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Is That Dirt Weed? How to Rate Your Cannabis Quality

Is That Dirt Weed? How to Rate Your Cannabis Quality

Cannabis has come a long way just in the last decade. But just because there’s more high quality cannabis available doesn’t mean the dirt weed can’t still make its way into your sack.

There’s plenty of obvious dirt weed out there. The Mexican bricks, the seed-filled nugs, unflushed bud that won’t burn or tastes terrible. Luckily all of this can be avoided!

With a little bit of knowledge you can make sure your cannabis isn’t dirt weed before you even smoke it. Using your eyes, nose and fingers you would be surprised how much you can find out about your sack of bud.

Does it look like dirt weed?

The most obvious way to tell if you have some dirt weed is to just look at it. If it’s really bad, you’ll probably be able to tell.

Yellowing leaves, brown buds, and a lack of trichomes on the outside are typically signs of a bud that is not great quality. But there are plenty of strains out there that might not look good, but still taste great and produce great effects.

For this reason, some buds take a closer look. Maybe that’s with an actual loupe or microscope to analyze the bud more closely. But for your average consumer just checking out a fresh sack of bud, that means bringing in the smell.

How does it smell?

Interestingly and luckily for us, a lot of dirt weed smells the same. There’s a signature smell that bad cannabis has that resembles old, dry hay. Like if you went to a farm, grabbed a handful of hay that has been sitting outside for the last month and took a whiff. If you get that smell from your cannabis, it could be old, moldy, or just straight low quality.

Cannabis has a lot of unique terpenes that give it different odors depending on the phenotype and genetics the plant carries. There are plenty of cannabis strains that most would consider to be high quality that have a unique, and sometimes off-putting smell. For example there’s Cat Piss, which gets its name from the unique odor it gives off.

In case you aren’t familiar, cat piss doesn’t smell good. Yet the Cat Piss strain is a well-liked and even sought-out strain by connoisseurs everywhere for its rarity. So if even weird smelling cannabis strains can still be high quality, how can you tell if you have dirt weed? Fingers.

How’s it feel?

So your looking at your sack of bud; it doesn’t look great, but it’s not brown, the smell isn’t like your usual stuff but it doesn’t smell like hay either. At this point, you could be dealing with a pretty unique strain, a mediocre bud or you’re just missing one key thing; the feel.

An important thing to remember when it comes to feeling out a bud is that dry does not always mean bad. Colorado cannabis is naturally more dry due to the lack of humidity and elevation, which makes the cannabis buds almost crumble in your fingers with a little pressure (which is great if you don’t have a grinder). California cannabis on the other hand has much more moisture, and can even be difficult to break apart and grind up (but typically burns a little more slowly). Nevertheless the importance of checking a bud with your hands shouldn’t be overlooked. If the bud feels a little too wet, break it open and check for bud rot.

There’s one thing a good bud has regardless of it’s dryness, and that’s stickiness. Trichome content will tell you a lot about your cannabis’ quality just by look and touch. Not every bud is frosty and caked in trichomes, but if you break it apart in your fingers and it leaves some sticky resin on your finger tips and more smells come out when you break it apart, that’s a good sign.

Overall, if you get a bud that looks and smells questionable, you’re probably better off just avoiding it. However if you’re in a pinch and it’s all you got, always double check to make sure it is safe to consume by cracking it open and making sure it isn’t moldy. Let’s be real, we smoked a lot worse 15 years ago, and the odds of smoking some cannabis that will actually make you sick are pretty low. But it’s always better to safe than sorry, and with your eyes, nose and fingers you can tell if a bud is good enough for you, or if it’s just some dirt weed.

Wet vs Dry Trimming Cannabis

Wet vs Dry Trimming Cannabis

A better question might be, why does it matter?

When harvest time comes around, you need to get rid of the excess leaves and foliage around your flowers to make them look better. In reality, this isn’t something you really need to do, but a lot of people prefer more manicured flowers.

There are two options when it comes to trimming; wet and dry. Different growers have their preferences for both, but when it comes to which is really better, there’s always debate.

It’s up to you to decide when to trim, but here’s the pros and cons to each to make your decision a little easier.

Wet Trim

Wet trimming can be a more streamlined process for growers trying to dry their harvest faster. Wet trimming is possible when you trim your flowers right after harvest.

The plants are still full of moisture, which makes the leaves the freshest. With the leaves sticking out like they would on a live plant, they are much easier to cut without risking cutting the flower by mistake.

After these leaves are removed, the flowers will dry more quickly since the leaves won’t be there to add extra mass and shield the flowers as they dry. Proponents of the wet trim prefer this method because it’s faster, and some would argue more efficient for drying large quantities of flower.

Dry Trim

The dry trim is considered to be more difficult, but also more rewarding. Opposed to wet trimming, dry trimming happens after the flower have already had time to dry, leaves in tact.

Dry trimmers prefer this method because they claim it allows the flowers to cure more slowly, contained by the shriveled leaves that dry up and cover the flower. By almost sealing the flower, it helps maintain terpene profiles and prevents plant resins from drying out too fast.

But this is also what makes a dry trim more difficult. With the flower dried up and stuck to the flowers, the trimmer needs to be extra careful to only trim the leaves they want without cutting out pieces of the actual flower.

Some growers who prefer to trim dry will leave smaller leaves on the flower for a more natural look, and also argue that doing so helps preserve terpenes.

Is One Way Better?

No matter who you ask, some growers will prefer wet trimming, and some will prefer dry trimming. While newer growers tend to lean toward wet trimming for its accessibility, more advanced growers might prefer dry trimming for it’s near-artisanal practice.

