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Trimming Cannabis: 3 ways to trim

Trimming Cannabis: 3 ways to trim

It’s a big debate among growers and trimmers alike. When it comes to trimming cannabis, is there a best way?

In short, yes. Trimming cannabis does not need to be a difficult process, and it can be very hands off. However, it can also be the opposite.

When it comes time to trim up your cannabis, there’s a couple things to consider. The biggest factor is how much you actually need to trim. Knowing this will help you figure out if it is something you can even do by yourself. From full hands-on to minimal effort, here are three of the most common way of trimming cannabis.

Farmer’s Trim

trimming cannabis the farmer way

A pretty rare sight to see these days, you won’t usually see bud with a farmer’s trim on dispensary shelves. The name farmer’s trim comes from farmers enjoying the fruits of their labor without much of the processing that goes in before it is actually sold.

A grower that does farmer’s trims may just snip off the bigger, more noticeable leaves on the bud, without going after every little leaf that sticks off the bud. This gives the nug a more natural look. Proponents will argue that a little more leaf on your bud means it could still have some of that extra THC found in the leaves.

Others will say it’s just lazy trimming, and the “extra” THC is negligible compared to a better looking trim job. Usually, more experienced growers and smokers won’t mind a farmer’s trim.

Hand Trim

trimming cannabis by hand is best

The farmer’s trim with more effort. Trimming cannabis by hand is the preferred technique by boutique and more small-scale growers as it lets the trimmer shape the bud how they like, while taking care to avoid damaging the bud itself.

However, a bad hand-trim job can ruin the look of a nug, so it’s important to know what you’re doing, or hire someone who does.

A lot of people prefer hand trim for the “handmade” aspect. It’s good to know that the product you are smoking was meticulously looked at and trimmed to look its best just for you. Other people don’t care so much about that, and want their cannabis to look as generic and “presentable” as possible. They probably machine trim.

Machine Trim

trimming cannabis with a machine is lazy and you should avoid it

Now, there isn’t anything wrong with trimming cannabis with a machine. Just like there isn’t anything wrong with using a machine to scoop up crops in a large agricultural plot. Sometimes, there is just too much cannabis to be able to efficiently trim it all by hand.

There are plenty of different trim machines that utilize different degrees of blade sharpness, rotation speed and more to get as close to a hand-trimmed look as possible. However, any seasoned cannabis consumer will easily be able to distinguish real, hand-trimmed cannabis from something that was just dropped in a machine.

Just because you may have a ton of product and not enough hands, doesn’t mean you can’t get more. A lot of people will get a machine just to save them the trouble, when they could also hire some extra hands for harvest. There is a migration of people who move into popular cannabis growing areas solely to work as a trimmer during harvest season.

Finding these people is as easy as a Craigslist ad. With just a few extra, hard-working hands, you will be shocked at how much more you can accomplish.

No matter how you decide to trim your cannabis, the most important thing is that you pay attention the process. Don’t cut too close with the scissors, don’t leave your nugs in the machine too long, don’t run the trimmer too fast.

Hear some more trim and harvest tips on The Real Dirt Harvest Special! Just click here!

California Legalization: farmers stand up!

California Legalization: farmers stand up!

California cannabis farmers: We have been fighting for cannabis legalization for 80 years. On paper it is finally coming all over the country and the world.

Some of the most restrictive places in the country like Arkansas and Nevada have embraced legal cannabis. Colorado has pioneered the legalization and regulatory environment.

We have literally paved streets that haven’t been fixed in years, and millions and millions of dollars are going to the school systems in association with cannabis sales. On the surface, it appears that the tide is changing. We need to check the tide chart.

The fight is not over. Throughout every single legal state there are county representatives, the board of supervisors, mayors, sheriffs, parent groups and political organizations that are quietly applying pressure to the regulated cannabis movement. Just because the governor or your state representative or your voters change the laws on cannabis regulation does not mean that cannabis is legal commerce in your state or town.

California cannabis legalization

Specifically throughout California, the cannabis legalization movement is being challenged by regulatory agencies and special interest groups. While the good farmers of America are tending their crops, back room deals and political pressure will make it difficult to operate a regulated legal business.

