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The Costs of Growing Organic Cannabis

The Costs of Growing Organic Cannabis

Everybody has their own personal definition of what “organic” means.

For a lot of growers, organic pertains to the nutrients you use to grow. To others, organic only means planting your plants straight into the ground and growing from there.

But what does it really mean to grow organic cannabis?

What is organic cannabis?

Contrary to what the lazy grower may wish to be true, you can’t just grow cannabis in the dirt in your backyard and call it organic. You have to feed organic too. But what can you feed cannabis that is actually organic?

An organic nutrient is anything that comes from biological life. This includes bone meal, feather meals, guanos, and the like. There’s also mined organics like gypsum, pumice and other natural resources. So just using any of those throughout your plants’ life cycle should be enough.

Not exactly.

Renewable Organic Inputs

To grow as organically as possible, you want to use organic inputs that are also renewable. The problem is that these inputs are few and far between. The reality is that a lot of organic inputs are strip mined, and cause irreversible damage to the ecosystems they impact.

Take guano for example. Bat and Seabird guano are two of the most popular organic nutrient products that growers love to use when growing organic cannabis. But have you considered how these products are obtained? Strip mining.

Surveyors look all over for bats flying in and out of caves, or bird flocking to a specific cliff face or perch. They then bring in excavators and dig in, ripping up the top layers of the cave or cliffs for the high nitrogen guano, and digging all the way down for the phosphorous and potassium-rich guano that has been sitting underneath. This displaces thousands of bats and birds, and destroys any other small life that could live in the area.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t any renewable organic inputs.

While it is still up for debate among growers and suppliers alike, many would say that peat moss is renewable. The debate is due to the time is takes for peat bogs — where peat moss comes from — to redevelop. Peat moss is the result of millions of years of decomposing biological life that piles on top of itself. After it is mined, it will not replenish for a million more years. So yes, peat technically renews over time, but not fast enough for us to constantly use forever.

One of the only truly renewable organic inputs is coco coir. It is a byproduct of the coconut and textile industries in Asia. Made from the short and long fibrous hairs that aren’t used from the shell of coconuts, coco coir does no damage to any ecosystem, it doesn’t impact the livelihood of textile workers, and coconuts fall off trees every single day. Coco coir is 100% renewable, and even reusable.

Should I even grow organic cannabis?

Of course you should. The reality is that most of us are wearing clothes right now that aren’t sourced or made ethically, and we just sort of ignore it. It isn’t the best approach, and I’m sure there’s some of you out there that try to avoid supporting these companies. But the same applies to organic inputs.

If you want to grow organic cannabis, you need organic inputs. To get organic inputs, they need to be gathered through different means, whether its a renewable byproduct like coco or a strip mined inputs like guanos, phosphates and others. Sure, you could just grow in some dirt in your backyard and feed nothing but water. That is organic cannabis. But don’t expect great results.

An important ethical question growers should start considering is the importance, and difference between their end consumer’s health and the health of the environment. Organic cannabis is rising in popularity, and will most likely end up becoming a major sector of the legal industry, which means demand is going to grow. Is the consumer’s health more important than the life that is potentially destroyed in the process of obtaining those organic inputs?

The reality is you can grow cannabis with no-organic, synthetic nutrients and still have a safe to consume end product. So the decision is really up to you as a grower; is organic cannabis just a marketing tactic, or a way of life?

Autoflower Cannabis: The future of home growing featuring Chef Anna with The Pot

Autoflower Cannabis: The future of home growing featuring Chef Anna with The Pot

Chef Anna grows some of the best autoflowers in the game with a personality to match. But it’s not just Chef’s grow skills that make him so special.

What makes Chef Anna so unique is that he is, for lack of a better word, kind of crazy. Most people would never walk through a Walmart trying to convince elderly white folks they dropped a jar of ganja on the ground. But that’s exactly what Chef Anna does.

Chef has quickly become a cannabis community influencer on Instagram with his hilarious videos. These clips include handing cannabis out to random strangers at grocery stores, to hiding an ounce in the shelves and making a post on Instagram to come and find it for locals in the area.

However Chef Anna was popular well before he started making videos.

Who is Chef Anna?

The question over 50,000 Instagram followers probably want to know is, just who exactly is Chef Anna? Your guess is as good as ours!

You will always see Chef with a hat or hoodie on, and his signature polarized snowboard goggles to hide his face. While there probably are people out there who know who he is at this point, his persona is all people need to see to get hooked.

Chef’s original rise to Instagram popularity is due to his to book, #GROWLIKECHEF: a complete beginners guide to growing autoflowering marijuana at home. And if you didn’t get it from the title, Chef Anna is a chef of high quality, autoflowering cannabis.

