How to Identify Bad Marijuana

Marijuana can stay fresh and pleasantly potent for a long time, provided that each phase of the growth and harvesting cycles were carried out correctly, and that it has been properly stored while waiting to be used.

Obviously, this doesn’t always happen, and by the time some cannabis reaches the hands of consumers, its shelf life is already nearing the expiration date.

Here are a few ways to identify whether cannabis is going bad

Fragrance indicators

The terpenes, which are the highly aromatic oils in cannabis, can provide a huge clue about its worthiness for consumption.

  • If there is a distinctive aroma emanating from your cannabis, it’s probably still fresh and potent
  • A musty odor or a mildew kind of odor is a strong indicator that you may have to take the loss
  • No smell at all is not a good sign either and probably means you should smoke it right away

Visual indicators

Cannabis that looks fresh and healthy probably is fresh and healthy, whereas undesirable plants don’t look nearly so appealing, and in some cases it may be difficult to tell whether it’s cannabis at all.

  • Marijuana that looks old and dried out and can usually be crushed into a fine powder with no effort
  • Mold on cannabis can usually be spotted because it grows over the trichomes (tiny, mushroom-like shapes on the surface), while appearing to be a white powdery substance which envelops the entire flower
  • It’s also possible for mold to grow beneath the surface, so breaking your flowers apart can help with the identification of sub-surface mold

Feel indicators

One of the best ways to determine cannabis freshness is by pulling apart the identifiable nodes to see whether they are over-compressed.

  • Whether there is moisture content
  • Whether the flower simply falls apart in your fingers

Some moisture is a good thing, but over-compression and disintegration are definitely not.

Audio indicators

It is possible to pick up audio cues from your cannabis, by breaking apart the nugs between your fingers.

  • When flowers have been properly cured and dried, a pronounced ‘snap’ sound can be heard easily: this is a good indicator that there is still plenty of moisture in your cannabis, and it’s still in a smoke-worthy state
  • If you hear a crackly, dry sound between your fingers, and the flowers look brittle or old, it’s a good indication that the cannabis is past its prime and has dried out

Taste indicators

Unfortunately, the taste test cannot be performed without actually smoking the cannabis, so it should definitely not be the first evaluation you you do.

If your cannabis is old or has gone bad, it simply won’t smoke well, and you’ll be well aware of that fact before you have gone very far into smoking.

If your cannabis passes all five tests, hallelujah – sit back and enjoy the evening!
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Avoid These Common Mistakes When Growing Marijuana

Avoid These Common Mistakes When Growing MarijuanaWhen you’re just starting out to grow your own marijuana, there are a lot of pitfalls along the path which might prevent you from achieving the kind of success you’ve been dreaming about.

While marijuana cultivation is something that practically anyone can do successfully, there are also some very common beginner mistakes that most people are unprepared for, and which cause them to mishandle the first few attempts at home growing.

Here are some of the most common rookie mistakes, and how to avoid them.

1. Keep it to yourself

While more and more states are legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use, it’s still illegal to grow your own cannabis throughout the majority of states in this country.

The more people you talk to about your cannabis-growing enterprise, the more likely someone will blow the whistle on you. Even if the days are over where you might get hauled into jail, when the authorities come down on you, your stash will be confiscated at the very least, and they’ll be keeping an eye on you after.

2. Window-growing doesn’t work

By far the best source of light for plants is the sun, but placing your plants by a window to catch the sunlight simply doesn’t work in the vast majority of cases.

Cannabis plants need more light than the daylight hours provide, and to even catch all that sunlight you’d have to be moving your plants from window to window to follow the path of the sun.

If you’re growing your own marijuana plants indoors, it will be well worth your while to invest in a lighting system that’s consistent and controllable.

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3. Use the right fertilizer and soil

It’s not a good idea to just grab any fertilizer and any kind of soil from your garden store, and assume that it will grow healthy marijuana plants for you.

Choose a fertilizer that’s higher in nitrogen than in phosphorus or potassium, and don’t just use ordinary outdoor soil for your plants – make sure that the soil in your pots has ample fertilizer, and test the pH balance to make sure that it’s close to the middle, at around 7.0.

