The Cannabis Kitchen Aid: Levo Looks to Make Extraction EasyRead More
By Amanda Pampuro
There is a method to everyone’s madness, but whether you use a crockpot, a French press, or a skillet to make homemade cannabutter, it’s going to take time and it’s going to get messy.
That’s what Levo CEO Chrissy Bellman learned while studying abroad. “There were a bunch of guys trying to make brownies for a Superbowl party,” she recalled. “I had made edibles before, but it wasn’t until I was a fly on the wall, watching a bunch of very smart people struggle with this that I realized how hard it was. Essentially it took them all day to do it, they were arguing the whole time, and they stunk up the entire house.”
At the time, Bellman found herself thinking there had to be a better way to make brownies. Almost a decade later, that spark of an idea has become Levo, a specialty kitchen appliance for making oil infusions.
When she began her research, Bellman realized the basic process of infusion can also be used to make aromatherapy oils and topical skin care products. With this multi-use appliance, Bellman wants to elevate cannabis and demonstrate that it isn’t any different from basil or oregano.
“An herb is an herb is an herb,” she said. “I really think normalizing cannabis is the way to move forward — like rosemary is good for dandruff, cannabis is also good for anti-inflammatory, and so is turmeric and ginger. It should just be in that family.”
While working as a financial analyst, Bellman invested her time and energy into developing a working prototype and then a production line. That first working model, Bellman recalled, “It was like a spaceship thing with a huge control panel on the outside and when you turned it on, it sounded like truck.”
Last year, Bellman moved Levo headquarters from Manhattan to Denver in search of a supportive environment.
“There were so many nights when I went to sleep after spending thousands and thousands of dollars on prototypes, thinking, ‘Wow, everyone thinks I’m nuts,’” Bellman reflected. “I guess I just became obsessed, but it’s very black and white to me — the problem of how difficult infusion is and the lack of good content and good products around it … I just can’t not fix it.”
While hundreds of premade edibles are currently available on the market, Bellman believes there is something special in being able to make your own.
“Like how you cook at home versus eating in a restaurant, there is still something to be said about making fresh, small batch infusions and products at home that have literally just flower and oil and nothing else,” she said.
After hitting the market earlier this year, Levo is being distributing through Greenly and is available in 120 retail stores as well as online.
“The discreet cannabis consumer that would be into this is like a Whole Foods shopper,” Bellman said. “There’s a Venn diagram of people who are into wholeness, natural foods, going green, and then people who are into cannabis, and there’s a huge overlap, because it’s a form of natural wellness.”
While Bellman is happy to see growth, she is also already looking forward.
“A year from now, I hope we are still growing really, really fast, but I hope we also have more data and information from our existing customers and I hope we’re building products in response to that,” she said. “Ten years from now, I hope Levo is the Band-aid or the Kleenex of infusion. I hope anytime you think of DIY infused-products, you think of us.” ♦
PreGro Plant SprayerRead More
reviewed by Monocle Man
This is a very effective sprayer for your gardening needs. The Pre-Gro Plant Sprayer consists of an atomizer canister on top of a glass bottle, the atomizer pulls whatever liquid you place in the bottom bottle and turns it into a fine mist. It works great as long as you make sure the top atomizer is securely fixed to the bottle. If not, the can will sputter and leak where they are joined. It was a learning curve for me; once I figured out I needed to check that connection it worked every time I sprayed it. This sprayer can be used to spray the garden with nutrients or for pest control, since you can mix whatever you need and put it in the bottle. It also works great as a personal mister, with plain water of course, to beat the 100 degree heat of the summer. My son is begging me to bring it to Elitch Gardens with us. While I most likely won't be doing that, I will be using it in my garden all summer. For a long list of uses and more information in general go to www.pregrosprayer.com.
BUILDING YOUR GROW PART IIRead More
by Bubba Kush
Wattup Colorado! Hope everyone is having an awesome summer and whoever was growing outside did not get killed by the crazy hailstorms we’ve been having. I know one person for sure lost most of his crop during one of our previous hail storms. Sorry Bro…you know Bubba loves you! I am very lucky to have good bubbas and smart people around me. I like people that can do things better than myself because it forces me to always improve my systems and gives me new ideas to build. My friend that designed the system I am about to show you really did it right for a home grow. I will walk you through this stealth home ventilation system that he built in this issue. I hope it gives you a lot of ideas too.
The system I’m about to show you is a beefed up basic system with a few added doodads for ultimate smell and sound protection. I have made a diagram that should be easy enough to follow. I have also included pictures of most of the major parts needed for this installation.
Be sure to measure everything out as to make sure everything will fit firstly. After measuring, gathering all your duct tape, tools and equipment, it’s time to build and get bloody. I always cut the shit out of myself doing major ductwork so wear a good pair of mechanic’s gloves. They have the best protection and enough sensitivity to pick up small things like screws.
Let’s start with the line that will exhaust your lights and also assist in the buffer room. Start with hanging the ionizer in the buffer room. Exhaust from an ionizer is not safe for humans and animals to breath for any real amount of time. It’s not going to kill you if you are around the exhaust for a minute or so, but don’t hang around the outlet where you exhaust. Fortunately, it does dissipate quickly when mixed with outside air. Also remember to always pull air over your lights so no ozone will leak into the buffer room with this assembly. You will be safe if it goes into the garage as long as you don’t hang out in there for too long.
Your buffer room serves as a source for fresh air to circulate through the room. Run the duct through the buffer room to your light. Attach duct to the light and run the other side back through the buffer room to a muffler. The muffler will prevent noise pollution in the direction you want to block sound. Hence place the muffler on the side of the fan you want to disguise the noise. You can see where we place all the mufflers on the diagram and as we build the rest of the system. The muffler is attached to a fan and then to another muffler thus blocking sound in both directions. (See picture B). Then we run the duct to the best place you can find to exhaust that is closest to outside. If outside and of course possible, it is preferably toward the back of the house. Do Not Use a room inside the house!