But as with everything when it comes to growing, harvesting and trimming, it’s all preference. If you’re committed to the dry trim but it’s your first time, don’t stress. And likewise if you’ve been dry trimming for years and want to give a wet trim a go, do it.

To get the real dirt on wet vs dry trimming cannabis, listen to this episode of The Real Dirt Podcast featuring Cullen Raichart, founder and CEO of GreenBroz Inc, the leading dry machine trimmer company in the country.

The Vape Pen Controversy Explained

The Vape Pen Controversy Explained

If you’ve watched the news over the past month, you probably think vaping can now kill you.

In today’s sensationalist news cycle, it has become the standard to over-exaggerate. Whether it’s about politics or a major health crisis, the media will always drive a narrative that gets people more worried, and gets them more views.

So it’s no surprise that when people started getting sick from vape pens the media would jump all over it.

The Vape Pen Controversy

It all started in September. A news story broke about someone getting some type of lung-related illness from a vape pen. At first, that was all. But then the story broke. The vape pen they were using had THC in it.

Cue the media leaping into hysteria, claiming that THC vape pens are making people sick. And if you watched the news around this time, there was a clear implication that it wasn’t something else in the pens causing harm, it was the THC. But that didn’t stop other outlets from claiming it wasn’t just THC vape pens to blame, but all vape pens.

Law commercials advocating law suits against Juul started to appear, and talks of a federal vaping ban ensued. Suffice to say, the media — and in turn the country — lost their collective shit.

The Truth

Of course all of the drama and freak out over vape pen related illnesses was based on half truths. Yes, people were in fact getting sick, and even dying, from THC vape pens. But there’s one thing that every single news story in the mainstream media failed to mention. Legality.

Out of over 400 cases of reported lung-related illnesses caused by vape pens, about 99% of them were caused by illicit vape pens. In other words, people purchased vape pen cartridges on the illicit market, and got sick. Why? Because of cutting agents.

Specifically, cartridge producers on the illicit market used vitamin E as a cutting agent. That doesn’t sound like a big deal right? We need vitamin E to stay healthy, you can eat it, you can put it in ointments, so why not a vape?

Well, it turns out that when you vaporize vitamin E, it converts to vitamin E acetate, a solid, viscous state. So these unknowing consumers would hit their pen, the vitamin E would convert to vitamin E acetate, and the residue would attach to the inside of their lungs. That causes some serious respiratory issues, and in a few cases, death.

Harmful Misinformation

There are already plenty of conspiracy theorists out there claiming big tobacco is the culprit for the major media focus on THC vape pens causing the problem. This would be an attempt to take down the vape pen industry that is the largest competitor to cigarettes. Others thought it was lobbying groups pushing to reverse the efforts of cannabis legalization.

But in all of the confusion, half-assed reporting and straight up false information, the people who really get hurt are the consumers. Not just those that are actually getting hurt by illicit vape pens because they don’t have access to safe, legal cannabis. But also your everyday cannabis consumer, and your medical user especially.

There are patients who don’t like to smoke, and choose to vape their medicine. With the rising concern surrounding vape pens, some dispensaries (and even entire states) have taken vape pens off of their shelves to make sure they are safe. Which is all well and good until the people who really need them can’t access them.

Frequently Asked Questions about Organic Inputs

Frequently Asked Questions about Organic Inputs

Not all organic inputs are created equally, and not all organic inputs are sourced sustainably.

When it comes to cultivating organic cannabis, there is no shortage of products you can use and methods to try out. That doesn’t make it any easier to decide which products to use.

At The Real Dirt and Cultivate, we aren’t the type to judge regardless of what you choose, even if it isn’t organic. But should you choose to grow organic, here’s some common questions about organic inputs and our best answers.

Can I clean my compost tea containers with bleach?

A lot of compost tea containers are made from various plastics. If you clean them with bleach, over time it will break down the interior walls of the containers, breaking down the plastics. You can use bleach to clean but you need to immediately spray down and scrub the containers with water to remove any remnants of plastic particles or bleach that could get into your next tea.

It may not be the most efficient, but the best way to preserve you compost tea containers and keep them clean is to just user water and non-abrasive sponge. With a high pressure washer you can do just as good a job as bleach without eating away at the inner walls or having chemical residue left over.

Are perlite and vermiculite organic inputs?

Yes, but not in the same way as other organic inputs like bat guano, gypsum, lime, etc.. Perlite and vermiculite both act as additives to soil, whereas the former inputs are fertilizing components. Additionally, perlite and vermiculite have almost no nutritional value on their own, and mainly help aerate soil.

However these are also mined inputs which means they’re pulled up from the land with excavators and broken down into the little chunks you get in a bag of vermiculite or perlite.

What are the best organic inputs to use?

People will argue for their favorite products all day long, but the best organic inputs are those that are renewable and sustainable. A renewable organic input is any that is produced either as a byproduct or waste product of animal and other industries.

Some of the best renewable inputs to use include Feather Meal, Alfalfa, Chicken litter, Neem Meal, Composted Chicken “shit”, Crab Meal, Kelp, Bone Meal, Fish Emulsion, Fish Bone Meal, Fish Hydroslate, Earth Worm Castings, and Soy Protein Isolate, just to name a few.

Coco coir is also a great renewable organic input that is a byproduct of the coconut and textile industries in Asia.

Chip answered more questions about organic inputs during his seminar at Cannacon in Oklahoma City in September. To hear the full talk for free, click here and listen to The Real Dirt Podcast.

You can also subscribe and listen on iTunes, Spotify or your favorite platform to get every episode right to your library.

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?

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!