On the surface the cannabis regulatory environment has been successful in Humboldt County. A common stat that is used is that we have 20% of the licensing in the state. These are all temporary licenses and not permanent ones. I believe many of these temporary license holders will not be able to gain a permanent license.

There are absolutely political forces against the cannabis grower to be successful.

Regulation roadblocks

One of the first struggles in legalization is between the policing agencies. The sheriff, the police and Fish and Wildlife have all been responsible for policing the cannabis industry in the past. Many of these people have embraced new cannabis regulations. But there is an old guard that does not agree with government and voter passed laws.

They are the ones who are out to get us.

It isn’t paranoia. These are just facts. We’re not playing cops and robbers anymore, however many people in the policing arena still want to play that game. Environmental and neighborhood groups that are in the minority are speaking up against cannabis legalization. In our current 2.0 designation for new cannabis operations, many outrageous restrictions have been inserted into these new laws.

Unrealistic zoning designation and industrial controls are currently being placed on the cannabis industry.

Is it discrimination?

I spoke recently with Steve Lazar of the Humboldt County Planning Department, and he feels that cannabis is not like other crops and should be treated totally different.

I’m pretty sure we all call this discrimination. To treat one group of people differently than you treat another people. Or in this case to treat one business differently than you treat another business. If a hog farm, chicken farm or dairy farm has certain regulations then those are the type regulations the cannabis industry should have. They should not be any easier or more restricted than any other agricultural product.

I’ve seen this type of attitude for years. While good cannabis folks are working hard, toiling away in their businesses and being successful, they were still judged by neighbors and peers for having an easy life. We’ve all heard, “I should just grow a ton of weed and everything will be OK.”

Those of us that have done this know how hard that statement is, and that you deserve any payment associated with your hard labor.

Time to take the reigns

I’m here to say if we want a legal, functioning cannabis system in Humboldt, the farmers are going to have to step up!

You are going to have to embrace your neighbors and talk to them. You have to bring up the conversations about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, because many of them still have this projection that you’re a mega diesel grow dumping crank oil into the creek.

We have to come out of the dark and tell people what we’re doing.

Ganja farmers need to realize how to be political and call up your representatives at the local and state level. Whether it is a board of supervisors or the school board or the Waterboard it is time for us to come out of the darkness and be the leaders that we are. To all the outlaws out there who are bucking legalization, I want you to think back to how it used to be before 215. It will go back to that.

Without a 215 defense the whole cookie crumbles. In the past all you had to do was have your script and maybe some scripts of other patients and you could grow as much as you wanted. If interdiction showed up they would take everything and maybe you would receive three years probation. This is all going to change, and it’s going to change rapidly. I do not want to see my friends or family in jail again over cannabis regulations and laws.

The time is now. Your phone is already in your hand, so call up your local representative and express concerns. The Board of Supervisors knows the importance of cannabis farmers. They will listen.

The Profit bob Marley said it best, “get up stand up, stand up for your rights,” and now is the time to stop singing and start doing.

Feminized Seeds: a grower’s dream

Feminized Seeds: a grower’s dream

Feminized seeds are usually a guaranteed success for growers. But where did feminized seeds come from?

Popping 12 seeds because six of them will end up male can take a toll on a grower. It’s a waste of resources, energy and time taking care of what will become male plants that need to be thrown away. Luckily, a grower that was tired of dealing with males came up with an idea for eradicating them; feminized seeds.

Feminized seeds in the beginning

In the 90’s, as demand for cannabis started to grow more and more, so did the need for high quantities of flower-producing female plants. With grower’s popping hundreds of seeds at once, it was no longer an option to sift through the entire garden to pick out the males.

Through breeding hermaphroditic females with other pure females, over time, feminized seeds were produced. These seeds were bred to lose the male chromosome during their breeding process, thus creating seeds that were guaranteed female every time. So what did that mean for growers?

They could now pop 100 seeds and get 100 females, every time.

