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.

Is it Legal to Grow Weed (Marijuana) in the USA?

Grow Weed, Marijuana law, marijuana legal statesIf you’re thinking of growing marijuana in your home, you should first check to ensure the cultivation of this substance is permitted in your state. This will save you from possible fines and jail time if your operation is discovered by the law.

According to Procon.org, there are 20 legal medical marijuana states; however, only 15 of the 20 states allow you to cultivate marijuana at home. Of the 20, home cultivation is not permitted in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, or the District of Columbia, with a license required in New Mexico. Check out the above link for the full list of 20 legal marijuana states. There are other conditions that may preclude you from home cultivation within other approved states. For example, in Arizona, you can only grow medical marijuana if you live within 25 miles of the dispensary when you submitted your application for an ID card. In Massachusetts, you must be able to show a proof of hardship waiver. Some states are lobbying and have been granted legalization of recreational marijuana, such as in Colorado, with Washington State looking to follow suit, according to The Guardian. These laws — and the regulations and conditions that are attached to them — change all the time, with so many states trying to get in on the weed legalization game.

It’s best to check with your individual state before beginning cultivation to ensure the most up-to-date laws. Here’s a good roundup by the Reason Foundation as to where each state in the United States stands in regards to marijuana. In order to legally grow marijuana in a legal state, you’ll need to get licensed by your specific government. Start with contacting your state health department on how to go about getting an ID card as part of your state’s medical marijuana program that allows you to possess, grow and use marijuana. You will be instructed to fill out the necessary paperwork, pay the fee and provide a doctor’s note saying you do indeed have a medical condition that requires the therapeutic use of medical marijuana.

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System (And what you can do about it)

marijuana law smoked marijuanaIf you have smoked marijuana recently and are facing a drug test at work, for sports, school, driving or operating industrial equipment, you may very well be in a panic right about now. You may wonder how long this drug stays in your system and whether you’ll test positive or not. We have the answers.

Chemical Make-Up

First off, it’s important to understand the chemical make-up of marijuana and what it does once it enters your body. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main chemical compound in marijuana that gets you high; consequently the metabolites of THC are the ones detected for marijuana use, according to Marijuana Central. Once you ingest this substance, it enters the blood stream, where your body will begin the process of breaking it down. However, the body can’t handle all of that responsibility at once so it stores some of it for later. Unfortunately for regular users facing a drug test, this process can take up to several days thanks to the lipid-soluble nature of the compound.

Types of Tests

Your employer, school or sporting organization may use a variety of testing methods to determine the presence of marijuana in your system. Saliva tests are relatively new and aren’t as widespread as other methods, but it can detect traces of marijuana for up to 24 hours, used primarily in the investigation of vehicle and on-the-job accidents. A more popular method of testing is the blood test, which can give a positive result between six and 24 hours for a one-time user. However, for those who use marijuana on a consistent, daily basis, this test can detect its presence for up to seven days. Hair testing is used to detect marijuana use in the distant past, such as months to years, so it’s not quite as common for testing on a recent basis. The most popular testing method is the urine test, which can detect one-time marijuana use anywhere within the past two to five hours up to six days, according to the The Weed Blog. Moderate users may be detected for up to 13 days, with heavy users testing positive for up to 30 days and beyond.

What You Can Do

The best and most honest way to pass a drug test is to quit smoking marijuana for the 30 days prior to the test. However, you don’t always get this much lead time, so you’ll have to improvise. The fist thing you should do upon hearing of the upcoming test is to start drinking water — lots of it. This process is called flushing and will get out the metabolites that can show up positive for drugs on a test. It’s possible to over-hydrate, though, so be careful. It’s a good idea to take some B2 or B12 vitamins to keep your urine from getting too clear and watery. You can also try peeing a bit into the toilet first, then collecting the remaining urine into the cup, as the first streams of urine contain the most metabolites. Overall, drink plenty of fluids, such as water and sports drinks, and get plenty of exercise to sweat out the toxins.

Iceland May Legalize Cannabis Usage

A bill has been put forth by a member of Iceland’s Reform Party, MP Pawel Bartoszek, which would put in place the foundation of a recreational cannabis program in that country. The bill covers various aspects of adult usage, including the production and sales, and most importantly, the decriminalization of cannabis possession and consumption. The main points of the bill came directly from a guide issued by the UK advocacy group Transform, the guide being entitled “How to Regulate Cannabis: A Practical Guide”.

Iceland May Legalize Cannabis Usage

Who would be affected? 

