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Trading Plants for Profit - Surviving the Industrial Revolution

Take away the Industrial Revolution and all that’s left are plants, people, and other living things on what used to be a fully organic planet. Add human activity, and we are going to hell in a handbasket. Heavy metal isn’t just a rock genre. The mining and use of synthetic properties we had no business unearthing or putting into our bodies are now slowly killing us, with the majority of our modern day ailments caused from poisoning from the very stuff we’ve created for convenience.

There were chances for us. Henry Ford’s first car was Hemp fueled. His wife drove his electric car, refusing the oil-laden model, stating it was dirty and noisy. If he only would have listened to his wife we may have gotten a break, but his hand was firmly held by Rockefeller’s big oil empire.

In 1947 it was announced we would not have to cut down another tree, our Hemp production was so great, with more than 2,500 products made from the beneficial plant, including the oil base for more than 250 medicines. But newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst had an interest in the forests and pulp mills, and kept clear cutting for profits, eventually demonizing the productive Hemp plant into non-existence in this country.

DuPont patented the first petroleum by-product of Nylon in 1942, spawning the synthetic pharmaceutical and plastics industry. That same year Hemp was outlawed, and by 1949 author Morris S. Beale, former city editor of the Washington Times, penned two tell-alls, “The Drug Story: ” and “The House of Rockefeller,” exposing big oil’s influence on the emerging synthetic pharmaceutical industry.

“The Drug Story” was said to be one of the most important books on health ever written, but Beale’s books were only sold via the post, not reaching readers on bookshelves until the 1970s, when the damage was already done.

Plastics were said to be the most revolutionary products created, helping us replace our taxed natural resources. That’s what they said, but the truth is, we are now drowning in the toxic swill of the manufacturing from plastic products, and literally sinking in the mass of debris that followed.

According to “The Plastics Scorecard v.1.0.” developed by BizNGO, there are more than 244 million metric tons of chemicals referred to as “high concern to human health and the environment” used in the manufacturing of plastics via petroleum byproducts. The synthetic compounds found in this toxic mix include cancer-inducing benzene, styrene, as well as hormone disrupting phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA).

Rachel Carson tried to shut down Monsanto’s manufacturing and distribution of pesticide DDT in the 1940s, when it came home from World War II after being used in biological warfare. Her book “Silent Spring” wasn’t published until 1969, prompting the “Clean Air & Water Acts” of 1973 and 1974, respectively. But, again, the damage of DDT in our water, soil and food was done, with DDT staying in our bloodlines up to five generations that we know of, with cancers and other neurological and central nervous system ailments embedded in our stem cells.

Leave nature alone and it works with us. Greek physician Hippocrates, dubbed the “Father of Western Medicine” (460 – c. 370 BC) instinctively knew this, using herbs, spices, roots, and vegetables as medicine stating, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” He scoffed at the belief of the day that disease was an infliction from the Gods as punishment. He believed ailments occurred naturally and should be dealt with in a holistic way. Needless to say, he was way ahead of his time.

The good news is, via the legalization of Cannabis people are learning about plant based medicines again. Medicine makers who have been using plants as medicine for decades now feel safe to share with healing winning in legal states. Hemp is making a comeback, with states lining up to grow what was once the largest and most sustainable cash crop in the world.

Can we turn things around? All we have are our words and the knowledge we’ve gained through struggles, seeming success, and subsequent illness from the very things we created for mere convenience and profit. The plants will continue to grow, all we need to do is keep planting them and remember where the good medicine comes from.

Posted in Cannabis News

Blooddrive Hash Report

2017-02-03 13:23:21

Sometimes we focus on what we want, rather than allowing what we need to find us.  The Blooddrive Hashish, surprisingly presented to me, is a gentle and pleasant helping hand that I can appreciate daily, as she kindly softens life's edges and makes transitions more comfortable.   Change, always inevitable, has a tendency to send me into a tizzy.  I like predictable routines and established plans to follow through smoothly.   Otherwise, I can sometimes get anxious and restless, allowing worry to consume me.  Such is the case when informed that, at the last minute, the focus of my Hashish smoke report has suddenly switched to a previously unknown specimen. As I am told that the Hashish that I have been expecting will not be dry in time, I look to Frenchy questioningly for a solution to this particular predicament. 

