morning sickness

Cannabis and Pregnancy; Getting High for Two

by Suzanna Mountain

There are many reasons for a mother-to-be to smoke marijuana, not the least of which is relief from the agony of first trimester nausea.  The use of cannabis in pregnancy and labor is not just a modern practice.  Seventh century documents from India and Persia cite ganja as an important medicine for treating nausea, alleviating  labor pains and even preventing miscarriage!  While modern studies are few and far between, those that have been conducted show marijuana to be ever- effective in treating symptoms of vomiting, nausea, and appetite loss.

One notable study is that of Dr. Melanie Dreher, Dean of Nursing at Rush Medical Center in Chicago,  who ran a study in Jamaica.  The study dealt with mothers who smoked daily throughout their entire pregnancy, and compared the birth weight and neurological development of the babies of the puffing mama’s, with those of mothers who refrained. Not only was no difference found in the birth weight or neurological aptitude of these babies, but these second-generation stoners made eye contact more quickly, socialized sooner and were easily engaged.  Additionally they were far less prone to stress related anxiety, although we all know this could be from the positive, stress-free, environment, created by responsible, stress-free families.  Finally, these “ganja babies” had an easier time organizing sleep/ wake cycles…

So what is the scientific consensus?  You’d assume that for such a hot topic, with so many opinions and so many women who want to know, there would be a plethora of research, and yet the scientific community is nearly silent.  Why? First of all, it is not easy to find pregnant women willing to admit that they get high for fear of legal repercussions.  Women who admit to using illegal drugs risk having their children taken away, or even jail time.  Not only that, there is a stigma around pregnancy and the use of medicinal and “recreational” substances.   Secondly, pregnant women barely feel comfortable indulging in half a glass of wine in public, or using ibuprofen for cryin’ out loud! and all the more so, engaging in green medicine. Without concrete research readily available,  mothers themselves are unsure of the risks and most are not willing to partake for the sake of science and expose their unborn child to theoretical danger.

With no indication that the use of cannabis is harmful to mama or baby, medical marijuana could be the cure so many mamas are desperate for.   New studies are emerging all of the time, indicating stress hormones as one of the most powerful and steady toxins our fragile bodies are exposed to on a regular basis, all the more so for expecting mothers.  If cannabis is not harmful to the fetus, and reduces stress in mama,  what more can we say but “cheers”?

 

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smoke-weed

Cannabis and Religion; weed in the Bible?

by Suzanna Mountain

Does biblical law take a stance on weed? Are religious Jews permitted to get high? What aboutMuslims, Christians and other Bible based faiths? The Bible doesn’t come right out and say “yes” or “no”as it does with so many other facets of life. Is that because our forefathers and foremothers didn’t know where to score a dime-bag or how to roll blunts? Does it just go without saying that drugs are wrong?

Maybe, just maybe it went without saying because… because… of course it’s holy to puff! Because weed is a holy medicine that makes us chill, feel good and connect to the Source of All Good. What could the Holy One possibly have against it?

A brief internet search shows that we were not alone in asking these questions. One of the most interesting things I found on my search was the word “Cannei Bosem” or fragrant reed. One Englishversion of the Bible translated by Aryeh Kaplan says of Cannei Bosem “Ancient sources identify this with the sweet calamus. This is the sweetflag or flagroot, Acoras calmus which grows in Europe. It appears that a similar species grew in the Holy Land, in the Hula region in ancient times… On the basis of cognatepronunciation and Septuagint readings, some identify Kaneh bosem with the English and Greek cannabis, the hemp plant.”

Kaneh bosem appears in the Book of Exodus, the second book of the Bible, in a section listing the ingredients in the anointing oil used in the Holy Temple. The anointing oil was made only one time in history, by Moses himself. It is said that Moses had to provide all of the plants used in this oil. Moses may have been a grower!

Blogger and Marijuana personality Yoseph Leib Ibn Mardachya says in a post on the matter “Kineh is a reed, yes, “aromatic cane”, I suppose that’s a reasonable trans lation. But hebrew is such a sublimely simple language, where many divergent ideas are rooted in the same three letter roots. KiNeH is not just reed, It’s also a wind pipe, a voice box, the space from your elbow to your fist, a nest is a KaiN Tzippurim, any acquisition is called a KiNYaN, to acquire is LiKNOT, and the greco-latin word “Konnect” is basically what reeds do. They connect one divine thing from one place to another.

