strains are suitable for growing in temperate climates. Strains such as Hindu Kush, Blueberry, and Northern Lights are among some of the favorite strains of cannabis indica amongst breeders, growers, and consumers alike.

Cannabis Sativa is said to come from Asia Minor, Asia, and North Africa. This particular type of cannabis plant has been a favorite of many for quite some time. Strains such as Acapulco Gold and the notorious Thai stick were born from Sativa varieties of cannabis. Sativas thrive in tropical climates that have more sunlight and longer summer months. These plants normally grow very tall reaching up to 20 feet in height with slender leaves. The flowers are known to take longer to mature on sativa. They are often associated with having floral and fruity aromas rather than the skunky tones of their indica counterparts.

Now you have the basic insight to the three most common types of cannabis growing around the world today. With a little research, this will help you determine what type of crop or garden is best suitable for you to grow based on your environment and condition.

STRATEGIES FOR IMITATING THE SUN CROSSING THE HORIZON

By Chris Gifford

To imitate nature is something man has always tried to achieve. Growing indoor is an example of the never-ending battle to achieve this task. There are many things in nature that people have tried to mimic growing indoor. We will be focusing on the benefits of imitating the sun crossing the horizon.

Growing indoor, when you change from eighteen hours of light a day to twelve hours of light a day induces flowering, taking your plants out of the “veg” stage. In nature the days become shorter after the summer solstice passes and you get closer to fall, this is when the female plant will begin flowering.

Every morning the sun rises in the east and the sun sets in the west, crossing the horizon and evenly lighting the landscape. Light tracks are one efficient and cost-effective technique that some people take advantage of as a way to spread the light throughout their room evenly. People have found that it makes their plants more symmetrical and even in growth and that they can cover up to 20% more canopy.

All strains will vary in results but doing a mono crop will make it easier for you to see the results in a shorter amount of time. Similar length, width, and height will be achieved. One of the other methods used for imitating the sun crossing the horizon is “the checker board method” witch would be to set the timers to half of your lights on for the first 1/3 of the day, all lights on for the middle 1/3 and the other half of the lights on for the remaining 1/3 of the daylight in a checker board pattern.

Most people “veg” their plants under t5’s or metal halide’s and flower under high pressure sodium. The checker board method is a good way of weaning your plants into a different spectrum of light without stressing them out.

After about 2-3 weeks it’s recommended to have all of your lights on in the room and to have the proper amount of lumens per square foot to ensure full, healthy, dense flowers. Essentially achieving the same thing a light track is doing by spreading light in concentrated areas throughout the room without using a motor, using less lumens and therefore saving money.

Something that is also recommended if you want to grow even, symmetrical plants is to turn your plants 180 degrees every time you water on both track and checker board methods. This will ensure even light penetration throughout the plant and give light to bud sites that would otherwise not have seen the light of “day.”

Over all, there are many opinions, many different strategies, but I have always believed that if you find something that works for you, something that you see results with, go for it. Don’t let hearsay keep you from trying new things. Every day people are developing new, more cost-effective, more efficient techniques and technology to grow cannabis that we should all be excited to see in the future.

TIPS FOR LOW STRESS CANNABIS TRANSPLANTING

By Sophia Ruiz

Whether you are a beginner, a novice, or a master grower, there are some basic tips you’ll want to know when it comes time for transplanting cannabis. Moving a plant from one pot to another is one of the most dangerous times of the plant’s life–a time when carelessness and mistakes translate directly into unnecessary stress, potentially stunting growth or even causing plants to become hermaphrodites or worst case scenario, die.

Stress can cause all kinds of unnecessary and unwanted harm to your plants and should always be avoided. Try to handle the moist, not soaked, plant-bed as little as possible when transplanting. Make this process as painless as possible for you and your plant/ plants. Before you even start, assess the size of the planter you will be using. Be sure it is large enough for your root system ultimately. Read your plant and it’s roots’ body language, and consider root growth over the time it has been vegetating and then consider how much time remains in your plant’s life (continued veg. time + flowering time) and choose your finish pots accordingly–bigger pots cost more to fill and so save your cash for tactics that are guaranteed to fruit better flowers. A large pot or soil volume will not necessarily give you a better or bigger yield, however a pot that’s too small will certainly stunt your plant’s growth.

