As controlled marijuana has come to the forefront of medical debate and more countries and states are allowing its use for specific ailments, circumstances have arisen for both the commercial cultivation and the private growing of medicinal cannabis strains.
The most popular strains of medicinal cannabis are Northern Light, Aurora Indica, Jack Herer, and Super Lemon Haze, as these are fairly easy to grow. Although all types of marijuana essentially contain the same breakdown of ingredients, they will vary in taste and potency. The varieties mentioned here will yield a crop most likely to provide consumers with relief from their ailments.
Procuring auto-flowering and feminized seeds from a reputable dealer is the best way to begin and will produce a faster yield. Auto-flowing plants will produce the flower bud that contains the ingredients needed for medical use, and feminized seeds increase crop yield, as only the females carry the buds that will get the consumers high. Growers must strive to minimize stress to plants because this can cause the female plants to transform into males.
There are several methods of sustaining a growing marijuana plant. A grow-tent system with lights and exhaust fans is a good place to start. LED lighting is also a popular source of light, as it is inexpensive to run for long periods of time. Cannabis seeds need warmth and moisture for germination, although they don't require many nutrients to start. During the first phase of the plants' growth, the lights should be on for 24 hours.
Once the plant has been growing well for approximately five weeks, flowering can be induced by switching the light schedule to 12 hours on and 12 hours off. If growing outside, the timing of planting marijuana should be considered with regard to season, temperature, daylight, and potential bad-weather periods. A hydroponic system is usually an option for large-scale producers who will supply medicinal cannabis to the wider industry.
Harvesting the marijuana is the final stage of the process and involves the grower being aware of any stressed plants that may have morphed into a male state. Their flowers will have pollen sacks where the many branches connect the central stem. However, female plants can be identified by their white hairs, or pistils, at the same region on the plant. Just prior to harvest, a grower should try to reduce any additional nutrient feeds to the plants, as this may present itself in the form of strong taste in the buds. Plants are harvested in their complete form once the pistils turn dark.
The plant is cut off at its base, stripped of excess leaves, split into single branches, and hung upside down to dry at room temperature. This drying process takes one week, after which the individual buds can be peeled from the plant and placed in jars to cure. At first, the jar will need some airflow every day; this can then be steadily reduced over time. The whole process of curing cannabis will take about six months.
Home growers, or anyone considering setting up a larger medicinal marijuana business, should be well informed of the laws and requirements that govern their state or country of residence.