This is easy so far, right? Let us push on. You want to be able to recirculate your room with fresh air from buffer room. Pulling outside air will cause you many problems such as temperature changes, humidity control, bugs, molds, mildews and possibly pollen from the guy growing next store whose crop has hermed. I am sure I missed a problem or two but even with pain-in-the-ass filters systems, I prefer a buffer room to avoid any of the above possible infections or fluctuations in my grow. First, locate a spot for your incoming fresh air circulation system from the buffer room. Run a duct through the wall and attach to another muffler to prevent sound going back to the buffer room. Attach the circulation fan to the muffler blowing in the direction to blow fresh air into the room. Next, we will run the outgoing scrubbed or filtered air circulation system. We want to scrub or filter the air going from the grow room into the buffer room. Attach a carbon filter in line with a fan and a muffler. (See diagram and picture A). Make sure all components are blowing in the direction into the buffer room. Almost done…
We want a freestanding carbon filter that is stand alone and unvented. This will pre-scrub the room and keep the airflow in your room circulating evenly inside the room. This is basically a fan and a carbon filter. It is best to hang in the most centrally located position in the room.
Well there you have it. A super stealth home grow ventilation system. When I had a grow like this running, you could sit in any part of the house or anywhere outside the house and wouldn’t be able to smell even the gnarlyist, stinkiest fresh-cut Kush crop at all. The way the system is set up, you are creating a negative pressure so all air is pulled from the rest of the house, buffered through the buffer room, scrubbed and exhausted. Very clean. The house was also super quiet. Not too many people know about the mufflers but they are sent from the Heavens. If you want to be super covert and clean, this system is for you.
With all the pictures and diagrams, I am afraid I will run out of space for the ending stupid Bubba Story. This will be about venting as well. So one of my best and dearest friends, Jonathon Gruber, who still surprisingly loves his Bubba for all the trouble I almost got him in and the stupid story I told at his wedding…sorry Bubi… He was writing his first blockbuster, The Butterfly Effect, and I was going to design the costume. I moved into the space underneath his loft. The space was about 1,500 square feet and was just dirty. It was an old building under a bridge. We were all friends with the homeless people under the bridge especially a voluntary homeless mechanic who watched and took care of our cars. This was before Little Tokyo and downtown LA was cool…Nothing like downtown LA today. The artist district was not even properly named yet. My place had old factory wood floors littered with missing chunks and holes and was impossible to clean. The place was just waiting for me to put a fake wall up and start growing. I never really had done any major dry wall work let alone frame a wall 30 foot long with 20 plus foot ceilings. Needless to say, the wall was a piece of work that could only be described by a Scottish carpenter as “BLOODY SHITE.” It was a miracle it even passed as a wall. But hey…it passed and I was quite proud of my first attempt at framing and carpentry. Honestly, I still suck at it…Ha…well mostly. I am a lot better but never will be as good as the guys who I work with. Anyway, there was only one real problem: venting.
Solution: drill a 12-inch hole through my ceiling into Jonathon’s room above me and run the duct through to the roof. The duct and the hole were like a speaker line from my room to his room. Not vice/versa fortunately for me. He could hear everything I did down there and I could hear him laughing at me through the floor above me doing whatever I was doing and there was always a crazy loud girl involved with beds breaking and furniture falling over…Definitely some interesting morning stories at brunch. Love you guys and hope I put a smile on your face and helped you out a bit. Follow me on IG and I’ll try to answer anything I can keep up with answering. I apologize in advance if I am slow to respond. I am not super IG man. Ha. Enjoy the month and until next time my bubbas. @theebubbakush
BUILDING YOUR GROW PART IIRead More
by Bubba Kush
Wattup wattup! This issue is when we actually get building your rooms mechanics and get a little physical. Remember, this is a liquid world and the room accommodates us, we do not accommodate the room. I have pulled old pictures of grows and attempted to set up a temporary system at the Grow Gen store in Pueblo. So I managed to get some good shots for you that should help tremendously. I’d like to thank Calvin at Grow Gen for helping me set up some basic shots and the use of their equipment. The other shots are old shots from a true pro who can really build a room. So this will be an exciting issue when we get a little dirty and have some fun building!
So far we have discussed setting up one of two basic setups: Setting up in an open room or using a tent. I will focus more on building the tent setup since it is easier to just imagine the tent to be a room instead of the room being a tent. Did that make sense? Your light is now safely hung centered over the table. Make sure you hang the light in line with how you are going to ventilate it. You will have to ventilate the light if you are growing in a tent. As you can see (picture A) the tents are well constructed and have holes for all your electric cords and ventilation ducting. They zipper up to total darkness for sleep mode and have large windows for quick cool down or as an option for more open ventilation. I would still vent your lights in a tent, even though I hate venting, but these are the compromises we have to make. This means you’ll have to maintain cleaning the lens for optimal light operation. With that said, we are going to build your ventilation system.
I am going to explain two systems to ventilate your lights and your room, the super simple system and the one-step-beyond system. This will also depend on whether you are venting directly outside or into another part of the house. Ducting always sucks and it is no fun to work with either way you go. Whether you use flexible duct or regular hard aluminum duct it still sucks. The light in (picture A) is ducted using flexible ducting. It is hard to mount and keep from sagging without strapping it almost everywhere. It is also not very durable and punctures easily whether it is vinyl or foil flexible duct. The light in (picture B) is ducted to the fans using hard ducting that is much cleaner and efficient. This is where you will want to be handy with a measuring tape, drill and a good pair of metal snips. Also on the hardware store list is foil duct tape, metal strapping, and good ladder. Don’t do anything risky like standing on chairs or buckets.
The hoods you are using will dictate the size of duct to use. I suggest at least eight-inch ducting and ventilation parts and pieces. You can always attach connector pieces to go to a larger duct size if you expand to more than one light, but your hood will always be the same. Try to stay away from too many duct size changes throughout your system. A lot of growers will tell you to raise and lower your lights but I find it unnecessary and an easy way to light shock your plants if you are a novice. It is also a reason to hard duct everything. So not to stray… depending what your limiting factor is — whether it is the placement of your light or where your exhaust is going — will determine your starting point for measuring and laying your duct work. Always think ahead and try to foresee obstacles when laying duct and drilling through walls.