And bosem? Fragrant is kind of a beautiful word I guess, but know that it’s the most general hebrew word for perfume or spice. But only one word in hebrew describes something so specifically as to have the word bosem in the name.”

Not only is weed not prohibited by the Bible, marijuana is a sacred plant, a holy ingredient in a mysterious oil used to initiate sacred items. In fact, the words Christ and Messiah actually mean “anointed” or “the anointed one”. What were they anointed with? This good oil containing Cannei Bosem, cannabis!

To life! Smoke up!

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THC-Tetra-Hydro-Cannabinol-Protects-the-Brain-Copy

Cannabis and Psychosis; Cause or Cure?

by Suzanna Mountain

More and more studies are evidencing Cannabis use as a natural anti-schizophrenic drug.  How can scientists reconcile these facts with the more common studies and anecdotal evidence indicating Marijuana as a psychosis inducing drug?  The secret to this mysterious paradox can be found on the molecular level.  The healing properties of Cannabis are found in certain molecules, but are absent in other, more problematic molecules.  Modern medicine contains the tools necessary to isolate those molecules to produce a natural alternative to BigPharma’s chemical concoctions.

A Bit of Brain Chemistry

For those unfamiliar with the basics of brain chemistry and weed, the story goes like this.  Our brains are full of receptors, waiting to be activated or deactivated by molecules that fit into them like puzzle pieces.  To simplify, think of it like this; your brain has areas which can be turned on or off by molecules that are generated inside your body or come from the outside.  Anandamides are the bodies endemic cannabinoids.  When we puff, we are simulating the effects of anandamides on our brains.

Increased amounts of anandamides are found in the cerebral fluids of people with symptoms of psychosis.  For people who are in prodromal states of psychosis, people who have symptoms of psychosis but are not yet experiencing full blown psychosis, have elevated levels of anandamides relative to healthy patients.  However, it appears that prodromal patients with lower levels of anandamides tend to have more sever schizophrenia down the line.  It follows that prodromal patients which ultimately have less severe schizophrenia have higher levels of anandamides than their more severe counterparts.

Does herb really cure schizophrenia?

It appears that the body raises the levels of anandamides in the prodromal state as a natural defense mechanism.  A mechanism that actually decreases the severity of psychosis down the line.  The cannabinoid  “Cannabidiol” works to slow the breaking down of annandamides, therefore acting as an enabler of the body’s natural defense mechanism against declining into deeper states of psychosis.

Good news for early stage schizophrenia patients or other patients of psychotic disorders!  Weed contains a molecule which can actually slow the onset of psychotic symptoms.  In a controlled study comparing the effects of Cannabidiol to amisulpride, a powerful anti psychotic, both medications were found effective in suppressing and alleviating psychotic symptoms. It may come as no surprise to the tuned in, but the side effects of the Cannabidiol were significantly less than those of the synthetic drug amisulpride.  Just another reason to keep marijuana legal, available and de-stigmatized.

 

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green-salves-570

Benfits of Medical Marijuana Salves, Lotions and Oils

Medical marijuana is now legal in almost half the states in the USA, and in the process of being legalized in several more. The classic movie ‘Reefer Madness’ would have us believe that North America is about to be overrun by hordes of drug-crazed hippies willing to kill everyone in suburbia for their stash of Oreo cookies. This perception could not be further from the truth. Marijuana holds enormous potential for helping people who suffer from disease and pain. Since it was classified as a Schedule I illegal substance because “It has a high potential for abuse”. This was done despite marijuana being non-addictive and impossible to overdose. In any case, it was made illegal and even medical testing is highly regulated to the point where it is prohibitive. Even hemp, which does not contain THC, may not be grown in the United States and imports are heavily checked.

Marijuana is used medicinally in many forms. Of course, the simplest and most common is smoking it. Another variation on this is vaping (e-smoking). This is usually preferable if the THC and its psychoactive properties are desired. This is usually the case when the patient is coping with stress, pain, loss of appetite, or insomnia. There are cases where the psychoactive effects are not desired. In the case of juvenile epilepsy this is the case, and a strain of marijuana is prescribed that is high in CBD and the THC is a very low concentration, or non-existent. In these cases, the marijuana is given in an oil infusion. There are states in which medical marijuana is legal, but only in this form.