Frenchy hands me a small, dark container as he sports that impish grin that assures me that he has the situation handled.  Looking at the twinkle in his eyes, I hastily open the glass Jyarz and fuel rolls out smoothly.  She does not take much prodding to further reveal her diesel tendencies.  A quick sniff and the smell of gas is right in my face as if standing in the middle of a truck depot.  I peer into the glass and see a plump and moist mass.  Reddish-brown, almost copper, with a soft and malleable texture like sumptuous red velvet cake, the essential aroma of the Hashish is familiar and comforting.  Perhaps tasting it will give me a better clue. Biting into the Blooddrive Hashish, my mouth is consumed with a flavor very reminiscent of the Cuvée Hashish I sampled some months back.  My palette's recognition is unsurprising considering the two strains' shared lineage of Afghani, Blackberry Kush, and Space Queen.  Blooddrive is a special phenotype of Milkdrive; a strain  created by Dave of Garden of Weedn (IG:@gardenofweedn) when he crossed Oregon Diesel by Homegrown Natural Wonders (IG:@homegrownnaturalwonders) with Cheese Quake by Subcool of TGA Seeds (IG:@subcoolseeds). The Blooddrive phenotype, discovered by tester Bushido Garden (IG:@bushido_garden), is so named because she seeps a bright crimson fluid when topped.  Cuts were given to Thomas Scaduto (IG:@eastbornwestgrown) and Alex Corporan (IG:@ebwgcorp_07) who grew them out to completion in an indoor grow room. 

And now I am lucky enough to sample the pressed perfection that Frenchy brings to every Hashish creation.

Continuing my tradition of enjoying Hashish in the great outdoors, I decide to take a trip with my husband Nick (IG:@cashmereconcentrates) to the Marin Headlands which overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge, the city of San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay.  A favorite among tourists and locals alike, the Marin Headlands offer an opportunity to be visually immersed in the city while ensconced in the natural context.  People mill about the first parking area, eager to take pictures so high up in the sky.  Little do they know, I am aiming to get so much higher. 

Truthfully, I am a quite frazzled because I have just battled the Bay's notoriously awful traffic and arrived later than I expected. I am experiencing the Hashish for the first time. I am arguing with my husband and my flight out of town is in just a few hours.  I feel anxiety welling up into my chest, tightening it painfully, and I am beginning to perspire.  However, I am holding full spectrum Hashish from Frenchy, so, at the very least, in getting lifted I will forget about my stress for the moment.

I slide into my backseat to take a quick dab on my travel rig.  I pinch off a piece of the soft Hashish, playing with it in my hands.  It feels like cookie dough.  Ordinarily I would press the Hashish between parchment paper using a hash press, but the oil content is so high that a finger press is perfect and the dab is ready.  As the Hashish slides into the Quartz bucket, it bubbles furiously and emits notes of fennel and other savory spices, much like piping hot gravy.  On the first inhale, the diesel is very prevalent but quickly makes way for a sweeter and milder berry flavor.  Though similar in taste to the Cuvée Hashish, the smoke of the Blooddrive Hashish does not does not overpower nor eagerly rush back out of my mouth.  I savor the sweetness and exhale as citrus mixes with pine flavoring.  I look around and no one notices me in my private zone of impending happiness.  I take another dab at a slightly lower temperature and this time I am rewarded with less diesel intensity, but tart citrus and sweet molasses sensations come to the forefront.  The smoke slides out of my mouth coolly and smoothly, with no fuss.

She is easy like Sunday morning.

I am expecting to feel that familiar tingle in the bridge of my nose, but there is nothing.  I take another hit, not looking for flavor, but hunting that euphoria to banish the stress that feels like it is strangling me. 

But nothing comes.

There are no mental fireworks, nor is there a rush of elation.  I exit the car for fresh air and to change my immediate surroundings.  Perhaps the setting of my Cadillac's back seat, with its soft and fragrant leather, is confining and I am effectively preventing myself from getting feeling good.  Nick looks at me expectantly and I shrug, remarking that the strain might not be so special after all.  Looking to our right, a skinny trail snakes along the edge of the road leading to the highest point of the Marin Headlands, Hawk's Hill, which is 1.5 miles away.  Standing among the chattering visitors feels like being a beehive, so we opt to try the pedestrian path for a little space.  The thin trail clings precariously to the side of a cliff, inviting runners and hikers to take their lives in their own hands.   It is hardly an ideal endeavor for anyone with a bundle of nerves, but I need to move and walk these jitters out and walking along the road is not a much safer option.   As the late afternoon sun blazes into our eyes, we turn our backs to the city and the bridge and we make our way through sage scrub and small clumps of flowers eking out an existence in the harsh and windy landscape as they cling to the sandy soil.  After about 10 minutes of walking, we arrive at a vista lookout and a turn to admire the city stretching behind and below us.  The glass and silver structures of San Francisco glisten in the distance and the bright red towers of the Golden Gate Bridge pierce the sky.  I am reminded that I am supposed to be experiencing a heavy Hashish high, but I feel no giddiness.  I do notice that my jumpy, lip biting energy has been replaced by a strange calm.  In fact, I feel almost placid.  I then realize that as an Indica dominant hybrid, this Blooddrive Hashish has done an amazing job of calming the waters and righting my ship.