You want to design your system so that the air is pulled over your lights and not pushed. This means you want to mount your fan at the exhaust end of the room.
Which brings up the issue of where we are going to exhaust. Hopefully, you have a garage or a nice back yard to ventilate your outbound air. This will determine some of your limitations. I have had to dump my exhaust straight into the walls before as a last resort. Remember that this is part of the creative process. Outside or close to outside is the goal. There are many pros and cons to where you dump your exhaust. I always prefer using ionizers for the last stage of filtration but you cannot have them exhausting indoors around humans, animals, or plants. We will set up an ionizer in the one-step-beyond system next issue.
Let’s now go through the two different ways to scrub and ventilate your room. I will go through the simple quick way first. After you learn that you love to grow, you will want to upgrade to the silent, more stealth system that will cover next issue, which is not too difficult to add on to this simple system. The simple system involves your basic can filter and can fan (picture C) located centrally in the room preferably on the ceiling. I used to hang them on hooks with heavy-duty ratchet straps so I did not need any help hanging them. They are heavy and you have to change the filters regularly. I like them off the floor because they are out of the way and don’t suck up floor dust that will force you to change your filters prematurely. Make sure they go in your ceiling studs. The filters come in many sizes and you need to make sure all the pieces and parts match. I believe in overkill and always get one or two sizes more than what you really need. You want to create negative pressure in the room but you don’t want the doors to whistle. Gauge the size of the room appropriately to the size of your room and the specs on the filter and fan and then go one size bigger. The Can 100 is a nice size filter, and that will usually do the job in most rooms provided proper maintenance. Always change the filters more than the recommended time. Better safe than sorry, right? Also make sure the duct size you are working with is the same size as the fan to avoid messy ductwork with lots of adjusters and connectors. Once the filter is in a good central out-of-the-way place (or wherever the hell you can put it). Lets run the duct from the light to the filter.
You want to run your duct lines as strait and clean as possible with as few bends, couplings, connectors, and reducers as possible. Again, I suggest using hard duct over flexible. It may be a bitch to cut, but you will thank me for it the future. I’m not a fan of flexible duct. It is a messy constant maintenance project and just not clean. Now run the duct through the tent and attach to the flange on the hood. Make sure it is properly attached tightly with a ring clamp. You will want self-tapping screws to affix all your hard aluminum duct pieces to the flanges and lots of foil tape, metal strapping ring clamps, hex bits for your drill, and patience. Look at (pictures A and B) for hard and flexible hood attachment. Measure your duct line carefully twice, lay out all the pieces, double check nothing is in your path, and then start cutting and hanging the duct with metal strapping. You should probably buy a box of ¼ inch anchors just in case you have a weird spot in the ceiling where you can’t find a stud.
Now let’s run the exhaust line from the light to the exhaust fan. The exhaust fan is the same kind on can fan you are using on your filter (picture C) Mount the exhaust fan in a manageable space where you can change it out easy. You also don’t want the fan to vibrate the ceiling or resonate too close to a wall. This is where we can get creative with muffling devices that I will cover in the one-step-beyond ventilation system next issue. For now, mount the fan to a piece of wood and put rubber plates between the fan and the wood. This will dampen some of the vibration. Also make note to which direction of the airflow the fan is positioned before you mount it. There is usually an arrow on the fan indicating the direction so you don’t have to ask the sales guy which way the wind blows. Remember that you want to pull air over the bulbs and not push air through the hood. This prevents hot spots in the line, so hang the fan accordingly. Now pull together the duct and parts and pieces and measure twice and repeat hanging and cutting.
With this simple can filter system you can exhaust in obscure places you find throughout the house, like into walls, without going directly outside and drawing attention if that is an issue. Even if you are legally allowed to grow it is still best to keep it to yourself as much as possible, especially if your neighbors smoke! They will be over everyday bumming weed off you. With this set up, it never hurts to have a stand-alone scrubber in the room as well. Set up another can filter out of the way in the room. Put a can fan on top of the filter and have it just running constantly to help scrub the room. This setup is basically the can filter in (picture C) without the ducting will just circulate and constantly scrubbing the room. This really acts as a prescrub before the air is pulled out of the room by your main scrub/ventilation system. It does not need to be as large as your main filter but I would still go big. Just another precautionary measure.
Hopefully, we have a good idea now of how we set up a basic ventilation system. The can filter is fixed. You have run the duct from the filter to the light and the light out to the exhaust fan. It is a very easy system and is really effective for one to two-light grows. And all the fans pulling air out of the room will create a negative pressure in you room that will alleviate the need to pull in outdoor air. Always try to use intake air that is buffered from the outdoors by pulling buffered air from other parts of the house into the room with negative pressure. Oppositely, it will prevent smelly air from leaking out of the room into the rest of the house. I hope this was relatively easy to follow, next time we will build the super stealth system. I will now leave you with a good story about ventilation.
This is a tale of an old grow that was really cool but had one of my worst ventilation jobs ever. I had a friend who owned an apartment building in Beverly Hills just blocks from Rodeo. Not a very seclude spot to say the least. Another friend and I basically took over the whole second floor and had plans on the rest of the building as tenants moved out. The cool thing was, I would go in to two bedroom apartments and dry wall one bedroom shut. We would then put secret entrances to the rooms through the master bedroom closets. I would have my friends, girlfriends, and even parents come in my apartment and they never knew it was a two bedroom. Again, stupid to grow on the second floor, but we do what we do for the passion of growing our own herb. Well the ventilation blew right in between my building and the one next door that was probably at most ten feet away. I still cannot believe no one other than my friends ever realized that it totally stunk walking anywhere near the space between the two buildings. I was always waiting to meet someone from the building next door who would ask if there was a family of skunks between the buildings. Saving grace…there are a lot of skunks in LA! Love you guys and thanks for listening.