One of the medical applications of marijuana is as a topical application for pain relief. Marijuana is also anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory.  Since it is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, cannabis oils and salves have proven to be very effective in alleviating arthritis. Many also use it to help with eczema and psoriasis. Clinical studies have shown it to be effective in alleviating lower back pain. It has been suggested that marijuana can help where conventional pain killers are not as effective. This is because it doesn’t block the pain, like a pain killer. Marijuana makes the pain bearable. Since many pain killers are narcotics and addictive, marijuana is a promising alternative that has fewer side-effects.

Marijuana used topically will not make you test positive for THC and it will not get you stoned. That is because the THC is absorbed into the skin and not into the blood stream. It is theorized that the CBD in the marijuana connect with the CB2 receptors in the skin. There are transdermal marijuana patches, similar to nicotine patches, which will make you test positive for THC. They work differently, are used for different purposes than topical salves and crèmes, and they will get you stoned. Strangely enough, despite the fact that you cannot get stoned from marijuana topical use, the creams and salves are illegal in states that do not allow medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana salves are expensive and difficult to make. Home preparation, though a viable alternative, requires precise temperature control so as not to ruin the oils and waxes, and also to retain the best qualities of the marijuana.

If you believe this can help you, there are many salves, crèmes, ointments, and oils available on the market. It is a growth industry and one of the more promising branches of the medical marijuana industry.

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US National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC

White house Amendment to Marijuana law

The White House has just signed a bill to prevent the use of Federal money to persecute States across America from passing and implementing their own laws in regard to medical marijuana.

Until now, Federal law allowed for the arrest and persecution of cannabis users and growers even in States where Marijuana use was legal. While the amendment doesn’t actually support the legalization of Marijuana it allows States to make their own choices when it comes to Marijuana without fear of Federal retribution, a significant step in the direction towards possible future legalization of cannabis for medicinal use.

Even though the Hinchey-Rohrbacher amendment is temporary – demanding annual revision, for now, the pro-marijuana legal community is happy with the new bill.

In a statement by supporter of the bill, Californian representative Sam Farr, attention was drawn to the fact that Federal money would be better spent fighting crime, than wasted on persecuting medicinal marijuana patients.

While the law applies only to medicinal marijuana patients (MMJ’s), it must be noted that most dispensaries provide service to both recreational and medicinal users, which has created widespread concern amongst those who oppose changes to the Federal law.

While this may explain the white house’s incremental moves on the issue, for now, Christmas just got a whole lot greener.

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drug-testing

Marijuana detox – flush !

I am pro-marijuana, but unfortunately, there are many who disagree with my position on puffing. One is the US Military, and another might be your boss. As an unfortunate consequence, drug testing is a reality with dire consequences.

Picture this scenario: You and a friend have just harvested a rare Afghan sativa that you raised since it was just a tiny little seed with the cutest little hint of a white root just sticking out of its dry, brown husk. Such an occasion requires a beer and a celebratory puff or two (or ten). Your achievement duly toasted, as are you, you slurp down a quart of Ben and Jerry’s finest, and put yourself to sleep. Since your physical reality presently exists in Colorado, your conscience is clear, since cannabis is free and clearly legal in the 38th state. Suddenly, your phone wakens you before dawn. It is your boss, Admiral Whosinutts, calling to tell you that the aircraft carrier is in a tight spot and they need your finely honed piloting skills to get them out of a jam. You jump out of bed, rising to the call of duty, but suddenly remember the nefarious urinal with the siren attached that stands guard at the entrance to the nuclear powered ship’s pilot house. You must pass a pee test, and given your intake of the last twenty four hours, this will clearly not happen. Not to worry! You reach into the fridge for your last bottle of FLUSH!, the cherry flavored super-cleansing stoner savior, and suck it down. You stride out the door, save the carrier from running aground and spewing nuclear waste all over the beach teeming with seals, and the admiral never suspects a thing.