We turn and continue walking along the edge of the cliffs, eager to get to the top and back before the sun sets.  My anxiety has died down completely, but the thought of walking down the cliff in the complete darkness is not appealing.  Thirty-five minutes later, we arrive at Hawk's Hill and the view is breathtaking.  We are elevated enough to see across to the East Bay cities of Oakland, Berkley, and Richmond.  Down below, in the sea, tankers appear as tiny boats in a bathtub.  This is a perfect opportunity to take a few more puffs.  Opting for as much discretion as possible, we pull out a vape pen and puff on the tasty Blooddrive Hashish, savoring the swirls of flavor and brazenly exhaling the pungent, yet quickly dissipating smoke.  Less than an hour ago, I felt on the verge of tears, but at this moment, I not only feel like I am on an even keel, but happy to take on everything else.  Back at home, I still need to clean, pack, press hash, take care of my cats, water my plants, and a whole host of everything else which would ordinarily make me feel at wit's end, but right now, I am practically perfect.  In my relaxed state, I talk a little more and I smile genuinely at Nick.  I do not have the mental escalation I expected, but my mind is quiet and I am very content.   Our walk back down the cliff is soft, pleasant and hardly scary, even in the diminishing light. I was wrong.  Blooddrive Hashish is very special indeed.

Peace of mind cannot be overstated as life bombards us constantly with obstacles, real and perceived, to overcome. Worry is mentally draining at best, and completely crippling at its worst.  For those who suffer needlessly from anxiety, relief can mean the difference between barely surviving and thriving.   Blooddrive Hashish will remain in my private head stash, ready to calm my useless fears and temper my hyperactive mind.  Sometimes getting 'high' is less about soaring elation and is simply about elevating out of the depths of despair.  When the road gets rough and life harshes my mellow, to my great appreciation, I can count on the Blooddrive Hashish to smooth out the bumps so that I may enjoy the ride. 

Words by The Dank Duchess
Pics by The Dank Duchess and Buds and Roses

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 118

Posted in Cannabis News

How to Grow Autos

2017-02-03 13:04:15

Autoflowering – What You Need to Know… and How to Grow

The trick with autoflowering cannabis plants is to appreciate them for what they are… and not criticize them for what they are not!

Autoflowers are cannabis plants that have been specifically bred to flower based on their age (rather than regular and feminized seeds that flower depending on the ratio of darkness and light). This makes them ideally suited for growing outdoors in the northern hemisphere.

The basis of the autoflower is the genetics of a curious hemp plant, cannabis ruderalis, that thrives in regions above 50 degrees north of the equator – from Poland, through central Russia and China.

Because of the inhospitable climate, this amazing plant has evolved to be small and bushy and develop a flowering cycle that is adapted to long days of light in the northern hemisphere summer .

For many years, its potential was dismissed because of its low THC content, but with advances in breeding techniques it became possible to cross the ruderalis with more potent genetics. This has produced a new generation of autoflowering cannabis plants that offer an increased  THC content and yield offering a viable solution for growers.

Now, back to that appreciation!... While they are not for everybody, autoflowers are ideal for:

  • Beginners – The ruderalis genes makes these plants more resistant to disease and mould
  • Speed – They grow fast and flower quick. Ideal for the impatient grower!
  • Quality – With the kind of good genetics Paradise Seeds provides expect a good smoke.
  • Self Sufficiency – Ideal if you are more interested in a personal than commercial crop
  • Space Restriction – Their size makes them perfect for small gardens and balconies
  • Nosey Neighbors – their size also makes them easy to camouflage!
  • Northern Summers – Let’s face it, before autoflowers, growing in the northern hemisphere was a real drag. Rejoice! Autoflowers have brought the northerners a weed to call their own!  

To make the most of your Paradise Seeds auto flowering varieties, we have prepared a 10 step program designed to help you optimize your growth and achieve the best from your harvests.

 Read on, learn, enjoy!

1: When to Plant. Timing is Everything!

The beauty of autoflowering cannabis plants is that they will begin to flower after 2-3 weeks and will be ready for harvesting  after 10 to 12 weeks. This means that the outdoor gardener has the potential for two, or even three, crops in the course of one year.

