Handbook

Excerpt from Ed Rosenthal’s ‘Cannabis Grower’s Handbook’: Why Grow Cannabis?

In the garden with Ed Rosenthal and his new book, “Cannabis Grower’s Handbook”.

Ed Rosenthal’s latest book, the 738 pages Cannabis Grower’s Handbook (Quick American Publishing, 2021), crowns his long career as an activist and cultivation expert, earning him the title “Guru of Ganja”. In this excerpt, he answers the question “Why grow cannabis?”

Why grow cannabis?

People choose to grow cannabis for many reasons. The majority grow because they want the satisfaction of smoking the fruit of their own labor. Some are interested in discovering new varieties with new ranges of aromas, tastes and effects. Some will grow to make money.

Caregivers cultivate for patients, they provide a necessary service not provided by traditional medical care providers.

Medical patients grow to maintain a fresh and reliable supply with specific qualities. In areas where there are no legal dispensaries, patients are simply stuck with what they can get. Some patients grow their medicine because they need a large supply. A personal garden is much cheaper than buying a finished product, and it allows growers to be cultivar-specific.

Another good reason to start a garden is just for the sake of gardening. There are few things as satisfying as nurturing a healthy plant. Some people may choose to add cannabis to their vegetable garden. It can be small, on a windowsill or balcony, or larger in a courtyard or indoor garden.

Just like home-grown produce, gardeners find home-grown cannabis to be the best. Once new growers discover the hobby, they may want to experiment. Cannabis is fun to grow because it reacts quickly to environmental changes and has separate sexes. By regulating the life cycle to force flowering earlier, growers can adjust plant growth to better suit the garden’s lifestyle and schedule.

Many consumers or new home gardeners may never have grown plants for consumption or seen a vital and productive garden up close. Growing produce is a fascinating and awe-inspiring experience. Think of plants as a totally extraterrestrial life form that is part of Gaia – the living planet.

“Some people decide to accept cannabis into their lives quickly after interacting with it, so much so that they make a career out of it.”

After incorporating portions of photosynthesizing bacteria into their cells, photosynthesizers helped turn most of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into oxygen. They have developed cohabiting relationships with animals, which are almost totally dependent on them for food. Without plants, no animals.

One fascinating aspect is how plants adapt to their environment. Animals have a nervous system to sense the environment and mobility to deal with danger. Plants are immobile and depend on a different set of biochemical and electrical signals to sense and react to the environment. Plants have a much larger set of genes than animals, so they are hardwired with responses to many environmental stresses and opportunities.

It may be difficult to identify with them as living beings, but their reaction to environmental cues can be as instantaneous as a human’s reaction to pain. For example, as soon as they receive light, they start photosynthesis. Step back from time to time to observe the plants and feel the dynamism of their life and existence.

Some people decide to accept cannabis into their lives quickly after interacting with it, even to the point of making a career out of it. Until recently, guidance counselors could not refer to such a career under penalty of the law.

The cannabis industry has flourished since the 1960s and as a result there are now third and fourth generation family members in the business.

And then there are drug addicts. No, not those who use the substance, but those who cultivate it. It bears repeating: “Cannabis may not be addictive, but growing it is.”

Ed Rosenthal in front of a large cannabis drying operation.

Quick shots

* This book uses the term “varieties” to refer to groups of related plants and the term “cultivar” to refer to specific varieties called landraces or the result of a dedicated breeding program. (p.67)

• What most people see as a single flower in cannabis, which some call a “bud” or a “cola”, is actually many individual flowers grouped together in what is called the inflorescense. (p.106)

• Plants growing in poor soils or growing media with low air porosity may wilt not because they don’t have enough water, but because they have too much. (p.191)

• The characteristic odor of cannabis, especially flowering cannabis, creates both a hazard and a nuisance that can be avoided with proper ventilation system design and technologies. (p.247)

• Bees collect cannabis pollen to produce bee pollen. There is concern because honey bee populations have declined. Being bee-safe means not using sprays that impact beneficial insects and preserving their natural habitats. (p.420)

• Gardening gloves are a good choice for handling buds and small branches. Latex gloves are perfect for manicures. (p.521)

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.