I may be a little dramatic, but testing for marijuana is a real thing and it poses a sticky problem for many law-abiding citizens. I am certainly not recommending that people operate heavy machinery, cars or aircraft carriers while under the influence of any mind altering substance, however  there is a prickly dichotomy that exists precisely because of recent legalization. There are many reasons to detox. Given the toxins floating around and injected into our food, many desire an occasional cleansing. I sometimes wish these products were available at the exit of fast food restaurants.  In any case, pot smokers find themselves in situations where they need to detox in a hurry and products have been developed to help them do just that.

Let’s first understand the process. Getting stoned is what happens when, in one way or another, you ingest THC. After your body is finished having fun with the THC, it has a bunch of metabolites floating around, kind of like the mess that’s left over in your living room after a party. Urine tests check for these metabolites. Detoxing can either flush your system, getting rid of these metabolites, mask them, or lower their strength and concentration. They may also contain essential ingredients that your body will lose through the detoxification, such as creatine monohydrate and riboflavin. There are many natural herbs and ingredients that detoxify such as Niacin, Echinacea, Guarana seed, Milk Thistle seed, and Purpurea leaf. Many of the detox drinks also contain elements to make the color of your urine more natural for the purpose of passing a urine test.

It should be noted that blood tests check for THC in the blood, which decreases faster than metabolites pass from the urine. Blood tests are used to check for more recent use, though urine tests are much more common. For someone who is not a regular user, the THC levels in the blood would be undetectable within two days. If a regular user stops smoking, THC will still be detectable in his blood system for a month. Regular users will still have detectable levels of metabolites in their urine for up to 46 days, and sometimes longer. THC is soluble in lipids, meaning it is absorbed into the fat cells of your body. More fat means more time to detoxify. For people who need to be very sure of the results, home testing kits are available. Less common is saliva testing, which only detects marijuana use in the last few days. Hair follicle testing is even less common, because it is expensive. It does, however, produce results that detect usage for several months.  It is common for casinos to use this testing method on employees that have sensitive positions.

There are several ways to detoxify. The simplest is to stop smoking and wait. For those who are pressed for time, there are diet and exercise regimens that are recommended, that include going to a spa and sweating it out, drinking lots of water to dilute the results, though over dilution will be detected in a urine test and will usually lead to further testing. If you choose to use the dilution method, it is suggested that you drink as much water as you can bear, and pee at least once before the test. Eat red meat and take B vitamins to raise the level of creatine and so the results do not look diluted.

There are many detox kits and products available online. I cannot vouch for or against them, though many do use variation of the techniques I mentioned above.

 

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PIC: Debbi's Hempalicious Soap

Clean and Green – hemp soap

When I was growing up, marijuana was a bunch of stems, seeds, and dried up leaves, which came in a baggie, cost money, but was well worth it because you put in a pipe, bong or rolling paper and smoked it, and when you did, it made you stoned.  Apparently, that perception of cannabis has gone the way of the slide rule, the Polaroid camera, and cloth diapers. Marijuana is now many things, only one of which is an herb that gets you stoned and gives you the munchies.

One of the newly discovered uses for the incredible wonder herb is to make soap. Before you get all excited, this isn’t a new way to get high. THC is soluble in lipids, which means that if you really wanted, your soap dish could be full of it, but it won’t be absorbed through your skin. In single syllables, using marijuana soap won’t get you stoned. So why use it, you may ask? Hemp and cannabis are herbs, like many others, and have wonderful hidden qualities that are either ignored or suppressed by large pharmaceutical companies and the societies that are dependent upon them. Marijuana and hemp soap are useful against skin infections, preferred for their fragrance, and they are dandy for scrubbing yourself clean.

Before I talk about the product itself, I think the legal implications need a bit of clarification. Most people are not aware of this, but hemp and marijuana are the same plant. Hemp contains THC. This is important to note because that means that hemp, like marijuana, is a schedule I illegal substance and can get you in deep doo-doo with the Feds. Of course, that is only true if it is possible to smoke it, eat it, or ingest it in such a way that the THC enters your body. If the product cannot be used to introduce THC into the body, then it does not come under the heading of a schedule I illegal substance, nor does it come under the auspices of the DEA. In short, even though a product has THC in it, it may be entirely legal. The types of products that come under this heading are clothing made from hemp, birdseed containing sterilized cannabis seeds, cosmetics, lotion, paper, rope, shampoo, and soap.