As every gardener will tell you, getting your timing right is very important. Our basic guideline is:

  • Plant outside between May 1st and July 1st
  • Harvest outside from the end of July to the end of September

We recommend germinating your seeds at the beginning of May and planting them outside in the middle of the month (May 15th). This coincides with the change to ‘late spring’ (called Isjhelligen in Holland)– traditionally noted by gardeners as the date when night frosts have passed. 

If you plant too early, your harvests are likely to be premature and smaller. By following our guidelines, your autoflowering plants will benefit from as much natural light as possible.

2: Germinating: Birth Your Seeds!  

When your Paradise Seeds package of cannabis seeds arrives, make sure you store them right. Yes, they are sealed, but like any seed they do not like fluctuations in temperature or high humidity. Ideally, store them in a fridge or a cool drawer or cupboard.

To germinate your seed place it in a glass of lukewarm water and put in a dark place for 12 hours. Do note however that if you live a in a city or have water with a high chlorine, treat your seed to a glass of distilled or spring water (the pH should be 6-7). Remove the seed and place it on a bed of moist tissue paper, with more wet tissue over the top of it - make sure to drain off the excess water. You can store this between two plates or inside a sealed baggie in a warmish spot (make sure not so warm the paper dries out) and within 3 days your seed should sprout.

3 Early Days: Give The Best Start!

We recommend that you plant your cannabis seed into the pot it will spend the rest of its life in. We suggest using a 4-10 litre pot.  Fill it with good quality soil.

Because the mineral content of this soil will burn your root if exposed too early, make a small hole (1 knuckle deep) and fill with seed/seedling soil . Place your seed in this and cover with a plastic dome to create a micro climate that encourages the seed to grow.

The simplest solution is to cut a plastic bottle in half. Use the half with the lid. Remove the lid and place the dome over the seed. This is ideal for letting the seed grow in the first few days, inside or outside. Once the first leaves are showing, remove it.

4 Growing: Get Your Medium Right!

Your growing medium should be airy to ensure good drainage as well as water retention. The ideal pH should be between 5.8 – 6.5. There are many good quality soils available from nurseries , plant and grow shops. There is little to choose between them, although organic is recommended – remember, what you are planting in you are taking out of! 

You can also search the web for soil recipes.  You can also add elements such as coco, clay pellets or perlite to increase the airiness of the soil and give those roots some space to grow.

5 Watering: Less is More!

One of the most damaging things you can do to your plant is over water. The roots will become suffocated and your plant will be unable to draw nutrients to the plant. A good rule of thumb is to water when the soil at the top of the plant becomes dry (it should be moist further down).

 A common mistake a beginner makes is to over water or overfeed with nutrients. If a cannabis plant is over watered then its growth will be stunted. Often a beginner will take this as a sign that the plant is not growing… and give it more water and nutrients (which is a bit like holding a drowning man under the water some more!)

One option is to lift up your pot and see how heavy it is (it helps if you have some idea how heavy it is when it is dry (eg do a tester after you have repotted).  Some soft pot manufacturers suggest watering the plants with 20% of the volume of the pot (for example, an 11 liter pot needs 2.2 liters every watering).

If you do not trust your watering technique, perhaps research systems that self-water or monitor the humidity in the soil (such as Autopot or Blumat).

Note: It is important is your roots have period of relative dryness, before getting a new watering – the tap root will follow the water level down and spread its roots as a result.


6 Feeding:  Light Snack, Not a Heavy Meal!

An autoflowering cannabis seed will produce a plant that is smaller and more compact. As a result the roots are lighter and more fragile than those found on their regular or feminized cousins. For this reason, don’t overfeed.

If you start with a good base soil then you should not have to worry about nutrients for the first 3 - 4 weeks. There are many specialist gardening soils to choose from that have all the right components for healthy growth or you could mix your own. 

You may want to enhance root production in the early days and there are plenty of booster products on the market to do this. You should follow instructions on the packet carefully. If you have a garden, a compost brew juice, aerated for 24 hours (there are Youtube videos to show you how to do this) will give your plants a good boost.

7 Pruning: Yes or No?

You may have heard of these terms which are often used to encourage growth and increase yield. Because autoflowers have a limited lifespan they will poorly recover from stressful conditions that are too stressful. For this reason, as a rule, we do not recommend pruning for beginners.

  • Pinching – This process of pruning encourages bushy growth. You pinch a plant to remove the  main stem, so that it will grow two new stems below the pinch.
  • Scrogging  – This process trains your plants to grow through a wire screen. The tops rise 3-4 inches above the screen and the rest of the plant is encouraged to bush out below it.

