Tag: Cannabis 101

7 Signs It Might Be Time for a Break From Cannabis

There are a lot of reasons to take a break from getting high, and you might currently be considering stepping away for a bit but feel weird because cannabis has been your best friend since Day 1. You’re not alone; it’s perfectly normal for cannabis consumers to give up their favorite product for a stretch. If you’re wondering whether you should bench your bud, take a look at some of these reasons why you may want to abstain.

You’re Spending Too Much Money

A one-time-buy isn’t that expensive, but those one-times turn into 12-times and then your ATM card’s looking at you like this isn’t the relationship that y’all agreed to. It’s very easy to spend hundreds on a few grams and a few edibles or concentrates, then look up at the end of the month and see that you could’ve bought a plane ticket to Hawaii or, even better, a delicious amount of mozzarella sticks.

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It’s Taking Priority Over Your Responsibilities

You said after work was Day 1 of Operation Back in the Gym, but instead you go home, smoke, and pass out for the night. You said tonight was the night that you’d write out that business plan, but that one hit for a little inspiration turned into 87 hits for procrastination and now you’re watching the basketball episode of The Office for the 832nd time. You were going to pay off that credit card, but you’ll get it next month because you got the munchies and ordered a delicious amount of mozzarella sticks delivered straight to your mouth.

While cannabis may not be entirely responsible for your laziness, you may want to cut back on it for a while so you eliminate the temptation and can focus on establishing good habits and being more productive.

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All Your Free Time Is Spent Inside

You need a social life to stay sane. Your friends are important, and seeing other humans in the wild matters. Spending all your time with your dab rig is cool, but so is fresh air and some time with your loved ones. If your motivation to go out and do things with others is being zapped, try tucking away your stash box for a bit so you can get out of your comfort zone and reestablish some social connections.

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You Rely On It Too Much For Creativity

You’re either creative or you’re not. If you are, it’s not because you smoke, it’s because you’re talented and special. I think the connection between cannabis and art is so strong that some creatives believe they can’t create the latter without the former. If you’ve become so reliant on it that you can’t create without it, you should chill on it for a while so you can see what you’re truly capable of with a clear head.

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You’re Getting Too High…

There was a period in college where I couldn’t even smell a blunt without passing out for the next six hours. Imagine being that friend: every time you get high, you pass out on the couch, and now the sitting area is closed for the next 360 minutes.

If you’re getting way too high and it’s leaving you feeling stuck too consistently, you may need a less-potent strain or product, or at least admit that your body isn’t built for war and you need to retreat for a bit to get your soldiers in order.

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…Or You Aren’t Getting High Enough

Sometimes you smoke so much that you feel like you’re not feeling the effects as strongly as you used to. The only way to power through is to take a little break to reset your tolerance a bit. Even just 24 hours will help, but a full month? Oooohweee, that will make a big difference.

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You Feel Guilty About It

You’ve been wanting to take a break, or even quit, for so long that getting high makes you feel extremely guilty because it feels like you’re running from a challenge. Anyone who has felt like they needed to stop smoking and rearrange their priorities knows all about that feeling.

There’s no shame in walking away from a bit. You can still support the mission of normalizing the use of cannabis and advancing the legalization of medical marijuana without actually indulging in the product. Do whatever’s best for you, my friend.

Your Regional Guide to Growing Healthy Cannabis Plants Outdoors

When growing cannabis outdoors, location is everything. Just as large cash crops demand specific climates for optimal growth, so does cannabis. Climate, soil, water, and genetics all dictate whether a cannabis strain can be produced in your region.

Fortunately, cannabis plants can thrive in different climates around the world thanks to the diversity of its genetics. Sativas, with their airy bud structure, can tolerate hotter, more humid climates. Indicas grow dense and resinous buds as protection against the elements and the cold.

Not everyone lives in climates suitable for cannabis, so in many cases indoor gardens with controlled environments make the most sense. But if you’re looking to harness the vast outdoors for cannabis cultivation, this guide can help you understand some of the key factors affecting the outcome of your plants, including climate, genetics, grow medium, and water. Specific geographic regions and their climate attributes may affect your grow, so learn how you can adjust your crop accordingly.

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The Best Climate for Cannabis Plants

We all know that climate varies from region to region, but what’s the perfect climate for cannabis, and where might a grower choose to grow indoors instead?

Outdoors, most cannabis thrives in climates akin to the Mediterranean region. This climate can be described as warm to hot in the summer followed by mild fall weather with minimal rainfall. Cannabis plants love the hot days followed by warm nights. The West Coast – California, Oregon, and some parts of Washington – best match this Mediterranean climate in the U.S.

In areas with more rain and lower temperatures, your choices of cannabis strains become much more limited. Certain genetics can grow in wetter, drier, colder, or hotter climates. Some regions have cold fall temperatures that require strains with faster flowering periods. Knowing your strain’s genetics is just as important as knowing the climate in which you’ll be growing.

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Growing indoors will allow you to grow cannabis in regions that are generally unsuitable for outdoor production. However, controlling the climate indoors can be difficult in areas with extremely hot or cold temperatures; furthermore, the costs associated with running A/C or heaters can cut deeply into your profit margin.

Greenhouses are another popular alternative, as they allow you to harness the natural sunlight while protecting the plants from the elements. You can also control flowering cycles by using a light deprivation system to control a plant’s exposure to sunlight. While greenhouses might still require additional heating or A/C, the costs tend to be significantly less than indoor operations.

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Cannabis Genetics and Their Preferred Climates

As mentioned, different strains are suitable for various climates, depending on their genetic makeup. Genetics dictate a flower’s structure, which helps it to survive in its local environment.

There are three primary cannabis types that are involved in breeding and strain development, and each offers different benefits as they adapt to a particular climate.

Sativa: Historically, sativa genetics have thrived in equatorial regions around the world. The plant and bud structure are generally more airy, which helps the plants handle high temperatures and humidity levels. For this reason, sativas are popular in areas with higher humidity and rainfall.

Here’s the downside: sativas tend to have long flowering cycles. Tropical climates generally don’t have cold seasons, so sativas can take their time flowering – sometimes taking as long as 14 weeks. For regions with colder autumns, that lengthy flowering cycle won’t work.