4. Don’t let plant roots become smothered

Cannabis plants grow very quickly, and they shoot roots down the sides of your pot and to the bottom, a lot faster than you might think.

Once your plants have become established, they should quickly be transferred to larger pots, to give those roots room to grow and spread, otherwise the plants might die.

5. Educate yourself

One of the best things you can do to avoid beginner mistakes is to educate yourself about the cultivation of marijuana.

There’s a vast amount of literature available on the subject, and by absorbing some of this great information, you’ll be much less likely to be surprised by developments with your plants, and you’ll be much better prepared for eventualities.

The more you know about cannabis growing, the more successful you’ll be, and the greater the likelihood that you have strong, healthy cannabis plants, time after time.


Techniques for Growing Hydroponic Cannabis

Techniques for Growing Hydroponic CannabisHydroponic cannabis are plants grown in something besides soil, with nutrient-rich solutions that provide what the plant needs to grow.

The reason marijuana plants, or any other plants, are grown hydroponically is that growth can be sped up and yields can be increased by directly controlling the volume of nutrients received by the plants.

Small-scale hydroponic operations can be as simple as hand-watering plants which grow in pots containing any inert medium. Much larger operations might have more sophisticated systems, automated to manage irrigation and the flow of nutrition.

Hydroponic marijuana media

Strictly speaking, no medium is really necessary for growing hydroponic cannabis, as long as the plants receive the nutrients they need. Since growing mediums are easily obtained and support root development, most hydroponic operations make use of one or more of the following:

  • Rockwool – probably the most commonly used medium and is made by spinning molten rock into single-filament fibers that hold water well
  • Growstones – a recycled glass product which has tremendous properties for retaining air and water
  • Perlite/vermiculite/pumice – all three of these contain a great deal of air space, and they have the added appeal of being re-usable
  • Coco peat – a by-product of coco husks, which holds 1,000 times more air than natural soil
  • Expanded clay pebbles – super-heated to more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, these tiny clay bits retain their heated size and hold air extremely well

Hydroponic growing methods

Having settled on the right medium for your hydroponic growing operation, you then need to select the actual growing method to be used.

  • Aeroponics – this method does not require any growing medium, but instead works by spraying or misting the roots of plants to provide them with needed nutrients
  • Continuous flow solution – by constantly irrigating plants with nutrients, the continuous flow method ensures that individual plants receive nourishment through some kind of setup where roots are supplied with water containing vital ingredients
  • Run-to-waste – a simple hydroponic system has the grower watering a medium either by hand or automated until waste is created in individual pots or containers, then discarded
  • Deep water culture – roots of the cannabis plants are suspended over nutrient-rich water some are even completely out of the water. The very high levels of oxygen in the area directly above the water triggers rapid growth among the plants
  • Flood and drain – a simple cultivation method where trays are used to provide water to plants from below, with plants, either grown in media or not, and wastewater drains away to a main tank for recycling

Marijuana Grows Better Inside or Out?

There are many misconceptions about outdoor-grown marijuana

Marijuana Grows Better Inside or Out?
These have risen as a result of the days when crops had to be hidden from view, and especially from prying legal eyes. This means that they often had to be grown in shady areas near trees and properly covered, in places that are not generally conducive to producing high-quality plants.

In fact, many of the marijuana plants grown in this country in the past could probably have been considered sub-standard, but that’s all changing now, with marijuana plants enjoying a new legal status, and crops coming out into the open to enjoy ideal growing conditions.

Here are some of the ways that outdoor marijuana plants have improved under new legalization.

Pest free outdoor plants

Marijuana plants grown by reputable dispensaries are virtually free of the chemicals, molds, mildew, and pests that may plague cannabis sold by private growers.

In the states where medical crops are grown, stringent requirements are in place to test for microbiological contaminants and pesticides, before they are ever processed and sold to medical dispensaries. In addition to state requirements for purity, many dispensaries apply their own requirements for quality to ensure there are no negative impacts imparted to patients.

