Little Helpers: How Soil Microbes are the Key to a Prosperous Cannabis Garden

soil-microbes

Cannabis has come a long way to become the multi-billion industry it is now. It could be worth $35 billion by next year. Overcoming the stigma and false reporting in the previous years, it has definitely grown to be a leading industry and a source of livelihood for many across the globe.

Back in the year 1996, California became the first state to legalize the use of cannabis in a landmark ruling that sent waves all over the world. Since then, 10 states in North America have legalized its recreational use and 33 have legalized its medical use.

With the coming of the age of information, mainly through the internet, a lot more people are now armed with facts about the plant and are now aware of many of its uses and properties. With more knowledge came more popularity and with more popularity came more business ideas. Innovation knocked on the door of the industry and brought with it some amazing cannabis products. Here is a list of the current best-selling ones.

Cannabis Skin Care Products

Cannabis has found its way to the beauty industry through research and testing. This was made possible by the legalization of its medical use. New cannabidiol products are emerging regularly and taking over markets all over the world. Being a natural extract, it has appealed to many who saw manufactured chemicals as a gateway to poor health.

Cannabidiol is extracted from the plant in its natural form and is a non-psychoactive compound. It is used to treat acne, dry skin, and psoriasis. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties.

Cannabis Beverages

Though not as successful or popular as the cannabis skin care industry, beverages are on a steady rise in their popularity. Cocktails mixed with cannabis have grown to become a popular drink especially in Los Angeles where its recreational use is legal.

As more states legalize cannabis for recreational purposes, the more popular beverages grow. There are other examples of beverages such as cannabis-infused coffee which is ideal for reducing anxiety.

Cannabis Dog Food

Cannabis is well known for its ability to reduce anxiety both in humans and in animals. Many dogs suffer from anxiety attacks, mainly because of their pack mentality. Getting separated from the ones they consider part of their pack sometimes causes dogs to suffer from anxiety.

Cannabis treats help calm them down. Manufacturers are keen not to include harmful amounts of THC in the treats. Limited research on the matter of animals and cannabis, means that there is no exact figure on how much you should give your dog over a particular period of time.

Cannabis Chocolates

Chocolates are one of the most popular cannabis products today. Mainly used for recreational purposes, they have been best sellers for a while. Many users prefer cannabis edibles to smoke due to reasons such as stigma from others and the odor of the smoke. 

Manufacturers also have an easier time advertising chocolate than many other edibles or cigarettes. Chocolates come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and tastes, thus, making them easier to sell and more profitable. Because edibles are considered recreational, their selling and distribution are restricted to states that have legalized recreational use of cannabis.

Sour Gummies

These are edibles but in the form of candy or sweets. Cannabis gummies have become so popular that they are sold in a number of stores on the shelves. The difference with other sweets is that they have a label written CBD (cannabidiol). They are of course sold only to people at or above the legal age.

They come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors giving a marketing edge over other cannabis edibles. Due to their resemblance with a regular candy, gummies have faced a few legal barriers in order to keep them out of the reach of children. They are however allowed in states that have legalized cannabis.

Cannabis Oil

Also known as cannabidiol or CBD, it is one of the most legal cannabis products in the industry. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive, which means it won’t get the user high. Cannabis oil has built a name for itself in a number of ways and as a by-product of this, growing its popularity among cannabis users. Some of its uses include:

Relieving Pain

Scientists have recently discovered that cannabis contains pain relieving properties. Research has shown that CBD and THC reduce pain and inflammation when used together. Arthritis patients are beneficiaries of this property of cannabis.

Anti-Depressant

Depression and anxiety are some of the well-known mental illnesses. they are commonly treated with drugs that cause side effects such as insomnia and agitation. Some anti-depressants like benzodiazepines lead to drug abuse as they are highly addictive. CBD has continued to show prowess in dealing with depression and anxiety without any major side effects.

Cancer Related Treatment

Perhaps its most famous property. CBD, due to its pain-relieving ability, is cheaper to purchase as compared to mainstream cancer medication. It also helps to reduce the nauseating effects of chemotherapy. 