That being said, my personal opinion is that the legislation deserves a one-handed applause. On one hand, it is wonderful that legislation has recognized hemp as the productive cash crop it is. Hemp clothing is durable, and the hemp plant requires much less spraying of chemicals than cotton plants. I love my hemp pants. They are my uber-jeans. One acre of hemp produces as much paper as four acres of trees, and takes much less time to grow to maturity. On the other hand, the one that refrains from clapping, I question the need for government approval. Is there such care taken with the ingredients for chemical warfare or the making of gunpowder?  The radioactive material used in medicine is carefully controlled, but it is universally permitted.  Marijuana is forbidden for no other reason than the stigma attached to it for being a substance that is used for recreational use that is illegal in most states. It disturbs me that there is even a possibility, a legal discussion, that products that cannot be used to get stoned need justification to be legal. In any case, marijuana soap is legal in every sense. Soap that you buy is made from hemp, and though the soap is legal, it is illegal to grow hemp in the United States except for states where growing marijuana is legal. Most hemp is imported from overseas and thoroughly tested to make sure it contains no THC. It won’t make you test positive for marijuana or give you the munchies, either.

So, hemp soap is legal but contains no THC. If you want the THC, you can make soap from marijuana or you can buy it at a dispensary where medical marijuana is legal. The stoner in me wants to know why you would do so. Can you perhaps put it in your water pipe and blow bubbles? Perhaps, but that would be a waste of a very special healing product. It has been purported to help with eczema and psoriasis, and a multitude of other skin problems.

 

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maijuanacupcakes

Edible Marijuana – a do it yourself guide

There are more ways to experience marijuana than you might think. One of the less utilized ways to enjoy marijuana is to ingest it. Most people have heard of hash brownies, fewer people have actually tried them, and even fewer still are aware of the multitude of options possible for eating your pot. Edible marijuana is an entirely different experience than smoking, with both pros and cons.

Benefits of eating your stash

  • More efficient use, since it doesn’t just float away in the smoke
  • More intense effect
  • Doesn’t irritate the lungs
  • No odor
  • It can be yummy
  • Delayed reaction and longer lasting
  • It can be a good way to store your THC in a clandestine manner, though not at all recommended. No decent narc will be fooled. CAUTION: KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN, AS THERE HAVE BEEN INSTANCES OF CHILDREN EATING SPIKED BAKED GOODS AND CHOCOLATE. VERY BAD KARMA!!

Since none of the THC is lost in the air as smoke, it would appear that eating is a more efficient use of your stash. Infusions are also a good way to utilize the parts of the plant that are unpleasant or inefficient to smoke, like thicker stems. Subjective accounts report that eating marijuana is a more intense, almost psychedelic experience. That has yet to be proven, however it should be noted that ingesting marijuana delays the onset of the effect. The effects of marijuana are usually felt a few minutes after smoking. When marijuana is eating, the THC must be absorbed into the digestive tract and it can take up to two full hours to feel the full effects.

The first thing you should know when preparing to ingest marijuana is that THC is not easily soluble in water, so making a tea is out of the question. THC is soluble in fats and lipids, or alcohol. There are many states that permit medical marijuana but only in non-smoking form. The THC and CBD will be absorbed into oil, frequently olive oil, and orally administered. In ancient India, marijuana was fried in clarified butter (ghee) and then filtered out. The oil was then used to prepare foods that would have the added benefit of getting the diner stoned. Cannabis oil can be prepared by heating marijuana in any edible oil to 90-110 degrees Celsius for 2 hours. Care should be taken not exceed 140 degrees Celsius. The oil can then be ingested by itself or used for cooking.

As mentioned above, another method is to dissolve the THC in alcohol. One technique for infusing liquor or grain alcohol with THC is as follows:

  • Grind up the pieces of marijuana that you want to use in the infusion
  • Put them in a wide mouthed jar with the alcohol
  • Store them in a cool dark place for four days, mixing the ingredients several times daily
  • Boil a pot of water, turn off the flame, and place the closed jar in the water. Let it sit until the water is cool.
  • Strain the contents with a fine strainer.
  • The strained marijuana can be discarded since the THC has been extracted
  • The liquid can be used in the same way as normal liquor

There are other methods and opinions as to how to do this, however this is my tried and true technique. CAUTION: ALOHOL IS FLAMABLE, SO IF YOU COOK IT, BE VERY CAREFUL! Baking the stems before infusion will bring out more THC but it also makes your oven smell like an opium den.