However, if you do want to pursue this route you should avoid pinching and scrogging too late into the flowering stage, and avoid altogether with early flowering plants or those that had a slow start  to their growth. For plants that have longer flowering time it is always possible to pinch, using the Less Stressful Technique (LST).

8 Harvest: Don't Be Hasty!

Above all, be patient! Don’t be too hasty to harvest.  Autoflower plants generally take an extra week of flowering outdoor than indoor. There are also many different factors that can affect the growing of your plants. For example a first spring grow will lengthen the plant maturation because the sun hours are still increasing. If you plant them after the solstice, on the other hand, you will notice a shorter flowering time by a week or two.

One thing you will notice with autoflowers is that the main tops become ready for harvest some time before the lower branches. This is normal! If possible, harvest the top buds and wait another week to 10 days for the buds on the lower branches to reach their full potential. Waiting this little bit longer will result in added weight, quality and potency. 

At this point in the grow, monitor your plants carefully if you are growing outdoors, as environmental factors can come into effect – from heat and cold damage to the growing of mould. With autoflowering varieties you can expect a first harvest of good buds in the middle of summer and up to 3 harvests a year in a greenhouse at 50° latitude North.

9 Harvest Quality: Grow Organic!

Organic growing promotes micro life (bacteria and trichoderma) that stimulates the digestion process, and makes natural nutrients available to the plant.

By combining a good premixed soil with organic nutrients containing extracts of seaweed, guano, molasses, cane sugar extracts, coconut juice, worm compost, your plant has the best life it can get – from start to finish – and you will notice the results.

10 Round 2: Get Your Next Autoflower Grow On!

Autoflowering cannabis plants allow you to harvest at least twice outdoors at 50° North (including parts of the US, Canada, Japan, Belgium, France, Germany, Czech Republic). For those living in the south of Europe, there is the potential to harvest four times!

If we return to our basic guidelines, you will see that with a little bit of planning you can stagger the sowing of your cannabis seeds to produce more harvests:

  • Plant outside between May 1st and July 1st
  • Harvest outside from the end of July to the end of September

With a greenhouse it is even possible to get a third harvest – the extra protection allowing the planting of seeds in August and a harvest in late October/early November before the winter frosts come.  Of course, harvesting later in the year brings its own problems – notably mould – but a well ventilated greenhouse should help.


We hope this simple step by step guide is useful. Do remember though that it is only a guide as circumstances are different for each grower and there are many factors that affect an outdoor grow. With practice comes experience and more of a gardener's sense about the health of your plants.

However, at the same time, follow these steps and you should benefit from healthier autoflower plants and bigger harvests. The Paradise Seeds website has more grow info to help and grow reports for many of our varieties. We wish you a productive summer!

Words and pics from the Paradise Seeds Company

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 117

Posted in Cannabis News

Dawg Star: Sweet Dreams - From Dusk till Dawg

What if one mostly sativa and three heavyweight indica strain champions united to throw a party? They certainly wouldn’t ask for a sultry dance, but rather send everybody sprawling on the sofa. And if those four strains were Sour Diesel, Purple Kush, Mazar I Sharif and OG Kush, a new star would be born at that party!

 

Named Dawg Star, by T.H. Seeds of Amsterdam, who created this stunning 4-way mostly indica hybrid which promieses such a super indica party. To breed their latest variety, Dawg Star, they married the famous Chemdog strain (OG Kush x Sour Diesel) to their own Dark Star (Purple Kush x Mazar I­ Sharif). The small part of sativa contained in Dawg star, mainly coming from Sour Diesel, doesn’t keep this strain from having a very narcotic effect, so narcotic even that is supposed to bring relief to those who are suffering from insomnia, according to T.H. Seeds. They praise Dawg Star as a therapeutic variety that is also helpful for patients plagued by chronic pains, thanks to high levels of CBD and CBN.

 

Its smell is expected to be strong and heavy, and nuances of damp earth and pine will be perceivable in its basically sweet taste that “will surprise anyone who tries”. Dawg Star needs 60-65 flowering days to mature, indoors arriving at heights of 100-120 cm in the end and delivering up to 600 grams of buds per square metre. Outdoors, she can get as tall as two metres.
It was infamous master grower The Doc, again, who eagerly took care of this new T.H. Seeds release.

