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10 Tips for growing medical cannabis

Published Apr 29, 2023 12:59 p.m. ET
Unsplash / Sam Doucette

Millions of people around the world rely on the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids but not everyone can afford to make consistent purchases through dispensaries or medical cannabis companies, a fact that is especially true for those without insurance to cover the expense. Even if you can pay for it the benefits of growing your own at home are vast, but there are some things you’ll have to do and keep in mind along the way if you want the best quality medicine.

To help you achieve that goal we’ll give you ten tips and tricks to ensure you grow, harvest, and enjoy the best crop possible.

1. Pick the right seeds

If you’re growing cannabis for its medicinal qualities, then you’ll want to start with nothing less than the best seeds by making a purchase through a reputable source. Some may be better suited to certain environments for example indoors versus outdoors or cooler climates versus warmer ones, and if you want to avoid wasting any time, then it may be worth investing in a feminized variety that will only produce females.

2. Choose the right strains

Strain selection is crucial for medical consumers as each strain of cannabis offers a unique range of effects and medicinal properties, so you’ll want to find one that’s most likely to offer relief, by addressing symptoms as effectively as possible. Pay close attention to the genetics of each strain. Look for one that’s suitable for the environment while keeping in mind the therapeutic benefits that are required before making a purchase.

3. Rotate crops for a consistent supply

Patients need a consistent and reliable supply of cannabis which is why it’s so important to rotate those crops by planting new seeds on a regular basis so that you have plants at several different stages of growth at all times. By doing this, there will always be fresh flower available ensuring a steady supply of top-quality product. Of course, it’s important to note this isn’t an option for everyone, in particular those growing outdoors in regions with shorter growing seasons. Still, if you can, it’s the best way to guarantee you’ll never run out!

4. Maintain a completely sterile environment

Even the recreational industry maintains high standards when it comes to the environment these plants are grown, and sanitation is of the utmost importance. Though no one wants a contaminated product, patients with weakened immune systems are the most at risk if they consume cannabis that’s tainted with something toxic like mold. This is why it’s important to clean your grow room and equipment regularly. Where possible, it may also be a good idea to make sure no one enters this space without a fresh pair of clothes.

5. Avoid using chemicals on or around the plants

The majority of medical users prefer completely natural organic cannabis because many of the products used in the cultivation of cannabis leave behind traces that may be hazardous to a patient's health. To produce a clean organic harvest it’s essential to avoid all chemicals in your grow room, steer clear of things like cleaning agents when plants are present, opt for natural methods of pest control like ladybugs or organic pesticides, and avoid commercial fertilizers as much as possible.

6. Provide an adequate supply of light and water

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It is essential to provide sufficient light and water if you want cannabis plants to grow and flourish. They require a whole lot of energy to grow which is obtained through exposure to sunlight or grow bulbs while a proper watering regime guarantees a crop will have access to all of the nutrients it needs to thrive. Cannabis plants must be healthy to produce all of the powerful compounds like cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Providing these two things is key to maximizing potency.

7. Always use nutrient-rich soil

Though it might not seem like a big deal at first the dirt surrounding cannabis plants plays an integral role in how well a crop does through each stage of growth. Medical patients especially need high-quality cannabis and to achieve that nutrient-rich soil is crucial. Preferably a balanced mixture that offers plenty of organic matter, minerals, and nutrients. For optimal plant growth and bud production, it’s also important to keep a close eye on the pH level of the soil, as an imbalance could cause serious damage or negatively impact yield.

8. Harvest at the right time

Patients wanting to produce top-shelf buds should be careful when determining the right time to harvest. You could be stuck with mediocre medicine if harvesting is done too soon while putting it off for too long could alter the effects by making the experience feel more sedating. The flower may also be harsher or potentially less effective and that’s bad news for medicinal users. To do this use a magnifying glass and look at the trichomes. In most cases, cannabis plants peak and are ready to harvest when these resinous glands turn a light amber color with a tinge of cloudiness.

9. Dry and cure your cannabis properly

After a successful harvest, many make the mistake of thinking the hardest work is done when the truth is that the process of drying and curing cannabis can have a significant impact on how the flower tastes and smells, as well as the effects it may offer. It’s critical to ensure your beautiful buds are dried in a dark, cool, well-ventilated area that isn’t too humid, Once they’ve finally dried, they must immediately be transferred into air-tight storage containers. Many of the most effective options on the market are designed specifically for this purpose and though they are an investment they make the whole process easier and deliver impressive results that are worth the added expense.

10. Proper storage

Once the buds are completely dry and finished curing it’s time to store them until they’re needed. What most consumers don’t realize is how quickly flower begins to degrade beginning from the moment it’s plucked from a plant, and that’s why it’s so important to keep it in a safe, dark, cool, space inside of airtight containers. Preserving your flower properly prevents or at least slows the inevitable breakdown of the plant matter ensuring it stays potent and fresher for longer.

If you’re aiming to grow cannabis for medical use it’s good to acknowledge how attention to detail and commitment can have an incredible impact on the quality, flavor, taste, and experience. Take pride in this year’s bounty and follow these tips and tricks as they’re sure to keep you and your cannabis plants on the right path toward success.

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