Why some of the best fertilizers on the market can be bad for your health

Published Jun 5, 2020 11:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Singkham

We use fertilizers for pretty much every kind of plant these days. We use them on our lawns to make them greener, on our gardens to help our flowers to bloom, on our houseplants to perk them up a bit, and on our cannabis plants because we’re pretty sure they need it. Plant fertilizer is universally accepted as a relatively safe option that can do wonders for growth, but in the case of a consumable grows like cannabis, you’ll likely be inhaling some of the plant materials, and might want to make a safer choice.

Isn’t plant food and fertilizer all-natural?

Yes, in numerous cases, edible plant fertilizer (intended for things like veggies and cannabis plants) will be made with nature-derived nutrients, but the problem is that they aren’t in their natural form, and they all have additives tossed in. This might not seem like a big problem if you use plant food that only touches the roots, but that is exactly how it gets into the buds and the leaves.

All nutrients in fertilizers that are utilized by your cannabis crop work their magic by flowing into the root system, which is the ultimate connection to every bit of the inner parts of the plant. This is essentially the vessels that feed everything, including the buds that are slowly forming. At this point, much of the plant food is used, but most of it is stored away for later use in the materials.

Why would a cannabis plant need excessive amounts of nutrients?

The truth is that no cannabis plant needs toxic fertilizers to grow. In fact, numerous expert cultivators swear by the natural method of growing organically, as this species doesn’t need a whole lot to thrive. It only requires the basics to grow and produce a stellar crop for you to enjoy, so under no circumstance is store-bought plant fertilizer a necessity. However, it can help with the rate and amount of growth, which is why some growers believe that it’s a worthwhile risk at the end of the day.

Will the fertilizer ever leave the buds completely?

You might be thinking that you’ll only use fertilizer when the plant is young to avoid this, but the problem is that these elements are stored away in the body of the plant for days, which means that it will eventually make its way into much of what has yet to develop for quite a while after the last time that it’s used. This is an unfortunate side effect that led to the method called flushing, which is a process that is necessary to rid as many of the toxins from the plant as possible before harvest.

How to cleanse a cannabis plant of fertilizer


Flushing a cannabis plant sounds easy, but even once it is done, there is no guarantee that you won’t be smoking at least some of the plant fertilizer, so if you must, it’s important to know how to do so.

  1. Stop using plant fertilizer at least 3 weeks before harvest.

  2. When you stop using fertilizer, you’ll need to increase daily water intake by at least 50% and maintain a daily schedule for at least 2 weeks. After 2 weeks have passed, it is widely believed that much of the plant fertilizer will be washed away.

Inhaling traces of fertilizer can adversely impact your health in several ways

High concentrations of plant food nutrients can be hazardous to the human body, but that isn’t all that you’ll have to worry about, as fertilizers often come filled with preservatives and toxins that have not been studied for human consumption. Traces that remain even after proper flushing are liable to cause side effects such as:

  • Harsher hits
  • Bad taste
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach

What is the best kind of fertilizer for cannabis?

The very best kind of fertilizer for pot plants will be the purest and natural homemade solutions that you can find. This includes things like manure or compost, which will slowly and naturally feed a garden organically, as they are much safer for your health and better for the experience too when it comes time to enjoy your spoils. Store-bought fertilizer might make your plants look nicer or bigger, but is the trade-off really worth the risk? Probably not.

Allnatural fertilizer alternatives that are perfect for growing marijuana


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