If you like mixing your vices, marijuana candies are commercially available. You can get marijuana chocolates or gummies. One or two bites will do you fine. Again, even greater care must be taken to keep this far away from children. There is even marijuana infused soda. The possibilities are almost endless.

There is a danger involved in edible marijuana that is currently being seriously addressed in legislation where marijuana is legal. Because the effect takes so long to kick in, it is very easy to ingest a larger dose of THC than desired. This is much less of an issue when smoking because the effect is almost immediate and too much THC would knock you out and make it difficult if not impossible to continue smoking. It is technically impossible to overdose on marijuana or to bring on a life-threatening condition from THC intake, it can cause you to be temporarily incapacitated to a greater extent than originally intended. There are attempts at legislation now to solve the situation by regulating and enforcing labeling of products containing THC. It is recommended that you ingest in small doses and wait forty five minutes for the effect to kick in before ingesting more. It is also recommended that you not ingest on an empty stomach.

by ADAM BERKOWITZ

 

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A quick intro to hydroponics

Growing Marijuana Hydroponically

Hydroponics can be a bit intimidating at first, however it has distinctive benefits over growing outdoors, and sometimes is the only possible method available. Plants grow faster with better yields. The theory is that if the plant has the nutrients readily available in the most easily utilized form, more energy can be directed towards growing and producing the desired product. The plants can be given almost continuous light for intensive growing. There is also no problem with soil conditions of climate problems. The largest benefit is, of course, it is the best solution for clandestine growing.
The drawbacks are the high cost of electricity and equipment. It is also not quite as simple as throwing some seeds into the soil and waiting, pipe in hand, for results.

You will need:
• A confined place to grow
• Lights
• A nutrient delivery system
• Nutrient solution
• Seeds or seedlings

Basic Systems

DWC (Deep Water Culture)

This is one of the cheapest and easiest hydro systems and is recommended for beginners. Basically, you need a light sealed container to hold the nutrients and a porous growth element suspended in it. The container has to be sealed against light to prohibit the growth of algae. You also need an air-stone suspended in the solution. This is plain and simple and produces fine results. The drawbacks are that it is not good for a quantity of plants and it is susceptible to algae and other problems associated with standing water.

Top Feed
This is similar to the DWC system in that the plant is grown in a porous medium suspended over a bucket. The nutrient solution is pumped over the medium, soaking the roots, on a regular basis. The runoff is collected and recycled. This system has the advantage that it can be used more efficiently if you are growing several plants and there is less of a problem with algae. It is more expensive to set up than DWC and there is machinery involved that can breakdown.

Ebb and Flow
This is one step up from the Top Feed system. It is better suited for even larger setups. The porous blocks are arranged inside of a water tight frame, which is filled and emptied. It is even more of an investment, though more efficient.
There are many more techniques and systems for hydroponic growing. The ones described above are the most basic. For more advanced growers, there is Nutrient Film/Flow technique (NFT), Aeroponics, Misting, and many others. It is a technique that is growing and expanding all the time.

Nutrients
The magic of hydroponics is that plants don’t necessarily need soil to grow. They do, however, need nutrients that are usually contained in the soil. Basically, any nutrients the plants need contain nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. There are secondary nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and the plants need different ratios and amounts at different times in its growth cycle. There also trace elements that are essential but only necessary in tiny amounts.
Nitrogen is necessary for the vegetative growth, building cells, proteins, and enzymes. It is also essential for making chlorophyll. Phosphorous helps your plant make sugars, oil, waxes, and terpenes. It is necessary for healthy roots and flowers and to build up the plants immune systems. Potassium is necessary for photosynthesis and flowers. Marijuana plants go through growth stages and it will be important to match the nutrient to the plants particular needs.
Nutrients can be purchased in liquid form, pre-mixed, or in powder form that needs to be mixed with water. As I said, hydroponics is a little more complicated than throwing seeds into some dirt and waiting. Overwhelming your plants will not improve the results and may damage the plants. You will need to do several tests on the nutrient solution. The most basic is a pH test. Your plants will like a pH of around 6.0. Though the pH should remain at a constant, the level of nutrients changes with the growth cycles. An electrical conductivity meter measures the concentration of minerals in the solution. You should also check for total dissolved solids. There are commercially available multi-function meters.

