Weed Seeds: Top 5 Cannabis Seed Banks for Home-Grows

Growing cannabis has gotten even more popular now that 18 states have recreational legalizations, and over 30 are cleared for medical. But where can a prospective grower buy the best quality seeds? Here’s a run down of the top 5 cannabis seed banks, for the best home-grow possible.

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Growing cannabis

When discussing nearly any cannabis topic, its hard not to draw comparisons between how things were a few decades ago and how they are today. With so much change in cannabis policy the world over, the comparison is extremely relevant, and probably will be for quite some time. In this case, the comparison relates to growing cannabis at home. During the heaviest parts of cannabis prohibition, when every state was illegal, and being caught with cannabis was almost sure jail time in most places, growing at home was done extremely quietly.

Plenty of people have been growing on their own all throughout prohibition, but a relaxation in laws has surely helped it along. There aren’t, unfortunately, many statistics about home growing out right now, but it suffices to say that with less restrictions on it, the numbers should only be rising. Though there aren’t official or consistent numbers out there, the increase is reflected in the multitude of cannabis legalizations all across the world, that allow home cultivation for medical use in places where the plant isn’t legalized recreationally, or for recreational use, where it is.

home-cultivation

Countries like Italy and Argentina have made sure that residents have the right to grow, and the state of New Jersey showed its unhappiness when recreational cannabis was legalized without a home-grow law. Organizations like Mama Cultiva push not only for cannabis legalization in general, but for home-grow rights, particularly for medical patients. The organization helped push through Argentina’s home-grow laws, as well as in Chile, which allows self-cultivation for recreational use, even though recreational use isn’t legal.

These days growing cannabis has become much more commonplace, with laws in legalized states often allowing users to grow a certain number of plants, and many medical legalizations allowing the same thing for medical patients. Even the equipment to grow the plants, once demonized as much as the plants themselves, is considered pretty standard, with no more fear of selling products on the open market. A few decades ago, a person could get themselves in hot water just for buying marijuana growing equipment. Now there are tutorials made by dispensaries and organizations, waiting to show you how to do it.

Whole articles could be written on the process of growing cannabis, but that’s not terribly important here, since our main concern isn’t in the entire growing process, but simply, the best cannabis seed banks to buy seeds from. However, to give an idea of how easy it is to grow it, a basic rundown of the process is given at the end.

Best cannabis seed banks

If you’re going to do a home grow, you want it to turn out well, and the very first thing to consider for this, are the seeds being used. Here are five of the best cannabis seed banks if you want to do a home-grow.

5. The company Seedsman provides a huge selection of seeds. They sell feminized, regular seeds, and auto flowering seeds, using over 120 top breeders. The company offers bitcoin discounts, has a customer loyalty point system, and includes free seeds in every order. The company offers fast shipping, and stealth packaging. This company ships seeds worldwide.

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4. The company I Love Growing Marijuana also ranks high in terms of providing quality, trusted, seeds. This company has a very high rating on Trustpilot (9.4), and provides a money-back guarantee. The company also offers free shipping to both the US and Europe, growing support 24 hours a day along with a  growing guidebook, and a selection of seeds that encompass their own creations, plus well-known strains. The company uses very discreet packaging for customer privacy.

3. MSNL is a company out of the Netherlands, which is also a great provider of quality seeds. MSNL delivers worldwide, and has been a trusted cannabis seed source since 1999. The company offers its own versions of over 200 popular strains, and offers regular, feminized, and auto flowering selections. The company is a pro at stealth delivery, offers bitcoin discounts, and is the winner previously of both the High Times Cup and Cannabis Cup.

cannabis seed banks

2. The company Crop King Seeds has been in business for over 15 years, and offers a massive selection including 500 new varieties of regular, feminized, and auto flowering seeds, all sold under the company’s own brand name. Crop King Seeds accepts bitcoin payments, has fast and discreet shipping, and is very much a trusted company, coming in with a score of 4.2 on Trustpilot. This company is run out of Canada, but ships to the US as well.

1. My favorite seed bank is Seed City. This brand offers plenty of new cannabis seeds, along with rarer strains, from over 200 breeders. The company ships throughout the world, using crush-proof tubes for delivery, and fashions packages to look like a gift (the ultimate in stealth). Seed City is known for its niche cannabis seed options, ability for consumers to pick their own free seeds, and a choice of over 5,000 single seeds. The company translates into 22 languages, making it ideal for non-English speakers. This company offers bitcoin deals, and has a 4.8 rating on Trustpilot, making it the most trustworthy company on the list.

How-to grow it

Usually home grows are done inside, though this is not a rule. When done inside, the grower has much more control over the environment, with the ability to adjust and control temperature, humidity, and light. This is beneficial for keeping a consistent environment, especially in locations where there is more weather variation that could stress the plant. Cannabis plants do best when not stressed out, so consistent environments are generally best for the highest quality flowers. Each grow comes with some choices for the grower to make:

  • What kind of light? This can be the sun, fluorescent lights, LEDs, (LECs) Light Emitting Ceramic, or metal halide & high-pressure sodium lights. Each of these has benefits and detractions that a prospective grower will want to go over in order to choose the light source best for their grow.
  • The next choice is what to grow the plant in, which is less obvious than expected if you were just thinking ‘soil’. In fact, plenty of options exist, including soil, soilless mixes (used in hydroponics setups), water (also for hydroponics), or even air, if the plant is being grown aeroponics style, though this is less common. Prospective growers must choose the growing medium correct for their grow.
  • Next choice regards nutrients, and the options are relevant to the growing medium. A hydroponics grow and a soil grow, will require different forms of nutrients.
  • The last major choice is in the cannabis seeds themselves. These run the gamut in terms of options, and growers can choose their seeds based on the plants they want to get out of it. The cannabis seed banks listed above are the best way of ensuring the delivery of quality seeds.