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Indica: Indica plants come from the dry, mountainous regions of the Middle East. With a plant and bud structure that is typically short, bushy, and dense, indica plants can handle colder temperatures. However, they perform poorly in areas with high humidity and heavy rainfall. Anticipating the cold fall season, indica strains tend to finish flowering quickly – typically in 7 to 9 weeks – making them a suitable choice for areas with shorter summers and colder autumns.

Ruderalis: Ruderalis is a type of cannabis commonly used in the breeding of autoflowering and high-CBD strains. It can thrive in inhospitable regions such as Alaska and Russia, and while it doesn’t produce a high THC content, it can be bred with more potent genetics to produce more resilient hybrid strains.

Optimal Cannabis Grow Mediums

A garden is only as good as the ground it grows in, which is why all cannabis cultivators must take great care in their soil.

Few growers will use soil native to the land they’re planning to till. However, if you believe this local soil to be rich and healthy, you can test its nutrient and pH levels to see if it’s indeed suitable. Ideally, soil will contain micro and macro nutrients and have a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. After receiving the test results, you can amend your soil by adding any missing nutrients and balancing the pH level.

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Consider these tendencies when evaluating your soil:

  • Sandy soil tends to be more acidic, with lower nutrient levels.
  • Clay soil is more alkaline with a high pH level, but will be nutrient-dense.
  • Soil fed by plant debris is considered a woodland soil – it will be closest to a balanced pH level with a variety of nutrients.

If a quality soil is not available locally within your price point, consider growing with hydroponics. Sourcing a hydroponic medium in a dry, arid climate can be cheaper and easier than sourcing quality soils.

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Water Quality by Region

Even water differs from region to region, and it’s important to know the pH level of your local water supply. If the pH level is too high or too low, it can shock your plant and prevent it from taking in the nutrients it needs to thrive. Generally speaking, water on the West Coast and in the Midwest have a higher pH level than water on the East Coast, especially the Northeast.

To fix the pH level of the water, add either pH-up or pH-down solutions. Acidic or alkaline water is one of the most commonly overlooked issues in cannabis gardens – pH levels can change in your water source without you even noticing!

You should also note that well water varies in mineral content across different regions, but an RO filter can be used to remove extra minerals and chlorine. If you’re aiming to maintain rich microbial life in your water, consider using local water testing to determine what filtration is necessary.

Regional Growing Tips

Click to enlarge. (Amy Phung/Leafly)

Northwest: West of the Cascade Mountain Range is a wet place; heavy rains and a lack of sunshine can make it difficult to cultivate cannabis outdoors, and constant attention to mold development is required. Growing in greenhouses or indoors, however, can fix these problems. West of the Cascades, the woodland soil is rich with nutrients and may demand few amendments before planting your garden.

East of the Cascades, the climate is much drier with lots of sunshine. This region can be great for cultivating cannabis, but cold fall temperatures can become an issue. In general, early flowering hybrid strains are ideal for the Northwest. The soil in this region is less rich and will need to be supplemented with nutrients before planting your crop.

The Northwest region offers plenty of fresh, clean water to keep your plants healthy and happy.

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Southwest: The Southwest’s dry climate can become debilitatingly hot. Cannabis plants thrive where nighttime temperatures stay above 60°F, while daytime highs over 100°F will slow their growth. When relying on A/C, growing indoors in this region can be costly, especially in the summer.

Sativas and sativa-dominant hybrids are the best choice for outdoor growers in the Southwest, as they can handle higher temperatures and will have time to finish their long flowering cycles.

Soil in the Southwest is often lacking necessary nutrients, so purchase your own soils or utilize a hydroponic system. Water is more scarce and expensive in the Southwest, so it’s a good idea to use conservative hydroponic methods and drip lines.

Midwest: The Midwest has extremely variable climates. Summers can be hot with thunderstorms and short periods of heavy rainfall. Moisture followed by high temperatures can lead to molding. Also, winters may arrive early, preventing strains from fully completing their flowering cycle. When choosing a strain, keep in mind that quick-finishing indicas and indica-dominant hybrids can better handle temperature swings.

Soils in the Midwest can be nutrient-rich if they haven’t been farmed, but land that has seen heavy farming without crop rotation might lack nutrients. Get your soil tested to see if it’s usable before purchasing new soils. Check the pH level of your water and be aware that any active mining practices can drastically alter the quality of a water source.

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Northeast: The Northeast can be a great place to cultivate cannabis outdoors, though temperatures can be a bit variable. Its fall season is shorter and its summers humid, but overall this climate is good for cannabis cultivation. When growing in this region, you want to have early-finishing strains that can also handle summertime humidity. Try growing hybrid strains that are less dense and finish flowering early.

Soils can be rich and healthy in the Northeast, so consider amending the soil already available to you. However, rocky and heavy clay soils are also common. Fresh water in this region is abundant and generally increases in quality the further north you go.

Southeast: The high humidity levels of the Southeast region require you to stay away from indica genetics. Buds must be light and airy to survive without molding, and they also need to be able to handle high temperatures. Sativa genetics fare best in these conditions and will be able to finish with the mild fall weather. If you want to grow a diverse range of genetics in the Southeast, indoor gardens are probably your best bet.

Southeastern soils can be rich and healthy; this soil may be suitable for your cannabis garden with a few nutrient amendments. Carefully monitor the pH level of your water for changes.

How to Make the Most of Cannabis Plant Count Grow Limits

Dealing with state-mandated cultivation ordinances can be frustrating for home growers. In virtually every state that allows legal cultivation, there are laws stipulating how much cannabis an individual can grow at a given time. Some jurisdictions, for example, limit the square footage allowed in a grow, while most others keep growers “in check” by establishing plant limits.

Under these laws, growers can cultivate their cannabis with the stipulation that they must only grow a limited and defined number of plants per household. This number can vary, but typically falls between 6-12 plants per “dwelling” unit for most adult-use states (barring some medical exceptions within these areas that allow for larger quantities to be grown).

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Home Cannabis Cultivation & Possession Laws: A State-by-State Guide

The grow laws in your state may seem strict, but home growers are left with no choice but to abide by them in order to legally produce their own herb. Fortunately, there are several ways to make the best of this situation. Here are five ways home cannabis growers can make the most of plant count limits in order to maximize production in their gardens.

