How to Avoid Pests in Your Marijuana Garden

Once pests have invaded your marijuana growing room, it will take an awful lot of time and effort to get rid of them, and it’s likely that they will damage your plants in the process. Marijuana plants which have to fight off a pest invasion have much of their vigor sapped way, and it becomes less likely that they will achieve their maximum potency and growth. It is far easier to protect yourself against a pest invasion right from the beginning, than it is at any other point in the growth cycle. Here’s how you can go about doing that.

How to Avoid Pests in Your Marijuana GardenMake sure your space is secured

A well-configured growing room is your first and best line of defense against external interference from pests, so you should spend whatever effort is needed at the outset to secure your plants against any kind of external invasion. The two basic principles involved in securing your growing room are: making sure that it’s completely sealed off from the outside environment, and arranging things so that the room can quickly and easily be sanitized. A good start for handling both of these requirements is using white or silver Mylar, because it’s easy to clean, and it’s easy to apply to the walls of your room. If you’re using a grow tent, this will probably have its own protection against the outside environment.

Sanitizing

Once you have secured your growing room from any external interference, you need to turn your attention to yourself, because the next way contaminants can be introduced into your growing room is if you bring them in. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of changing your clothes as you enter your growing room, because pests are great at attaching themselves to clothing and equipment. Spending a few minutes cleaning your clothes and your equipment will be worth it, in terms of the health of your plants.

Using seeds

Your best bet for keeping pests out of your growing room may start with using seeds, rather than pre-germinated plants. Since there’s no way you can be sure about the growing environment that young plants were raised in, that involves a risk of pest introduction. By raising your plants from seeds, you can be sure that sterile conditions have prevailed throughout their entire life cycle.

Soils versus other media

Even the growing medium that you raise your plants in has to be kept free of pests, and soils can often contain varmints that will cause problems for your plants. If you do prefer to use soil, make sure you buy it from a trusted source. Other growing media such as hydroponic setups, rockwool, or clay pellets are generally safe, and free of pests.

Sticky fly traps

It’s always a good idea to hang up a few sticky fly strips in your growing room, just to see if anything is buzzing around. The best-case scenario is that no pests ever get stuck to your fly strips, but if you do see some, it’s time to spring into action and do the whole sanitizing routine before things progress to some kind of pest outbreak. If you can follow all of the recommendations described above, you can be fairly confident that you will avoid any serious outbreak of pests in your growing room, and that your cannabis plants will reach their full potential.

Mass Media Casts Shadow on Medical Marijuana Industry

Despite being legal in 22 states, the medical marijuana issue continues to draw debate in the form of television shows and documentaries. With such controversy at its heart, it’s no wonder this medicinal substance used to treat pain in cancer and other patients invokes such heated commentary on screen. From shows like Weed Country to documentaries like Code of the West, the goal is to educate and inform, but also take sides on an issue that just can’t find a common ground.

The “Reality” of Reality ShowsMedical Marijuana Industry

Hopping on the band wagon of reality shows, series like Weed Wars have cropped up over the last few years to open up a window on the life of those involved in the medical marijuana lifestyle and business. While enlightening in some respects, these shows do little to open up the minds of mainstream America to the healing properties marijuana delivers to people in chronic pain.

Many of these shows came on the air right around the time federal prosecutors started to turn the screws on medical marijuana shop owners, citing their state-licensed dispensaries regulated by local government agencies, according the the Huffington Post. What typically ends up happening is the shows cast a bad light on the medical marijuana industry as a whole, yet choose to focus on sensationalizing the police, growers and distributors rather than hit on the true issue. This increased scrutiny in the public eye has its advantages, though, bringing to light an issue that was only whispered in certain circles before. Like homosexuality, meth labs, child abuse and rape before it, TV shows are the new breeding ground to expose the giant underbelly of what’s really going on in society.