That said, I’ve seen monster plants fruit monster colas from 20 litre (5.28 gallon) airpots, and I’ve seen outdoor master gardeners that swear they use every cubic inch of 500 gallon pots each season. Not to mention the hydro I have seen that defies logic–trichome jungles from root balls in some of the most confined reservoirs. It’s surprise value across the board, so I encourage you to experiment and see which methods and which of all the mediums and pots available fruit the best results for your venture. Don’t forget to share your results with us.

If you are transplanting from traditional pots or cups, put your hand over the soil surface with the stalk between your middle fingers and with your other hand grab the bottom of the pot and gingerly turn it upside-down, freeing the root ball and dirt clump from the pot. This may take some gentle force and don’t be alarmed if some of your soil chunks off, simply continue to the new pot and cover the exposed roots immediately. We’ve recently had the chance to experiment with some airpots in our research garden and among other attributes, these funky looking pots make transplanting a snap, literally just unsnap the old pot and unfurl it from the medium–the easiest safest way to transplant.

If your roots are bound up against the edge of the pot, gingerly pull them apart and in extreme cases cut some of the roots loose to promote new, lateral root growth. When you are transferring your plants from a smaller pot to a larger planter, it’s a good idea to stake your plants. You do this, so they have a little stability until their stalk and roots strengthen.

One of the most important things to remember when transplanting is to water immediately upon replanting your cannabis plant. Avoid transplanting plants in direct sunlight when possible, cannabis roots are not fond of UV rays. These are just some basic simple tips to help you when it comes time to upsize your beds.

By Gooey Rabinski

Labeled by master gardeners as the most common–and potentially costly–threat facing modern cannabis cultivation is the common mite. Indoor or out (they are especially troublesome in greenhouses), the problem is the same: Mites are ever-ready to pounce on your pot plants.

The extreme commonality of mites in cannabis gardens means that all cultivators and farmers must be ever vigilant. The goal is to stop any threat before significant damage is caused to one’s harvest–along with decreased production volumes.

In gardens suffering an existing infestation, the sole option is obviously an eradication strategy that preserves as many plants as possible.

DETECTING MITES

Mites typically appear during hot, dry conditions. Infestations advance quickly, often taking cultivators by surprise. Unfortunately, abundant use of synthetic fertilizers has killed many of the natural predators of mites.

Their extremely small size makes mites difficult to detect during casual garden inspections. A magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe is necessary to properly detect this microscopic menace, especially smaller species.

The most common variety, the spider mite, damages plants by piercing leaf tissue and feeding on fluids and resin. Evidence of feeding includes leaves featuring light yellow spots which, if untreated, will turn fully yellow or brown and fall from the plant.

A fine webbing on plants indicates a large colony of spider mites and a severe infestation. Routine inspections, if performed thoroughly, are an opportunity to detect these pests before they wreak extensive damage. Unfortunately, the much smaller russet mite leaves no such webbing, making it significantly more difficult to detect.

ERADICATING MITES

Any cannabis cultivator will eventually encounter a mite infestation of one severity or another. When evidence of mites is first detected, quick action is necessary to prevent rapid expansion.

Novice farmers, at the first sign of an infestation, often panic and are tempted to apply synthetic pesticides to their plants. Unfortunately, this approach can be counter- productive for multiple reasons.

First, synthetic pesticides kill beneficial predator insects, meaning they can, ironically, result in the spread of an infestation. Second, mites have shown a tendency to develop a quick resistance to many common pesticides. Thus, the best approach to the treatment of mites is one involving organic methods.

One strategy for heavy mite infestations is the use of a soap spray or an organic pesticide to decrease the mite population–after which predator insects are employed to fully rid the garden of intruders. Predator bugs offer the additional benefit of helping prevent future infestations.