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Outdoor grown plants are just as potent

In the days when marijuana plants had to be cultivated near areas where they could be hidden from view, it was very common for plants to mature with considerably diminished stature and potency, earning a reputation for being ‘lightweight’ plants.

With crops now out in the open, plants can enjoy the benefits of full sunlight and reach the maximum potential with regard to stature, bud production, and cannabinoid content for full potency.

Packaging and shipping methods are also much better since they don’t need to be concealed This has allowed plants to prosper in prime condition, as opposed to the secretive, compressed packaging of the past.

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There’s something special about outdoor cannabis

When marijuana plants are grown outdoors, they are part of an extremely complex ecosystem which has a major impact on the flowering plants. This is something that simply cannot be reproduced by indoor grow lights because they don’t have all the elements present in natural sunshine.

There are a number of outdoor influences which subtly impact the growth, the flavor, and the natural development of marijuana plants.

While external growing conditions certainly can’t be controlled to the extent that indoor conditions can be, there’s still something special about the way cannabis plants interact with and become part of the natural environment they’re grown in.

Grow Marijuana Indoors

Growing marijuana indoors is a very convenient and cost-effective proposition because, over period of time, it will save you a ton of money. It’s a very hardy, quick-growing plant that only takes around four months to go from seed to a mature plant, and it doesn’t even require ideal growing conditions. Chances are even a first attempt at growing will be successful.

The best place to grow is indoors

It’s much safer to grow indoors, because it can be hidden from public view, and it’s not dependent on external weather conditions. The best place to set up would be in a small room like a closet, a shed, a garage, a cellar, or an attic – any enclosed area which no one else has access to. The area selected must have a source of electricity, and some kind of venting system to supply fresh air and exhaust used air.

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Growing requirements

The equipment needed for growing indoors includes standard hydroponic parts

  • A good source of light
    • Use High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps, because they produce a good supply of light with very little electricity and they’re inexpensive. If HPS lamps are unavailable, LED grow lights can also be used, although these are a lot more expensive. Fresh air is important, because if the growing area is not well ventilated, it will have a tendency to develop insects, which can reduce your harvest.
  • A reliable fan
    • Getting rid of old air inside is a good idea so there isn’t a powerful smell accumulating in the growing space, and a carbon filter will help immensely with this. The simple combination of a fan and a charcoal filter is all that’s really needed to remove the strong smell.
  • Fertilizer
  • Fabric pots
  • Seed germinations
  • Potting mix
  • And optionally, a grow tent

The last item is extremely useful for keeping the light contained and concentrated, so it helps the process considerably.

The last requirement is, of course, great cannabis seeds, which can be ordered online from several discreet vendors overseas.

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Grow Marijuana IndoorsGrowing your plants

  • Germinate the seeds – start with between 10 and 20, embedded in peat pellets. Only feminized seeds (those which parties female plants) will actually produce marijuana, so male plants must be discarded later. Within 3 to 7 days, plants will sprout, after which lighting must be provided for 18 hours a day, with six hours of off-time, keeping the plants moist at all times.
  • Transfer to pots – When the roots can be seen growing outside of the peat pellet, transfer the whole peat pellet with plant into a pot filled with potting soil, and water lightly.
  • Water the plant – Young plants need water once a week, mature plants once a day – just water when the soil is dry
  • Switch to flowering mode – after 3-1/2 weeks, the plants will switch to flowering phase and begin to make seeds, and then the light source should be dropped down to about 12 hours a day
  • Eliminate males – after four weeks of flowering, the first buds will appear on all the plants, but the females will have whitish-looking hairs and the males will have hanging balls. These have to be eliminated because they will pollinate the females and drastically reduce your yield.
  • Fertilize regularly – with regular watering and fertilizing, the plants will ripen in 2 to 3 months, and there isn’t much else to do except let them grow.
  • Harvest – use scissors to cut away all the leaves from the buds and discard them, since they have no active ingredients. Trim the buds – and enjoy!


10 Things to Know Before You Grow Marijuana

Things to know before you begin to grow your own marijuana

Growing marijuana doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming. Producing more yield can be a bit daunting, but here are ten things to help.