Autoflower cannabis and growing at home

With more states allowing personal cultivation of cannabis at home, a lot of people are growing cannabis for the first time. Autoflowering cannabis is a very enticing option for these growers that want something easier to manage.

The genetics of autoflower cannabis allow for faster flowering that doesn’t require lighting changes to transition from the vegetative stage to the flower stage. With this unique characteristic, autoflower cannabis also grows smaller than your average cannabis plant. This makes it ideal for growing in small spaces, and for getting guaranteed yields.

This doesn’t mean autoflowering cannabis is just for the new guy. Chef Anna has been growing autoflower cannabis for years, and has mastered the cultivars he grows. And he’s been sharing his knowledge with the world for just as long.

This Week’s Episode

Chef Anna is on the forefront of evolving autoflower cannabis cultivation. As genetics get stronger, and yields get bigger, autoflower cannabis is becoming more and more popular. Does this mean that autoflowering cannabis is future for home growers?

In this week’s episode of The Real Dirt Podcast, Chip talks with Chef Anna about autoflowering cannabis, how it works, and where it’s going. Plus we get a deep dive into the Instagram personality of Chef Anna; why he does the crazy things he does, changing the perception around cannabis, and more.

Roll a fat one up, sit back, relax and enjoy this episode of The Real Dirt featuring Chef Anna.

Listen on iTunes

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Autoflowering Seeds: For the grower in a hurry

Autoflowering Seeds: For the grower in a hurry

Whether you need a quick turnaround or just want plants that take up as little space as possible, autoflowering seeds may be the choice for you.

Autoflowering seeds are vastly different from feminized seeds and traditional cannabis seeds. Instead of a simple hermaphrodite to female breeding process to create feminized seeds, or male to female breeding for traditional cannabis seeds, autoflowering seeds are created from a different breeding process.

Autoflowering seeds and cannabis ruderalis

Cannabis ruderalis isn’t like traditional Afghanicas (indica) or Thai-based strains (sativa). Ruderalis grew most prevalent in the northern hemispheres, like central and eastern Europe, as well as Russia. Growing more north, the light cycle is much shorter. Over time, ruderalis adapted to enter its flower cycle with age, as opposed to light.

Whereas traditional cannabis follows photosynthesis and the light cycle to determine when to start flowering, ruderalis does not depend on it so heavily. This gives ruderalis a unique advantage over its counterparts when it comes to growth cycles. Obviously this gave breeders some ideas.

A cross of cannabis ruderalis with traditional cannabis sativas and indicas resulted in shorter, more compact plants, that flowered twice as fast as traditional seeds.

A new kind of cannabis

As autoflowering seeds started to grow in popularity, more people started to recognize just how useful the new breed could be. The ruderalis traits are extremely prevalent, shown by autoflowering plants’ compact size. Add to that the biggest benefit, the shortened growth cycle, and lack of dependency on light.

While normal cannabis must be switched from a 16/8 light to dark cycle from a 12/12 to induce the flower stages, autoflowering seeds don’t need to be switched. They can stay in the 16/8 cycle, or the 12/12 cycle without it affecting the plant’s ability to flower. This means outdoor growers can grow later in the season, and fit in more harvests.

But not all of the ruderalis traits are positive. Ruderalis is easily the most “weedy” looking relative in the cannabis family. Due to its wild nature and lack of full-scale cultivation like it’s cousins, ruderalis has a much lower THC content than indica or sativa, which can result in autoflowering seeds producing less potent flowers.

Additionally, with the convenient, compact size of autoflower plants comes lower yields. So while autoflowering seeds may flower in half the time, they don’t produce the same yields, and what they do produce will almost always be weaker in terms of THC content compared to it’s traditional or feminized counterpart.

Not a sure thing

When it comes to autoflowering seeds, it is important to note that just because the seeds are guaranteed to “flower”, doesn’t mean they are female. A lot of seed companies will sell “autofem” seeds, which are feminized, autoflowering seeds. However, your average autoflower seeds may contain some males, which is why it is important to know your seed genetics!

This can cause some problems in the garden if you don’t know they’re male until they start producing pollen next your females. So, similarly to traditional cannabis seeds, make sure to keep a close eye on plants that start to show signs of being male. Luckily, with autoflowering plants, the plants will reveal their sex much more quickly than traditional seeds due to their shortened growth cycle.

Learn more about seeds from one of the most well-known breeders and seed experts in the world, Caleb, founder of CSI Humboldt and the Pirate of the Emerald Triangle. Hear him talk about breeding elite strains, feminized seeds and more on The Real Dirt Podcast! Listen to the full episode right here on the Real Dirt, or stream it on iTunes and Spotify!

High Times Cannabis Cup or Fyre Fest 2.0?

High Times Cannabis Cup or Fyre Fest 2.0?