PESTS PREVENTION TACTICS

Mite infestation can occur from many sources, including unsealed grow rooms, human clothing, pets, and even dirty equipment. Ensuring the cleanliness of grow environments and greenhouses–and those working in them–is important to minimizing a garden’s exposure to attack.

In addition to cleanliness, one of the most effective means by which to prevent mite attacks is the introduction of predatory insects. These include praying mantises, ladybugs (which also munch on aphids, another common pest to cannabis plants), and predatory mites (like the persimilis variety, which gorges on spider mites).

Among the most effective commercially available predator varieties is the western predatory mite, which is most helpful in dry, hot conditions. The western predatory mite, including similar species, are advantageous because they do not feed on cannabis plants; if damaging mites aren’t available for a quick meal, it will either die or migrate to another food source.

By John Ragozzino

My first glimpse of an aeroponic cannabis grow came as a young red-eyed University of Oregon student, and I was immediately intrigued. What I saw amazed me, marijuana plants growing with no dirt or medium whatsoever.

Even though I had never grown cannabis back in 2001 when I first visited this aeroponic grow, I had certainly consumed a fair amount of it and was immersed in the lifestyle. A number of my friends were growers so I had seen their soil grows, some hydro set ups, and I had even visited some commercial cannabis grows while visiting family in California’s medical marijuana industry.

Not knowing what it was at the time, I was looking at a fairly primitive low-pressure aeroponics system (LPA). The system was comprised of a white reservoir with six plant sites holding 2’ tall cannabis plants in their vegetative stage. Pure white roots were dangling into a chamber being held by nothing but a neoprene collar in a small net cup. Tiny sprayers intermittently coming on and off, it was like no other grow I had ever witnessed. I was amazed by the cleanliness of the growing environment, and the quality of the buds that were produced by this system.

The somewhat nerdy looking dude messing with a controller of some kind told me all about aeroponics, which I was far too high to grasp at the time, but what I took away from it was a determination to one day try my hand at aero. Fast forward a couple years, I had suffered a major back injury and started using cannabis medically more than recreationally, and I knew I needed to start growing my own medicine. I dabbled with soil, hydro grows, and even aquaponics, but each of these growing experiences were riddled with problems: from pests, to root rot, to my medicine flat out tasting like fish shit. I knew it was time to set up my own aeroponics system, so after a lot of research I dove head first into aeroponics.

Here we are after 12 years of running strictly aeroponic systems from clone all the way through flower, and I can honestly say that I have been pest free since the day I plunged into aero. In my humble opinion, grow mediums of any kind whether they are soil, coco, pellets, or cubes are a completely unnecessary expense. They serve no purpose except for a place for pests to breed. I know that I just “stirred the pot” with all you dirt lovers, and I’ll admit that soil has its finishing advantages.

Some of the best tasting buds I’ve ever smoked were grown in soil, but my personal favorites were all grown using aeroponics. I prefer the taste of aeroponically grown bud because this method offers complete control over what your plants consume and allows a true flush. Try some aeroponically grown cannabis and you taste the actual flavor of the buds rather than the taste of the soil, medium or nutrient, which can never properly be flushed when not growing in aero. It is impossible to fully flush in soil and hydro applications because it is impossible to thoroughly rinse the roots of remaining nutrient build-ups when your roots are surrounded by soil or any other medium. The rapid growth rates when using aeroponics cannot be matched.

From personal experience conducting side by side growing method comparisons between aero and soil and aero and hydro I have consistently seen 30% to 40% faster growth rates in aero. Why so much faster, you ask? This is because plants do not breath oxygen through their leaves. On the contrary, plants breath oxygen through their roots, and release oxygen into the environment through openings on their leaves called stomata.

The optimal way to deliver oxygen to a plant is using aeroponics. Rapid growth rates are obtained by intermittently misting or spraying roots with a highly oxygenated nutrient solution. Not only do you see faster growth rates with aeroponics, but the root masses associated with aeroponics increase yields significantly.

