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When it comes to cannabis, organically grown, craft cannabis far exceeds commercially grown flower
Large, commercial cannabis growing operations focus on maximizing yields, but it’s the small, craft cultivators who employ organic processes that produce higher quality, nutrient-rich plants.
Most of the marijuana grown in Colorado is grown with some sort of chemical process — it’s easier, cheaper and produces higher yields, said Renée Grossman, owner of High Q, which has retail marijuana stores in Silt and Carbondale.
“In Colorado, most cannabis is grown using hydroponics, aeroponics or other synthetic methods that do not utilize soil. The plants are placed in an inert substance, such as coco, and they are fed a cocktail of chemical nutrients to produce higher yields. These flowers are often lacking in cannabinoids, terpenes and other phytochemicals that give cannabis its overall effect,” Grossman said. “Think about tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables — the ones grown hydroponically will be big and red but have very little flavor, aroma or nutritional value, while the organically-grown tomatoes are fragrant, sweet and loaded with nutrients.” It’s the same with cannabis.
What is organically-grown, craft cannabis?
Organically grown cannabis, like all agricultural products, starts with the soil. Many people ask why soil is so important — it’s because real soil is a living organism that provides nutrients to the plants the way Mother Nature intended.
“Living soils are full of insects and micro-organisms that feed the plants – they require horticulturalists that understand how to maintain them,” Grossman said. “They need far less water and don’t result in waste like the synthetic cultivation methods. It’s far more complicated than feeding a chemical cocktail, but it’s how plants naturally take up the nutrients needed to grow.”
Higher cannabinoid and terpene profiles
When cannabis is grown in a living soil, the resulting plants have higher concentrations of cannabinoids, terpenes and other phytochemicals, said Reid Ewart, Director of Operations at High Q.
“You’re going to get a higher quality experience in terms of flavor, aroma, medicinal value and recreational effects,” he said.
Ewart refers to this as the entourage effect, a synergistic effect of cannabinoids and terpenes in a healthy, organically grown plant. Cannabinoids are chemicals that are unique to the plant and interact with receptors in the central nervous system. Two of the most well-known cannabinoids within the cannabis plant are THC (tetrahydrocannabinols), which creates the high feeling, and CBD (cannabidiols), which is non-psychoactive. Terpenes, which form the basis of aromatherapy, occur in all kinds of plants and react with receptors in the brain to produce various effects.
In addition to soil, how your cannabis is dried, cured and trimmed makes a big difference, Grossman said.
The craft cultivator takes care to dry, cure and trim the flowers to provide the optimal consumer experience. Large commercial cultivators often cut corners during this process. Since marijuana is sold by weight, many commercial growers will push product out that is too wet because it weighs more. However, once that product hits the stores, it dries and flakes quickly.
“Properly dried, cured and hand-trimmed cannabis flower will last longer and burn more slowly,” Grossman said.
Often you will hear people say it’s an “organic hydroponic cultivation,” but Grossman said that’s an oxymoron. Cultivating any plants without soil means you must use chemicals to feed the plants.
“While not all chemicals are harmful, they are inferior ways to feed plants,” she said.
“To maximize yields, commercial grows will crowd plants which often results in poor air flow, molds, mites and other pests. They only have one choice at that point, which is to spray chemical pesticides,” she said. “Organically grown plants are typically spaced further apart to provide adequate air flow to inhibit pests. They also use beneficial insects and plants to mitigate pests.”
What you’re ingesting
Cannabis that is grown with chemicals and pesticides has been known to produce burn in the throat and lungs, greater cough, headaches and hangovers.
“If you consume organically, you’re not going to experience those things,” Grossman said.
While scientific research hasn’t confirmed this, Grossman and Ewart say the stories they hear from customers are compelling.
“People can tell the difference,” Ewart said. “Bowls will actually spark and not burn clean with non-organic cannabis.”
That burning sensation in the throat that many cannabis users have experienced at some point shouldn’t be associated with marijuana consumption, Grossman said.
“That burn isn’t supposed to be part of the experience,” she said.
HIGH Q LLC, http://www.highqrockies.com • 844-420-DANK (3265)
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