Once these choices have been made, the growing can begin. There are some basic steps for every grow, even if the exact amount of time varies by strain, or by grow. Though every strain varies in the time it will need on average to grow – from start to finish – it should take approximately 3-5 months. Here are the basics:

cannabis seed banks

Germination – Usually done in a separate (and smaller) pot from where the plant will actually grow. Some people place the seed in wet paper towels until the growth starts, at which point the seedling is put in a hole in the soil, and then covered afterwards. It can take 1-7 days for germination.

Vegetative state – This is where your plant spends much of its time, and its an important phase, because this is when your plant can really grow big. During this time the plant will expand out greatly, and letting it grow bigger will allow for more buds later. Flowering does not occur during this phase. This lasts approximately 4-8 weeks.

Flowering stage – This is when the big buds grow. This phase can last anywhere from 6-14+ weeks. Strains vary in how long they are in the flowering stage, with a pretty hefty difference in time frames.

Harvest – This is when the plants have reached full maturity and and are ready to be cut, trimmed, and cured. There is generally about a 2-3 week window here.

Post-harvest – This is when the plants are dried and cured, a process that can last anywhere from 2.5 weeks to over 1.5 months.

Conclusion

Getting in on home growing is the new thing. In the past, prospective growers had to put some seeds in generic soil, and hope for a feminine plant. These days, a grower can order whatever seeds they want from cannabis seed banks, in whatever strain is available, making home growing that much more precise.

The most important thing for any grow? The seeds of course! If you’re looking to grow your own plants, take a look at the top cannabis seed banks, and choose the perfect seeds for your home-grow needs.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.


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Origins of Cannabis: Plant Was First Domesticated 12,000 Years Ago

Researchers investigating the first domestication of cannabis have determined that the plant was originally cultivated in what is now northwestern China, according to a recently released study published in the journal Science Advances. The team of researchers investigating the origins of cannabis analyzed the genomes of more than 100 cannabis plants from around the world to conduct the study.

“It confirms it is one of the oldest cultivated plants,” said Luca Fumagalli, a biologist working at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, who led the study. “We think it was a multipurpose plant. It was exploited for fiber, food and oil, and possibly medical and recreational purposes,” he said.

The research contradicts the commonly held belief that cannabis originated in Central Asia, perhaps in valleys of the Hindu Kush mountain range. The study determined that there are four genetically distinct categories of cannabis including a primordial group, a hemp group, and two groups bred for drugs. The researchers concluded that the first domestication of cannabis occurred in northwest China about 12,000 years ago, and that the plants cultivated likely had multiple uses.

“We show that cannabis sativa was first domesticated in early Neolithic times in East Asia and that all current hemp and drug cultivars diverged from an ancestral gene pool currently represented by feral plants and landraces in China,” the study reads.

A Global Sample of Cannabis Strains

To conduct the research, Fumagalli and investigators from Britain, China, India, Pakistan, Qatar and Switzerland analyzed the genomes of 82 plants collected for the study and genomic data for 28 more plants that had been previously collected. The 110 plants included landrace strains, feral plants, historical cultivars and modern hybrids.

The researchers determined that the wild ancestor of modern cannabis is likely extinct, but strains growing in northwest China are its closest living relatives. The genomic dating of about 12,000 for the first domestication of cannabis is consistent with archaeological evidence, including pottery with hemp cord markings from about the same time.

“Our genomic dating suggests that early domesticated ancestors of hemp and drug types diverged from Basal cannabis [around 12,000 years ago], indicating that the species had already been domesticated by early Neolithic times,” the study adds.

The study into the origins of cannabis also determined that farmers began breeding distinct strains of cannabis for drug or fiber production only about 4,000 years ago. The researchers identified several changes brought about by selective breeding, including a number of mutations that inhibit branching in hemp strains. These mutations cause the plants in the hemp genetic group to grow taller and produce more fiber in the stem.

The first domestication of cannabis cultivars for drug production took advantage of mutations that increase branching, resulting in shorter, bushier plants with more flowers and boosted resin production. Plants in the drug groups also showed several mutations that increase the production of THC, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis.

Previous research into the origins of cannabis cultivation has been limited due to the difficulty in obtaining a wide range of samples from around the world. The new study included samples collected by researchers from the wild, as well as strains being cultivated by farmers around the globe. But geographic challenges were not the only obstacle to collecting plants for the genetic research – investigators also had to keep the legal implications of possessing cannabis in mind.

“You can’t just go and collect samples because you go to jail,” Fumagalli said.

Research Implications

The study contradicts the belief that cannabis originated in Central Asia, which is based largely on the fact that the plant can often be found growing wild in the region, which also has a cannabis culture dating back thousands of years. But Fumagalli said that the plant readily adapts to growing conditions found all over the world, adding “That’s why it’s called weed.”

The researchers determined that the genomic study and other evidence suggests that the origins of cannabis lie farther east and discounted the commonly held belief.

“Contrary to a widely-accepted view, which associates cannabis with a Central Asian center of crop domestication, our results are consistent with a single domestication origin of cannabis sativa in East Asia, in line with early archaeological evidence,” the authors of the study wrote.

The authors wrote that the study provides an “unprecedented” base of genomic information for ongoing breeding, as well as functional agricultural and medical research. They added that the study “provides new insights into the domestication and global spread of a plant with divergent structural and biochemical products at a time in which there is a resurgence of interest in its use, reflecting changing social attitudes and corresponding challenges to its legal status in many countries.”