There are two primary types of aeroponic systems: high- pressure (HPA) and low-pressure (LPA). The difference between these methods is that HPA systems produce water particle droplets sized between 20 and 50 microns and boast 80 psi or higher. I have run both high-pressure and low- pressure systems side by side many times, and the results are always the same; with HPA you put in 500% more effort for only about 5% more yield.

High-pressure systems regularly get clogged sprayers and with all the extra equipment that is required for a proper high pressure set up, there is bound to be more potential for equipment failure. Don’t get me wrong, a nicely done HPA set up will grow some amazing buds and they are flat out cool to look at, but I am a low-pressure man through-and-through. While some may call HPA “True Aeroponics,” I am a firm believer that low-pressure systems also should be considered true aeroponics as well.

Low-pressure aeroponic systems are far easier to maintain and they also offer most of the same benefits as high-pressure. In a properly set up low-pressure aeroponic garden sprayers will be turned on for just long enough to saturate your root mass and left off long enough for the roots to stop dripping.

BENCHMARKS OF AN ACCOUNTABLE ANALYTICAL LABORATORY

B Y LEAH BRAGGS A FTER TAKING TWO heavy samples from the very same harvest to two different laboratories for analysis, we expected some variation in the test results, but figured they’d at least be in the same ball-park, right? Regrettably, precisely the opposite proved to be true, encouraging us to investigate who is holding these analytical labs accountable for their results. After some research (google) and talking to some friends in the biz, sadly we learned that nobody is really holding anyone accountable. Sure there are some government agencies collecting fees on a state level but who’s actually paying attention? Nobody. At least not yet.

As states legalize cannabis for both medical and recreational use, it is clear that lawmakers and patients are both concerned with the quality of the cannabis available for consumption. Legislation in every state continues to call for lab tests to be performed by state-approved laboratories, but recent studies have found that inconsistent results are more common than not when it comes to cannabis.

The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published findings that only 17% of cannabis products were accurately labeled for content in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle. The study randomly selected 75 products from 47 different brands and independent testing found that 17% were labeled accurately, 23% were under labeled, and 60% were over labeled with respect to THC content. Even though the testing of cannabinoid content is being required by more and more states, without a standard method to regulate labs, results will always vary from lab to lab.

Emerging from the pack are a couple of regulatory and advisory panels that hope to set the record straight about which labs are putting out accurate numbers. The Emerald Test® is an Inter-Laboratory Comparison Proficiency Testing (ILC/PT) program for evaluating how accurately labs perform, by comparing how well the lab measures an anonymous sample. These programs are the standard in many testing industries, including environmental, food, pharmaceutical, water, petrochemical, and others. The results provide a benchmark for the industry in general, by elucidating how well the labs perform collectively. The data can also be used by the individual labs to demonstrate proficiency to their customers, or used internally to identify areas in need of improvement. The ILC/PT is now used by some state regulatory bodies as a component of certification programs, and is commonly a requirement for various ISO certifications. Finally, the results provide a measure of assurance and reliability to the industry as a whole, and particularly to those who depend on the testing lab’s results for safety, health and product performance.

The Emerald Test® is offered twice each year (though individual PT’s are always available).

The Emerald Test® takes place in the Spring and Fall of each year, with enrollment open for a set period of time. The components of each test are determined by the Emerald Test Advisory Panel. Test Samples are manufactured by an ISO 17043 accredited PT provider and require overnight shipping. After receiving and testing the sample, labs have a window in which to complete the test and submit their results through an electronic data portal. Data analysis provided by AOCS using software designed to meet requirements of ISO 13528:2015.

Labs receive their individual results, and once analysis is complete, receive the overall test results, to see how they performed in relation to their peers. Individual lab data is held in strict confidentiality and labs that perform within a specific tolerance are awarded an Emerald Test Badge. The only setback to this methodology is that the test cannot be performed on whole plants but rather a controlled solution due to Federal regulations.