Now Trending: Rosin TechRead More
by DJ Reetz
A new extraction method seems to be sweeping the Internet these days. Rosin Tech, as it’s called, a method that involves applying heat and pressure to buds or low-grade hash to melt and squeeze out the resin. Generally attributed to Instagram user @SoilGrown, the extraction has caught widespread attention recently for both its ease and safety. With all the hype surrounding the technique, we here at THC decided to take a whack at it, and report the results to our loyal readers.
Admittedly, I don’t have too much experience when it comes to extraction. Some halfhearted attempts at making bubble hash in my younger days resulted only in crappy, usually brown-colored garbage that might be acceptable scattered into a blunt, but certainly wasn’t anywhere near the full-melt solventless stuff dabbers have come to expect these days. I’ve had friends who’ve engaged in the clandestine and incredibly risky technique of open blasting, which involves stuffing a tube with plant matter, spraying canned butane through it then purging the syrupy drippings in a heated vacuum. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet some of the skilled extraction artists who use complicated and expensive closed-loop butane systems and CO2 extractors, but I’ve never actually learned how these machines are run, and I certainly don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on equipment just so I can be a little more self sufficient with my dabs.
For casual home extractions the options are either bubble hash (which can be tough to master and generally has a very low yield) or open blasting (which, frankly, terrifies me, as it should you). However, if the Instagram posts are to be believed, Rosin extraction can yield translucent amber and gold colored hash similar to solvent-extracted shatter.
The term rosin usually refers to resin extracted from coniferous trees through a heat extraction process. The hardened resin is used for any number of purposes, usually intended to increase friction. Rosin is rubbed on the bow hairs of stringed instruments such as violins and cellos, applied to the shoes of athletes and dancers, and is even used to increase friction at the starting line of drag races. But this rosin will be used exclusively for getting stupid high.
After watching several YouTube tutorials made by dopey stoners pressing rosin in less than ideal situations, I decided it was time to give it a shot myself.
To start, I picked up a cheap flatiron at my local Kmart, opting for the model with the widest heating plates, rather than run the risk of ruining my girlfriend’s. I chose one with a variable temperature setting and a digital readout so I wouldn’t end up over or under heating my plant material. With my high-tech extraction equipment now in place, it was only a matter of choosing the right material to Rosin the shit out of.
My first impulse was to go for my excess weed, the stuff that wasn’t getting smoked and was likely headed for the shake jar, rather than waste any of my preferred smoking material. First, I turned on the flatiron, adjusting the temperature to a notch above 300 degrees Fahrenheit, which I double checked with my handy laser thermometer. Though the tutorials I watched varied, the general consensus was somewhere between 300 and 400 degrees, hot enough to melt the terpenoids and unlock the resin, but not so hot that it vaporizes the THC, which boils and turns into vapor at 315 degrees.
Next, I placed a small nug, maybe half a gram, into the fold of a sheet of parchment paper (note: do NOT use wax paper for this, it will melt and you will be left with nothing but a sticky mess and a reminder of your own failures) and carefully placed the folded paper between the ceramic plates. I squeezed the paddles together with all the zeal of a teenage girl straightening her hair before prom, giving it a five count before releasing and opening up my parchment to see what I had accomplished. The dryness of my herb had worked against me, as what I discovered inside my carefully folded parchment paper was a crumbly mess, and no rosin.
Realizing my mistake, I opted to try a fresh bud. Fortunately, I had a fresh plant readily available, cut down just the day prior. I ripped off a squishy fresh bud, put it into a newly folded piece of parchment paper, and gave it a squeeze with the flatiron. My first couple tries didn’t yield anything impressive, a few spatters of resin on the paper that I collected with my dabbing tool. After folding the smooshed nugs and pressing again, I quickly realized the key to getting the most resin from your nugs was pressure.
The process is similar to cold-press juicing — the key difference being the application of heat and the viscosity of the resin you are trying to extract — meaning the more pressure you can apply, the more resin you will squeeze out. I began pressing with my full weight, and the results were phenomenal. Soon I was pulling out sizable dabs from my half-gram nugs, and I was dabbing my own homemade, golden amber extract, excited as a child that has just helped prepare dinner for the first time.
I found each nug could be folded over on itself several times after being flattened, and I generally saw returns diminish beyond what I felt was worthwhile on the fourth or fifth re-pressing. What’s left over is flattened, darkened nugs resembling old-fashioned Mexican brick shwag. Some tutorials suggested using this leftover bud in edibles or tinctures, as the heat extraction also serves to decarboxylate the bud, but I felt it had served its purpose and trashed my leftovers.
Collecting the freshly squeezed resin by rubbing the tip of my dab tool across the paper would occasionally catch bits of plant matter as well, so for this reason I would recommend dabbing rosin on a ceramic or quartz nail that can be easily cleaned with a quick blast from your torch.
While the dabs I managed to press out certainly did the trick and got me nice and stoned, the flavor was lacking compared to higher-end concentrates like full melt bubble hash and live resin. This is likely due to the destruction of terpenes and flavonoids caused by the heat extraction. Still, the promise of safe, easy homemade extracts is awfully attractive, and I’ll likely be doing it again. If you’re looking to save some money on extracts or just to avoid potential contaminants such as butane, Rosin Tech is a great option. It seems like hash extracted in this manner is likely to be showing up in dispensaries any day now, and undoubtedly someone is already working on a pricy commercial extractor. But you can do it at home, all it takes is a $40 hair straightener and a little bit of trial and error.
Building Your GrowRead More
by Bubba Kush
Welcome back everybody and I hope you all had a kick ass 4/20 holiday weekend last month. This issue we are going to start building out your grow. Hopefully, you have done your due diligence and negotiated through all the necessary basics such as making sure your electrical is safe and you have sufficient air conditioning. You should have also figured out your water source and drain location. Now that your room is totally empty, the carpets are torn out and the windows are boarded and sealed for light leaks, we can finally start building the grow. We are going to build a one light system for ease and ability get your feet wet faster. Adding lights later after you know what you are doing will behoove you in the future, and keep your investment at a minimal until you know you love to grow. So lets get setting the grow up!