The post Origins of Cannabis: Plant Was First Domesticated 12,000 Years Ago appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Cannabis Planting: Summer in the Mendocino Highlands

Late June and July have been sizzling in dry heat up here in the mountains of the Emerald Triangle, home of Swami Select cannabis. Although we still had some frosty mornings in late May (cold enough to lose some tomato plants), luckily the young cannabis plants here at Ganja Ma Gardens survived. There were even two days of unexpected and blessed rainfall in early June. But now, in this heat, somehow the cannabis girls are loving it – as long as they get adequate water and nutrients from drip lines, compost teas and foliar sprays. At the present moment, the plants are looking good – a nice color green, with sturdy stalks and bushy branches. They are about as tall as they have ever been for this time of year, a testament to our springtime preparations. But no time to get cocky…We always think we’re gonna win the World Series when we start the season. It’s a long haul from sprouting to smoking.

Transplanting Preparations

May and June were busy with the many remaining tasks to get the garden ready for the immanent surge of transplanting. The compost tea soil drench continued, and the final amendments were added: a mix of homemade compost, worm castings and the neighbor’s alpaca manure. The new holes for the “hugellettes” (individual small mounds of living soil for each plant) we added to the garden this year were filled with short logs and sprinkled with gypsum powder, which helps loosen the clay in the soil. They were topped up into little mounds with a mixture of wood chips, leaves, manure, alfalfa meal, worm castings and our own soil mix.

Every year we do things a little differently, learning from the crises and problems of the previous year, refining our technique and responding to the challenges of climate change. This year, the biggest difference is that we had Leafworks test all of our seedling starts for their gender. They have a special way of analyzing the DNA code to look for the three genetic markers that determine maleness.

For several days in mid-May, we tested the samples. The crew mobilized around the process, which was precise and painstaking. We all wore sterile gloves and had to sterilize the scissors in alcohol after each leaf was clipped (the lab needs just the tip of a leaf after the plant has three tiers above the rounded cotyledon leaves). Next, we labeled each plant to coincide with the test tube that held its sample leaf tip. It takes a lot of concentration to keep track of everything.

We received the first batch of results about a week later, when we could tuck the first plants into their hugellette beds on May 28, which was a full three weeks earlier than the first planting in previous years. This means the plants were in their final spot in the ground for a longer period of time. And with the days getting longer and longer leading up to the Summer Solstice, the yield will hopefully increase.

Transplanting Day

Transplanting day is a rush – almost a sacrament. It’s a bit like the day the seeds are started, and a bit like the first morning of harvest. Considering the blazing hot sun, we decided to start the transplanting in the early evening so the delicate girls wouldn’t get sunburned. Later in June, we actually put shade cloth over the fresh transplants. 

In the process, the female starts were taken out of their one-gallon pots and placed in their mound beds, protected deep in the soil by a hardware cloth basket around the roots. Since they were transplanted so much earlier, there weren’t any root bound plants, which can be a problem if you have to wait until late June or even July for the girls to show their sex in their original pots. Once tucked in with a little water and a dash of mycorhyzol, each mound had a drip tube secured in a spiral around the plant, and the bed was covered with wheat straw mulch.

Once all the girls were in their beds, each plant had its blue Metrc tag (California Track and trace system) attached to its trunk. A feeding regimen consisting of a soil drench of compost tea and foliar feeding was set up. Then, the strongest males chosen for breeding were transplanted to larger pots and moved to isolation, far away behind the barn. The remaining males were put down, and we saved their soil for next year’s starts. 

For the next big task, we dipped the trellis system’s bamboo and metal poles in hydrogen peroxide to kill any mold and set them out in the sun’s rays for purification. Each mound was then fixed with a square of four vertical poles about four feet apart, ready for the attachment of the horizontal bamboo sticks with zip ties. We start with just one tier of horizontals, about two feet off the ground. As the plants shoot higher, we continue to add more tiers at two-foot intervals.

Fire Season Ready

One of the biggest jobs was getting the farm ready for fire season. Because we live in the Mendocino Highlands, at the edge of an old growth Douglas Fir Forest, this meant trimming off all the low hanging branches on the trees near the buildings – barn, sheds, cabins and the house. In regenerative fashion, we sent the trimmed-off branches through a woodchipper and set them aside for next year’s garden – yet another way cannabis farming can sequester carbon.  

In addition, the gutters and roofs were cleaned of debris and the ground around the buildings was raked clear. We also cleaned up the fallen trees that had blown down in the gusty winter winds along the entrance road.

Finally, in compliance with Cal Fire directives, we added street address numbers at each turn off along our long private road. We also have a fire hydrant and a small trailer set up with a 200-gallon water tank and a transfer pump with a 50-foot hose as a first response unit. May we never have to use it. But we can’t forget last year’s fires, which were just fifteen miles to the southeast and fifteen miles to the northeast of us. Fortunately, they did not damage the cannabis crop, although the grey skies may have stunted the yield a little. We p that California is spared the all-threatening fires this year.  

Come mid-July, we fed each plant about one half gallon of bokashi to stimulate microbial growth in the beds. The fermented grains consisted of wheat bran with EM-1 and molasses that we had started in late June. We also started a new compost pile using the wood chips from the fire preparation cleanup as a base, to which we add organic vegetable kitchen scraps and oak leaves, and then water and inoculate with compost tea.