Under the provisions of the bill, Iceland adults aged 20 and above would be affected, with cannabis usage, production, and sales becoming legal for that entire age group. At the same time, it would require a ban on all advertising of cannabis, presumably so as to prevent pitches from reaching under-age ears, and it would be packaged in plain gray containers, devoid of excitement or appeal. Sales to minors would remain illegal and carry a heavy fine for anyone caught.

According to MP Bartoszek, the aim of his bill is to spark needed discussion and debate about legalization and about how to regulate sales and production of cannabis, so the government can share in tax revenues. “If the production and sale remains illegal, we miss the opportunity to control access, protect children and minors, and to tax consumption”, says Bartoszek, adding ”I hope that the bill will be an icebreaker that spurs debate, and that it will ultimately lead to us ceasing the punishment of people for consuming this specific substance.”

Supporters and opponents

Bartoszek’s comments to the Iceland Review, and similar comments posted on his website have gained popular support in the country thus far, and with other members of his Reform Party. The bill will likely be reviewed sometime after October 28th, when Iceland will have a general election. Three co-sponsors have added their support to the bill, all members of the Reform Party, but of course there are also opponents who are loudly voicing their opposition, and insisting on a more conservative approach.

It’s hard to say at this point what the real level of support for the bill might be, but that will probably become more obvious in November. Bartoszek himself feels that the bill has strong support, but is worried that the first wave of reform might only embrace decriminalization rather than full legalization. In his mind, this would be a mistake, since it misses the opportunity to control access, pricing, and tax revenues which would be generated by regulation.


Photo credit: Moyan Brenn via CC-By-2.0

How to Determine the Sex of Your Cannabis Plants

The first thing you might be wondering is, “Why does it matter?” What’s the difference whether you have male or female plants in your growing field or greenhouse? Any serious grower can tell you it matters very much. If male and female plants are mixed together in your growing area, the buds produced will have seeds in them. Depending on the grower, this may be good or bad.

It is good if the desire is to use the seeds to grow more plants, but in terms of its appeal for smoking, it’s a bad. Buds from female plants, called sensimilla, are more potent, whereas plants with seeds are often harsh and far less appealing to afficionados; so they are generally classified as lower-grade cannabis. The sex of your cannabis plants matters depending on your goal. Are you trying to grow sensimilla, develop a new strain, or just gathering seeds for a next crop?

Determining gender

The most reliable way to determine the gender of a cannabis plant is by examining a growth called the ‘pre-flower’. This begins to appear about four weeks into growth, and becomes fairly prominent after six weeks. Look for this pre-flower near the plant’s stalk, where leaves and branches extend outward (a.k.a. the nodes). While very small at this stage, you can see them well through a magnifying glass to make an accurate assessment.

Identify whether you see small, roundish sacs (male plants), or tiny bracts with hair-like stigma (female plants). The small sacs of a male plant will eventually become spreaders of pollen, while the fibrous stigma will serve to receive that pollen, achieving fertilization. This is exactly what you don’t want, if you’re a grower trying to cultivate sensimilla buds which are prized for their smoothness and potency.

How to Determine the Sex of Your Cannabis Plants

As soon as you can reliably identify male plants, remove them from your crop to prevent pollination of the females. This will leave more growing capacity for the all-important female plants.

A third possibility

Just when you thought it was too easy to manage males and females, along come hermaphrodites, plants that exhibit both male and female characteristics. Hermaphrodites have both pollen sacs and stigma, or growths called anthers, which look like tiny bananas.

Hermaphrodites usually only develop in stressed colonies, e.g. weather factors and subpar growing conditions. You will also need to weed these out as they are capable of pollinating your female plants.


Photo credit: Green Rush Daily

NIH Funds the First Long-Term Study into Cannabis Effectiveness for Pain Relief

NIH Funds the First Long-Term Study into Cannabis Effectiveness for Pain ReliefThe National Institute of Health (NIH) has put up almost $4 million to fund a 5-year study into whether or not medical cannabis can be an effective replacement for opioids in managing chronic pain. This is an official federal grant which has been awarded to researchers at the and Montefiore Health System, and the stated mission of the study is to determine if cannabis can truly be a step-down method for weaning patients away from opioids.