The NELAC Institute’s National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program however accredits qualified laboratories for testing under the Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and cannabis testing. NELAP offers Cannabis Potency Proficiency Standards intermittently via its individually licensed state accreditation programs. They typically offer testing for THCA, THC, CBDA, CBD & CBN and not the complete offering, but this is a fine way to measure the effectiveness of your procedures internally as a lab and at the very least shows that a lab intends to do the right thing wherever possible. Because of NELAP’s individually qualified state labs, like ORELAP in Oregon, they are able to offer testing of actual cannabis plants because of their intrastate nature.

Beyond looking for The Emerald Test’s Emerald Badge of Approval, or NELAP Accreditation, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure you are getting the proper analytical test results you paid for. First and foremost, don’t even consider a lab that doesn’t harvest their own results in-house. Sent out for analysis? Who’s accountable? And besides, even just one middleman increases your margin of error or cross contamination. Analytical chemists are best suited for testing cannabis ideally because of their ability to navigate the complex matrix of cannabis. The competency of the individual testing your cannabis products is more important than the equipment being used itself.

That said, detecting pesticides at 100 parts per billion or 0.1 parts per million is difficult to do by any other method except liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Furthermore, you should try to get a one on one with the scientist who will be performing the test. Ask them about their equipment, procedures and guidelines or accreditation and try to get a feel for their passion for their craft and their propensity for perfection. For more accurate results, give the lab a sufficient amount of varied flowers from head colas to side colas and even popcorn. Try to make the sample indicative, ratio-wise of the overall batch you intend to label with those particular results.

PROCESSING EXTRACTS FROM YOUR FAN LEAVES, TRIM AND POPCORN NUGS

By Cosmos Burningham,

Most growers really have to be on their A-game and pay attention to detail, bootstrapping wherever possible to eek out a profit margin these days. With wholesale flower prices at about half of what they were just 10 short years ago in some states, savvy horticulturalists have found another sku or two in their inventory, so to speak.

Lately processors and middlemen are lurking all around with paper to spend on your trim, leaf and duff (a term we have collectively coined as larf). Larf used to pile up in the old days–save it up and kick it down to your one friend that runs bubble bags–the guy that never has nugs but always has a hash patty for atop your bowl.

Today that larf fetches a premium, and with flower prices as low as they are and a supersaturated market on the horizon, smaller gardeners that want to stay in the game will be increasingly looking to their “larf” for signs of profits.

So what are they doing with all this larf and how much are they paying? Prices are relative to geography, and supply and demand of course, and the variety of extract methods seems to grow daily.

With the explosion of new methods comes a variety of fancy looking products and a glossary of slang that continues to proliferate by the minute on social media.

Cannabis concentrates have proven to be effective for patients suffering from all sorts of ailments. When made properly, a cannabis concentrate is reminiscent of the cannabis strain it was extracted from; the smell, taste, and effects are simply magnified due to a larger concentration by weight.

Some purists, like myself, argue that the entourage effect of the plant and the unique dynamic relationship and balance of its components are displaced, no matter the method altering the overall balance and profile of the finished product.

The extraction of cannabis concentrates is a complex and potentially dangerous process and should only be performed by trained professionals. The following briefly describes the most widely used extraction methods for now.

DRY SIEVE (DRY SIFT)

A popular form of non-solvent hash is dry sieve (sometimes referred to as “dry sift”). Put simply, dry sieve is a refined version of kief that has been run through a series of screens so that only the trichome heads remain. This is among the easiest ways to produce hash, using just a few good screens to filter out the plant matter. The level of quality is often determined by the amount of plant matter and capitulate trichome stalks found in the final product.

This process at its highest level yields nothing but the largest, most perfect trichome gland heads and none of the gland stems, plant matter, etc. that generally cloud the quicker, lower-quality kief extractions. The most pure dry sieve hash should melt completely when exposed to heat, known as full-melt dry sieve hash.