1. Start With Quality Genetics

The absolute most important thing a grower can do to ensure they’re maximizing their harvests is to begin the process with proven genetics. This doesn’t mean that using bag seed (cannabis seeds found in products labeled as “sinsemilla”) won’t produce a higher yield or superior-quality harvest. However, using genetics that have been rigorously tested to produce consistently high-quality cannabis is always recommended.

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Using proven genetics isn’t just recommended for seeds. Many states allow nurseries and dispensaries to distribute clones as well, which can prove to be an even better starting point for some growers because the cutting is an exact replica of a proven cultivar. Using a clone essentially guarantees a grower is getting a plant that will produce (given ideal conditions).

If your state allows for home cultivation, chances are that there will be venders in the area that can provide you with quality genetics to start with.

2. Train Your Cannabis Plants

The fastest way to turn a six-plant grow operation into a behemoth harvest is to incorporate plant training. There are many ways to successfully train a cannabis plant, from low-stress principles to high-stress and beyond. Each methodology offers a unique take on topping, manicuring, and pruning, all of which are important strategies for maximizing both yield and potency from a limited number of plants.

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A single cannabis plant, when trained correctly, can produce well over a pound of dried herb in a single harvest. Multiply that by six and you can begin to see how crucial it is to understand the fundamentals of training.

When incorporating these techniques into a grow, it’s important to take into consideration that various genetics will respond differently to varying conditions. Some strains prefer a certain training style over another and will produce higher yields and more potent buds. If the information on training your specific strain is not available, a bit of trial and error research may be necessary to find the best method for your plants. Rest assured that once you dial these practices in, the results will be astounding.

3. Establish a Perpetual Harvest

For the uninitiated grower, a perpetual grow is when one chooses to spread their plant harvests over a period of time by staggering the start dates of each plant (or group of plants) as opposed to starting everything all at once. By spreading start dates out over several days or weeks, this ensures you’ll get many perpetual harvests.

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The benefits of a perpetual grow are multifaceted. First, a grower ensures that they aren’t suspending an entire operation every few months on account of a large harvest, allowing them to continue to grow without interruption.

Second, growers who use perpetual harvesting will always have fresh cannabis on hand. As opposed to a single harvest, which can leave a grower high and dry for long periods of time, the perpetual grower always has a new crop on deck to work with. Every few weeks a new strain finishes up as another goes into the ground, resulting in at least one plant in every stage of the grow cycle at all times.

Due to these factors, perpetual grow operations can arguably produce higher yields, a benefit to anyone wanting to make the most of plant limits.

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4. Store and Trade Crops

Did you know that most states with home grow laws allow for cultivators to keep their stash on their property without having to worry about possession limits? (Before you get too excited, make sure to check up on your specific jurisdiction before jumping ahead.)

Furthermore, many states allow for trading (or gifting) of cannabis between persons up to a certain legal limit. This is a terrific loophole for home cultivators as it allows virtually limitless possibilities for storing, preserving, and trading harvests. Many states hold strict possession limits when it comes to store-bought cannabis. These limits, in many cases, do not apply to home grow harvests, allowing growers in these states to keep their crop without worrying about exceeding these legal limits.

Whether or not growers choose to harvest perpetually, this loophole ensures one can “store up” as much product as they desire. For some growers, training and perpetual harvests aren’t a viable option, but under these guidelines, a grower may only need one harvest once per year to store up enough for the interim.

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Trading is another great way to diversify a stash. Although possession and gifting limits are restrictive in many areas, trading harvests can still be a great way to get your hands on some new flavors without having to break the bank. Rest assured, bartering is alive and well in the cannabis community, and there are many forums where home growers can gift and trade their bounties while fully abiding by state and local ordinances.

5. Grow Outdoors if Possible

Depending on where you live, there may be a possibility that you’ll be able to cultivate outdoors. This may not be the case in some states or counties, but after checking your local laws, if this the case you’re in luck. Cultivating indoors can still yield very impressive results from a harvest, but nothing compares in size to a sun-grown behemoth that has been trained correctly and has virtually no spatial restrictions.

For those who choose to cultivate outdoors, there are a few important considerations to take in mind. Consider proper support systems for your plants (especially if you plan to grow big!), pest mitigation, larger pots if you intend to grow above ground, and proper irrigation.

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In most cases, successful outdoor grows begin with healthy transplants as opposed to direct seed sowing to give the young plant safety in the first few weeks after germination. Plants grown outdoors need to be planted in the early spring to get best results, and growers should avoid planting any other time of the year unless supplemental lighting or climate-controlled greenhouses are available.

When it comes to restrictive plant limits (under six), the best way to obtain a formidable yield outdoors is to give your root systems the room they need, the water they deserve, and the sunlight they love, while protecting them the best you can from the elements of nature.

Plant count limits do not have to be a hindrance to the home grower. If you know what you are doing and practice these tips and tricks, it’s surprising how much you can accomplish with just a few plants. Happy growing!

What Is Biochar and How Can It Improve Your Cannabis Garden?

Biochar has been used for centuries, and it’s making a comeback in the past few decades among farmers. Created in a process known as pyrolysis, biochar is a carbon-rich charcoal soil amendment that may help to address some modern environmental challenges.

To learn more about biochar and its impact on sustainable growing practices, we spoke with Miller Soils, who produces biochar-based blends out of Colorado. 

What Are Biochar’s Benefits in the Garden?

Sunny Kaercher of Miller Soils describes biochar as “giving your soil food web a habitat.” In other words, the large surface area of biochar offers endless nooks and crannies for bacteria and fungi to live and develop, thus protecting and promoting growth of small organisms in your soil’s food web. These organisms are vital to a healthy soil by making nutrients available to your roots while also helping to boost the immune system of your plants.

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Microorganisms are not the only things that occupy the surface area of biochar. Through a process known as CEC (cation exchange capacity), water and nutrients are both drawn to biochar. “Most of your major nutrients have a positive charge and water has a bipolar charge, while biochar offers a negative charge,” Kaercher told Leafly. “Because of this, the biochar attracts the nutrients and water. They want to link up.” This linkup ensures your soil holds onto the water and nutrients, keeping them available for your roots to intake as needed.

What’s the Difference Between Biochar, Charcoal, and Activated Charcoal?

Biochar shares similar properties with both charcoal and activated charcoal, but its unique properties better serve as a soil amendment. Charcoal is produced to be used as a carbon-rich fuel, while biochar harnesses carbon’s ability to provide large amounts of surface area. Biochar does not share the same bulk density or hardness as activated charcoal. In this way, it has less of a surface area than activated charcoal, but is easy to produce and work into your soil. 