Parameters of the study

To conduct this study, only high-quality medical dispensary cannabis from NY state will be used, as opposed to the typically low-grade cannabis generally available for current research projects. The study group will consist of 250 patients currently experiencing chronic pain, many of whom will be HIV-positive, and all of whom have already been approved for using medical marijuana to relieve pain. Since HIV-positive patients are well known to be chronic pain sufferers, the inclusion of a number of such patients will provide very useful data over the life of the study.

Every two weeks, participants will be asked to complete online questionnaires which focus on their level of pain, and their usage of cannabis for relief. Urine and blood samples will also be taken from participants every three months to provide firm medical and scientific backing, and to ensure that opioids are not being taken in tandem with cannabis. Interviews will also be conducted among chosen members of the study group to obtain their perspectives on the effectiveness of cannabis vs. opioid usage.

Unchartered territory

No study of this kind has ever been conducted, so the information it provides can be extremely useful, particularly if there are strong indications that cannabis can be effective as an opioid replacement. There have been localized, on-the-spot observations of course, but no prolonged research has ever been performed over such a long period of time. The duration of this study is one of the aspects which lends greater legitimacy and credibility to its findings, since they would have the advantage of being demonstrated in a pattern of consistency.

No long-term studies have ever been conducted on how the active chemical compounds of cannabis, i.e. THC and CBD, impact the health, pain levels, or quality of life for patients regularly ingesting them. As the study’s chief investigator, Chinazo Cunningham states, “As state and federal governments grapple with the complex issues surrounding opioids and medical marijuana, we hope to provide evidence-based recommendations that will help shape responsible and effective healthcare practices and public policies.”

Former Prohibitionist Congressman Introduces Bill for Medical Marijuana Research

Former Prohibitionist Congressman Introduces Bill for Medical Marijuana Research
In a move that can only be described as stunning, former Republican marijuana prohibitionist, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah introduced a bill in Congress which would encourage far greater research into the medical benefits of cannabis. On September 13, 2017, Sen. Hatch stood before his peers and delivered an impassioned speech about how cannabis has already demonstrated some very profound healing properties, as well as the ability to improve quality of life for people suffering from various kinds of chronic pain.

An abrupt philosophical change

In his words, “The federal government strains to enforce regulations that sometimes do more harm than good. To be blunt, we need to remove the administrative barriers preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana, which is why I’ve decided to roll out the MEDS Act.” So what is responsible for this seeming about-face in Sen. Hatch’s philosophy? Apparently, the plight of a close friend figured strongly into his thinking, and even though he still opposes recreational use, his thinking about medical marijuana has indeed been drastically altered.

Sen. Hatch has an unnamed friend who had been forced to ingest nearly 20 pills a day to manage pain, and some of these were fairly powerful opioids. After trying medical cannabis, this friend was able to discard all the pills, including the opioids, and rely solely on the medical cannabis for full relief. Right before his own eyes, Hatch witnessed the near-miraculous effects of pain relief, as well as the extremely effective substitution of cannabis for opioids.

What’s included in the MEDS Act 

This is no lightweight, half-hearted bill introduced by Sen. Hatch – these are the highlights of the features included in the bill:

  • Requires the Attorney General to increase the national marijuana quota as soon as is practicable, in order to meet the changing medical needs of our society
  • Requires the National Institute on Drug Abuse to put forth ‘best practices’ recommendations for the growing and overall production of marijuana, with the expectation that crops would be then used for medical research
  • Make marijuana much more accessible for groups involved with legitimate research into medical marijuana, and for the production of marijuana derivative drugs which have FDA approval
  • Encourage more medical research into the uses of marijuana, specifically by streamlining the registration process and removing barriers to research. This would not be dependent on having marijuana re-classified from its current Schedule I status as a ‘dangerous drug’.
  • Prevent the Department of Health and Human Services from instituting any new requirements or protocols which would tend to inhibit research into the usage of medical marijuana.

Impact of the speech and the bill

The impact of Sen. Hatch’s bill could be far-reaching indeed. If passed, sorely needed research into medical marijuana should proceed at a much faster and less inhibited pace. It would also represent a concession by the federal government that medical cannabis can be an effective tool for many health conditions, and for fighting the opioid crisis. Lastly, it will be seen as one stark example of the changing attitude in our society over the unjust stigma formerly attached to the amazing cannabis plant.


Photo credit: Herb.co

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

Relieving Tension and Stress With Cannabis

Relieving Tension and Stress With CannabisThere are a tremendous number of products available on the medical market for relief of tension and stress, but one of the best of these just might be medical marijuana. Whereas most other stress relief products are only meant to be ingested internally there are several ways that cannabis can be used to achieve a more relaxed state of mind, and significantly lower tension in the major muscle groups of the body.