Definitely not perfect

While a huge advancement for growers at the time, feminized seeds weren’t without their flaws. Being the offspring of a hermaphroditic parent, early seeds had a much higher possibility of developing hermaphroditism during their growth cycle. Over time, this problem has mostly been bred out, but seeds that are feminized will still be more likely to become hermaphroditic than their traditional counterparts.

Feminized seeds also lacked the same quality and overall genetic stability that traditional seeds had at the time. Throughout the years since and countless breeding initiatives, they have been bred to all but match traditional seed’s quality.

Worth a try?

Today, feminized seeds make up the majority of seeds bought by growers both professional and hobbyist. Traditional male and female seeds have become the main supply for breeders specifically who want to cross different plants, create hybrids, or produce more seeds.

Most feminized seeds you can buy today will come out just like they would had they been traditional seeds that turned out to be female. So now the only difference in your decision comes down to whether or not you even want to risk growing male plants. If you want to try out breeding and producing your own seeds, then you want male plants. Otherwise, try some feminized seeds and enjoy your guaranteed (with the chance of hermaphrodites) female harvest.

Learn about feminized seeds from one of the original breeders, Caleb of CSI Humboldt on the new episode of The Real Dirt with Chip Baker! Chip and Caleb talk seeds, breeding, strain naming and more in this awesome episode straight out of Humboldt.

Listen on The Real Dirt

Listen on iTunes

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Do You Have Good Weed?

Do You Have Good Weed?

Judging the quality of your cannabis at first glance may seem like a challenge. But once you know what to look for, it’s very simple.

To some people, all cannabis looks the same. To others, it all smells the same or tastes the same. The reality is that every strain you get at the dispensary will have unique signatures and features to look for in order to judge it’s quality. Here’s The Real Dirt’s Top 5 things to look for when judging your weed.

Know Your Strain

One of the easiest ways to know what to look for with your cannabis is by knowing the strain itself. Cannabis strains are vast and diverse, with every strain producing slightly different effects, with different smells and tastes associated with them. For example, Sour Diesel got its name directly because of its smell. If you get Sour Diesel from your local dispensary, and it doesn’t smell sour or gassy, it probably isn’t really Sour Diesel.

While every strain can have unique features, to the untrained eye a lot of it can look the same. For this reason, some dispensaries will label strains with the wrong name to sell more, simply because the average person wouldn’t be able to distinguish the difference. That’s where knowing more than just the strain details comes in.

Look at your cannabis

Light green, dark green, brown and purple are just some of the colors you might see when looking closely at your cannabis, but what do they signify?

what does weed look like?

Cannabis with a darker-green color can signify that it was grown in a greenhouse or outdoor setting, but not always. Purple cannabis is nothing more than a cosmetic feature that can be caused by a couple different factors, from being exposed to cold temperatures to strain genetics. But don’t be fooled; just because the bud is purple, doesn’t mean it’s any stronger or fruitier tasting, it just looks cool.

Light green bud usually ends up being the best quality, but not always. Key signifiers are also the trichome content on the bud. Does it look like it’s covered in frost to the point it’s almost white? It’s probably good weed. The main thing to remember is that as long as the cannabis isn’t brown, it’s most likely decent quality. However, other factors can change this.

Smell your cannabis

Different strains can have various smells that come with their terpene profiles. These terpenes are what give certain strains a fruity, gassy, earthy smells, among others. If you smell any of these scents in your bud, it means it has a solid terpene profile and probably had time to develop properly.

The smell you want to avoid to ensure you have good weed is a hay smell. This hints at a poor cure, and poorly grown cannabis in general. Also, while a dank smell can be a good sign, an overly dank smell may mean mold within the bud which should be avoided. If you get a bud that smells particularly dank, break it open and look for mold.

How does it feel?

Is your cannabis dry and flaky? Is it so sticky you can’t even grind it up? These are both things you want to avoid, but good weed will fall somewhere in-between these two. You want properly cured cannabis that has had time to dry out after harvest, but not too long. In Colorado, a lot of cannabis is more dry because of the climate, and growers have difficulty countering the environmental effects.

Overall, you want cannabis that breaks apart easily without crumbling in your fingers, but still has some moisture so it doesn’t burn too quickly. Experimenting with different strains and different cures if you’re the grower can help build a key for judging your cannabis.