Ditching the Stigmas

Serving to curb the stigmas, misconceptions and stereotypes about medical marijuana, Weed Wars and others are gaining popularity among a TV viewership eager to see this issue come to the forefront. That being said, like any reality show, drama is injected to give the viewers what they want: over the top views of the medical marijuana industry as seen from those really living it. Good or bad, shows like Weed Country aim to shatter the stigma associated with medical cannabis.

Unfortunately, with the focus on the “reality” TV stars within these shows, the negative connotations are still ever-present. Even with exploratory and information documentaries, the industry continues to seek the respect it deserves. Still, these documentaries work to capture the human stories behind the law-making processes of state-level marijuana reform through intelligent indie films like Code of the West and weak attempts at comedy with Super High Me, which chronicles a man’s physical and mental journey smoking marijuana for 30 days straight.

Despite its legality in more than 20 states, medical marijuana still captures a cult following as opposed to its more socially acceptable and legal cousin, alcohol. With more TV shows on the horizon highlighting the use and cultivation of medical marijuana, this calming substance has many more hurdles ahead of it in a desperate attempt to defend itself.

What Not to Do When Growing Medical Marijuana: Part 3

growing medical marijuana, Hydroponic, growing weed, Organic fertilizers are becoming more popular

Organic fertilizers are becoming more popular

For the last part of our three-part series on common mistake people make when growing medical marijuana for chronic pain, here we take a look at three more things you shouldn’t do when cultivating hydroponic cannabis crops.

8. Yapping too much about your extra-curricular activities. If you live in a state where the cultivation of marijuana is illegal, keep your mouth shut. Use discretion in your endeavor; otherwise, this could be your single highest risk of downfall. Be aware of the risks of growing this plant on your property, and what red flags could garner the attention of curious neighbors, family members and eventually the law, such as spikes in electricity consumption. Sure, you may be tempted to tell all your friends about your operation, but stifle that urge or you risk being exposed.

9. Overfeeding. Giving your plants too many nutrients can be a bad thing — just like humans can overdo it on vitamins. Unfortunately, it’s quite easy to make the mistake of giving too much fertilizer, thinking you’ll simply get a bigger crop out of it with the more food you provide. This is a costly mistake, so stick with the recommended feedings to avoid failure. You’ll know your plants are overfed when their leaves curl and start to yellow. One solution is to spray the leaves with water — and only water — on a daily basis until they recover.

10. Setting the wrong temp. Going hand in hand with the above warning, setting the temperature within your hydroponics system too high or too low can also have disastrous results not only for the survival of the plants but also for the potency, which is a key factor in medical marijuana. Because cannabis plants are extremely sensitive to temperature, the optimal range should always be between 72°F and 77°F for proper growth, according to Medical Marijuana Mentor.

As you can see, there are many common mistakes to avoid when growing medical marijuana for chronic pain management using hydroponics. The best advice you can heed is to research all aspects of your operation before embarking and staying on top of maintenance to ensure a healthy crop time and time again.

What Not to Do When Growing Medical Marijuana: Part 2

Medical Marijuana, Grow Marijuana, growing weed, Hydroponic

Careful Growing Marijuana

Continuing with our three-part series, here are three more no-no’s to avoid when growing medical grade marijuana using a hydroponic system. These common mistakes can be quite costly in terms of money, time and the finished product. Take heed from these mistakes to ensure a healthy production of crops that can be used to alleviate or lessen pain in cancer patients.

5. Failure to invest in the proper equipment. Growing medical grade marijuana involves lots of specialized equipment as part of your hydroponics system, along with a dedication to ensure the crop is plentiful. Don’t skimp on the equipment, and don’t forget to set it up correctly — the first time. This means remembering to plug your pump back in, and checking that meters are calibrated, timers are working right, temperature gauges are working, light systems are good, and all other systems are in sync.