It was the first high Times Cup in Oklahoma, and very likely the last.

The hype before the event wasn’t any bigger than past cannabis cups. Just your average instagram posts from local dispensaries and brands that were going to attend, telling customers and attendees to stop by their booth.

But what people anticipated, and what actually happened at the High Times Cannabis Cup in Oklahoma are two very different things. And not for the better.

The Background

High Times has always had a somewhat iffy reputation among the cannabis community, mainly for the company’s poor event planning year after year. Due to the nature of the event, hosting a cannabis cup in a medical only state can cause some problems on its own. Oklahoma happens to be a medical only state.

But that’s not all.

Oklahoma also has the most progressive and fastest growing medical cannabis industry in the country. The state’s medical laws allowed, and even encouraged, outside growers, processors and retailers to bring their experience and knowledge to the new state industry. And boy did they.

As it stands now, there are over 130,000 registered patients in Oklahoma, with over 1,300 dispensaries to service them. Oklahoma is the fastest-growing medical marijuana market in the average number of daily patient increases, and MMJ patients represent 4.1% of the state’s total population – one of the highest rates in the nation. Growth is bolstered by low barriers of entry, including the fact there’s no list of qualifying conditions for patients.

Unprepared, overwhelmed, and even dangerous

To say that the venue was under prepared for the first day of the Cannabis Cup would be a massive understatement. With a huge portion of attendees coming from out of state, and just as many in-state patients, Real Dirt sources on the ground estimated around 40,000 people in attendance.

Other than the fact that it was probably the largest cannabis cup attendance in history, it was also the largest shit show. VIP entrance began at noon, with hundreds of people waiting well past 2 PM to get in “early”. General admission began at 1 PM, which only added to the chaos. Thousands of people showed up at once, making parking a nightmare.

high times cannabis cup oklahoma

A photo from the line at the Cannabis Cup in Oklahoma, about 1/4 mile from the entrance. Photo by @OKCannaCo on Twitter.

After the parking lots filled up in the first hour, attendees began parking down the street, some well over a mile from the venue. On top of that there were insanely long lines, stretching over half a mile around the outside of the venue, through the parking lot and beyond. Keep in mind this is in 80+ degree weather with extremely high humidity.

With excessive wait times, high heat and no water, people became very unhappy, very quickly, with plenty of evidence on Twitter.

One person eventually got into the event, only to find that there was hardly enough food or water for everybody:

oklahoma cannabis cup problems

Others spent all day just waiting in line:

oklahoma cannabis cup 2019

But for a lot of people, the Oklahoma Cannabis Cup was reminiscent of the extremely hyped up, and extremely unsuccessful Fyre Festival:

high times cannabis cup in oklahoma was another fyre festival

While the High Times Cannabis Cup in Oklahoma may have been a huge success for the organizers and vendors that were able to make it, there were still hundreds if not thousands of people who paid for tickets and never even got into the venue. For those that got in however, the event was a blast and a great way to connect the local and national cannabis community in Oklahoma.

Day 2 of the Cup was inevitably less crowded due to many just avoiding it all together to save the hassle of another long day in line, and so it raises the question, will High Times be back to Oklahoma?

Probably. They vastly underestimated the Oklahoma cannabis community and the interest in cannabis in the state. If they High Times wants to return to Oklahoma, they will need to make some serious changes to the venue, entrance protocols and a lot more. If they do have another cup in Oklahoma, you can bet The Real Dirt will at least try to get in.

Are Big Cannabis Stocks Losing Steam?

Are Big Cannabis Stocks Losing Steam?

As the cannabis industry expands, so do cannabis IPOs.

In other words, as more and more states legalize cannabis, the opportunity to become a publicly traded cannabis company has become enticing to many in the industry. But restrictions are fierce.

Due to federal law in the United States, no plant-touching cannabis business — regardless of its operation in a legal state — can list their business in American stock markets. Which is why Canadian cannabis stocks have become the focus of any would-be cannabis investor.

Canadian Cannabis Stocks

Being the first first-world country to fully legalize the sale and consumption of cannabis, Canada is on the forefront of managing a nationwide industry. And with a 100% legal industry, Canadian cannabis companies are free to go public. This has led to some big companies all but taking over the entire marketshare of cannabis.

The three main competitors in Canada currently are Canopy, Aurora and Tilray. Over the last year, these companies went public with a bang, building up shares and raking in the investment dollars. But after the IPO, there has been a consistent decline in stock value for all of these companies.

While Tilray made close to $46 million in this quarter ended June 30, they still posted a loss of $32.9 million. The second place contender, Aurora is still holding strong with no reports of major losses that would impact shareholders. However Canopy, the largest marketshare holder in Canada’s industry isn’t showing great gains.