Ok…I warned you that this is not a linear process and we have to always think ahead. The foundation of any grow is keeping your genetics clean, healthy and unstressed. That means having happy and healthy moms. We need to designate a proper spot for your mothers and clones where they will be happy and healthy. A large closet properly ventilated usually has room for both. If no closet is available, you will have to allocate part of your room by adding a grow tent, this will help determine the placement of your flower table location. Clones are very temperature sensitive while growing roots, so you need to keep the mom and clone area at a consistent temperature. You will not need a 1000-watt bulb to keep your moms alive and healthy, a 400-watt to 600-watt will serve your mothers well and not produce as much heat. A metal halide (MH) bulb produces the best spectrum for plants in their vegetative state. It is also important to regulate the growth of your moms so they don’t get too big too fast.
You want to bring as few problems into your grow as possible and the best way to do this is to start your grow from seed, which is the easiest way to avoid inheriting anyone else’s problems. You can start with feminized seeds to mostly guarantee all females (to start with non-feminized seeds we would need a separate article dedicated to breeding, and that is not the intent of this series of articles). I do not suggest using outside-sourced clones beyond the first time you bring them in your home if you have to go that route. Make mothers of everything you want to grow and try not to let your moms die or get too old. It is always fun to experiment with new strains and I encourage it to a point of diminishing returns. Every strain has its own unique personality, taste, smell, effect, etc… On the other hand I don’t encourage creating a potential problem by regularly bringing in other people’s infestations and mildews. It is no fun getting rid of bugs or watching your plants get mauled or rotted on the stem.
When you get you first round of clones or if you plan on bringing in new genetics regularly I suggest having a quarantine tent in your garage so you can bomb the hell out of the new plants with every pesticide known to mankind…that’s kosher of course. Slightly kidding but mostly serious…. you don’t want bugs or disease!!! A bug or powdery mildew infestation on their first crop will discourage any novice grower real fast and keep you from wanting to spend the time and effort to ever grow again. Ultimately, you want to find your couple or few flavor faves and perfect them. Try new flavors on the open market at reputable dispensaries with good genetics (and of course backed with a Bubba seal of approval…ha) and then try to find the genetics and start again.
I personally suggest — and every other experienced grower will agree — that being 100 percent in control from clone to harvest is the way to be. Inhereting other peoples problems is commonplace in this industry.
There is very little equipment needed for the moms and clones. Old fluorescents have been faded out and have been replaced with T-8 fixtures. They produce mucho more heat and, typically, I would only get a four-bulb fixture and only light two bulbs over your clone domes. It would behoove you to run a test to set the height of the light fixture above the dome. I set my T-8s at least six inches from the top of the dome but in a home grow you will have less control of the heat. Therefore, do a test run with the grow cubes in the domes without clones planted and continuously check the temperature while misting the lids of the domes. I have the best results when the inside dome temperature is 78-79 degrees Fahrenheit. This information will allow you to fix the light fixture at the right height and not have to mess with it again. It’s a pain in the ass adjusting those fixtures unless you have a large space.
Set up a simple flood table for your moms and put a small reservoir under the table beneath the drain hole. This will be a simple recirculating system with the nutrient in the reservoir underneath the flood table. Always keep in mind that this reservoir will need to be cleaned and sterilized every time you make new nutrients. Old nutrient should be dumped every three days and the reservoir needs to be scrubbed each time. A simple 1/4hp sump pump will suffice for both watering your moms and draining the reservoir. Otherwise, use a deck hose that is certified safe for drinking water and a watering wand to hand water your moms.
If you don’t have a nice closet, you will have to set up tents. They are mostly turn key, light proof and equipped with ventilation capabilities. They make great rooms within rooms. This leads into where we hang the big boy light that will produce the lovely flowers.
Let’s figure out where to hang that 1000-watt light. You will get decent results using a 600-watt but only if you have major heat restrictions. A 1000-watt high-pressure sodium (HPS) is your standard flower bulb. A standard 1000-watt light will put out a footprint of 16 sqft, or more simply stated, a four by four foot area. The new double-ended bulbs put out by companies like Gavita have a slightly larger footprint. I space my Gavitas at a five by five foot footprint. The choice of which lights to use depends on a few factors. Gavita hoods cannot be vented as their hoods are open and have no lenses. I personally hate lenses on my hoods and prefer not to vent the lights, which can be quite costly and sometimes tricky. Lenses get dirty almost immediately after you clean them and block more light and spectrum than sales people will tell you. There is a lot more maintenance involved in venting your lights. During cooler months, you will get condensation build up on the lenses of your hoods caused the mixing of the cool and warm air that is no bueno and a pain in the ass. The duct lines will also develop water buildup in and outside of the duct that will drip on your plants and floor…also no bueno. Venting your lights should be done as an absolute last resort to keep your room cooler. If you don’t plan on venting, pick a light, like Gavita, that is built specifically for operating without a lens for new electrical regulations. Just had to throw that in to be respectful of the Fire Department.
You want to hang the light in a location in the room that will allow you to have ample space to walk around the whole perimeter of the grow area. It is important to be able to look in at every nook in your grow area to spot problems such as infestations, mildews, molds etc. Always have the idea of cleaning your system as a constant thought in the back of your head. Design your room so it is as easy to clean as possible. Hang the light with the proper anchors and use a metal cable or chain if you plan on using a 600-watt bulb and will need to raise and lower the lights. I suggest when hanging a 1000-watt HPS that you fix it at ceiling height. Too much light can shock plants, which can stunt their growth, and I find that plants grow into the light as they can handle more intensity. A common problem I see in many grows is they put the lights down too close the canopy before they are mature enough to handle the intensity and they get stunted.