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How Is Biochar Produced?

Biochar is produced in a kiln. This process can take place on a range of scales from DIY to an industrial plant. Regardless of the scale, biochar requires biomass (organic material) to be produced. This biomass can be sourced sustainably through forest fire fuel management work or from your own yard waste.

On a large scale, you can see the full benefits of biochar. Miller Soils generally uses large dead pine snags that were destroyed by the mountain pine beetle in Colorado. Once harvested, the snags are processed into chips that will be moved through the kiln where the biomass is baked. As the biomass bakes, it releases syngas (synthetic gas) that is captured and cleaned to fuel the kiln, or it can be used as a natural gas.

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Small-scale farmers can build kilns that catch the gas being released from the biomass. These systems generally involve creating a fire around a metal container that will hold the biomass. Gas from the biomass is released and then caught to help fuel the fire, reducing the necessary input of heat. 

What Are Biochar’s Environmental Benefits?

Forest Management

Biochar helps remove dead snags and biomass debris from forests. This plays a large role in forest fire management by removing fuel that is responsible for dangerous and devastating wildfires, especially in states like Colorado where debris is so abundant.

Sequestering Carbon

Snags that are left in the forest not only provide fuel to wildfires, they also release high levels of CO2 gas into the atmosphere when they burn. By producing biochar, you’re putting carbon back into the earth in a stable form that will not release into the atmosphere while also providing a home for microorganisms to develop complex soils that further sequester carbon as the organisms live and die.

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Soil Fertility

Biochar as an amendment helps to rebuild soil that has been eroded through industrial agriculture. Its presence aids in sequestering the organisms, nutrients, and water that help prevent the runoff responsible for nutrient blooms in our rivers, lakes, and oceans. Preventing runoff means fewer inputs, which helps save water, nutrients, and soil by ensuring what you put in is being preserved. Additionally, a healthy soil is a carbon sink; the plants pull CO2 from the atmosphere and sequester it in the soil, helping to lower the levels of CO2 in our atmosphere.

As an amendment that is easy and cost-effective to produce, biochar’s reach is endless. In regions of Africa, for instance, where soil fertility has been destroyed over the past century, biochar can help to start rebuilding these damaged soils while keeping the water and nutrients in the ground.

Do you have any experience working with biochar in your cannabis garden? Share your experience or questions in the comments section below.

What Are Moon Rocks and How Do You Smoke Them?

Have you ever been so high that you couldn’t feel your eyebrows, even when you physically touch them? If not, try smoking Moon Rocks and I guarantee you’ll get there. I recently smoked them for the first time ever, and two months later, I’m still unable to locate my facial features. (Worth it, by the way.)

What Are Moon Rocks?

Said to be originally created in 2015 by legendary West Coast rapper Kurupt (and trademarked as Kurupt Moonrock), Moon Rocks are a THC megazord. They’re essentially cannabis buds (historically GSC, but any strain suffices) dipped in or sprayed with hash oil, then rolled in kief. Though the potency of each batch of Moon Rocks varies and depends on how it’s made/who produces it, the general consensus is that they hover around 50% THC.

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What’s It Like to Smoke Moon Rocks?

Hitting Moon Rocks produces an extremely pleasant, terpene-rich taste of kief that makes you say, “Woooo, that’s delicious.” The smoke clouds produced are super big and full, so each hit is damn near its own experience.

And the high? Oh buddy, oh pal, don’t even get me started on the high. Starting in the head, and eventually spreading throughout the entire body down to your toes, a Moon Rocks high is one of those slow burns that you definitely feel at first, but 30 minutes later, you realize that you have reached a mountaintop that you may not have been ready to climb. I smoked my gram of Moon Rocks at around 5 p.m., and when I woke up the next morning at 7 a.m., I was still on Mars waiting for the train back to Earth.

How to Make Your Own Moon Rocks

Cannabis 'Moon Rocks'

Though Moon Rocks are commonly made with GSC flower and/or GSC concentrate, you can really make your own Moon Rocks however you’d like. All you need is the following:

  • Your favorite strain/flower
  • Your favorite concentrate/hash oil
  • A big ol’ bowl of kief from the bottom of your grinder
  • Some tongs (or any grabbing/pinching apparatus)
  • A liquid dropper

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Step 1: Grab a nug or two of your favorite choice of bud/flower. I suggest using one of the denser nugs as it’ll hold the final cannabis cocktail together better.

Step 2: Grab your favorite concentrate. If it’s super thick and tough to manipulate, heat it up until it’s a little liquidy, then use a dropper that will allow you to completely cover your bud without having to actually dip it into the concentrate. (The oversaturation of your bud could lead to both longer drying times and difficulty lighting it.)

Step 3: Use your tongs to grab the bud and roll it in kief until the entire nug is covered in crystal goodness.

Step 4: Let your Moon Rock dry until it’s ready for action, then smoke it up.

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Tips for Smoking Moon Rocks

Moon Rocks are recommended for advanced cannabis consumers as they pack a powerful punch. Here’s some advice on how to prepare for your Moon Rocks experience.

Use Glassware

Whether it’s a bong or pipe, use some glassware for Moon Rocks because it’s not your typical flower. It’s thick and greasy and will have to be ripped apart piece by piece like you’re trying to split a Nerd’s Rope with someone. If you plan to roll it up by itself, think again; not only will you not have enough Moon Rocks to do so (unless you buy, like, 18 grams of it), you won’t be able to keep it lit how a normal blunt/joint would stay lit.

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Throw Them on Top of Some Flower

The greasy texture of Moon Rocks makes them a little hard to light or keep a cherry, but if you throw them on top of some flower, you’ll be good to go. You’ll be also be doubly high, but honestly, at this point, you can’t even be concerned about what level of  highness you’ll end up at. (The answer is the top.) If you break up some Moon Rocks and sprinkle them on top of ground bud, you can roll up a blunt/joint and make it work for you.

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Finish All of Your Daily Tasks Before Smoking

We all like to get high and go do things, but the Moon Rocks isn’t a Blue Dream-type feel where you’re going to be high and ready for action, Jackson. If you have a workout to do or some tasks to finish for the day, do so before smoking or else you’ll pass right out, then wake up stressed about all the time you wasted. Don’t make my mistakes. I smoked Moon Rocks thinking I was about to punch out 1,500 words of literary fire, only to find out that my fingers don’t even work once that level of high gets ahold of my soul.

Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated

You’re going to be so damn dehydrated that you’ll look like Spongebob when Sandy had him in the air dome for the first time ever. The cottonmouth is real. Go ahead and grab a gallon of water and sit it directly next to you while smoking Moon Rocks, because once that high hits, you will not want to move a single muscle to get up and grab of glass of high-quality H2O.

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The same goes for the snacks you plan on ingesting once the high grabs your stomach and makes it do backflips. (I suggest some chocolate-covered almonds. They’re delicious.)

Choose the Right Environment

If you’re going to hit some Moon Rocks, do so in a comfortable and vibe-encouraging environment where everything around you gives your soul life. You’re going to be on stuck mode and all you’ll want to do is sit and chill within yourself, so go ahead and get your couch game right.

‘The Leafly Guide to Cannabis’ Is Now Available for Purchase

“A weirdly fascinating volume … [on] a new kind of cultivated landscape that may soon stretch from sea to shining sea.” —The New York Times Book Review

Leafly is thrilled to announce that our first book, The Leafly Guide to Cannabis, is now available for purchase online and at all major bookstores. Published by Twelve Books, this project has been in the works for nearly two years—and we’ve been accumulating and finessing the information contained within it for nearly five.

It covers many of the topics you’ve learned about on Leafly, along with tons of new and updated material designed with the modern consumer in mind. Looking for a holiday gift for family members or a definitive reference for yourself? Purchase the guide using the following links, and read the book overview from the publisher below.

Where to Pre-Order and Purchase

Here's Where to Buy 'The Leafly Guide to <strong>Cannabis</strong>' Book | Leafly(Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

The Leafly Guide to Cannabis is available online from Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

From the publisher:

A savvy connoisseur’s guide from the editors of the world’s most popular cannabis platform.

Cannabis is at the very beginning of a craft and educational renaissance. It is emerging from the legislative shadows and a second awakening is occurring: people are proactively seeking information about how to properly consume and enjoy it. And cannabis is a wildly diverse product, even more so than alcohol. Consumers can experience not only different flavor profiles, but also different cerebral and body effects; they can consume using different methods, from vaporization to combustion to topical application; and they can pick and choose between an ever-growing number of different strains and products. THE LEAFLY GUIDE TO CANNABIS provides all the best tips to navigating this growing market in a definitive guide that will enhance every user’s enjoyment and high.

Announcing "The Leafly Guide to Cannabis" | Leafly(Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

How to Help Consumers Understand the Amount of THC and CBD in Their Cannabis

Cannabis products are required to be tested and labeled for the amount of THC and CBD they contain. Because these two cannabinoids are typically the most abundant in cannabis products, it’s critical for consumers to understand what they are and how they work. Although cannabis packaging contains labels that indicate the amount of THC and CBD in products, these numbers can be difficult to read and interpret, especially for people new to cannabis.

Figure 1: An example cannabis packaging label from Washington state showing a breakdown of the percentage of different cannabinoids present in the flower. (Leafly)

The image above shows an example packaging label from Washington. These labels typically indicate cannabinoid levels in small font on the back of packages. Total THC and CBD levels are reported as a percentage of the dry weight of the flower, and are a required part of cannabis product labeling.

In the above example, you can see a variety of values, including numbers for “THC,” “THCA,” and “Total THC.” If you’re new to cannabis, it might not be clear exactly how these numbers are related. It can also be difficult to interpret total THC levels without some more context. Is 21.35% THC an average amount for flower, or is it a lot? To get a better idea of this, it helps to know the full spectrum of possible THC levels.

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What Are the Strongest Cannabis Strains?

Fortunately, the biology of cannabinoid production is constrained in interesting ways. Strain genetics limit cannabinoid production in cannabis flower. Although there are several different major cannabinoids produced by cannabis, broadly speaking, there are three major “chemotypes” defined by THC:CBD ratios:

  • THC-dominant strains contain mostly THC and little CBD and will have strong psychoactive effects. Most popular strains, such as Blue Dream, OG Kush, and Granddaddy Purple, fall into this category.
  • CBD-dominant strains contain mostly CBD and little THC and will have little or no obvious psychoactive effects. Charlotte’s Web and Remedy are popular examples of CBD-dominant strains.
  • Balanced strains fall somewhere in the middle. They have THC and some CBD, but generally not as much as THC- or CBD-dominant strains. The strains will get you high, but the effects will be noticeably different from THC-dominant strains. Examples include Cannatonic and Harlequin.

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Figure 2: The three major “chemotypes” of cannabis based on their percentage of THC and CBD levels. (Amy Phung/Leafly)

As you can see in the above graph, strains naturally fall into one of three major categories (chemotypes) based on their THC and CBD levels. Looking at strains in this way allows us to start to think about specific strains in a broader context, relative to the full spectrum of THC and CBD levels that encompass strains.

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We have used thousands of laboratory testing measurements of THC and CBD in cannabis products to map out their full range. Using this data, we’ve come up with some common sense cutoffs for THC and CBD levels so that products on Leafly dispensary menus can be represented by up to five filled-in “pips” (filled circles) indicating how much THC and CBD they contain.

Figure 3: The three major “chemotypes” of cannabis graphed under Leafly’s new “pip” rating system. (Amy Phung/Leafly)

To make things easier, Leafly’s dispensary listings will begin using this simpler, more intuitive system for their menu items to help consumers judge how much THC and CBD cannabis products have. Instead of just the raw percentages, Leafly users will be able to more easily judge whether cannabis products have high, low, or medium levels of THC and CBD, as well as which major chemotype category they fall into (THC-Dominant, CBD-Dominant, or Balanced). Keep an eye out for this new menu system over the next few weeks, and be sure to let us know what you think.

Figure 4: Leafly’s Pip System Key (Amy Phung/Leafly)

The above “Pip System Key” explains the range of THC or CBD in a given cannabis product to help simplify the information for consumers. This system is displayed in the following sample menu, where users can now sort by product type (Flower, Concentrates, Edibles, Topicals, Gear, or Pre-Rolls) and expand additional categories (Classification, THC, CBD, Strain, Brand, Price, and Quantity) to narrow down a dispensary’s options to find their ideal strain or product.