Monitoring the Garden

Now, as the dog days of summer kick in, we maintain vigilance for pests and pathogens, and monitor the plants for any signs of distress. We will also keep checking each girl to confirm that she is still a female, because under stress, they can sometimes change their sex to male. 

In the meantime, we continue to focus on all the painstaking details of obtaining the permits we need for our CEQA (California Environment Quality Act) clearance so that we can continue cultivating the magic cannabis plant to supply our dear customers. It’s all a labor of love and our passion.

The post Cannabis Planting: Summer in the Mendocino Highlands appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Sexually Frustrated Female Cannabis Plants and High-THC Production

Cannabis has been a popular recreational substance for a long time, but the type of weed we consume today has changed dramatically from what our parents and grandparents were smoking decades ago. On average, cannabis available today is about 67% stronger than in the 1970s, and it grows faster and stays smaller in size. Cultivators no longer need 9 full months and space large enough to grow 12-foot-tall plants with buds that only had about 3% THC, if they were lucky. But what factors led to these rapid changes in growth and potency? As it turns out, the secret to getting stronger weed is sexually frustrated female cannabis plants.  

As a dioecious plant, yes, cannabis be either male or female, and yes, it can be sexually frustrated. What you’re smoking on right now are flowers from a female plant; and if your current stash is really dank and covered in sticky THC trichomes, then those buds came from a sexually deprived female.

Cannabis is such a fascinating plant and we continue to learn more about it every day. In addition to learning about the plant itself, we also enjoy exploring the wide array of products available on the market today. If you’re interested in trying fun products, rare cannabinoids, and new strains, make sure to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter, your top source for all things cannabis-related. If exotic products is what you want, such as Delta 8, Delta 10 THC, THC-O, & THCV make sure to subscribe below to Delta 8 Weekly, and enjoy from our exclusive deals.


Male vs Female Cannabis Plants

Female cannabis plants produce those large, resin-secreting, psychoactive buds. Females are the industry’s superstar because they’re the ones that produce the most cannabinoids. Anytime you buy weed or look at pictures of marijuana with flowers, you’re looking at female plants.

Male cannabis plants do not grow flowers. Instead, they develop pollen sacs around the nodes and tips of the branches, with which they can pollenate any nearby female plants. When female plants are pollinated, they begin to produce seeds, but since no one wants to smoke low-THC schwag with seeds in it, the males are usually thrown out pretty early.

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On the public side of the cannabis market, females get all the glory. However, when we look more at the botany behind the bud, male plants have some very important functions as well. Like humans, when a female plant is pollinated, half of the genetic makeup of the seeds produced will come from the male plant. Aside from potency and flavor, many other important characteristics can be passed on from male plants including growth rate, bud size and shape, resistance to mold and pests, and general resilience.

The buds we prefer to consume are seedless female plants with good genetics, referred to as “sinsemilla”, which means “without seeds” in Spanish. To ensure that plants will be sinsemilla females, growers can used feminized seeds or grow clones by replanting small clippings from their existing plants.

How To Tell The Difference

At first, you won’t be able to. Once your plants are roughly 4-6 weeks old and entering the flowering stage, you can start looking for “pre-flowers”. Cannabis pre-flowers are comparable to sex organs, and the females’ look quite different from the males’.

To determine their sex, you’ll need to look between the plant’s nodes (where the leaves and branches extend out from the stalk). Males will have pollen sacs to help spread pollen to the female plants, and females develop two bracts and hair-like stigmas to catch the pollen. Click here for a great guide with photos to help you more easily determine sex.

Female Preflowers
Male pollen sacs

Sexually Frustrated Females

Back in the 1970s, cannabis growers made a game-changing cultivation discovery: isolating female plants produced extra potent flowers. When females are pollinated, they halt resin/THC production and begin producing seeds. However, when the sexes are separated, females do not get pollinated and thus, they don’t produce seeds and ramp up the resin production. Sinsemilla weed, on average, has a THC content around 6-10% higher than seeded strains.

Simply put, this cultivation method results in ‘sexually frustrated’ female plants. It’s strange, but it works, and the reason for this is because cannabis is one of the few plant species that elicits a physical response to prolonged virginity. Meaning, the longer she feels ‘sexually deprived’, or the longer pollination is put off, the larger and more resinous her sex organs (flowers) become.

Some growers would go so far as to say their plants are somewhat ‘masochistic’, in addition to being horny. Apparently, when the flowers begin to form, some plants will repeatedly bend their branches to the point of almost breaking, a process that helps facilitate resin production in the buds. As one popular Redditor so eloquently put it, “you’re all high on horny plant vaginas.” It’s strangely accurate.

Cannabis Resin, Pollination, and THC Production

Cannabis resin is a rich brown, sticky, gooey substance found on the flowers and leaves of the plant. It’s similar to tree sap, but the main distinction between the two is that cannabis resin is held together by fatty structures called trichomes. These are the plant’s resin glands that contain THC, CBD, terpenes, flavonoids, and other therapeutic cannabinoids and compounds.

To us, trichomes are an amazing and delicious plant byproduct that offers endless medicinal and recreational benefits; but to the cannabis plant, trichomes are one of its most important defense mechanisms. As cannabis flowers develop, they are vulnerable to so much harmful external stimuli such as pests, infections, herbivores, damaging UV rays, and pollution. In the wild, trichomes offer a certain level of protection from all of these things.

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Additionally, cannabis resin aids in seed production by catching pollen from the male plants. One male plant can produce an estimated 350,000 pollen grains, and cannabis pollen is airborne so a little bit can go a very long way. As a matter of fact, a study published in 2000 found that cannabis pollen made up just under 36% of total airborne pollen counts in Midwest states during harvest months. This is why it’s important to remove the male plants from the grow area as soon as you determine the sex.

