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.


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!


Marijuana Infused Wine?

I’m sure the thought if infusing Marijuana in lots of different foods and drinks are pretty abundant, but what about wine?

LA Times posted an article recently about how Lisa Molyneux, a long time Marijuana advocate and dispensary owner from Santa Cruz, has decided to do make this infusion happen. She is pairing up with Louisa Sawyer Lindquist, owner of Verdad Wines in Santa Maria to try this new infusion.

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Apparently, the thought arose while camping together in Yosemite Valley back in 2010. This infusion is called Canna Vine. High-grade Marijuana fused with biodynamic farmed grapes.

The new “Green Wine” is also getting a lot of hype from celebrities like Chelsea Handler and Melissa Etheridge. These new bottles are ranging from $120-$400 so you better be ready to fork up the big bucks for the infusion.

Read the full articles from LA Times here!

Growing Marijuana Outdoors

Getting started

The first thing to consider when growing marijuana outdoors is the location. The chosen location must have proper sunlight and sufficient warmth to assist in the growth and development of the plants.

H2O is another essential of course. When considering growing, make sure to think about how dry the climate is.

What to grow?

There are several different types of marijuana varieties to consider when planting. The most common types are Sativa and Indica. There’s also a huge variety of hybrid options to consider as well.

Sativa plants are generally taller and heavier while Indica plants are shorter and denser.

Feminine seeds VS regular seeds

This small point can have an enormous impact on marijuana plants. There are big differences between feminized seeds and regular seeds. Regular seeds produce some male cannabis flowers, which are identifiable by their small banana shape.

Male plants are not harvestable and can actually damage the crop by fertilizing female plants. Feminized seeds produce all-female plants, so make sure to look out for these when buying seeds.Growing Marijuana Outdoors vs Indoor

Reaping the harvest

Most marijuana growers harvest their plants too early, when the tiny droplets of resin on the flowers turn color from clear or cloudy, to amber. If harvested too soon, the buds will not have the full potency of ripened flower clusters.

If harvested too late, there’s a risk of oxidizing the THC component. If oxidation takes place, the marijuana plant will go bad and could cause users to feel nauseated or quite sick. So it’s better to harvest a little early rather than a little late.

Once the flower clusters are harvested, they need to be cured carefully or they could mold and lose potency. Curing should be done in small batches, hanging buds on racks to dry, and then stored in Mason jars to retain potency.

Important Factors

  • The potency of the strain can help determine which varietal to grow
  • Ensure the plants have enough UV lighting and warmth
  • Make sure they are protected from scavengers like rabbits and deer
  • Be aware of the weather: obviously growing marijuana outdoors exposes plants to more danger than indoor growing because they are subject to the whims of weather. A sudden frost or prolonged drought can spell disaster for the crop

How to combat challenges

  • Use seeds that are hardier and more resistant to pests
  • To minimize the effects of frost, place special pots outside to generate warmth to push off cold temperatures

Once you’ve successfully grown and harvested your first crop of marijuana, you’ll be able to start refining your process, and grow plants that get better and better.

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.

Reduce Your Energy Bill Growing Marijuana

Medical Marijuana, Cannabis Manufacturing Equipment, marijuana legal statesGrowing marijuana can be a rewarding practice, sure. But man does it take up a lot of electricity! Don’t let your rising enMedical Marijuana, Cannabis Manufacturing Equipment, marijuana legal statesergy bills get you down. There are ways you can reduce your energy bill through a few simple changes to your routine, as well as the right equipment. Here are some tips to combat the rising cost of running your business or hobby.

Low-energy Equipment for Growing Marijuana

Equipment that takes up less energy than standard equipment is where you’ll see your biggest savings. Because your fans, heaters and other equipment may have to be in use for 24 hour cycles, it’s important that you choose low energy options here. You may spend a little more outright, but the savings you will find in electricity consumption will more than make up for this through the coming months and years. Low-energy models also have another advantage: less power taxing the area’s power transformers, which could pose a real problem if you’re running a big operation in a small space.

Bulbs

Everyone has their preference between HID and LED lights. However, if you’re looking to cut costs, it’s best to go with LED. Switch to LED bulbs instead of HID, which will lower your electrical usage and reduction efforts, according to 420 Magazine. Invest in some digital or electronic dimmable ballasts, which will allow you to cut down on the wattage of your ballast and lights when not actually needed. LED lights are preferred among many growers because they can last much longer than traditional bulbs, lasting up to 50,000 to 100,000 hours of use as opposed to 20,000, says Plantozoid. Consequently, you’ll save the most cash on electricity during your plants’ vegetative growth cycle, as they don’t need intense light per se, just steady light over many hours.

Solar Ventilation

Quite simply, it can get very expensive to grow marijuana indoors. That’s why some farmers are turning to solar growing technology for ventilation. The use of artificial lights indoors and ventilation systems can sap your energy bill faster than you can say cannabis. Why not harness the large amounts of energy from the sun? It’s free and you can say up to 90 percent on your electricity bills by using a solar greenhouse, according to The Verge. If you’re going to grow indoors, though, in a traditional setting, you’ll need exhaust fans and controllers to keep the air flowing. Choose low energy models that are efficient and will save you money.

Slash the cost of using electricity for your marijuana growing operations and you’ll be able to spend your money on more important things like supplies.

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 Use Light Deprivation for Controlling Cannabis Growth

How to Use Light Deprivation for Controlling Cannabis Growth

It’s pretty well known that light is one of the essential components for cannabis growth – so why would you want to deprive the plants of that essential light? The answer is simple – to control growth, and achieve the best benefits of both indoor and outdoor growing operations. There are a good many reasons why you would want to exercise that kind of control over your plant growth, beginning with the fact that your cannabis plants would not be subject to the uncertainties of outdoor weather.

Being developed inside some kind of greenhouse setup allows them to have ideal climate control at all times, assuming you have fans and humidifiers included in your setup. Perhaps best of all, multiple high-quality crops can be produced in one year. Because you control when the plants changeover from their vegetative state to the flowering stage, you can also maximize their health beforehand, prune plants perfectly, and wait for the ideal stage of growth before letting them go to flower.

Inexpensive setup 

To setup a relatively cheap light deprivation growing facility, you can build a simple ‘hoop house’, using PVC, rebar, some fans, a light deprivation tarpaulin, and several wooden 2×4’s. After selecting your growing space, you’ll need the help of a friend or two to help erect the hoop house, and cover it with the light deprivation tarp. Usage of the tarp is critical to your operation, and it needs to manage growth by permitting light in at the same time every day, or the plants will quickly get out of whack. Once you’ve established your basic light cycle, stick to it as much as possible, and then control temperature and humidity by having openings in the hoop house, and using the fans to manage air flow.

Moderately-priced setup 

A permanent greenhouse is a step up in cost and also in the stability of your light deprivation setup, since a permanent structure would not be as susceptible to strong winds like a hoop house might be. Instead of having to manually operate your light deprivation tarp, it could be setup on some kind of pulley system, so you don’t have to go through manual labor in your light cycle routine. It will also be easier to setup your irrigation method, heaters, fans, and humidifiers in a permanent structure.

High-cost setup

If you have the means for this kind of setup, it can be highly productive and much easier to operate. This involves a permanent greenhouse system, entirely automated and controlled by computers. All aspects of growing, i.e. temperature, humidity, air flow, watering, and light can be at the direction of a pre-set computer program. By including interior light sources, your control over lighting becomes even more detailed and precise. The benefits of all this expense can make the cost worthwhile, as you can produce a number of high-quality cannabis crops every year.


Photo credit: Oregon Cannabis Connection