Figure 5: An example of Leafly’s new menu system sorted by flower products. (Leafly)

Clicking on each category will dropdown options such as checkboxes or sliders that allow users to narrow results down to their preferred findings.

Figure 6: An example of Leafly’s new menu system with various sorting options enabled. (Leafly)

Of course, THC and CBD aren’t the only things that matter. Cannabis contains a variety of other cannabinoids and rich bouquet of terpenes that shape its aroma, flavor, and effects. As the cannabis industry continues to grow and evolve, we will need to establish a simple and intuitive visual language that allows consumers to quickly and easily explore cannabis strains and products based on all of their key ingredients.

10 Fast-Growing Cannabis Flowers for Impatient Gardeners

Growing cannabis can be an arduous process. Beyond the space, materials, and nutrients needed, time and light are the most essential ingredients in the cannabis cultivation equation. But what if you’re impatient or short on time? Is there a way to speed up the growing process?

Historically, black market growers would seek out or hybridize strains to harness attributes that catered to their surreptitious needs. These plants would usually be short and stalky with larger-than-average yields, and in some instances they would be autoflowering (such as a ruderalis hybrid). They were designed to be fast-flowering for both a quick turnover and so they could be easily relocated from time to time.

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The fast-flowering cannabis strains listed below are now emerging for professional and hobby growers to utilize. They’re perfect for novice growers as well as set-it-and-forget-it growers who want to squeeze out a harvest with little time to spare. The list includes a mixture of both photoperiod and autoflowering varieties so you can find the perfect plants for your setup.

Wondering if you can legally grow in your state? Check our state-by-state guide to home cultivation laws to find out.

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Photoperiod Strains That Grow Quickly (7-9 Weeks)

Leafly Lowryder hybrid cannabis strain   Lowryder

Lowryder is a hybrid strain that was inbred for nine generations by Joint Doctor Seeds to give it a dwarfed size. Growing no more than 16 inches tall, it’s the cannabis equivalent of a bonsai for the discrete grower’s windowsill or balcony. Lowryder’s small size comes from a species of cannabis ruderalis crossed with Northern Lights #2 and then William’s Wonder. Consumers, be patient with this strain: its medicinal and cerebrally stimulating effects have a slow but powerful onset. A mild earthy aroma radiates from the small, conic buds which autoflower in a short 40 to 45 days. Lowryder is a stalwart plant that can survive in harsh, colder climates, making it a popular strain in northern regions like Finland and Canada.

Leafly Critical Kush indica cannabis strain   Critical Kush

Critical Kush from Barney’s Farm is a mostly indica strain that blends together two famed cannabis staples, Critical Mass and OG Kush. Aromatic notes of earthiness and spice usher in a calming sensation that relaxes the mind and body. Critical Kush pairs a staggeringly high THC content with a moderate dose of CBD, making this strain a perfect nighttime medication for painstress, insomnia, and muscle spasms. Growers cultivating this strain indoors will wait 50 to 60 days for Critical Kush to complete its flowering cycle.

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Leafly Early Girl indica cannabis strain   Early Girl

Early Girl is the wallflower of cannabis strains since its introduction in the 1980s. Lovingly preserved by the breeders at Sensi Seeds, this strain is lazy and relaxed, nothing over the top. A 75/25 indica-dominant hybrid, Early Girl is a good one for those new to cannabis who would like relief from stress. Also a great strain for novice growers, it’s compact, resilient, and has a particularly short flowering time of 7 to 8 weeks. Early Girl grows especially well outdoors, but won’t put up a fuss if she’s stuck inside.

Leafly OG Kush hybrid cannabis strain   OG Kush

OG Kush makes up the genetic backbone of West Coast cannabis varieties, but in spite of its ubiquity, its genetic origins remain a mystery. Popular myth maintains that Chemdawg and Hindu Kush parented OG Kush, passing on the distinct “kush” bud structure we see in many strains today. However, we can’t be sure because OG Kush first came from bag seed in the early 90s. The earliest propagators (now known as Imperial Genetics) are said to have brought the seeds out of Florida to Colorado and southern California, where it now flourishes. There are many different phenotypes of OG Kush, some of which include Tahoe OGSFV OG, and Alpha OG.

OG Kush is cherished for its ability to crush stress under the weight of its heavy euphoria. It carries an earthy pine and sour lemon scent with woody undertones, an aroma that has become the signature of OG Kush varieties and descendants. With OG Kush, patients most commonly cite improvements in migrainesADD/ADHD, and stress disorders.

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Leafly Superglue hybrid cannabis strain   Superglue

Superglue is a hybrid strain bred by Seedism Seeds. A cross between Afghani and Northern Lights, Superglue inherits indica growth patterns along with a sweet caramel and pine aroma. Superglue brings calming relaxation to the mind and body, but leaves you functional and energetic enough for social activities or a productive afternoon.

Autoflowering Strains That Grow Quickly (7-12 Weeks)

Leafly Red Dwarf indica cannabis strain   Red Dwarf

Red Dwarf is a rarer strain of cannabis that is an autoflowering plant. This trait comes from its cannabis ruderalis genetics, which is a third variety of the plant that’s usually not bred due to its lower THC content. The wonders of selective breeding from Buddha Seeds have resulted in seeds that grow to adulthood in an incredibly short six weeks. This strain’s squat, small plants are easy to grow in smaller spaces, making it a popular choice for growers who want something simple and fast. Indica-dominant, Red Dwarf will eventually make you sleepy, but not without some relaxed euphoria first.

Leafly Hobbit hybrid cannabis strain   Hobbit

Hobbit by Kannabia Seeds is a resilient autoflowering variety with sweetness and strong elemental resistance. This strain has a sweet aroma that has been described as “strawberry candy” and an equally sweet smoke with latent earthy notes. Hobbit deftly combines stimulating Haze elements with a pervasive body buzz that is lightly weighted while remaining pleasant and functional. Many growers covet this autoflowering wonder for its quick 65-day flowering time and above-average yield.

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Leafly White Ryder hybrid cannabis strain   White Ryder

White Ryder is Riot Seeds’ attempt to create a ruderalis version of White Widow by crossing Buddha Seeds’ White Dwarf against Lowryder. By blending two stout, autoflowering plants, Riot Seeds created a potent indica-dominant hybrid that finishes in under 80 days and can easily be hidden from view. Enjoy this flower for anti-anxiety and sleep-inducing effects.