6. Taking bad advice from others. Like any hobby or business, it can be very helpful to take advice from others who are in the same place as you. But while many people like you may have some nuggets of advice, it’s best to approach this as a serious business from which you want to profit. That means you should get instruction from reputable sources, such as gardeners, botanists, scientists — anyone who can give you some good plant propagation advice and growth principles backed by scientific proof. If you’ve got a trustworthy hydroponics supplier, it’s likely he or she will have no problem answering your questions and providing helpful tips. Read books, scourge the Internet, and take everything with a grain of salt.

7. Failure to brush up on the laws in your state. While 23 states have legalized medical marijuana in this country, according to ProCon.org, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can grow it in those particular states (although many states do allow that). This could mean your state simply allows for possession and use of medical marijuana. That being said, each state has different allowable limits for possession. For example, while the possession limit in Alaska is one ounce, with three mature plants and three immature plants, California has a possession limit of eight ounces, with six mature or 12 immature plants.

What Not to Do – Growing Medical Marijuana

Growing Medical Marijuana, Hydroponic, Careful Growing Your Own, growing weed

Careful Growing Your Own

When it comes to growing and using medical marijuana for chronic pain treatment — particularly for those suffering from cancer — there are some things you should consider before jumping into this hobby. People tend to fail to do their homework thoroughly enough before setting out on this endeavor and therefore overlook a few crucial mistakes. As part of our three-part series on what not to do when growing medical marijuana with hydroponics for cancer/chronic pain treatment, we take a look at some of those mistakes and how you can avoid them. First off, medical grade marijuana comes from two strains: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indicawhich provide more potent benefits to cancer patients over other recreational types, according to Pain Management of America.

Here are four things you shouldn’t do in regards to misuse of equipment and the wrong kinds of seeds:

1. Picking seeds willy-nilly. Just getting seeds from the right marijuana strain will not ensure the creation of a medical-grade marijuana. To become an expert, you have to have the exact type of seed, along with the right combination of light temperature and water, usually through a hydroponic system. With more than 60 cannabinoids present in the plant, it’s important to note that not all cannabinoids provide the same benefits to patients. Also, cannabinoids interact differently with one another, offering up distinctive benefits when combined the correct way, so knowledge of these interactions to produce the most beneficial result is key.

2. Failure to understand the strains. Two of the more popular strains — THC (sativa) and CBD (indica) — both have distinct effects on the user. Sativa’s high content of THC, for example, has more of a potent effect in regards to lessening nausea, pain, headaches and even depression, ideal for cancer patients going through chemo. CBD tends to be more calming overall, ideal for those suffering from other types of chronic pains, such as muscle spasms, anxiety and inflammation.

3. Ditching the patience. The process of growing medical marijuana — like recreational marijuana — is not one that can be rushed. The old adage “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right” definitely applies here. Sit back, have patience, don’t check your plants a million times a day, and don’t rush the process.

4. Forgetting about maintenance. As an add-on to the above recommendation about having patience, you can’t become TOO lax about keeping up with your plants. Failing to conduct some basic maintenance can result in disaster for your plants, and you want to avoid that at all costs. Of course, it’s important to do the required maintenance, which includes trimming, pruning, feeding, watering and ensuring your plants are getting sufficient ventilation, light and CO2.

The Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Cancer and Chronic Pain Treatment

Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Cancer and Chronic Pain Treatment, Med Red CrossThe positive effects medical marijuana has on patients suffering from cancer or chronic pain is the subject of much debate throughout this country. Many supporters tout its ability to ease chronic pain where other pain medication drugs have failed, while others say there’s just not enough known about the potentially harmful side effects of this substance, which is still illegal in many states. Scientific research is still ongoing but the general consensus within the medical community and those suffering from the debilitating effects of pain associated with their disease is that it works.

Benefits

This form of pain management — now legalized in about half the states in this country — is used in precise doses to relieve nausea and pain, and increase appetite in those suffering from chronic diseases such as cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Approved for this use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), medical marijuana is also thought by many supporters to contain anti-bacterial properties, with an ability to reduce tumor growth and enlarge the airways to help those who have asthma. Whether smoked, made into hot tea or eaten with other foods, medical marijuana can relieve pain that cancer patients and others live with on a daily basis. Many are going through chemotherapy which can induce nausea and vomiting.