Prepping your walls
As stated, the most expensive thing about growing hydroponically will be the electricity for your lights. Prepping your walls can make more effective use of your wattage. Rather than have the light rays spread uselessly, it is best to position the plants near walls that have been treated to be as reflective as possible. This also allows for a more even distribution of the light, so that lower branches receive light also. Black or dark colored walls absorb the light. You want as much of your wattage as possible to get to your leaves. White paint is a cheap solution. Glossy paint is less efficient and it is recommended to use paint with fungicide. Titanium white paint is very reflective however it is prohibitively expensive. It is usually used only on reflectors.

Mylar is highly reflective and a good option. It comes in varying thicknesses, 2mm being preferable. 1mm tears easily, making cleaning difficult. It is 95% reflective but if it gets dirty, the reflectivity decreases. It should be noted that Mylar and Foylon, which will be discussed later, reflect radiant heat and will therefore require ventilation.

Foylon is a stronger fabric, similar to Mylar. Whereas Mylar is a thin sheet, Foylon is a spun polyester fabric reinforced with foil laminate. It is more expensive but it is a better option for growers who plan on long term use. Attaching it to the walls with Velcro is a good solution, as it allows for easy cleaning and maintenance.
Aluminum foil is a bad solution. It is only 55% reflective, tears easily, and cannot be cleaned. It is also dangerous, being electrically conductive and flammable.

Lights
It is best to use lights that can be height adjustable so they can be close to your plants and raised as the plants grow.

Lumens
Average daylight is 5000-10,000 lumens per square foot. You want your growing area to get between 7,000-10,000 lumens per square foot and the absolute minimum is 3,000. To figure out how many lumens per square foot you’re working with, simply divide the total lumens as marked on your lights, by the total square feet.

CFL vs HID
There is much dispute over which light is preferable, CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights) or HID (High Intensity Discharge). HID is generally considered more efficient and produces better results. HID costs more to purchase and run, uses more electricity, is more difficult to mount and hang, and will require venting. CID is a good option for large volume growers with serious rigs, looking for serious results. It is also recommended that the grower does his homework and check out the efficiency of many smaller bulbs versus fewer, stronger bulbs. Cool white CFL bulbs produce more blue-spectrum light, which is what plants use for photosynthesis.

Germinating seeds
Seeds are dormant until they germinate. Germination begins as a reaction to conditions conducive to growing. It begins in nature when a root begins to grow and push the seed to the surface. This usually happens in the presence of moisture and warmth. The seed coat opens, and the leaves that were present in dormant form, spread and begin to grow. It can be expensive to purchase marijuana seeds so proper germination is needed to protect your investment. Seeds can seem dry and brittle and still be quite viable, though green or white seeds will not.

Hydroponic growers generally use rockwool cubes for germinating their seeds since they are inorganic and can be put directly in their hydro setup. Since they are made of an inert material, it will not interact with the hydro solution. They are cheap, easy to use, and highly absorbent.

The drawbacks are that they aren’t organic and therefore bad for your health and the environment. It is recommended to use a safety mask, goggles, and gloves, when handling dry quantities since the dust is harmful. It is not biodegradable and disposal is a problem.
Rockwool also has a very high pH and must be washed and treated before it can be used. It has also been noted that since it is denser than soil, clone seedlings may have difficulty getting air to their roots.
A better alternative for small growers is to use paper towels or to begin germination by soaking the seeds in water. Seeds can drown so if they don’t germinate after a full day, remove them from the water. Or you can place them between sheets of wet paper towels. When peeling back the towels, be very careful not to harm the newly sprouted root. It has been recommended to use bottled water for germination, since tap water contains chlorine and other additives that may inhibit or harm germination.

Temperature
One advantage indoor growing has over outdoor gardening is control over your growing conditions. Temperature and climate can be serious limiting factors, especially for those living in higher latitudes. Indoor growing means that you set the season. The ideal temperature for growing bud is 80-85 degrees Farenheit. 90 degrees is the absolute maximum, requiring ventilation. Higher temperatures reduce the risk of fungus but also lower the potency of your crop. Night time lows down to 60 degrees shouldn’t harm the plants but regular doses of lower temperatures will affect your crop. When the temperatures are around 40 degrees, you risk losing your plants. There have been good results reported with temperatures around 95 degrees with CO2 enrichment or 1500ppm, good ventilation to lower humidity, and intensive lighting. It is recommended to return to lower temperatures once flowering has begun in order not to adversely affect potency.