 

For his test, three feminized Dawg Star seeds were put to germination and as expected, they all sprouted quickly - within three days, they had raised their small heads above the Jiffy surface. The Doc planted those Jiffys into two litre pots filled with Plagron Standard Mix soil and placed them under a 600 W MH bulb. Two weeks later, after the seedlings had definitely got off on the right foot and exhibited excellent early growth with four internodes already, they were potted in their final 11 litre containers and enjoyed the light of an additional 600 W MH bulb. Another one and a half weeks later, the three plants had become 35-45 cm tall and the Doc decided that it was time for the flowering stage, which he induced by cutting the daily light cycle down to 12/12. All lights were changed to HPS to assure an optimum blooming performance.

 

The Doc: “Looks like an all-indica affair so far, broad leaves and very dense compact growth. But these three Dawg Stars will certainly reveal a good deal of stretching power during the first weeks of flowering.”

 

When three weeks of flowering weeks had passed, The Doc reported: “What magnificent plants: strong, robust and bushy. They’ve considerably stretched out in the first three weeks though, indeed, and one of them to a particularly strong degree. But it’s obvious that all the three are working very well as multi branch plants. There are lots of nice little flower “roses” on them meanwhile and I can see the stars already, an early onset of many trichomes.” 

 

At the end of the seventh week of flowering, he continued: “Dawg Star has turned out to be a highly proliferous strain, building a lot of big thick buds with a high calyx-to-leaf ratio. And the buds have meanwhile exploded with copious amounts of tightly clustered trichomes, attractively shimmering with resin and filling the air with sweet and spicy aroma clouds.”

 

Maturity came just in time. After nine weeks, all the three Dawg Star plants had reached the home stretch, laden with impressive amounts of big juicy nugget buds. “Very well proportioned plants these are”, The Doc said, “having quite a handy size of about one metre, one metre full of proliferating branches and voluptuous hard buds.” One of the plants had arrived at a height of 1.20 metres, while the other two with 93 and 98 cm had remained near the one metre mark. Thanks to the fairly high  (especially for a mostly indica strain) calyx-to-leaf ratio of the buds, The Doc could make quick work of the harvest.

 

After the drying process, The Doc rejoiced at a total bud yield of 313 grams i.e. an average yield of more than 100 grams per plant. Once again, a T.H. Seeds strain had made it beyond that “magic” threshold. Of course, he couldn’t wait to smoke those lovely super-crystalline nuggets, but he managed to restrain himself, giving the Dawg Star buds the usual 3.5 weeks of drying and curing. The final result was a deliciously sweet smell with piney undertones, like weed from deep in the forest. Then The Doc happily lit his first Dawg Star joint by early evening and in next-to-no-time got tremendously stoned, it quickly felt as if somebody had put lead weights on his eyelids, and for some time he struggled not to fall asleep on his couch as he watched a movie on TV, the end of which he didn’t want to miss. No chance. He dozed off like a baby after a lullaby! When he woke up again several hours later, having slept from “dusk till dawg” so to say, he found himself staring at one of those shabby sex hotline commercials – Damn! “Jeeez, Dawg Star really proved to be packed with super indica powers!”, The Doc said, adding “If I ever suffer from insomnia, this stuff will definitely be my choice of medicine. The more so as it is anything else than a bitter tasting medicine, Dawg Star’s yummy taste is oh so sweet and organic, a bit earthy and piney, indeed.”  

 

The Doc’s conclusion: “Once again, quite incredible stuff from T.H. Seeds. With Dawg Star, I’d say it’s a super indica party, indeed, but a heavily narcotic party that will be quickly over if there aren’t any stimulants on hand for the guests!”

Words and pictures by Green Born Identity (G.B.I.)

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 117

Buy Dawgstar seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

Pressure Cooker Infused Coconut Oil

One of the most usable forms of Cannabis Medicine is an infused oil or fat. Not all dietary fats available for infusion are created equally based upon the body's ability to break down and metabolize. Most dietary fats such as animal, vegetable, nut and seed oils are comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs) which are often referred to as LCTs (long chain triglycerides), meaning they consist of 12-18 carbon atoms per molecular chain. These large, difficult to digest fat molecules require enzymatic breakdown and are often stored in the body as fat for long range energy. On the other hand, medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) like those found in coconut oil are smaller consisting of only 6-12 carbon atoms per chain. Due to the smaller size of MCFAs they do not require enzymatic digestion and therefore can easily permeate the bodies cell membranes. The MCFAs in coconut oil are absorbed whole and sent to the liver to be metabolized and converted into a readily available quick burning fuel. Unlike LCFAs they are not stored as fat but are metabolized by the body without producing an insulin spike caused by simple carbohydrates. This alternate biochemical pathway utilized by MCFAs makes coconut oil the “Champion” of all oils and fats and an ideal “carrier” for Cannabinoids. Two thirds of the total volume of raw coconut oil is MCFA's!