I have not seen 5x5 grow tables on the market yet so you will want to buy a 4x4 flood tray. White flood trays are the best as they reflect all wavelengths of light, unlike black trays, which absorb all wavelengths of the spectrum. A brief science lesson for those that don’t know how light works: the reason something is a certain color is due to the wavelengths of light reflected and absorbed by the object. For example, a plant is green because it absorbs all wavelengths of the spectrum and reflects green. That is why we see the plant as green and why we use green lights to look at the plants in nighttime mode. Green light is not absorbed by the plant and therefore the plant will stay asleep. You want as much of the light spectrum reflected on your plants as possible with the most complete spectrum your bulb can put out. Bulbs are specifically designed with customized spectrums to optimize plant growth in different phases of its lifecycle. I should have told you to paint your room white in the beginning…sorry guys! On the other hand, you want your nutrient reservoirs to be black, as a white reservoir will promote more algal growth that can be a bitch to keep clean. In a future column I will teach you a magic secret sauce that will clean all your trays and reservoirs like new when the time comes, and I have it packaged. Ha. For the time being, Hydrogen Peroxide will be your friend and enemy. It is very expensive and a tiny little drop will eat your skin in seconds…no bueno. Be really careful with the concentrated hydrogen peroxide that is sold at the grow stores.
The table that holds the flood tray should be metal, since wood is bad to have in a room. Wood holds moisture and provides havens for bugs to roam and hide. They make complete tray and table sets but remember to keep your reservoir black. We are going to hand feed for your first crop. Automating your system should be done after you have a couple crops under your belt and you have flooded your room a couple times.
We will set up the whole system in the next issue but I wanted to leave you with a little story about automating your plants with a drip system: Ok…so my dumbass was growing on the second floor of an apartment building in Topanga in Studio City, CA. I was a little wild back then, and that day I was literally dead to the world at around ten in the morning after partying all night with hopeful Hollywood rockstars. Suddenly, I was awoken in panic mode by my landlord and my neighbors below me. They were standing over me — mostly naked and smelling like a bar — looking at me and looking across the hallway to the other bedroom with the door open and 6000 watts of light blaring out. I pulled whatever I could muster up and looked at them, then looked at the room filled with four-foot slightly overgrown plants two weeks from harvest (stinking like Kush heaven) and the first thing I remember saying was "Am I going to jail?" So what happened was one of my drip lines had come loose from the dripper stake and was shooting water at the wall, which was draining into my downstairs neighbor’s apartment. Thank my lucky stars my landlord gave me two choices: chop it down and move or chop it down and stay. She was cool, and my neighbors were a gay couple who were pro marijuana. Shout out to all my gay bredren, love you guys and all the support. So lesson: don’t be a schmuck, love thy neighbor, and you are not a grower if you haven’t flooded a place. Listen to your Bubba.
Home Grow 101: Sussin' Out the Situation ...with Bubba KushRead More
by Bubba Kush
Hello my bubbas! For those of you who missed last month’s THC, I’m Bubba Kush, and I’ll be taking on the mantle of this fine publication’s Grow Editor. My objective in this column is to share a few lessons that I’ve learned over the past 25 plus years of growing indoors. I’ve grown in every possible indoor space. From closets, houses, warehouses, and barns. I’ve built secret rooms in apartment buildings and dug out bunkers under houses. I’ve navigated probably every problem you could ever encounter. I am really going to enjoy sharing some of the basics of growing and a few of the techniques I’ve learned over the years. So this series is for the novice grower who has always wanted to see if they had a green thumb and start a new hobby. This will be just enough information to start being dangerous, so keep reading. I will only teach you what you are allowed to do according to Colorado state laws and regulations set by the MED. This is not intended for people that want to grow beyond what’s allowed for themselves and their family.
Growing is both an art and a science, yet it can be dissected into parts. Building a grow is not a linear process, so I will paint broad strokes and go back into detailed steps while trying not to digress or ramble as I tend to do. You’ll have to have some MacGyver-like skills and it is good to be somewhat mechanically inclined. Growing is not for everyone, be prepared to spend a lot of time in your grow doing what seems to be menial tasks like watching water fill in a reservoir ‘cause if you walk away you just flooded your basement. It is very costly to set up a grow as well, so before you spend the money make sure you have the time, passion, and dedication to make your grow successful and produce quality collie.
So let’s start jumping around a little bit. The first thing you want to do is pick your room. Not everyone will have this luxury and you will be forced to use the space you have. WARNING!!! YOU WILL DETROY THIS ROOM!!! Picking the right location in the house is essential for many reasons. The temperature on lower level floors typically stays cooler, which helps your ac work more efficiently, but on the flip side it is often trickier to ventilate and control the smell. Depending on how many lights you plan on hanging you will probably need supplemental air conditioning. If you are only hanging one light, AC might not be an issue, but always keep in mind that you might have to install another AC unit. One trick is to close the rest of the vents in the house except the one in the grow room. There are lots of compromises you will encounter where you’ll have to question what is more important, your comfort or the plants’.
Before you build out the room, temporarily light the room and see if your air conditioner can handle it. If it doesn’t you will need AC work and you’ll want the room to be empty while any work is done. It will save you a lot of time, stress, and money to finish building everything before you put any plants in the room. When deciding how much ac you will need, I like to go by an old rule of thumb: for every light, you’ll need 5000 Btu’s. It is a little overkill, but it is better to have more than less. The calculation is as follows: #lights x 5000 Btu /12000 Btu = #tons needed.
One ton of AC is 12000 Btu. This calculation works for unvented lights, which I prefer over vented. We will discuss the difference when we cover the topic of venting lights.
The best locations are also close to a water source as well as a drain. Try to avoid complicating your life as much as possible. Water is a destructive mess, so make your water transferring and draining processes as tight and simple as possible. Too many parts and pieces mean more places to leak and break. If your water source is far from your main feeding reservoir or RO (reverse osmosis) storage tank, you may want to plumb a water line to the room. You’ll want to pump the wastewater into a drain. We’ll design that when we build the feed system in a later article.
You also want to make cleaning the room as easy as possible, so it is nice to have a bathroom nearby or in the room. I try to save myself as much time as possible with the menial stuff.
