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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.

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Massachusetts Legalization Lags

Massachusetts Legalization Lags

Massachusetts legalization supposedly when into full effect on July 1st. Why aren’t there any dispensaries?

The first of July marked what should have been the first day of recreational cannabis sales in the state of Massachusetts. Yet, almost a month later, there isn’t a single dispensary that has opened its doors for business.

At this point, there is one dispensary that has been given permission to open already, Cultivate. However, the owner of Cultivate has said that they are not putting a hard date on when they will be opening. This isn’t all their fault though, as a lot of the blame falls on the local jurisdictions in the state.

Local roadblocks

Over 200 towns ands counties have blocked Massachusetts legalization, with the only chance of letting up coming in the form of extremely high payments from legal cannabis businesses and other attempts to blockade the industry. Additionally, despite the legal market officially opening on July 1st, Cultivate didn’t get their license to grow recreational cannabis until the 12th.

If that isn’t enough explanation of the delay in Massachusetts legalization, add the fact that the first recreational cannabis testing facility won’t be licensed until the end of July. Every producer in the state must have their cannabis tested before it can go to the shelves, yet they won’t even be able to send it to a facility until August at the earliest.

Massachusetts legalization process lagging

Another reason for the current Massachusetts legalization lag is the delay in application reviewing and approval by the state’s cannabis commission. According to recent reports, the commission is currently reviewing 29 applications, with another 39 applications still waiting to be reviewed.

While some counties have banned submitting applications altogether, others that allow submissions are still moving slow to send them in for review. So who is really to blame for the delay? Government of course! But not just the state government, it’s the local governments too.

Delay after delay

Suffice to say there won’t be any recreational cannabis sales happening in Massachusetts in July. The owner of Cultivate, which is set to be the first dispensary to open since Massachusetts legalization took effect, says that they won’t be opening until September at the earliest. This is disheartening to say the least.

As a progressive state, it is a surprise to see state and local government drag their feet so heavily in Massachusetts. Some states just take time however, and Massachusetts certainly isn’t the exception. We can only hope that as they move further into legalization, state and local governments will adjust and recognize the potential profit to be had by allowing Massachusetts legalization to proceed uninhibited.

California Bans CBD Oil

California Bans CBD Oil

California just banned CBD in food products. What does it mean for patients?

In an unprecedented and shocking decision, California — yes, the same state that just finalized regulations for a legal cannabis industry — has moved to ban CBD oils from being sold as part of any food product. Oddly enough, this memo was released on July 9th, yet there has been no major news coverage until now, halfway through July.

California bans CBD oil

According to the memo, the public health department’s Food and Drug Branch (FDB) “has received numerous inquiries from food processors and retailers who are interested in using industrial hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) oil or CBD products in food since the legalization of medicinal and adult-use marijuana (cannabis) in California.”

The memo continues from there, making clear that the public health department’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) “regulates medicinal and adult-use manufactured cannabis products,” while “food products derived from industrial hemp are not covered by MCSB regulations. Instead, these products fall under the jurisdiction of CDPH-FDB.”

cbd banned from food in california

CBD infused coffee products from a store in Los Angeles.

While California has no issue going against Federal Law by legalizing recreational cannabis, which the state has deemed safe for consumption by humans, the state apparently doesn’t want to risk it with CBD:

“Although California currently allows the manufacturing and sales of cannabis products (including edibles), the use of industrial hemp as the source of CBD to be added to food products is prohibited. Until the FDA rules that industrial hemp-derived CBD oil and CBD products can be used as a food or California makes a determination that they are safe to use for human and animal consumption, CBD products are not an approved food, food ingredient, food additive, or dietary supplement.”

Distinguishing factors

While hemp and cannabis are the same plant, there has grown a distinction between the two due to how they are categorized. Hemp must contain .3% THC or less. Any more and it is considered psychoactive cannabis. This all has to do with specific breeds of cannabis that have been bred over generations to have as little THC as possible.

Even then, the FDA still considers CBD from either hemp or cannabis to be a schedule 1 controlled substance. This is despite the fact that the FDA just approved a CBD drug produced by a pharmaceutical company for seizures, even though they consider CBD a federally illegal, schedule 1 controlled substance. The smell of hypocrisy is flagrant.

Hypocrisy Abound

At The Real Dirt, we know all the legal jargon, acronyms and hypocrisy can be too much. Here are the basics of the new CBD oil ban in California so you know exactly what’s going on.

The California Department of Public Health’s Food and Drug Branch (CDPH) recently released a statement entitled FAQ – Industrial Hemp and Cannabidiol CBD in Food Products, which declares that in California, hemp-derived CBD cannot be used in any food products.
The prohibited ingredients in food products include:
1) any CBD products derived from cannabis;
2) any CBD products including CBD oil derived from industrial hemp;
3) hemp oil that is not derived from industrial hemp seeds; and
4) industrial hemp seed oil enhanced with CBD or other cannabinoids.
This new CDPH guidance does not impact the ability of cannabis businesses to produce and sell cannabis-derived CBD products, including cannabis edibles, in licensed dispensaries under the regulated cannabis system. 
What do you think of this new memo? Do you think it will hold up, or will the people of California push back hard?
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!

iTunes

 

 

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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