close up of cannabis flower growing outdoors

The Homegrown Cannabis Advantage

Growing anything yourself, no matter what it is, is one of the most rewarding things you can do. The act of germinating a seed and keeping it alive until it has grown up to become the adult you thought it would be, is an amazing feeling. Not quite like raising a child, but some of the same emotions and pains come in to play without a doubt. 

Growing a cannabis plant to maturity can be very gratifying in many ways including the joy it can bring you. It can be a very powerful form of therapy for depression. I can attest to that personally from my experiences in a medically legal state that allowed for homegrow. When you pop a few seeds of some strains you saw on a website or some industry magazine you read, you start a process that is like no other. Growing cannabis can be an absolutely wonderful hobby, and I highly recommend it when laws allow.

Imagine being able to grow a plant that has the most unbelievable healing properties, one that cures disease, one that improves overall well being, and one that has been proven to be harmless. Now imagine going to jail if you got caught doing so. As law reform becomes a reality, more and more states are allowing adults to grow a certain number of cannabis plants for personal use. In the states that do allow cannabis cultivation, the penalties are very real for selling without proper licensing. But, the good old-fashioned barter system is alive and well I’m sure.

Cannabis and Growers

Many say grower rights will hurt the existing dispensaries that are currently in operation. That’s only true if dispensaries are selling inferior products and everybody becomes an expert grower. We all know that’s not happening. But, it will bring some really talented growers to light that could very well be a next Cannabis Cup recipient or head grower at a large operation. With proper licensing, some states allow “independent” growers to cultivate for retail dispensaries.

So, it could be a good thing to know how to grow! There are many advantages to growing your own medicine and we’re going to touch on a few of them.

Homegrown Advantages

The first advantage that comes to mind is being able to know exactly where it comes from. I know you all have wondered where your product has come from or who has touched it before, right? Well, there’s reason one. Honestly speaking, that’s what I like the best of a legal market. Knowing where your cannabis comes from makes for a better overall experience.

But there is more to it than just where your medicine comes from… it’s also important to know how the plant is grown, which pesticides and fungicides are used, and other growing tactics that may affect the cannabis. When you grow your own medicine, you know exactly what products you are using and therefore can be assured that you are not consuming something that interferes with your healing.

Florida statute 64-4.013 Pesticide Use on Medicinal Marijuana, which was implemented in July 2018, loosely outlines the beginning of a pesticide use program for Florida. However, this statute is not final and the Department of Agriculture is supposed to be assisting with it.

Currently, pesticides have been approved by the Florida Department of Health and Florida Department of Agriculture. Right now there are eight FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act) category repellents on the list, which identifies chemicals which have the lowest risk to humans such as citronella oil, peppermint, clove, etc.

There is a proposed rule for testing wherein a lab would test for 60 common pesticides. That does NOT mean that MMTCs can use all of them. But once again, this program is still being implemented.

Cost

The next benefit of growing your own you’d think is cost, right? Sometimes it’s more cost effective to go to the local dispensary and choose from a wide variety of products without the fear of crop loss. It only takes one crop loss to put things into perspective. Losing a crop isn’t just a financial blow; it’s a blow to your whole garden cycle. The average crop takes three to four months from start to finish to produce and time is something you can’t get back. So, growing isn’t for everyone.

Grow for others

Being able to give to charity is an advantage of growing your own. It’s not hard to donate a portion of your harvest to someone who can’t otherwise afford cannabis as medicine. I still like to think the cannabis movement is built on compassion. If it were legal to grow and profit from cannabis as an individual, one could donate some of the profits to deserving folks.

Juice it

Once the plant is grown, did you know you could juice a cannabis plant? You heard me right, juicing the plant. Studies have shown that ingesting fresh, raw, mature cannabis is one of the best ways to receive the medicinal properties from the plant. Consuming the juice has little to no psychotropic effects on a person’s body. Cannabis needs to undergo a process called “decarboxylation,” (applying heat) in order for it to get you high. So, you can use cannabis without getting high.

The list could go on and on about the benefits of growing your own cannabis. One thing we all know is, if you want your right to grow your own medicine, you’ll have to fight for it. Educate yourself on the issues, then get out there and spread the word!

Pesticides and Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS)?

Have you ever heard of cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (CHS)?  It is a rare occurrence and symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Although the cause of this is fairly unknown, many cannabis professionals think it is due to the pesticides and fungicides used while growing, which makes sense. Some of those who suffer from CHS may have been using cannabis for years and have just now developed the condition (why are they getting these symptoms after all these years?) while others are new to cannabis and have been affected.

How do you know if you may be suffering from CHS and not a gall bladder attack or appendicitis? Take a hot shower. If the symptoms dissipate, it is most likely CHS. If the symptoms do not, you may want to consult your doctor to see if there is something else going on.

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