You’ll want a room with the least amount of windows and doors as possible. The room has to be pitch black for over half the time the room is running so you have to cover any possible light leaks. Put curtains on the windows and then drill plywood covering the whole window and the caulk or foil tape the edges depending on how much you care about destroying the walls. You will want to rip the carpets out. Trust me, even if you tarp the room, the carpets will get ruined and it will hold moisture that promotes all kinds of problems. Keep your pets out of the room, as they are a great way to get mites. I also don’t suggest throwing house plants from home depot in your grow. I’ve had many people ask me why they keep having problems with mites and usually one of those has been the reason.
Before building the room, you need to make sure you have enough power. No matter how many lights you plan on hanging, get a professional electrician to look at the room and make sure it is safe, even if it is a new building with new wiring. Chances are that he will have to do some work such as adding breakers or rerouting power. Electricity scares the shit out of me and it should scare you too, so make sure you don’t half ass the electrical. You don’t want to burn your place down or constantly pop breakers.
Now that you’ve picked the room, figured out if you have enough power and AC, and a water source, you now have to build the room. The grow medium you choose and your feeding system will dictate how you set up your room. There are variety of grow mediums to choose from. The most common are dirt, coco fiber, and rock wool. I find dirt and coco really messy and inconsistent, and occasionally you’ll find dandelions and grass growing out of nowhere in your garden. The consistency of dirt is questionable and a place you can pick up problems like pests and disease. There are many good things about dirt but it is not my specialty, so in the future I will have a guest grower come on and talk about dirt and coco. I also have environmental issues with throwing dirt in landfills and chopping down trees for coco fiber, especially in commercial grows that don’t recycle their dirt.
There are some nice things about growing in dirt or coco. You don’t have to water as much and can leave the house for a couple days at a time without having to set up an auto watering system. Anyone who grows knows that the grow is like a child or a pet, you can’t leave either one for long and it’s hard to find or trust someone to watch it for you. Nine times out of ten if you let someone watch your grow, when you get back something will be messed up or everything is dead. The worst was when I left 96 lights with an old friend who was helping me run the place for a couple crops. I told him to turn all the lights back to flower the day after I left, but he thought he knew better and wanted them to get taller. They got tall all right…grew right over the lights. When I came home to the double decker jungle, all the tops of the plants were burnt or scraggled, the middle was all duffy, moldy shwag, and everything else was mold. Rule number 1: Someone always thinks they know better.
I’m sure you figured out by now I am a rock wool hydro guy. You start with a clean slate. No bugs, no disease, and no dandelions are mixed in with rock wool. You can still run an organic system with rockwool but it’s not considered organic just because the medium is not organic. It is spun volcanic rock…that’s all. Another reason I like rockwool is it’s nutrient free to start and it does not mess with the ph balance of your system. Rockwool is very clean and ready to go which helps keep the room clean as well as the rest of your house. Rockwool needs no mixing or breaking apart. It only requires to be preconditioned by soaking the cubes over night in ph-balanced water or in your feed solution. Rockwool is forgiving in it’s own way as well. If you ever make a mistake in your solutions, see signs of toxification or have to flush your plants really fast for any reason, rockwool flushes really quickly and you have a better chance of saving your plants. Rockwool is nice at harvest time when you flush your plants of residual nutrients and ripen more consistently. After harvest, rockwool blocks drain easily by stacking on top of each other. It is so porous water will run right through it when stacked on top of more rockwool so the top dries in seconds and then can be tossed and restacked until it’s all dry. Soon there will be recycling plants like there are in Europe, but I still feel it’s pretty much environmentally benign. It starts as rock and then is spun into glass, pretty clean to me.
Choosing your feeding system is like choosing a lifestyle. There have been so many developed over the years I could probably do a whole series just on feeding systems, from aeroponics to flood and drain and everything in between. For your first couple harvests, I would suggest hand watering and then start adding technology once you get to know your plants and know you want to keep growing before spending more money. There is also something about watering plants that is very relaxing and Zen like. It is also important to bond with your plants and really watch them grow. Automating everything makes it too easy not to look at your plants. That’s when you miss things like deficiencies, toxifications, or infestations. I don’t suggest automating until you feel you really know your plants and can diagnose problems, but we’ll address these issues in coming months. I will go through a basic automation system for you when we build the room. Thank you everybody and I hope you continue to follow. Love your Bubbas…
NanoSphere Health Sciences Announces Patent-Pending Status for Nanoparticle Encapsulation of CannabinoidsRead More
DENVER – April 2, 2015 – NanoSphere Health Sciences, LLC, innovative developers of the industry-first, patent-pending NanoSphere™ delivery system, announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark office issued “Patent Pending” status for its new cannabis NanoSphere technology platform.
NanoSphere Health Sciences is the first and only patent-pending nanoparticle delivery system for medical and recreational cannabis. Concentrated “NanoSpheres” deliver plant extracts of cannabis and purified cannabinoids in convenient, standardized dosages to increase bioavailability, bioactivity and therapeutic potential. At the same time, the natural phospholipid particles decrease the adverse effects of cannabis.
“While significant advancements and investments have been made in the medical cannabis industry, we are the first to apply nanotechnology to improve the bioavailability and efficacy of cannabis extracts and standardized dosages,” said Dr. Richard Kaufman, Chief Science Officer at NanoSphere Health Sciences. “This disruptive technology introduces a significant advancement in the medical and recreational cannabis markets, and meets the regulatory demands for product purity, uniformity and the reporting of active cannabinoid levels.”
The NanoSphere Delivery System revolutionizes how cannabis delivers its benefits. Liquid NanoSpheres nanosize, encapsulate and rapidly deliver concentrated plant extracts and cannabis, purified cannabinoids, with increased bioavailability, bioactivity and therapeutic potential in standardized dosages printed on the product labels. At the same time, the biocompatible, phospholipid nanoparticles spheres (less than 70 nm in diameter) help decrease the adverse effects of cannabinoids.