KIEF

Kief is the simplest of concentrates. Kief is composed of the trichomes (the crystalline structures coating the outside surface of the flowers) broken away from the dried plant material, usually via specialized filtering screens and a little elbow grease. Kief is generally considered a lower-quality extract, but some top-flight extractors can produce an extremely clean and flavorful product using the dry sieve method. THC content can range from 20% to 60%, on average.

HASH

Hash has been around for centuries, and there are plenty of processes by which hash can be made. Ice water extraction is one of the most common processes used to create quality non-solvent hash. The main goal and fundamental idea behind the ice water extraction process is to isolate the trichome heads from the plant matter that carry little-to-no medicinal value.

The quality of the resulting hash is often determined by the size of the isolated trichome heads and the extent to which it melts when heated (full-melt being the best). The most important part of the ice water extraction process is drying the final product. If not properly dried, the hash can develop mold and other forms of potentially dangerous microbiological life.

Additionally solvents like ice water or ethanol may be used to more effectively strip the cannabis plant of its trichomes. Though not as potent as BHO and other cannabis concentrates, hash remains a staple of cannabis culture around the world for its clean, all-natural extraction process.

BUTANE HASH OIL (BHO)

Butane Hash Oil, commonly referred to as BHO, involves a dangerous methodology using butane as the main solvent. While a number of variables can determine the final consistency of BHO (mostly temperature), people use different names when referring to each of the different consistencies and the type of product it was processed from. Shatter for instance, refers to the glass-like consistency that often snaps or “shatters” when handled. Budder, honeycomb, crumble, sap and live resin are also used to describe the different textures, though they all fall under the category of BHO.

Under this form of extraction, THC content can be as high as 80-90%. This makes BHO a popular choice for many medical marijuana patients suffering from chronic pain, sleep disorders, and other intractable symptoms. Always be sure that your oil is lab tested for purity, as improperly purged BHO may contain traces of butane, pesticides, or other unhealthy contaminants.

SUPERCRITICAL CO2 OIL

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a supercritical fluid, meaning it converts into a liquid form when pressurized. At the same time, CO2 is a pure chemical substance that occurs naturally and leaves behind no residues. The CO2 extraction process allows compounds to be extracted with low toxicity and utilizes a high pressure vessel containing cannabis. Supercritical CO2 is inserted into the vessel and pumped through a filter where it is separated from the plant matter once the pressure is released. Next, the supercritical CO2 evaporates rendering your cannabinoids.

RICK SIMPSON OIL (RSO)

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), whole-plant cannabis oil can be orally administered or applied directly to the skin. Sublingual delivery is the preferred method of treatment for many cancer patients. Not only is it a convenient way to medicate, but intake through the oral mucosal membranes in your mouth provides for rapid and effective absorption directly into your systemic circulation because of the increased bioavailability of the cannabinoids.

True whole-plant oil derived from the cannabis plant is made from buds and is comprised of many different cannabinoids including THC, CBD, CBN, CBG… . Many other business now sell their own renditions of the Rick Simpson Oil, some of which are high in THC while others contain only non-psychoactive compounds like CBD.

ROSIN

Rosin has been gaining a lot of traction in the medical cannabis community as of lately, and for good reason. Rosin is a solid form of resin that is obtained by adding pressure and heat to vaporize volatile liquid terpenes, typically with an industrial heat press (or even a hair straightener for small batches).

The rosin technique is quick, simple and affordable, allowing anyone to create quality solventless hash in a matter of seconds. To get started making Rosin, you only need a few basic tools in order to create a quality finished product.

FROM SPOTTING MATURE TRICHOMES TO CURED, DRIED FLOWERS

By Adam Jaques

So you have decided that you want to try your hand at cannabis cultivation?

While many will say just plant and add water, which will produce something, there are methods and skills you can use to ensure better chances at high quality flowers.

Growing cannabis correctly is a fairly time consuming labor of love.

With all of the time, effort and funds put into a personal grow you want to make sure that the end result is worth it.

The step that is often the downfall of most new growers is the final harvest, dry and cure. Impatience sets in when you start to see the flowers finishing up.