1. Proper air flow is essential

Whether using soil or hydroponics, getting the right air circulation in the growing room is essential for the health of your cannabis plant. To get great air flow indoors for your plant, use exhaust fans. They will pull fresh air into the room and warm air out.

2. Light = greater yield

When it comes to growing marijuana, a great lighting setup, complete with ballast, hood, and bulb, is a top priority for a quality product.10 Things to Know Before You Grow Marijuana

3. Using mylar generates more from your lights

Mylar is a great tool for making the most of your lighting system. Since it’s great for reflecting light, putting mylar on the walls can help your grow room get the amount of light it needs.

4. Maintain ideal air temperature

To avoid stunting or killing your plants, maintain the ideal temperature of 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit. An air conditioning system may be needed for your grow room.

5. Use controls for easier growing

To avoid hurting your plants from forgetting to turn something on or off, consider controls or sensors to regulate temperature, light, and even carbon dioxide.

6. Nutrient-rich soil

If you are growing marijuana with soil, presuming it has the proper nutrients, will allow your plants to produce a high-quality product. Quality organic gardening soil mixed with compost will allow you to grow better cannabis.

7. Practice pest control

For a healthy marijuana garden, pest control is vital. Consider keeping organic soap, pest deterrents, and even lady bugs in your grow area to keep mites and mildew away.

8. Use the right containers for soil-growing

If you are growing with soil, the container you use plays a huge role in the health of your plant. Make sure that your container allows for proper drainage to keep roots from rotting. Also, consider using a large container (such as a 15 to 25 gallon bucket) to give your plants’ roots room to expand.

9. Hydroponics can yield greater results

Using hydroponics can be difficult, but utilizing them properly allows you to grow a thriving plant much faster. If you’re not the hydroponics novice yet, consider a hydroponics kit to help in the starting process.

10. Know when to harvest

Harvesting your weed at different times will produce different effects. Harvesting your marijuana buds when 50%-70% of the white hairs have darkened will retain higher THC content whereas harvesting when 70%-90% of the hairs are dark, this will produce weed with a more calming effect.

The 3 varieties of Marijuana

3 varieties of MarijuanaThere are 3 varieties of marijuana generally available, and each of them has their own distinct properties and a different set of effects that will be noticeable by those who partake.

Two of these types, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa, have been known and used extensively since the 1700’s, and the third type Cannabis Hybrid, has been newly introduced in recent years by fans of the first two types.

3 varieties of Marijuana

Here is what you can expect if you choose to sit down with friends and enjoy a joint or two sometime.

Cannabis Indica

This strain of marijuana had its origins in the Hindu Kush region near Afghanistan, and it has historically been known as a fairly strong variety. Part of the reason for this is that over time, this strain of marijuana plant developed fairly thick coats of resin to protect itself from a climate that was often very harsh, and these resins are the active ingredient in marijuana.

While it has been known by such colorful nicknames as Purple Haze and Northern Lights, the Indica strain tends to have a very mellowing effect on participants, reducing anxieties and tensions, and inspiring serious time on the couch.

Cannabis Sativa

Sativa is nearly a direct opposite of Indica, in the sense that it tends to have energizing effects, and is therefore more frequently used during the daytime as an antidote to depression or fatigue. It is known to enhance creativity in participants, and to promote increased productivity among users. Over the years, Sativa has acquired such colorful nicknames as Sour Diesel and Lemon Haze.

Cannabis Hybrid

As its name would suggest, Cannabis Hybrid is a cross between Indica and Sativa, but in this very broad category, there are literally hundreds of strains of hybrid. This is quite understandable because so many amateur growers have indulged in experimentation with their own particular hybrid strain, to produce just the right combination of effects and ultimately, enjoyment.

Many marijuana enthusiasts have sought to create a strain of product which induces the perfect state of enjoyment, coupled with the most desired level of activity, or lack thereof. By far, the greatest amount of marijuana generally available is some form of Hybrid strain, simply because so many growers have tried their hand at producing it.

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.

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.