The best test

what does weed taste like?

So you’ve gone through the checklist, and you have two completely different looking buds. Both are perfectly sticky, one’s gassy and the other is fruity, and all the things you should be looking for in your bud are there. Is it possible that one of them may still not be good weed? Taste it.

If the bud passes the eye, smell and feel tests, it is most likely safe to consume. Pay attention to how the cannabis tastes compared to how it smelled. Does it match up?

How does it make you feel? If you start to get a headache or a lot of coughing, the bud may still have trace chemicals from pesticides or other chemicals used during the growing process, which wouldn’t be noticed right away just by looking at it. If this doesn’t happen, it tastes good, and makes you feel good, then you have good weed.

Remember that there will always be outliers! You can get a bud that’s dark and dry, but still tastes and makes you feel great. You can also get cannabis that was grown specifically because of how it looks, with less focus put into ensuring it’s a quality product. Some of the strains you see in the dispensary will look great, but once you open the jar there may be no smell at all.

So don’t be duped, and know what to look for in your cannabis! Get the full guide to judging cannabis on the new episode of The Real Dirt. Chip and his guests go through dozens of strains, analyzing their qualities to determine what make cannabis good or bad quality.

Listen to the full episode HERE or listen to it on iTunes or Apple Podcasts!

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60 Nuggets Explained: how to know your cannabis

60 Nuggets Explained: how to know your cannabis

In this episode of The Real Dirt Chip talks about the Cultivate Showdown, a secret cannabis competition hosted by The Real Dirt. The best of the best growers from all over came to showcase their cannabis, with only one winner being chosen.

Check out the entries below as Chip and his guests analyze them on this episode!

You walk into the dispensary. There are a dozen different strains on the shelf, some are labeled as the “bottom shelf” strain choices, others are the supposed “top shelf” strain options.

You ask to see one of the bottom shelf strains — because let’s be real, if you can get solid cannabis at a cheap price, why not? — and they bring the jar closer for inspection. The bud might not look super frosty or appealing, but when they open the jar, you’re hit with a wave of smells that linger in your nose. Fruitiness, gassiness, dankness. All the smells you want.

Then you ask to see one of the top shelf strain options. It looks great; the bud structure is what you look for, it has a nice crystal to hair ratio. It’s everything you would look for in a top shelf bud. The keyword being “look”.

The budtender brings the top shelf jar over and cracks it open. You aren’t smacked in the face with the same smell explosion as before. In fact, this strain seems to be very mild in smell compared to the bottom shelf option. It might even smell a little bit like hay. This is where the average cannabis consumer gets lost.

The top shelf bud should be better. It looks way better, but most importantly, there has to be a reason it is priced higher than the bottom shelf stuff, right? Not always. One of the most important things to remember about cannabis, especially when it comes to dispensary cannabis, is that looks are not all that matters.

Dispensaries do not allow customers to touch the cannabis. Obviously this is due to contamination concerns, but an added benefit of this rule is just that; you aren’t allowed to touch the cannabis. An essential way of being able to judge the quality of cannabis is through touch.

A bud could look super dense and sticky in the jar, but once you get home you find out it was just a fluffy bud that looked dense, and it’s dry to the point you don’t even need a grinder. Since it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to touch the cannabis at a dispensary, you must utilize your other senses, sight and smell, for the majority of your judgement. So you better make sure they are fine tuned!

In this episode of The Real Dirt, Chip sits down with Jess Baker, Jacob Sarabia and Travis Crane to go through a dozen different strains to analyze them all. Learn what to look for, what to smell for, and what to avoid before you decide to light up that next strain you see at the dispensary or in your smoke circle.

What Are Dabs? Concentrates Explained

What Are Dabs? Concentrates Explained

Concentrates are almost as popular as flower cannabis now. But what is a concentrate?

It’s simple at first glance. A dab or concentrate is just that; the concentrated form of the main chemical in cannabis that produces psychotropic effects, THC. Due to it’s potency, all that is needed to get the full effect of concentrates is just a dab. But how those inevitable dabs are made can vary from the methods to the solvents used in the extraction process.