The good news is, you don’t have to go through this process every time you want high-THC, seedless flower. Realistically, isolating your female plants would only be necessary if you’re using the male’s genetics to create new strains. To skip the pollination process, a modern grower can either buy already feminized seeds, or use a clone from an existing female plant.

Hermaphroditic Plants

Cannabis is a bit of a rarity because only about 6% of flowering plants are dioecious. However, on rare occasions, hermaphroditic weed plants containing both male and female parts are known to occur. In general, most plants are hermaphroditic, but this is not very common for cannabis. Sometimes, hermaphroditic cannabis plants can self-pollinate, but they usually produce seeds, lower levels of THC, and they can pass on hermaphroditic genes, so they’re not ideal. Also, true hermaphrodites produce sacs that need to rupture.

There are two types of hermaphrodite plants: those that develop both sexual organs (buds and pollen sacs), and those that develop anthers. Anthers are oval-shaped, pollen-producing sacs found at the end of the stamen. Some growers call them “bananas” because of their elongated appearance.

When cannabis plants turn hermaphroditic it’s sometimes referred to as “herming out”. This is usually a result of excessive environmental stress such as damage to the plant’s physical structure, bad weather, disease, and/or nutrient deficiencies. Bad genetics and previous hermaphroditic development can also be a risk factor. Basically, if you notice any pollen sacs or anthers, get that plant away from your females ASAP.

Final Thoughts on Female Cannabis Plants, Sexual Frustration, and THC Production

To reiterate, if you want big, potent buds that are covered in those flavorful, cannabinoid-filled trichomes, the key is sexually frustrated female plants. Cannabis plants basically live to be pollinated and produce more plants, so when pollination doesn’t occur, the female plant begins to overcompensate by creating bigger flowers with thicker resin.

The fact that cannabis plants are dioecious and respond in such complex ways to sexual stimulation (or lack of it), really makes them even more relatable. We are so incredibly connected to the universe around us which makes it that much more important to understand the complexities of other living creatures.

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your source for all things cannabis-related. For more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers and other products, subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter.

The post Sexually Frustrated Female Cannabis Plants and High-THC Production appeared first on CBD Testers.

5 weed products culinary and cannabis farmer Aaron Keefer can’t live without

On a recent Monday morning, Aaron Keefer was trying to get the cows to come home. An unlatched gate allowed some to trample vegetable plants at Sonoma Hills Farm where Keefer is the top gardener-farmer-cannabis cultivator. 

Sonoma Hills Farm, located about 30 miles north of San Francisco, is both a craft cannabis grow site, culinary garden, fruit orchard, and working farm with livestock. Using regenerative agriculture, the cannabis is sun grown and raised organically for the best expression of the plant.

Officially, Keefer is the farm’s vice president of cultivation and production, a post he assumed in February 2020. Previously, he gained renown as the head culinary farmer for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, which includes nearby Yountville’s The French Laundry, famed for tasting menus featuring his exquisite produce. 

Now, Keefer is applying his farming know-how to craft cannabis by growing about an acre of it in rich farmland known as the Petaluma Gap. The area, designated an American Viticultural Area in 2017, is legendary for producing premium wine grapes under the tempering fog and energizing breeze, nine miles from the ocean. The terroir also produces a stronger flavor expression in cannabis, said Keefer, an advocate for creating a similar cannabis appellation system. 

“We are trying to grow the cannabis we want to smoke. And if we do that, we are pretty sure everyone else will, too,” he explained to Weedmaps during a recent trip to Los Angeles. The farm’s ultra-sustainable practices result in a stronger plant, a tastier smoke, and a purer high while leaving the farmland richer and cleaner.

Sonoma Hills Farms offers outdoor, sun-grown organic cannabis, cultivated north of San Francisco.
(Source: courtesy of Sonoma Hills Farm)

With the first cannabis harvest in 2020, and Sonoma Hills Farm products landing in dispensaries this year, Keefer demonstrated that farmers could cultivate connoisseur-quality weed there without an energy-intensive indoor growing operation. It’s a holistic, agricultural model he’d like to see adopted to keep other small farms alive.

“Farmers have always grown what makes money. Cannabis is a great example of an income-producer for a diversified farm. Wine grapes have been a great cash crop over the past 20 years as usage of wine has gone up. Now it’s a monoculture of grapevines,” he said. Yet copying his grow model may not be easy, given the morass of bureaucratic licensing and the steady drip of fear left over from the War on Drugs. 

Keefer expressed that the Sonoma Hills Farm model helps destigmatize weed “by connecting it with something very safe,” notably their luscious, organic food used in fine restaurants. During the pandemic, the farm planted 4.5 acres of vegetables. “We gave everything away to our restaurant partners–thousands of pounds of vegetables,” he recalled. 

A former chef, Keefer would like to see cannabis used “as a third leg of hospitality” in addition to food and drink. Infusions in food aren’t his preference, though: “I have a hard time with that as a chef because I like the flavors to be clean. Cannabis has such a strong flavor.” Instead, he prefers a puff of the farm’s GG4 after dinner “to settle you in” or to sample the sativa-style Orange Açai as an aperitif.

As he waits for Mother Nature to work her magic on the latest crop, Keefer and crew are working to create a farm-to-table cannabis lifestyle. To that end, he envisions the farm as a “mari-winery,” a place where guests can see the plant, tour the farm, sample the wares, and even meet the cows that come to visit. 