Topical massage

Everyone is aware of the effectiveness of massage as an agent for stress and tension relief, but using cannabis can add significant other benefits to the procedure as well. Massage oils and lotions which are infused with cannabis can relieve inflammation, and penetrate deep into the powerful muscle groups of the body. There are some clinics in the country which have reported great success with this treatment, but it’s something that can also be done right in the comfort of your own home.

Juicing with cannabis

Many people already begin their days with a healthy fruit and vegetable smoothie, or some similar concoction. Adding cannabis to your breakfast blend can provide its medicinal benefits for you without adding any extra sugar or negative components. Some favorite blends which people have reported using include cannabis with apple, celery, spinach, parsley, and lemon – but you can experiment to find the mixture which appeals to your sense of taste. And you will have started your day with an extra-healthy drink that contributes to your daily well-being.

Cannabis-infused bathing

In some shops around the country, there are already products on the shelf which include cannabis with bathing oils and salts, to relax you and soothe aching muscles in a nice, long soak. Using either a CBD-infused or THC-infused bath bomb, you can couple that with a cannabis-infused Epsom salt, and sink into the hot water to spoil yourself in a tension-relieving therapy session. This soak will have none of the psychoactive properties of cannabis, but will definitely allow you to forget the worries of the day, and just let the tension ease out of you.

Mindful meditation

A soothing strain of indica cannabis can be a fantastic aid to meditation, because it helps to place your mind in the relaxed state sought by meditation. Find a quiet place in your home, and either smoke or vape your indica to help achieve the calmness desired. In just 20 minutes each day, you’ll notice over the course of a week or so that the brief period you allot to mindful meditation carries over into the entire day. Make this a part of your daily routine, and you’ll find that stress and tension are things of the past.


Photo credit: SolidPhysique

State Lawmakers Urge Congress to Remove Cannabis from Schedule I Classification

State Lawmakers Urge Congress to Remove Cannabis from Schedule I ClassificationIn early August, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) drafted a resolution to urge Congress to have marijuana removed from the clearly inappropriate language of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), and allow all states to determine their own individual policies regarding the herb. Drugs appearing on this list ‘have a high potential for abuse’ and ‘have no currently accepted medical use’ in this country.

A number of benefits would immediately be derived from this action, including the most obvious one of permitting states’ wishes on the subject to be carried out. Secondly, public safety would be better served, because marijuana businesses are currently obliged to operate on a cash basis, with federal penalties still threatening banks who do business with them. With large amounts of cash on hand to conduct business, these companies are prime targets for the criminal-minded, who are eager to pounce on cash reserves. Thirdly, it would allow much greater research to be conducted into the many medical usages of cannabis.

Reinforcing the message

This isn’t the first time that the state legislatures have made the same recommendation to Congress – this is the third consecutive year that the same group has called for cannabis reform, in light of the federal government’s curious policy on the herb. Each time the message has been the same – remove cannabis from Schedule I (harmful, addictive drugs), and incorporate language into the CSA which allows all states to set their own policies regarding all aspects of the marijuana industry.

Sign of the times

Advocates for legalization point to this as a step in the right direction, especially given the fact that a majority of voters nationwide now favor legalization of the herb. A poll conducted by the Marijuana Majority has recently found that more than 76% of all Americans favor the notion that states should be allowed to establish their own sets of regulations regarding cannabis, and that the federal government should withdraw its own intervention and interference with the industry.

Furthermore, the same poll showed that 94% of people in this country feel that adults should have the legal right to use medical marijuana without fear of federal interference, and 60% said they felt adults also should be allowed to use marijuana recreationally. With this kind of broad support in hand, the NCSL is considering adding additional language to its resolution that would recommend the usage of cannabis as an effective tool for combating the crisis with opioids.

Available evidence demonstrated clearly that cannabis has been very effective in reducing fatalities related to opioid usage, as well as the instances of hospitalization due to the same cause. However, those reductions have only been realized in the states which have medical marijuana programs in place, and that makes an even more compelling case for the effectiveness of cannabis as a deterrent to the spread of opioid usage.

Later in this year, the NCSL will vote on whether or not to include this endorsement of medical cannabis in its recommendations to Congress. Whether it actually includes the language or not, it’s clear that the state legislatures of this country are more in touch with the will of the people than is the federal government on the extraordinary usefulness of medical marijuana.


Photo credit: Bold IP