Crops get cut early and cure times are not followed. This will result in a less than optimal harvest.

I completely understand the want to get those ladies down and enjoy the fruits of your labor as soon as possible, but don’t let it ruin the final step.

You have spent weeks if not months getting to this point.

Take it easy, take it slow and enjoy the final steps.

The final flush and cure are as important as any step in the grow.

Patience will make sure you get the highest quality flower from your crop.

FINISH

Well here we are, reaching those last two weeks of the flower cycle. The plants are showing tons of lovely crystals (trichomes), the buds (calyxes) are starting to really bulk, and the hairs (pistils) are turning orange. These are all signs that we are reaching that final stretch before harvest.

There are some easy tricks of the trade we can do at this point to ensure that we harvest the largest, stickiest and most fragrant flowers possible. Once you get to this point, be liberal with your watering. We are attempting to cleanse any left over nutrients from your root ball so that no flavor from them remains in your flowers.

When doing this you will notice your fan leaves turning from green into yellows and browns, dying from the plant. This is not an issue and is actually ideal. This means you are properly cleansing leftover salts from the plant and using every last bit of food built up in your fan leaves. Your buds will be the last part of the plant to yellow out, so don’t worry as the fan leaves are consumed by your flowers.

Another trick I would recommend in your last two weeks is a healthy dosing of liquid bone meal, which can be found at most gardening stores. This allows for a cleaner flush and will add a considerable amount of weight to your finished flowers.

Also the addition of a sugar in the last two weeks, ideally a black strap molasses will likely increase flavor. Plants need this last stage in their development to use all the sugars that they worked so hard to make in their fan leaves for final bud development. Sugar in the soil helps the roots burn remaining nitrogen.

TRICHOMES

So the hairs are orange, the buds are swollen and the trichomes are seeming to drip off of the plants. Now we know that we are really close. But we are looking for that optimal harvest time, when our flowers are at the peak of their development.

Now, not everyone feels that there is an optimal time to harvest, and in some cases that can be true.

In my opinion, an earlier harvest with clearer trichomes can lead to racy and anxiety causing effects, but some people prefer that effect.

A later harvested cannabis with mainly amber and degraded trichomes can lead to a sleepier and more laid back effect, that other people may enjoy.

Like in the story of Goldilocks I like the trichomes that are just right. Not underdone, not overdone, right in the middle of the spectrum.

I feel like the terpenes (smells and flavors), cannabinoids (thc, cbd, etc.), and effect is ideal at a very critical point in the trichome production at this time.

While it is difficult to see the progression of trichomes with the naked eye, a cheap jeweler’s loop or a magnifier on your cell phone camera can bring them into focus quickly.

What we are trying to hit is the point after they are clear and start turning a milky white color. Not all trichomes will finish at the same time so being vigilant and making sure to pull before we get too many amber trichomes is ideal.

If you can hit that 10% clear, 80% milky, 10% amber you have done the best you can do. Anytime that all of the flowers are showing primarily milky colored trichomes is an excellent time to harvest.

CUTTING DAY

So we have reached the point where we are comfortable with our flower and trichome development.

It time to pull out the scissors and begin the harvesting of our ladies we have spent so much time nurturing and loving. No matter if you are a first time grower or a veteran this is both an exciting and sad time. We have to take our plants and remove them from their homes.

All of the connections we have made with our plants while living are coming to a close and the next stage of their existence is happening. Like sending our children out into the world.

First thing I recommend is, while the plant is still standing, go through and big leaf the plants. This means removing all fan leaves from the plant. Snip them off right at the stem and allow them to fall to the ground. These can be collected and used in compost.

We do not want these leaves to dry with our final flowers, as they can increase drying time and allows for the possibility of any left over nutrients to be pulled from them into the flowers.

When big leafing has occurred we begin to dissect the plants for hanging. I use a garden shear and cut the middle branch at the crotches where they meet.

Having your branches smaller will aid in drying time as they hold a bunch of moisture. Removing them from the main branches is ideal but make sure to leave enough of an angle at the crotch that they can easily hang from a drying line.