Some folks prefer to use fractionated coconut oil or “MCT oil” (liquid coconut oil) for their infusions. Simply put, the primary difference between “MCT oil” and unrefined coconut oil, is the “MCT oil” is processed to remove the MCFA Lauric acid. Isolated Lauric acid has a melting temperature of 100 degrees F, this is why raw coconut oil is a solid fat at room temperature, whereas “MCT Oil” (with the Lauric acid removed) is a liquid at room temperature. Raw coconut oil is comprised of up to 50% of this amazing fatty acid that has many health benefits on its own. The principle reason for the food and cosmetic industry to isolate and remove Lauric acid from raw coconut oil is to use it as an ingredient in dietary supplements, drugs, detergents and cosmetics. The “MCT oil” is a by-product from the process of isolating Lauric acid from pure coconut oil. Though “MCT oil” still contains a considerable amount of MCFA's, it is missing what many believe to be the most beneficial medium chain fatty acid of them all (Lauric acid). Raw coconut oil contains the highest concentration of MCFA's and Lauric acid on Earth.

The next highest natural concentration of Lauric acid is in human breast milk, at around 6% by volume! (Remember, coconut oil is 50%) It is a natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and an immune system regulator and supporter. Lauric acid is also known to reduce blood cholesterol levels reducing the risk of heart disease. It is no wonder that populations who consume a LOT of coconuts and the oil from them are some of the healthiest on the planet. When assisting those with a Cannabis Medicine protocol such as weak immune systems, compromised liver function, and/or gastrointestinal issues becomes commonplace, it only makes good sense to utilize this wonderful fatty acid in its natural unadulterated state.

The following recipe makes a wonderfully pure infusion suitable for oral ingestion straight out of the jar. Averaging 50% overall decarboxylation the oil can be used “as is” or be used in making baked goods and other Cannabis edibles. When used in baked goods the oven temperatures will completely finish the decarboxylation process for those that prefer a fully activated preparation. We believe a well rounded “full spectrum” preparation should contain a small percentage of Cannabinoids in their acid form. This is why we prefer to use this particular infusion as a “carrier” oil to be blended with fully activated Cannabis Oil (Part #1) to fill custom capsules or syringes (Part #3).

One of the biggest advantages in using the pressure cooker over other methods (slow cooker etc.) is the material will not scorch, even with the higher temperatures obtained cooking under pressure. In our opinion, burning or scorching an infused oil ruins it. Many believe ingesting scorched oil causes irritation within the G.I tract (i.e. upset stomach, nausea, and loss of appetite). Coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees F. Pure Cannabis oil that has been filtered properly has a smoke point right around 295 degrees F. Temperatures inside the pressure cooker will top out at around 250 F. The water in the recipe creates super hot steam and most importantly, provides a buffer between the Cannabis and the heat source. However, when an infusion is subjected to the same temperatures in a slow cooker without water it can easily scorch. If water is simply added to the slow cooker, the H2O will boil at 212 degrees preventing the overall temperature from rising high enough for sufficient decarboxylation to occur. It is not the coconut oil or the plant resin that scorches, it is the residual plant waxes, proteins and chlorophyll within the extraction. These materials will scorch at much lower temps than pure oils, especially if there is not a water buffer utilized during the extraction process. The pressure cooker allows the material to reach higher temperatures via steam and high pressure, providing a gentle yet thorough extraction of Cannabinoids with a higher overall decarboxylation without scorching.

Note: We will be removing the bulk of the undesirable constituents (waxes and proteins) after the infusion returns to a solid state.

Necessary Supplies:

35 Grams High Grade Cannabis

35 liquid oz. Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil

1 and One half qt. R/O or Distilled Water

6 qt. Pressure Cooker

6 qt. Stainless Pot (same in Part #1)

8 Inch Stainless Steel Strainer (same in Part #1)

1 White Cotton “Potato Sack” Dish towel cut into quarters (same in Part #1)

1 qt Mason Jar

3 Pint Mason Jars with Lids

Rubber Spatula

Stove and Refrigerator

Cold Water for Rinsing

 

Preparation:

To begin, work the DRY Cannabis buds (or resin coated trimmings) through the 8 inch stainless screen strainer (work through with fingers), if the material is too gummy or sticky spread it onto a cookie sheet and place it in the oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes or so, just enough to drive excess moisture out of the bud/trim and make it nice and brittle. Discard seeds and stems...[insert image #1]

Be certain all jars, lids, pots and dishtowel (straining cloth) are thoroughly washed and sanitized. Just as you would with any other canning process.