Keefer, a cannabis cultivator since his teens, shared the five weed products he can’t live without. 

Sonoma Hills Farms Pink Jesus

Sonoma Hills Farms Pink Jesus
An airy sativa, Pink Jesus carries notes of raspberry and lavender and Keefer loves it for its breezy high.
(Source: Sonoma Hills Farms)

“Of course, I’m going to have to talk about the Pink Jesus that is our proprietary strain. She comes down around October 1, which is early for a full-season product. I call her the Beaujolais Nouveau of cannabis because she comes down early. It’s a wonderful beginning to the harvest season. I think that she has a rich and fruity flavor. 

The nose is kind of like raspberries and there’s a little pink tinge to her. And the high is a wonderful, soaring high that settles into a full-body buzz and doesn’t really ever have a downturn at the end. You don’t have that shaky, confused feeling at the end. It’s a very comfortable high with a lot of up notes.” 

Raw Natural Rolling Papers

Keefer is a joint smoker, and when he’s rolling one up, he reaches for RAW.

“First and foremost are the RAW Rolling Papers … I don’t use the big massive ones. If you have good weed you don’t need huge papers.”

Mason Jars

“Also in my must-have arsenal are straight Mason jars. I think storage of cannabis is incredibly important. Just like wine, it has to be in a controlled environment to maintain its nose and flavor. I keep mine in the jars in a cool, dark place, without high humidity.”

Kalya Extracts

“For extracts … my preferred product is Kalya Extracts. Anything they do is the highest quality. They don’t have their own grow, but they work with all the different growers. They are pretty darn picky about what they do extract. I think the name means perfection in Sanskrit. That is their pursuit. I think that they really do bring the product to a peak expression.”

Rose Delights

“For edibles, I really, really like Rose Delights. I think they are doing some of the best edibles. They make a Turkish delight. They are low strength, about 5 milligrams [THC] each, so you can pick and choose how much you want. The approach to it is like a Michelin-starred restaurant. They curate cannabis and the fruit for it and come up with some cool flavors. 

They also will work with chefs and come up with a recipe and source the ingredients like a chef would. They have worked with us and with world-renowned chefs, like Enrique Olvera [on the Poached Pear in Chile Ancho Sativa Rosin Gummies]. Even their packaging is super nice.” 

Featured image courtesy of Sonoma Hills Farms. Graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps

The post 5 weed products culinary and cannabis farmer Aaron Keefer can’t live without appeared first on Weedmaps News.

The strains that made Insane

The best weed I’ve ever smoked in California was from Insane. Ruby Red. Shit tastes like if you were to twist up Shirley Temple flower then dip the joint in a cup of Ocean Spray. It’s the type of weed you come across and you’re like, “okay yeah, whoever did this has definitely perfected their growing craft over a long period of time.” That person is Kenji Fujishima, who’s been growing for the past 30 years. 

Insane from Dr. Greenthumb is a brand in California co-founded by B-Real of Cypress Hill, one of the pioneers of modern day cannabis culture, Fujishima, and Roni Desantis. On Insane’s future, Fujishima, the brand’s expert cultivator, told me, “A bunch of different genetics under there. We’re getting ready to do some multi-state type deals. We’re doing a bunch of pheno[type] hunting and breeding programs, so I think that we’re going to continue to evolve what we do as cultivators, but also as a brand.”

These are the strains that got them there.

1990: Colombian Gold

The very first seed Fujishima ever put into California soil was around 1990. He couldn’t afford to buy weed, so he figured he would just grow it. The strain? Some bagseed that he believes was Columbian Gold. “Just straight up stress weed. If we bought a bag, we were lucky after we picked all the sticks and seeds off, if we got a joint. The weed was trash, but if you grew those seeds, it was actually some fire weed.” 

In 1993, Fujishima met B-Real through a mutual friend named Gator. Gator brought him to a show at [California State University, Dominguez Hills] that The Beastie Boys, Rage Against The Machine, and Cypress Hill (what a fucking lineup, wow) were all performing. Soon, a shared love for martial arts would lead B’s training by Fujishima’s father, and by 1995, Fujishima and B were close friends and cultivation partners. 

1996: Cali O, White Russian, White Rhino

Meeting Cypress Hill was also when Fujishima first saw indoor weed. Some were fluorescent green, some looked like cotton candy — it all sparked a deeper passion for different types of bud. In 1996, he started touring with Cypress Hill, and got the opportunity to go to Amsterdam. This was the first time he had true access to all of those different types of weed at his fingertips. 

“I went to the Sensi Seed Bank, and a few other places that were there. Cali O, White Russian, White Rhino. Those were the first ones I remember like, ‘wow, I can’t believe we’re looking through a seed menu.’”

Fujishima chose Cali O (aka California Orange), White Russian, White Rhino, and a few others based on what looked the best and faster flowering times. “Some of the Hazes were cool, but it was 13 weeks flower, 11 weeks flower. I was like let’s go with these ones that are going to [harvest] faster. The faster it [harvests], the faster we’re going to smoke about it.

1997: Kush Bubba (Bubba Kush)

In 1997, Fujishima, B-Real, and the crew started to get into the Kush game. “The first thing that we were known for was called ‘Kush Bubba,’ that everyone else knows [as] Bubba Kush. Those seeds were planted and phenohunted in B-Real’s bathroom or a spare room that he had in his house.” 

The Bubba Kush was so loud that you could smell it all the way down the block. “If you want to start talking about history shit, Dr. Greenthumb was spawned out of that house. The name, the song, the idea, 20 plants stinking up the neighborhood, that was this fool’s crib.” 