Cutting them like a wish bone at the middle of the plant and removing the excess on the middle so that it hangs with a cola down either side is my preferred method of harvest for hanging.

DRYING

There is a conversation to be had between trimming before or after drying. I prefer to leave all flowers on the stems until a complete dry has occurred so this is the method we will cover here. String flowers in an enclosed space that is built for the drying of our flowers. Keep temperatures in the range of 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep humidity in a range of 45-55%. Keep the area clean of dust, smoke, pet hairs, mold, and any other pollutant that can affect the final quality of the flower. Make sure to exchange the air in your dry room once every hour and keep the area as dark as possible during this time, no direct lights or sun. Drying times will vary based on branch sizes from anywhere to 2 days to 2 weeks. Do not rush this step as a proper dry is the first step in a proper cure.

Give your branches a sharp bend leading to the flowers. A soft, spongy bend means that moisture is still present. A quick break when bending means that all moisture is removed and we will not get our perfect cure. We want to be at a point where the flower feels dry to the touch and the stem once bent keeps its bent shape and cracking can be heard inside the smaller stems. At this point we are clear to remove these flowers from their stems and place them into a container to await final trim and cure.

I recommend a large mason jar that is burped often throughout the day (at least 3 times) and that is maintaining a relative humidity of 45% to 55% inside the jar. A great tool for this is a relative humidity meter that can be purchased at a cigar store and inserted into the jar. Leave these jars in the drying room out of light until you get around to trimming them.

TRIM, CURE, SWEAT, BURP

Trimming your cannabis is going to be subjective to what you are looking for in a final product. Some people enjoy a leafy, untrimmed cannabis; some enjoy a very tightly trimmed cannabis. I find that removing the majority of the sugar leaves and leaving the calyxes intact provides the best product for me, but this is also very strain-specific.

A strain that is just dripping trichomes from its sugar leaves can do with a much lighter trim. A strain with sugar leaves that are barely dusted can do with a much tighter trim. It is all about what appeals to you. I do however recommend buying yourself a very nice set of trimming shears and a bin to trim in. I like the Fiskars trimmers and the bin made by Trim Bin. This way, any loose trichomes fall through the screen of the trim bin and you are left with a very nice kief after trimming.

Take the scissors and gently cut the sugar leaves at the desired length from the flower. Allow these leaves to fall directly into your bin. These leaves can later be used in baking, hash-making, or for joint-rolling. Work on one flower at a time and don’t rush it. Your trimming will improve in time but we don’t want to ruin our flowers with a sloppy trim so close to the end. When done trimming, put these finished flowers into another mason jar and your trim into a separate mason jar. Both can be cured and used. Now we move on to a very important stage of this process: the stage where we can lose all of our flavor or make it shine.

The cure is the most frustrating part of the grow for many growers because we are looking at all of these wonderful flowers sitting there. I know it is hard to resist but waiting for a proper cure is worth every minute. Keep using your relative humidity meter and maintain the humidity in your jars at 60% give or take 5%. If the RH meter is showing above 65% this means the flower is too wet and leave the lid off for a time as to allow them to dry a bit more. During this process, open the jars every 3 to 5 days and leave the lid off for roughly half an hour and replace. Keep watching your humidity meter and when it is reaching the 55% or lower range of RH we have reached our cured state. This normally takes 30 days with a properly harvested plant.

Store your finished, cured flower in a dark, cool place until ready for use. Cannabis cured in this method has a very good shelf-life and will keep for quite some time. Some people prefer to keep finished cannabis in a cooler place, such as a fridge, but I find that a cabinet in the house maintaining a 50 to 70 degree range works to keep light out. A food pantry is my favorite for long- term storage.

Using these finishing, drying, trimming and curing methods you will be left with a flower that smells amazing, tastes amazing and burns leaving a clean white ash. The smoke should be smooth and satisfying. While these methods take a bit more time and care, it is absolutely worth it for the final product.