Medical marijuana can suppress this urge where other drugs have not worked as promised. A mouth spray version of medical marijuana, not yet approved here in the States, is thought to help relieve muscle spasms related to multiple sclerosis. Recent studies have shown the inhaled marijuana can help relieve neuropathic pain, which is essentially pain brought on by damaged nerves, as well as improve the food intake of HIV patients who struggle with loss of appetite. Studies have also found that patients who use medical marijuana have a far less need to take conventional pain medication, thereby reducing the negative side effects of those meds, particularly to the liver.

Legalization

The long and short of it is that more Americans are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana than criminalizing the substance, according to the Huffington Post. A recent poll says 58 percent of Americans say the plant should be legal. There are several reasons why. For starters, this substance has never been the subject of any recorded overdose when compared with other deadly illicit drugs or even prescription pain killers. It’s even been found to be less addictive than coffee, with a low risk of abuse. It can help you sleep better and alleviate a host of medical ailments including chronic pain due to cancer.

The Politics

Unfortunately, as with anything else, politics gets in the way sometimes of pushing through new legislation that counters the historic view of marijuana being “bad.” Famed neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta is exploring these stigmas of marijuana in his research around the world and resulting documentary called “Weed.” He explores what emerging scientific findings are proving about the positive benefits of this substance to the body and the brain in particular, helping others understand how the old school political system may be hindering patients from getting what he feels is a low risk pain-killing benefit from a plant that occurs in nature.

Initiatives

With more and more states passing legislation allowing the use of marijuana and medical marijuana, there are also more awareness-generating initiatives underway that highlight the struggles people with cancer and other deadly illnesses go through, including the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Movember and Livestrong. These organizations and events help spread awareness of the devastation of cancer and other chronic diseases, sparking ongoing conversations about what can be done to help.

The benefits of medical marijuana for chronic pain relief are well-documented. However, there is a still a long way to go.

Growing Marijuana vs. Buying it

Medical Marijuana, growing weed, Commerical Weed with BudsHave you ever wondered whether it’s worth it to grow your own marijuana or simply buy it without all the fuss? Here we break down the pros and cons of each one.

Pros of Growing It

When you grow your own marijuana, you have the benefit of making superior marijuana under conditions in a controlled environment. You will not run out of your own supply, you’ve learned a new skill not many people know, your cost per ounce decreases significantly, the more you perfect your craft, and you can sell your own weed at a big profit. Buying supplies like seeds from Seedsman.com is even more convenient nowadays where online stores make it easy to pick up what you need to grow your business.

Learning the business of growing your own weed is easier than ever, too, through how-to books like Ryan Riley’s Growing Elite Marijuana. Purchasing your own equipment may be a bit of a cash outlay in the beginning but you can quickly recoup that money once production gets going. Start kits can be had for as little as $80. You can buy a bit more, still for cheap money, for a beginner’s equipment set-up for about $300, including duct fans, lighting, fertilizers, timers and soil-less mix, according to the Weedist.

Cons of Growing It

The biggest con to growing your own marijuana is the time commitment in harvesting and caring for the crop. If you love this part and truly look at it as a hobby, then this is not a con for you! You may enjoy the fact that you can browse online sites like Dealerz.com to find state-of-the-art hydroponic grow boxes. That being said, another con is the initial cash outlay for all the equipment and supplies, for which you have to make plenty of space within your home or garden.

You can get a starter kit like above and save money, but as soon as you start really getting into the hobby and want to expand, you’re looking at a bigger cash investment for top of the line equipment. However, the biggest money pit in this endeavor will be the electricity you use to run it. A 9,000-watt garden with all the bells and whistles can run you about $700 a month just for the electric bills, according to The Weed Blog. Another con? You have to make time every day to tend to your crop, so going on vacation can be problematic unless you have someone who can drop in each day and take care of the maintenance. The legal aspect can be a con depending on which state you live in, as it’s still illegal in most states to grow your own marijuana.

