Ed Rosenthal’s latest book, 738 pages Cannabis Grower’s Manual (Quick American Publishing, 2021), crowns his long career as an activist and cultivation expert, earning him the title of “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 up because they want the satisfaction of smoking the fruits of their own labor. Some are interested in discovering new varieties with new ranges of aromas, tastes and effects. Some will grow up to earn money.
Caregivers cultivate for patients, they render a necessary service that is not provided by traditional medical providers.
Medical patients grow up 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 amount. A personal garden is much cheaper than buying a finished product, and it allows growers to be cultivar specific.
Another great reason to start a garden is just for the sake of gardening. There are few things as satisfying as feeding a healthy plant. Some people may choose to add cannabis to their vegetable patch. It can be small, on a windowsill or balcony, or larger in a backyard or indoor garden.
As with locally grown produce, gardeners find home grown cannabis to be the best. Once new growers take ownership of the hobby, they may wish 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 the plant’s 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 alien life form that is part of Gaia – the living planet.
“Some people decide to accept cannabis into their lives quickly after first interacting with it, so much so that they make a career out of it.”
After incorporating portions of photosynthetic bacteria into their cells, photosynthesizers have helped turn most of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into oxygen. They have developed cohabitation relationships with animals, which depend almost entirely on them for food. Without plants, no animals.
One fascinating aspect is the way plants adapt to their environment. Animals have a nervous system to sense the environment and mobility to cope with danger. Plants are immobile and depend on a different set of biochemical and electrical cues to sense and respond 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 things, but their reaction to environmental cues can be as instant as a human’s reaction to pain. For example, as soon as they receive light, they start photosynthesis. Take a 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 first interacting with it, so much so that they make a career out of it. Until recently, guidance counselors could not refer to such a career on pain of legal action.
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 the drug addicts. No, not those who consume the substance, but those who cultivate it. It bears repeating: “Cannabis may not be addicting, but growing it is.
* This book uses “varieties” to denote groups of related plants and the term “cultivar” to denote specific varieties which are referred to as landraces or the result of a dedicated breeding program. (p.67)
• What most people think of as a single cannabis flower, which some call a “bud” or “cola”, is actually many individual flowers grouped together in what is called the inflorescence. (p. 106)
• Plants that grow in poor soils with low air porosity or in growing media may wilt not because they don’t have enough water, but because they have too much water. . (p.191)
• The characteristic smell of cannabis, especially those that bloom, creates both a risk and a nuisance that can be avoided with proper ventilation system design and technology. (p. 247)
• Bees collect cannabis pollen to produce bee pollen. There is concern because honey bee populations have declined. Being safe for bees means not using sprays that impact beneficial insects and preserving their natural habitats. (p.420)
• Garden gloves are a good choice for handling buds and small branches. Latex gloves are great for manicuring. (p. 521)
Buy copies of the book here.