NanoSphere’s cannabinoid products are uniquely designed to be administered intra-orally, intra-nasally and transdermally in precision dose-metered dispensers. The convenient-to-use liquid NanoGels bypass the GI tract and avoid 1st pass liver metabolism. The NanoSphere’s dynamic membrane structure of purified essential phospholipids efficiently transports cannabinoids into the circulatory system and across the cell membranes to bind endocannabinoid and synergistic receptors.
The company’s patent-pending NanoSphere phospholipid nanoparticle encapsulation of cannabinoids provides practical solutions for cannabinoid therapy with benefits of:
- Standardized Dose-Metered Dosages
- Higher Concentration of Bioactive Cannabinoids
- Increased Bioavailability of Cannabinoids (2-fold to 8-fold)
- Decreased Dosages (2-fold to 8-fold)
- Decreased Adverse Effects
- Decreased Tolerance to Cannabis from Prolonged Use
- More Efficacious Cannabinoid Therapy and Medical Cannabis Treatments
- Improved Cannabinoid-to-Receptor Binding and Signal Transduction
- Enhanced Therapeutic Value
- Ideal for Long-Term and Daily Use
NanoSphere Health’s business model integrates into the regulatory and product manufacturing chain-of-possession. NanoSphere is partnering with cannabis growers, extractors, product manufacturers and dispensaries in providing this revolutionary product. The NanoSphere Delivery System satisfies the regulatory requirements for quality control, standardized cannabis dosages, full disclosure labeling and complete transparency.
About NanoSphere Health Sciences, LLC
Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, NanoSphere Health Sciences is a biotechnology firm specializing in the creation of NanoSphere™ delivery system platforms for the supplement, nutraceutical, OTC, pharmaceutical, cannabis industries and beyond. Its patent-pending NanoSphere delivery systems represent one of the most important developments for advancing the non-invasive delivery of biological agents in over 25 years. www.nanospherehealth.com
Living SoilRead More
by Ron Bain
Is the soil you grow in living or dead?
If the soil is dead — meaning lacking in photosynthetic and other bacteria, beneficial fungi, earthworms, and lots of nutritious organic molecules — then your cannabis is going to be malnourished and of poor quality and taste.
Compost teas, which are full of the bacteria and fungi that grow in compost, are the most common way to restore symbiosis to potting soil held in containers, but it has to be used immediately and cannot be stored.
However a Montrose-based company named Rocky Mountain Bio-Ag is distributing a bottled product with a longer shelf life, Quantum Growth, which one Paonia-based grower says increases bacterial content in soil by 6,000 percent in just 24 hours.
"It made ‘em not only go into a frenzy but a colonizing frenzy as well, a reproductive frenzy," said Ryan Robbins, the director of plant and soil science with Hydroponic Life, a chain of hydroponic and organic growing supplies outlets with a store in Paonia.
"Indoors it is a really complicated thing," Robbins added. "You have to keep your soil living. Some people go as far as using worms and having them put down fresh castings in the soil."
Brandon Kail, president and owner at Bio Ag, says that the marijuana industry has begun to embrace the Quantum Growth product but that it was created for general agricultural uses.
"Anything that you put in the soil has to be processed. After it’s processed, the plant can take it. Microbial communities — and there are many processes they deal with in the soil itself, whether that’s soluble ibu phosphorous or different elements that are in the soil — help them to be a healthy, thriving plant," said Kail. "So without microbiology or probiotics of the soil, what ends up happening is your soils won’t turn over."
There are levels in living soil: the first tropic level is photosynthetic bacteria; next up are spore-forming microbes and nematodes. "When soils are depleted of photosynthetic bacteria, what happens is those other microbes above are sluggish, they don’t have enough energy to do the process they need to do," Kail explained. "There are thousands and thousands of different bacteria – we haven’t scratched the surface of it."
Quantum Growth contains 30 different bacteria that are vital to plant growth, he said. An opportunity to sample cannabis grown by Robbins using Quantum Growth convinced this author that he was definitely onto something.
"The medical value is greatly increased by growing organically," he said. "Others are going to be happy with what is produced."
Robbins defines "organic" growing differently than many people do. To him, organic growing means you’re not adding organic hydroponic nutrients and fertilizers — "that’s hydroponic-style growing" — instead you’re adding compost tea and probiotics to restore the "symbiotic soil food web" in soil that’s been bagged and then put in containers.
"You get the whole circle put back together," he said. "You get all the things put back in place." Growing this way maximizes quality oils, terpenes, THC, CBD, CBN and additional cannabinoids, according to Robbins.
On the other hand, salt fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals kill the soil, he said. "You start throwing chemicals around and you cause problems."
Living soil is much more resistant to mold and bad fungi that would attack your plants and can defend against bugs and natural pathogens, Robbins noted. "You don’t have to worry about bringing those toxins into your environment." Indoors or outdoors, plants need to be grown in living soil from the very beginning, he emphasized.
"What really got me going in that direction was trying to grow organically indoors, which is not easy to pull off," Robbins said. "It made me need to learn about it. It took me many years to perfect. It took several years of trial and errors."
Trying to grow indoors organically is a much more time sensitive method, he added.
"With organics, there’s not time to recover from a heavy deficiency," Robbins said. "You’re looking at a shorter window for blooming."
If you’re using compost tea to create symbiotic, living soil, the teas should be heavily bacterial in the beginning, more fungal in the middle and back to bacterial during the bloom state, he explained.
Those who grow directly in the ground outdoors can take advantage of the Earth’s natural symbiotic soil web, but they may want to add earthworms and a mineral supplement, such as Liquid E-F-M, that will increase the soil’s phosphorous, copper, zinc and iron content. According to agricultural consultant Marvin Ropp, 85 percent of America’s mineral content has been depleted from the soil due to poor farming techniques.
Bio-Ag’s probiotic Quantum Growth has other applications and uses as well, according to Kail. The bacteria in it will eat oil molecules and can be used to clean up oil spills; a Florida laboratory tested Quantum Growth on Round-Up and found that it neutralized the essential chemical component of the herbicide.
"Probiotics are a good thing to use," Kail said. "It breaks down all the nutrients and allows plants to use them."