Pros of Buying It

When you buy marijuana, you have the freedom to buy it when you want it and from whom you want, with the opportunity to shop around if you don’t like someone’s prices. You don’t have to put the time in to grow your own garden. When you want some, you buy some. Simple. You will pay more per ounce this way but the convenience factor may cancel out this price difference for you. With prices falling lower and lower since February’s price of $300, the US Price Index dropped another $11 for a record low of $286 per ounce in March of 2014, according to High Times.

Cons of Buying It

Lack of cost control is a big con of buying marijuana, as you simply pay what the price dictates and that’s that. There is no consistency in terms of quality and quantity, and you never really know what’s in the product you’re buying. You put yourself at risk every time you buy it, as surveillance could become an issue. You have to rely on others to keep your secret and you must meet up with dealers when the time is convenient for them, not necessarily for you. Driving with marijuana in your car also puts you at risk. When there’s a drought on marijuana on your local area, there’s no supply for anyone. If you need marijuana for medicinal purposes, it is legal in many states to buy and use medical marijuana; however, the process of getting a prescription through your doctor and waiting to have it filled from a licensed dispensary can be time consuming and a hassle. And lastly, your dealer very likely could get busted, leaving you without a source.

Staying informed on both sides of the issue is key. Ultimately, whatever you decide will depend on your willingness to devote the time, as well as your budget, your connections and your space.

Best Hydroponic Equipment to Grow Marijuana

Cannabis Manufacturing Equipment to grow Medical MarijuanaIf you’re planning on growing marijuana indoors, you’ll need hydroponic equipment, as well as grow lights and boxes, closets, watering systems, indoor lights, fans, drainage systems, tools and more. What does hydroponics mean in terms of growing weed? It basically involves growing your plants in a sterile, inert growth medium instead of soil, according to High Times. When you mix the water with the solution of nutrients, your plants get all their daily requirements through that. To achieve just the right balance, you’ll need to invest in the best hydroponic equipment available.

Types of hydroponic systems

There are three different kinds of hydroponic systems: ebb and flow, top-feed systems and vertical top-feed systems. The ebb and flow is the most popular but the one you choose depends on your unique situation and preference. If you’re a beginner, try a hydro kit, which can run you upwards of $100. In terms of exhaust fans, you’ll need a high-quality product to regulate the temperature, quality and circulation of the room. For a typical 10-inch High-Output In-Line Duct Fan, you’re looking at about $170.

However, you can get smaller or bigger than that and the price will fluctuate accordingly. You’ll also need the right lighting, but the amount you use depends directly on the size of your crop. For example, the Sun System Digital 250/400 is a small to medium size light system that will run you about $230. Lighting is an important component of your system, so don’t skimp on this part if you can afford a good model. Ideally, you’ll want to invest in a full lighting system with ballast, hood and bulb.

Hardware is necessary to hold up all your lighting and other equipment, so this varies quite a bit from system to system. Grow boxes will represent a big part of your budget if you choose to use them. For instance, Grandma’s Secret Garden Nine-Plant Grow Box costs nearly $700. You can buy much smaller ones for a couple hundred and spend upwards of $1000 for much bigger ones. Handle odor control with charcoal carbon filters, which cost between $100 and $300. You’ll need plenty of nutrients on hand, which can run you about $60 for one gallon or $250 for five gallons. When all is said and done, your most costly expense by far will be the electricity to power your operation. For example, to power your lighting and other equipment for 90 days within a 5×5 foot area, you will spend about $200, according to Cost Helper Health.

How To Prevent and Manage Bug Infestation for Indoor Gardens

bugs on cannabis leaf, medical cannabisWhen you invest a lot of time and money into growing your indoor marijuana crop, the last thing you want is for bug infestation to destroy it all. There are steps you can take to prevent bugs from invading your marijuana, through the use of both chemical and organic products, tools and systems.