1997-1998: OG Kush

At the same time of Bubba Kush’s debut, OG Kush’s mystique was on fire in the streets. However, the crew couldn’t get their hands on it for a while. In late 1997, Fujishima and the DGT team finally got a cut of OG Kush from the folks over at Wonderbrett. That’s when shit really took off. Life changing shit. Take care of people’s family shit. 

OG Kush was so in-demand that people were charging megabucks for even the smallest quantity of it. Before they had access to growing OG Kush, the crew was paying a smooth $100 for an eighth. When they started growing and selling it, they were getting up to $500 an ounce, $8,000 a pound. It was that special of a strain, so people would break the bank just to get their hands on it.

“People wanted to give you money before it was harvested just so they could have it. Back then, that was a lot of fucking money.”

2000: Kenji Kush

From the moment it touched down, OG Kush dominated the streets of California. It’s all people wanted in the 2000s. “Everything we had was in [turkey-size oven bags] or mason jars. We didn’t necessarily have to have a brand because there weren’t so many people doing it. People just knew, he’s got that Kenji Kush. We didn’t have to market it because maybe one or two people would take it all.”

During all of this time, Fujishima was still touring with Cypress Hill. In 2000, he went out on tour with Limp Bizkit, and in 2009 began touring with Cypress again. That is until 2013, when he shifted focus to building the Dr. Greenthumb brand and media platform.

2014: Insane OG

Prop 215 legalized medical cannabis in California in 1996, but Dr. Greenthumb didn’t approach the legal market until 2014. In 2015, they got their first cultivation facility. In August 2018, Dr. Greenthumb transitioned from medical to the adult-use market with the opening of their flagship Dr. Greenthumb’s dispensary in Sylmar, CA

The entire time, they were still putting out the OG Kush that built their name. This time, however, it had evolved from Kenji Kush to Insane OG (aka 3X Crazy), Dr. Greenthumb’s very first legal product. 

2021: Christmas Lights, Honeymoon

To this day, Insane still keeps the OGs on deck, but they don’t grow near as much as they used to. Instead, they’ve shifted focus on new flavors to satisfy consumer demand. Christmas Lights and Honeymoon are two of their newest popular flavors. Christmas Lights is a phenotype of Flo that Fujishima and squad got from Aaron Yarkoni at DNA Genetics; Honeymoon is a phenotype of Wedding Cake. In addition, they’ve been pumping out Hindu Funk, Gotti, and Mac 11. In August, they’re dropping ten more new flavors. 

Still, if he had it his way, Fujishima would only be growing one of the seven different OGs that Dr. Greenthumb has in their library. “To me, there’s still nothing like that OG high. That other stuff, you still get baked, the flavors are cool, but for me, when you want that super bang to the head, it’s an OG thing.”

Featured image courtesy of Insane. Graphic by Britt Rivas/Weedmaps

The post The strains that made Insane appeared first on Weedmaps News.

Mexico Became the 4th Legalized Country

It started with Uruguay in 2013, then came Canada in June 2018. This was followed by a recreational legalization in Georgia in July 2018, and now by Mexico in 2021. Though the US and Australia both boast legal locations, Mexico is now the 4th legalized country to allow recreational cannabis use nationwide.

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The mess: how Mexico became a legalized country

In order to understand what just happened, and how it impacts life in Mexico, it helps to understand the recent history that led up to it. The legalization process began at the end of 2018 when a fifth consecutive Supreme Court ruling was made in support of defendants and their use of recreational cannabis. In Mexico, jurisprudencia kicks in when the supreme court makes five consecutive rulings on any matter, in the same way. That ruling becomes binding for all lower courts, essentially setting law that the legislative section of government must catch up with to stay in concert with the courts.

The Supreme Court rulings started in 2015 with a case against The Mexican Society for Responsible and Tolerant Self-Consumption. They ended in October 2018 with two cases that got ruled on in the same month, both about the ability for an adult to use cannabis recreationally. The court found that personally developed human beings must be allowed to choose their own recreational activities without the interference of government. It is stipulated in the Mexican constitution that personal development is a given freedom of the Mexican people.

All this enacted jurisprdencia, thereby ending the ability for lower courts to find an individual guilty of personal possession, use, and cultivation crimes. However, the Court ruling itself only stipulated that cannabis prohibition is unconstitutional, the Court doesn’t set up criminal penalties or regulated markets. This is done by legislation in Congress. Once the Supreme Court made the final ruling to end prohibition, the ball went to Congress’s court to pass an actual law with fundamentals.

Of course, if you’ve been following along, you know this didn’t happen. In fact, four times the government failed to do its duty, continuously asking for extensions until it missed its most recent deadline of April 30th 2021. The initial period of time given to the government to fulfill its duty, was one year. At the end of 2019, Congress was granted its first extension. This was followed by a second in April, 2020, and a third extension on December 15th, 2020.

mexico ends cannabis prohibition

This time around, when it came to the most recent due date on April 30th, Congress did not submit a bill, nor did it ask the Supreme Court for an extension. This threw the ball back to the Supreme Court’s court, and allowed the Supreme Court the ability to officially end prohibition without any confirmed laws on the books. This end of prohibition invalidates the laws that are stated, concerning any parts that have been changed by the new update, but it doesn’t go any deeper in terms of setting up regulated systems.

What did the court actually do?

After repeatedly allowing extensions for Congress, an essential stalemate was reached. The government seemingly doesn’t want to pass anything, and the reasons for this are debatable. Personally, I think it’s fear. Cannabis is a huge narco industry and the idea of that changing is kind of silly. Cartels aren’t likely to give up their hold on this business, and that could mean potential danger for politicians who take a side, or go up against the wrong entity. This might not be the standard line associated with these delays, but it’s the one that makes the most sense. Nothing is this difficult to pass.