Leafly Purple Cheese hybrid cannabis strain   Purple Cheese

Purple Cheese is an indica-dominant autoflowering hybrid that combines Purple #1, Blue Cheese, and Lowryder. Bred by Auto Seeds, Purple Cheese was designed to have a sweeter, less cheesy flavor than its Blue Cheese parent. It does, however, inherit a tight bud structure and a high CBD profile. With a palatable fruit aroma, Purple Cheese delivers powerful full-body effects best suited for night owls or patients treating pain. Colder climates will bring out this hybrid’s purple hues, and for best results, growers should keep this autoflowering variety between 50-80 cm in height.

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Leafly Royal Haze sativa cannabis strain   Royal Haze

Royal Haze (or Royale Haze) by Dinafem Seeds is a mostly sativa strain bred from SkunkHaze, and Northern Lights genetics. Taking after her Haze parent, this sativa inherits a spicy citrus flavor and buzzing, energetic effects that keep you alert and productive throughout the day. Outdoor growers will appreciate her flexibility and resilience even when the temperature drops, although her 10-11 week flowering cycle demands a bit of patience.

An autoflowering rendition of Royal Haze was bred by Royal Queen Seeds, who mixed Amnesia Haze, Skunk, and a ruderalis strain. Its effects are similarly energizing and cerebral.

How to Set Up Your Own Cannabis Dab Station

What Is a Cannabis Dab Station and How Do You Create One?

For cannabis concentrate fans who want to enjoy fast, intense highs within the comforts of their homes, a dab station is the perfect one-stop hash haven. Dab stations contain all of the essential dabbing tools required to enjoy your concentrate of choice. They can be as small as a bedside table or as large as an entire room outfitted with essentials. At their core, however, they are your own personal cannabis concentrate sanctuary, where you’ll be able to find anything and everything needed for that perfect dab.

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How to Scout the Perfect Location for Your Dab Station

If you want to set up a dab station for yourself, it’s important to take a few preliminary considerations in mind so you’ll pick a location that meets your individual needs. Here are a few tips to help.

1. Space

Choosing an appropriate space is one of the most important factors when setting up a cannabis concentrate dab station in your home. For example, are you planning on creating an intimate environment for just yourself, or would you like to create a space where you’re able to entertain guests? Furthermore, if you have pets or children, make sure to keep them in mind when finding your nook so you can restrict their access or keep breakables and consumables locked up/out of reach.

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2. Lighting and Outlets

Dabbing in the dark is neither fun nor safe for anybody, so make sure that you have a proper source of light, be it a window or lamp nearby. If a window isn’t an option, adjustable overhead desk lamps work very well for positioning light in the right places.

Additionally, while dab stations do not necessarily require an electrical outlet nearby, having one easily accessible will open the door to more product types and different setups.

Explore Cannabis Concentrates

3. Surface Area

When setting up a dab station, your tabletop real estate comes down to how scalable you want your setup to be. Realistically, having enough space for a small rig, concentrate container, dabber tool, and torch is all you need, so something as compact as a bedside table should suffice.

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Keep in mind, however, that more space creates more possibilities. A dab station can also double as a storage solution for rigs and accessories. When choosing a proper surface for your gear, plan accordingly by making sure you can secure your belongings with a surface designed to hold what you have with minimal risk, especially if you plan on housing more than one rig. Bumps and shakes happen, but being proactive is your best weapon to defend against spills and breakage.

4. Ventilation

Fortunately with dabbing concentrates, ventilation is less of a concern than smoking cannabis. Nonetheless, proper airflow is important when choosing your ideal dabbing spot. Windows, doorways, fans, and filters are all solutions to provide better airflow to and from your dab station.

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Essential Accessories for Your at-Home Dab Station

After scouting a perfect location, you’re now ready to load it with all of the essentials needed for an optimal dabbing experience. There are all sorts of fun accessories you can add to your dab station. Let’s go over a few ideas to get you started.

Parchment Paper

You never know when this stuff will come in handy, but having a roll of parchment paper on hand will save you a walk to the kitchen or a trip to the store when you’re in a pinch.

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Rigs

ile High Glass Pipes' Black & White Raked Recycler with 4mm quartz banger (Leafly)

Tabletop rigs are perfect for dab stations. Dab rigs tend to run on the smaller side, so consider stocking up on multiple rigs as backups or to create a neat display of all your products.

Example Rig: Mile High Glass Pipes’ Black & White Raked Recycler with 4mm quartz banger 

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Dab Rags and Cleaning Solution

Cloth rags are perfect for cleaning up messes as well as polishing your glass. Keep some form of cleaning solution, even simple rubbing alcohol, nearby for a quick cleanup.

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Nails and Bangers

(Leafly)

Every rig needs some standard nails and bangers, and it’s important to have options within arm’s reach of your dab station. Keep your titanium, quartz, and ceramic nails all in the same place so you’ll have what you need when the time is right.

Example Nail: MiniNail’s Deepdish Domeless Universal Nail made from grade-2 titanium

View Dab Nails and Attachments

Timer

If you’re using a torch/nail setup, having a timer is essential for getting that perfect temperature every time.

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E-Nails

(Leafly)

Serious dabbers should opt for an electronic nail in their dab station. These units come in all shapes and sizes and work perfectly in a secure, safe area near a power source.

Example E-Nail: The MiniNail with titanium nail and carb cap package

Torches and Butane

Standard nails use a torch as their primary heating mechanism, so you’ll want to have a can of butane nearby for refills.

Example Torch: Wacky Willy’s Butane Blowtorch Quartz Banger Jet Lighter

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Dabber Tools and Holders

Myster's Fogpen metal dabber(Leafly)

Tools are fun and inexpensive to collect. Be sure to outfit your station with a holder to display your dabber tools for easy and quick access.

Example Dabber Tool: Myster’s Fogpen metal dabber

Hash Screens

For those who use hash products, screens are essential for getting that perfect melt while protecting your nail.

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Dab Mats

Mile High Glass Pipes' 8"x8" silicone dab tray(Leafly)

Mats are a safe and sanitary solution for holding rigs and accessories. There are many options out there, most notably the silicone mats that provide slip-free and easy-to-wipe coverage.