Types of Bug Infestations

There are more than 250 insects associated with cannabis and that can cause a real problem for the health of your plants, according to Medical Marijuana. Common culprits include spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, hemp borers, budworms, cutworms, armyworms, leaf-eating caterpillars, thrips, flea beetles, grubs, weevils, leafminers, ants, termites, earwigs and even grasshoppers. They all wreak havoc in their own special way. For instance, the spider mite loves to suck the sap from the leaves, while hemp borers destroy flower tops and eat seeds. While technically not a bug, mold is another culprit that can destroy your crops.

What to do About It

You don’t have to sit idly by while your crop is destroyed. Invest in some chemicals or organics to nip the problem in the bud. Sprays like Nutrilife’s SM-90 cost about $14 for one liter. Spray your plants with a solution of one part SM-90 and five parts water but do it when the lights are set to go off so you don’t burn the leaves. Don’t forget to spray underneath the leaves too. Garden Safe Neem Oil Extract is another wise choice if you want to use organics. A 16-ounce bottle will cost you about 10 bucks. There are other ways to trap and kill your bug predators. To get rid of aphids, place sticky traps near your plants, preferably on the floor or hanging at the top. You can also release natural predators of aphids into your crop with no adverse effects. Ladybugs and lacewings will wipe out your aphid infestation in no time. The beetle borer, another pest that is devastating to your crop, will eat through the stalks. Sprays are useless on this pest. The only way to get rid of them is to physically remove them by cutting the beetle out of your plant. Caterpillars will eat through leaves like they’re going out of style. Keep them at bay with a homemade mixture of hot pepper, garlic, pesticide and pyrethrum. Fungus gnats spread through the roots of your plants, but you can slow them down by reducing the moisture in the environment, or apply anti-algae spray to the plant’s base. This will manage to kill any algae, which is the gnats’ primary source of food.

Best Fertilizers to Grow Marijuana

Organic fertilizers are becoming more popular to growing weed or Medical Marijuana

Organic fertilizers are becoming more popular

It’s necessary to feed your marijuana plants the food that will help them grow and thrive: nutrients and fertilizer. There are many types and brands on the market, from organic to chemical and everything in between. You can even make your own fertilizer at home so you know exactly what goes into it. Here we explore the types and brands of fertilizers and their price ranges to help you make a wise decision.

Germination Phase to Grow Marijuana

During this phase, avoid the use of fertilizers in soil, as they can destroy your fragile sprouts. At this time, tomato soils will work fine until it’s time to add nutrients and fertilizers, says Mary Jane’s Garden.

Vegetative Phase

It’s best to use fertilizers like NPK at this point to allow your plants to grow, thrive and mature. You’ll spend about $20 for 16 ounces. This is a milder fertilizer because using full strength at this stage will have adverse effects on your plants. As you get more experienced, you can experiment on ways to dilute your fertilizer to the perfect strength. Frequency depends on personal preference — some growers like to fertilize a little each day or in bigger amounts twice a week.

Flowering Phase

Up the ratio of phosphorus to your crop for nice, strong flowers. Just don’t add too much or you’ll burn the plant. As your plants grow, you’ll need to increase the amount of fertilizer. Make sure you’re including enough calcium, sulfur and magnesium to get the best yields. The perfect balance is necessary here and you’ll need to do your research on what’s right for your type and size of crop. Too much and you’ll kill them; too little and you’ll starve them. Proven fertilizer brands to try at this point include good ‘ole Miracle-Gro, which will set you back only about $20 for five pounds. You can try making your own fertilizer of a mixture of urine and water but make sure you dilute it plenty so as not to burn your plants with the acidic content of the urine. Composting is another great homemade, organic way to fertilize and grow your marijuana crop.

Pre-Harvest Phase

Two weeks before you expect to harvest, stop the use of fertilizers to avoid any chemical traces in the plant when ready for consumption. Use fresh water to get rid of lasting fertilizer residue on the leaves and flowers. Water your plants regularly during these two weeks to ensure the best outcome.