Extracting concentrates

When extracts — which would eventually be more commonly referred to as concentrates or dabs at dispensaries — first started their rise to popularity, the main solvent used was butane. Because butane is so cold, the gas iss able to stick to the THC crystals of cannabis flower and pull them off the plant, without taking any other chemicals or plant matter.

Through this process of butane extraction, we got the first concentrates that would push them into the spotlight for their clean, pure taste, with effects that pack a punch.

Wax

what are dabs like wax and crumble

Two types of wax. Photo by @sens.media

The simplest and earliest form of concentrate, wax is most commonly made with Butane, although CO2 and even propane extraction has become more prevalent. The way wax is made is very similar to shatter or crumble (another form of wax), but the results vary significantly.

The difference in wax compared to other concentrates, is that it is purged of solvents at a higher temperature and then whipped like a batter toward the middle or end of the purging process. Avoiding the whipping results in another concentrate still very popular; shatter.

 

Shatter concentrate

what is shatter dabs

A slab of shatter. Photo by @bigcat_concentrates.

Shatter is most popular for how it looks. It’s name comes in part from those looks. Shatter typically looks like a piece of golden-brown glass. This happens when extractors let the concentrate sit during the purging process without any agitation (as opposed to wax which is highly agitated), allowing the concentrate to harden into a thin sheet of glass that eventually becomes shatter.

Due to its structure, shatter can be very brittle and break at the touch like glass, but it can also be made more malleable, which makes it easier to manage. Shatter with a more sappy consistency can also have more terpenes and other beneficials that might be carried over if made more brittle.

Live resin

what are dabs? Like live resin

A jar of live resin from Green Dot Labs

One of the newest extraction methods on the market, live resin is different from any concentrate that came before it, and because of this, is taking over the concentrate shelves at local dispensaries. Live resin is made in the same way as wax or shatter, but the plant matter used is what makes the difference.

To make a live resin concentrate, extractors will try to keep the plant as close to alive as possible after cutting it down in order to preserve its living terpene profile. This is usually done by cryogenically freezing the plants as soon as they are chopped, preserving all the oils, cannabinoids and terpenes that are normally purged out during the curing and aging process.

Rosin

what is rosin

Live rosin being pressed. Photo by Green Dot Labs.

Rosin rose to popularity very quickly, simply due to how easy it is to make. What started as a small basement trend of people sharing videos of them pressing their cannabis with a hot hair straightener in order to press out the natural oils from the plant, has evolved into an entirely new subset of the concentrate industry.

Rosin is one of the first solvent-less extracts, meaning there is zero risk of encountering any leftover butane, propane, or CO2, because it was never used in the first place. Making rosin is as simple as getting a hair straightener and some parchment paper, leading to one of the largest home-extraction movements of the booming industry.

While rosin may not be as potent as other concentrates, and its consistency can be difficult to deal with, many flock to dispensaries for this clean concentrate for the peace of mind in knowing there were no potentially harmful solvents used in the making of the product. The flower itself that is actually pressed to make rosin, is a different story.

Distillate

what are dabs like distillate

A glob of distillate from @TheClearConcentrate

Distillates are made through a process called molecular distillation. Distilling hash requires taking winterized concentrates — butane or CO2 hash oil refined with alcohol or ethanol and then chilled at extreme temperatures — and then distilling them to concentrate the THC further. Commercial extractors use a machine called a “wiped film evaporator,” which takes advantage of the different boiling points in cannabinoids to thermally separate them.

Extractors will then repeat this process to remove more and more impurities like leftover solvents. The result of this process is a clear, clean concentrate with no smell and virtually zero solvents. By taking a butane hash oil with a THC content between 70 and 85% and distilling it, the result can reach potencies of up to 95%. However, for the big punch this concentrate packs, it lacks the flavor and diversity of the other concentrates in this list.

No matter what type of dabs or concentrates you decide to enjoy on 7/10, the national holiday of concentrates, remember to start small and pace yourself with dabs. A little too much and you’re holiday will be ending early with a nap.
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