Example Dab Mat: Mile High Glass Pipes’ 8″x8″ silicone dab tray

Rig Accessories

These can include dropdowns, reclaim catchers, rig holders, and anything else designed to optimize your rig setup.

More Dabbing Accessories

Concentrate Storage

Kush Bottles' 5-mL silicone concentrate container(Leafly)

Storage containers for concentrates are essential and allow you to keep your product fresh and secure. Mini fridges work great for long-term storage if you have the space available. Otherwise, glass and silicone containers work as a good short-term solution.

Example Storage: Kush Bottles’ 5-mL silicone concentrate container

Seating

Nobody wants to stand around after a dab. It’s always a good idea to have a nice place to sit.

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Rosin Press

(Leafly)

Having a rosin press nearby is a great way to give yourself fresh-squeezed hash oil in a pinch. Even a hair straightener is a fun and cheap option to have access to if you want to press your own rosin at home.

Example Rosin Press: RCCTools Heady ENail Designs’ CannaClamp handheld rosin press

All-in-One Dab Stations

There’s a lot of fun and creativity that goes into custom building your own personalized dab stations, however there are many pre-made options available for those who want to go that route. Here are a few favorites to consider if you’re in the market for a pre-made dab station.

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Kind Trays

The team behind Kind Trays has designed a line of trays and dab stations that are both stylish, and affordable. There are several options available, each one proving a unique solution to the dabbing experience.

ZeeFusion Custom Travel Stations

If you want a handcrafted, custom-built dab station that will absolutely blow your mind, check out ZeeFusion.com’s made-to-order custom cherry wood dab stations. They represent the pinnacle of quality and craftsmanship and will give your display a refined touch.

Ready to build your own dab station? Check out our catalog of dabbing products to begin creating your dream setup!

Find Cannabis Dabbing Products

(Main image by rgbspace/iStock)

5 Tools Every Cannabis Grower Should Have

Having the right tools for the job can improve the output of any hobby, especially growing cannabis. With the right basic equipment, any cannabis cultivator can secure a solid crop out of their growing season. However, there are a few key upgrades every home grower should have in their inventory. Whether you’re looking to improve your overall yields, proactively reduce the need to troubleshoot, or get better quality out of your buds, these five tools have the potential to greatly improve the ease and abundance of your home grow.

Thermometer/Humidity Gauge

Element HT Wireless Humidity and Temperature Data Logger

If you want one tool that has the potential to save your garden, this is your answer. Every grower needs a thermometer and humidity gauge in their garden to monitor levels. Cultivating cannabis successfully requires you to have a basic understanding of the temperature range your growing space reaches during both during light and dark hours. This same rule applies for humidity levels. Simple readers can be found on Amazon for less than $10 and will suffice for any basic garden.

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If you’re looking for a premium upgrade to your basic thermometer, check out this Element HT Wireless Humidity and Temperature Data Logger. It has full monitoring capability (temperature, humidity, and C02) that can not only transmit readings in real time to any internet-connected device, but can be programmed with temperature and humidity thresholds to alert you when atmospheric conditions change. Element HT products can also be chained together into larger systems to monitor multiple areas of the same garden or multiple rooms in a grow. It’s a powerful tool that any serious grower should consider adding to their system.

More Climate Control Products

pH Meter

Blue Lab Guardian Monitor

A pH meter may be the most underrated tool that every grower absolutely must own to ensure the success of their garden. Growers often mistakenly think that a pH meter is only important for those who choose to cultivate with hydroponics. In reality, anyone who cultivates, whether by soil or hydroponics, should have at least some type of pH reader on hand.

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At the most basic level, litmus strips are available for a very low cost. For just a few dollars more, you can get yourself a digital reader at retailers like Amazon. Both options will be able to effectively test acidity levels throughout your grow. Testing pH is important for both feeding as well as gauging grow medium acidity. Knowing your pH can literally save your garden.

For growers who wish to get more control out of their readers, there are pre-advanced options available such as this meter from Blue Lab. Aside from the ability to read pH levels, the Blue Lab Guardian Monitor also measures temperature and total conductivity, giving the accuracy needed when dialing in feeding regiments. With the ability to provide constant live readouts, this device eliminates the need to use strips or other readers, effectively ensuring peace of mind to the grower that all levels are consistently maintained.

Other Testers and Meters

Eye Protection

Nectar KUSH HPS grow sunglasses

Spending any amount of time in an indoor grow can be tough on the eyes. Whether you grow under LED or HPS lights, the spectrum can be damaging if you’re not properly protected.

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Luckily, there are now affordable options for indoor growers with these Nectar KUSH HPS and LED sunglasses. Both pairs are sufficiently wrapped and polarized for outdoor use as well. Nectar, the company behind these glasses, also donates a portion of the proceeds from every pair sold to help restore North American honey beehives.

Browse Grow Supplies

Plant Sex ID Kit

GreenScreen Plant Sex ID Kit

One of the most frustrating elements of growing cannabis on any scale is having to deal with male plants. Cannabis cultivators, especially those with plant count limits, lament over having to cull unnecessary males from their garden each time they start new non-feminized seed. Breeders must also be diligent in culling their males as early as possible to prevent cross-contamination.

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Fortunately, GreenSeed Labs has developed an early detection plant sex ID kit that can help mitigate this problem. These kits are capable of determining plant sex just two weeks after seed germination. Each kit provides the necessary tools to imprint 10 samples to be sent to a lab for identification. This is a great tool for more advanced growers to get an early jump on their male plants.

Cannabis Nutrient Products

Magnifying Glass

T-H-SEE Magnifier

When it comes to harvest time, growers must look to their plant’s trichomes in order to gauge the perfect time to cut down their crop. The answer to whether or not a plant is fully matured rests within the trichomes. Unfortunately, in most cases the naked eye is incapable of discerning between a fully matured and underdeveloped trichome gland head. In order to properly tell if a plant is mature enough, having a magnifier is key.

Cannabis Harvest Products

T-H-SEE has developed this magnifier specifically for cannabis cultivators. With a 40x magnification and three LED lights, it’s the optimal tool for trichome viewing. This viewer not only can detect gland maturity, it can also be used to identify contaminants, bud rot, pests, and impurities at a microscopic level. Having one of these on hand gives you the power to proactively prevent problems in your garden before they grow out of proportion.