While none of these major stocks are in danger of bottoming out any time soon, the recent projections that show profitability is still some time away have some investors considering other options. This is leading to a rising interest in smaller cannabis stocks in Canada and the US.

Smaller Cannabis Stocks Rising Up

No “small” business is going to be listed on the stock exchange, which means even the smaller cannabis stocks we talk about here are still going to be relatively large businesses. It is also important to keep in mind that as big as Canada is in size, it’s legal cannabis industry is relatively small compared to the U.S.

For example, while Colorado has an average of one cannabis dispensary to every 10,000 people, Ontario has one store for every 600,000 people, and Quebec only has one store for ever 500,000. That’s a lot of people for one location to service, which means that demand is high for quality products from whoever is selling it.

While Canopy made a lot of money in the topical, oils, and edibles market, they failed to account for the demand for high-THC products, including cannabis flower. Now they are changing their strains and upping their THC content, but until that happens, smaller companies can come in and get the deals.

Companies like Supreme Cannabis Co., MediPharm Labs Corp. and Pure Sunfarms Corp. all posted positive gains and earnings this quarter. Pure Sunfarms Corp. even reported a net income of $37.2 million Canadian, which is the largest net income reported to date in the Canadian market.

What’s next for cannabis stocks

There are people who are paid a lot more money than me to determine the future of cannabis stocks, so I won’t even try to guess. What I can say though, is that Canadian cannabis stocks aren’t going to be the only option in the near future.

While plant-touching businesses cannot be listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ, ancillary businesses are all fair game in the United States. This opens the door for companies that design the containers that cannabis is sold in, paraphernalia manufacturers, and other businesses that supply equipment, legal services and more to the legal cannabis industries around the country.

Whether or not companies in these fields will list themselves is up to them, just as deciding whether or not to invest in them is up to you. But The Real Dirt will do its best to keep you updated on exciting stocks and news that you should know about the industry. 

Need a T Break? How to Know if You Need a Tolerance Break

Need a T Break? How to Know if You Need a Tolerance Break

Is that joint just not hitting the way it used to? It might be time for a T break.

A tolerance break, or T break is self-explanatory. When you start drinking, it only takes a couple beers and you’re drunk. But after you start having a couple beers a day for a few months, you won’t get as drunk because your body will start to build up a tolerance to the effects of alcohol.

The same is true for cannabis. More or less.

When do you need a T break?

It’s completely up to you because you’re the only one who knows how cannabis effects you. If you used to get baked like a biscuit off of one joint, but now need a king size or two joints to get the same feeling, it might be time for a T break.

The other option is to consume more cannabis in general, or consume more concentrated cannabis. The only downside to this is that you will be pushing your tolerance even further. Another reason to take a tolerance break is to do just that, take a break.

Cannabis is nowhere near as dangerous as alcohol or tobacco, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an impact on your body. If you smoke frequently before bed, it can become difficult to fall asleep without it, and the same goes for eating. Maybe you need cannabis to eat which is fine, but using it to constantly just “enhance” your meal can make you eat more without thinking about portion control as much. Plus smoking plant matter in general isn’t great for you.

Lastly and probably one of the most stressful reasons to take a T break is because of a job. Unfortunately not all of us are lucky enough to have jobs that don’t drug test. If you get past the interview for a job and they need you to take a drug test, you better hope they give you some time.

THC can be in your system for up to a month if you are a heavy user that smokes several times a day, but can be out of your system in just a few days if your use is minimal and you take the necessary precautions before you take the test. If you just smoked yesterday and you have a drug test tomorrow, your chances aren’t great, but you can chug water and exercise to clean out your system as much as possible, plus other, less conventional methods we’ll save for another article.

How long is a tolerance break?

The beauty of a tolerance break is that it’s 100% customizable. If you just want to take a day off, you can. If you’re a daily consumer it probably won’t make a notable difference though. Most people stop use for a week or more, with some going a month or longer.

Some people who have used cannabis frequently for years may take a month T break and realize how different it is to not be under the influence so regularly. Some people may even quit cannabis all together after a tolerance break. But for a lot of people, it’s about regaining an appreciation for the plant.

Think about your early years with cannabis. The coughs, the laughs, the munchies, the being baked out of your mind. Over time those effects become just part of the experience, and expected with every toke.

Taking some time off can help you appreciate what cannabis really does for you, and in turn bring you closer to cannabis. It has so much more use than just getting high, and sometimes it takes taking a step back for a while to learn to be grateful for all cannabis can really do.

Nobody needs a tolerance break. Hell, I haven’t taken one in years. But just writing this out is making me consider taking a little break so I can regain some of my appreciation for cannabis too.

Leave a comment about your most recent T break, or shoot us a DM on Instagram or Facebook to share your story!

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