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weed-calender

Calendar of upcoming medical cannabis events

January 21-22 Cannabis Tax and Law Symposium, 1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego CA, 92106

For businessmen, accountants, and lawyers involved in the cannabis industry, this two day seminar will inform them of the current state of the legalities and taxes involved in the industry.

http://cannabisbusinesssummit.com/tax-law/

January 23-25 Hempcon, San Jose Convention Center, San Jose CA.

This is an exhibition of cannabis and growing related products. Medical marijuana will be available for those with proof of doctor’s recommendation. There will also be seminars by cannabis experts.

http://hempcon.com/

February 7-8 High Times SoCal Medical Marijuana Cup, NOS Events Center,689 South E St, San Bernadino CA, 92408

This is a trade show with vendors selling clothes, glassware, vaping kits, paraphernalia, and artwork. Three daily seminars will be given on subjects connected to the marijuana trade, growing, and legalization. There will even be a cooking seminar. Marijuana will not be available except in restricted areas to people with proof of a doctor’s approval. There will be Saturday night entertainment.

http://www.cannabiscup.com/southern-california

February 24-26 Cultivation Management Symposium, Seattle WA

Seminar on growing techniques, management of commercial growing facilities, and legal issues.

http://cannabisbusinesssummit.com/cultivation/

March 20-22 Hempcon,San Bernadino CA, National Orange Show (NOS)

This is an exhibition of cannabis and growing related products, such as smoking and vaping paraphernalia, growing equipment, and much more. Medical marijuana will be available for those with proof of doctor’s recommendation. There will also be seminars by cannabis experts.

http://hempcon.com/

April 17-19 Hempcon, San Francisco, Cow Palace

This is an exhibition of cannabis and growing related products, such as smoking and vaping paraphernalia, growing equipment, and much more. Medical marijuana will be available for those with proof of doctor’s recommendation. There will also be seminars by cannabis experts.

http://hempcon.com/

April 18-20 High Times Denver Cannabis Cup, Denver Mart, 451 East 58th Ave, Denver Colorado, 80216

This is a trade show with vendors selling clothes, glassware, vaping kits, paraphernalia, and artwork. Three daily seminars will be given on subjects connected to the marijuana trade, growing, and legalization. Entrance only to those 18 and over. Admission to smoking areas for those over 21. Marijuana is now legal for recreational use in Denver, it will be available. There will also be a tour of local smoke shops . http://www.cannabiscup.com/denver

April 20 (4/20) National Weed Day, world wide

http://www.cute-calendar.com/event/420-weed-day/8850-world.html

April 28-30 NCIA Policy Symposium and Member Lobby Days, Washington, DC

This seminar is intended to educate people on how to lobby for cannabis reform. There will be interactive workshops as well as panel discussions.

http://cannabisbusinesssummit.com/cannabis-policy-and-reform-symposium/

May 15-17 Hempcon, Las Vegas NV,Cashman Center

This is an exhibition of cannabis and growing related products, such as smoking and vaping paraphernalia, growing equipment, and much more. Medical marijuana will be available for those with proof of doctor’s recommendation. There will also be seminars by cannabis experts.

http://hempcon.com/

June 30-July 1 Cannabis Business Summit and Expo, Denver CO,

This is a trade show, seminar, and exhibition focused on the cannabis industry. It will include vendors, workshops, and lectures.

http://cannabisbusinesssummit.com/cannabis-business-summit-and-expo/

July 23-25 Chicago Cannabis Conference, Grand Ballroom Navy Pier

This conference is geared towards the medical marijuana industry in Illinois.

http://www.chicagocannabisconference.com/

October 9-11 Hempcon, Denver CO, Denver Merchandise Mart

This is an exhibition of cannabis and growing related products, such as smoking and vaping paraphernalia, growing equipment, and much more.  There will also be seminars by cannabis experts.

http://hempcon.com/   

http://hempcon.com/showsDenver.php

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