I also believe that Congress specifically not asking for another extension, is a signal that the governmental body is refusing to make any finite decisions about how the industry will be run (for now). It instead left the initial legalization – without a setup system of regulation to govern it – to the court system. It’s actually a rather weak move, and I think obvious. If the government was going to take its responsibility seriously, it would have passed a bill or asked for an extension, rather than doing the action that puts the responsibility back on the Court. But that’s what it did.

Without the government to act on its ruling, the Supreme Court finally stopped waiting around, and officially ended prohibition of cannabis on June 28th, 2021. In an 8-3 decision, the court ruled on officially dropping the laws that prohibit recreational cannabis use in terms of personal consumption and person cultivation, the prohibition of which, had already been ruled as unconstitutional. This makes Mexico a recreationally legalized country, along with Uruguay, Canada, and Georgia.

Smoking in public and in front of children is still expressly banned, no mention has been made of a commercial system, and the ruling requires the Health Ministry to issue permits for actual use…which is a bit odd, and kind of funny to expect, and likely only temporary until Congress submits something. However, unlike other legalized locations, the Mexican court has set the minimum age for cultivation and use at 18 years of age. This ruling comes after the court filed a declaration of unconstitutionality earlier in June, also in hopes of getting the government moving.

cannabis in Mexico

To be clear, the only parts that the Supreme Court currently struck down officially, are relevant to personal cultivation and consumption. Mexico is a legalized country for recreational use, but possession and transportation were left out for now, and so criminal penalties attached to these things still apply. Essentially, the Supreme Court passed a partial law, but the country still waits on the details to be ironed out by Congress. In that sense, the exact provisions right now are not as important as the fact that the Supreme Court made the step of pushing this through, since the government has failed to do its job.

Why did the Supreme Court do this?

This is an interesting question, and certainly open for debate. I think the biggest issue here is power. The Supreme Court made a ruling nearly three years ago which ordered the legislature to come up with laws. By the legislature not doing this, its essentially not following orders. And not only is it not following orders, this is a slap in the face to the power of the Supreme Court. After all, if the Supreme Court can’t issue an instruction and have it followed, then it erodes the power of the institution. Nearly three years ago the Supreme Court gave this order, and yet it can’t get the government to follow it.

By pushing forward with this legalization, it forces the government to get its act together. The Supreme Court was careful as to what it dropped, as it didn’t want to create pandemonium by dropping all laws, and allowing a free market with no regulation. Instead it dropped the most basic part of cannabis prohibition, which made Mexico a legalized country for adult recreational use, but it didn’t open the door enough for it to be taken advantage of before the official laws come in.

Some might see this action as simply moving a step forward in an otherwise stalled endeavor, and perhaps that’s the case. But I think the Supreme Court is getting antsy that it can’t back up its rulings, which threatens both it, and the concept of jurisprudencia. Does this function as a complete legalization? No, not completely. But it’s now legal to use cannabis recreationally in Mexico, even if the rest hasn’t been figured out just yet.

The world view

Where are we worldwide with cannabis recreational legalizations? Mexico’s inclusion into the list of legalized countries, expands the listing out that much further. Uruguay was the first country to officially end prohibition in 2013, and the only country to set up a government-run system. Following Uruguay, Canada legalized for adult recreational use in 2018, instituting a free market system.

cannabis legalization

The third country to legalize was Georgia, though it set up some wonky laws, allowing recreational use (possession and consumption), but not allowing sale, purchase, or cultivation. This is because the law also came out of a supreme court ruling, and therefore doesn’t quite jive correctly with the other laws on the books. At least for now. But this doesn’t change the fact that this former member of the Soviet Union, is the only country in the European/Eastern European/ former Soviet bloc area, to do such a thing.

We also know that with the inclusion of Connecticut, there are 18 legalized states in the US, as well as Canberra, Australia’s capital state, which also allows adult recreational use. These are the only true legalizations, though places like Spain, South Africa, and the Netherlands are certainly known for their incredibly lax cannabis laws, and in the case of Spain and the Netherlands, the coffeeshops and social clubs that go along with them.

Conclusion

In a way, what the Mexican Supreme Court did was ceremonial. It doesn’t help establish a regulated industry, it sets up a strange requirement for licensing for use, and it doesn’t remove criminal penalties that the final legislation will. But it did get the ball re-rolling, and applies some much needed pressure to some slow-functioning politicians. Will this actually bring about a law on paper? Well, that’s certainly the idea. But I wonder if in another few months, we’re going to be reading about a new Supreme Court update in light of a non-functional Congress. Either way, Mexico officially became the 4th legalized country for recreational cannabis use.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Mexico Became the 4th Legalized Country appeared first on CBD Testers.

Episode 359 – No Marijuana for Mississippi

Dr. Jahan Marcu, Heather Sullivan, and Paul Rosen join host Ben Larson to talk about the rejection of medical marijuana legalization by the Mississippi Supreme Court, the merger of Tilray and Aphria as well as other large cannabis acquisitions, as well as the current state of legal hemp and delta-8 THC. Produced by Shea Gunther.

Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr/

Episode 357 – Canna Bumps? Canna No.

Dr. Jahan Marcu and Andrea Brooks join host Heather Sullivan to talk about the science of cannabis, the troubling development of the Canna Bumps brand, and what it takes to succeed as a legal marijuana delivery company in California. Produced by Shea Gunther.