Though still in its testing stage, CBD has shown an ability to combat breast cancer cells in mice.

Cannabis Capsules

They are popular for their CBD content more than for recreational use. However, some capsule users prefer it for recreational use because it does not come as a snack or a drink, just a simple pill to get the same recreational effect. They swallow it like a medicine pill and that’s it.

Live Resin

Resin is made by freezing the plant in order to preserve its flavor. It is a very psychoactive edible, more so than many others. It is generally used for recreational purposes. The high amount of THC contained in live resins makes it a very popular choice among users.

Vapes

The sales of vapes increased by 69% in the year 2018 making it a best seller among cannabis accessories. Smokers prefer vapes for the sophistication and neat look that comes with them. Not to say traditional smokers are unkempt but vape seems to have a tidier air to it. Perhaps because of the stereotype peddled in earlier years about cannabis users and cleanliness.

CBD Tinctures

These are dietary supplements that contain cannabidiol in liquid form. Usually taken in very small doses due to the high alcohol content, they last for quite a while compared to other cannabis products. They are generally used for recreation.

The Growth of the Industry Has Given Rise to New and Innovative Cannabis Products

Cannabis is making quite a lot of waves across multiple industries the world over. Many more countries are in the process of legalizing its use, therefore, business growth is inevitable. Regulation is however paramount so as to avoid poor business practices, control its use and earn the government taxes. Be sure to contact us for expert advice and much more on the use of cannabis.

Pruning & Training Cannabis Plants for Maximum Production

Growing cannabis can be an artful process. There are so many ways to grow the plant and so many different pruning techniques that can bring huge benefits when properly executed. I look at the cannabis plant like a bonsai tree in terms of allowing me to create the exact shape for function to produce the most flower. Pruning and training techniques are key when it comes to achieving maximum output.

Topping is simple and can be done relatively quick when executed properly. I like to start topping plants as soon as there are 5 nodes on the plant, this is usually a few days to a week after a clone has been transplanted/up potted into its new home for vegetative growth. By topping/removing the apical meristem or top node on the plant, you take away the apical dominance of the Christmas tree look and allow the plant to produce 2 branches where originally there was only 1. Once these 2 branches grow out to 4 to 5 nodes on each stem I will top/remove the apical meristem again to allow for more branching. I do this constantly in the vegetative stage when the plant allows at every 4th or 5th node. Seven days before I switch to flowering I will stop topping to allow for the new branches to reach 5 to 7 inches to ensure maximum yield.

My goal in topping is to produce as many tops or flower sites/grow points as possible. I want a busy plant with as many tops to fill in the empty space under its’ light source. During the first few weeks in flowering we see huge spikes/stretch in growth which requires more training to keep the plant canopy under the lighting footprint. From trellising, staking, and even using tomato cages you can begin to harness the plant canopy for your desired space. In order to increase more flowering sites, I like super crop or bend the tops of the plants to a 90 degree angle. This trick not only opens up the canopy to fill in empty spaces in your canopy it also allows for light penetration deeper into the canopy to assist with more production. You will also observe that when super cropping to a 90 degree angle the side nodes will turn upwards toward the light creating more opportunity for more flower production.

Topping, pruning, super cropping, whatever tricks you use and whatever you call them can bring added yields when applied correctly. Experiment and see how different strains respond. Not all strains are created equal so learn how each strain responds and zero in on what works and use it to your advantage. My pruning techniques allowed me to see anywhere from 20% to 30% increase in production. Don’t be afraid to see stress your plants and reap the rewards.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellis Smith is co-founder and Chief Development Officer of American Cannabis Company (ACC). He has more than 20 years of horticulture experience in the specialty cut flower market, operating indoor gardens which helped him understand complex growing systems. As a cannabis grower, he developed an all natural soil medium known as SoHum Living Soil® which is used by hundreds of commercial cannabis operations. As CDO of ACC, Mr. Smith is also responsible for the design and construction of more than 1 million square feet of cannabis grow space in the U.S. and Canada.