Cut the dish towel into 12 inch by 12 inch squares and stack two layers into the strainer over the stainless pot. [insert image #5]

As far as material quantities are concerned, simply remember 35 grams Cannabis to 35 liquid oz. of Coconut Oil, and a 1 to 1.5 ratio of oil to water.....Simple!

 

Extraction:

Gently melt the coconut oil in a warm water bath, fill the quart mason jar all the way to the top (35 liquid oz.) then empty into the pressure cooker. Add Three pints (1 and ½ qt.) Distilled or filtered R/O water (it is important to use a pure water source as we do not want any hard water deposits or chlorine in our final product). Finally, add the prepared Cannabis. [insert image #2]

Place the cover on securely and set the cooker on the stovetop on medium heat, be sure that the flame is medium (small yellow tips) and NOT high. [insert image #3] If the flame is too high too much water will boil off over the 90 minutes and the infusion will be liable to scorch. At the end of the cooking time there should be about 15-20% water left overall, this is very important as the ratio between water and oil needs to be just right for proper separation between the two during the cleaning and rinsing stage (more on this later).

When the cooker begins to rattle and hiss begin timing. Cook for a full 90 minutes, turn off the flame and allow the cooker to cool for 10 minutes. At this point the cooker can be moved into the kitchen sink and a very small stream of cool water can be run onto the lid. This will allow the cooker to depressurize in about 5 minutes enabling the lid to be safely removed.

[insert image #4]

 

Straining:

When the solution is cool enough (but not cold) to handle safely, pour the entire contents through the prepared strainer, cloth and into the stainless pot. Let the strainer drain and cool for a full 20 minutes. [insert images 6 and 7]

Bring up the edges of the dishcloth, twist and squeeze out (over the strainer) as much of the solution as possible. If it is too hot on your hands at this point, use a set of tongs. After squeezing, discard cloth and extracted material. [insert image #8]

Have three clean and sterile pint jars and lids ready. Briskly stir the solution in the pot to temporarily emulsify the oil and water, immediately pour into the three jars equally . Tightly fasten the lids and flip the jars upside down. Let the oil and water separate at room temperature for 15 minutes, then gently move the jars (keep upside down) into the refrigerator and allow to solidify (12 hours). [insert image #9]

 

De-Waxing, Rinsing and Storage:

These are the most important steps in the process of making a high quality infusion that resists spoilage and one that is also gentle and nourishing on the body (i.e G.I tract).

This is considered a “full-extract” infusion so there will be some plant constituents other than pure resin that can be prone to spoilage if not removed. Fortunately when we allowed the jars to rest at room temperature all the 'nasty' stuff was left to congregate and separate out of the infusion between the water and clean infused oil!

After 12 hours in the refrigerator the jars can be held over the sink while the lids are pried off releasing the red-tinted water down the drain. What you will see under the water is the “nasty layer” primed for removal with a small spoon. This layer will be approx 1 cm thick and will scrape and rinse out easily. Use a sink sprayer to rinse out any remaining gunk after scraping. This gunk is all the plant residues (other than resin) that are prone to spoilage and mold. Good riddance! [insert series of images 10, 11, 12...very important]

The final step in making a pure and stable infusion ready for use or storage is the removal from the pint jar and thorough rinsing under clean COLD water. This step must be executed just right in order to limit the amount of finished oil being wasted. We need to heat the outside of the jar JUST ENOUGH to allow the block of solid oil to slide out of the pint jar for rinsing.

To do this, place an empty pint mason jar upright into the bottom of a clean cooking pot, add enough water (about 3 inches) around the jar to fill it up to the bottom of the jars threads.

Remove the jar, place the pot on medium heat and bring the water temperature up to exactly 120 degrees F. Use a thermometer to make certain it is at the 120 degrees.

Place a full pint jar (one at a time, with the wax layer removed and the lid off) into the warm water. Allow the jar to set in the warm water for exactly 30 seconds ! Remove from the warm water bath and immediately shake the block of infused oil over the kitchen sink out into your hand while holding under the flow of COLD water from the tap. It will have a slight suction so vigorous shaking may be necessary. If it just will not shake out then put it back into the water bath for an additional 10 seconds and try again. Catch the block and immediately rub/rinse for a full 30 seconds with the COLD water running continuously. It will feel a bit greasy for the first few seconds under the flowing water but will quickly harden into a lovely, super clean block of perfection ! [insert images 13 and 14]

Pat dry the block with a paper towel. The infused block of coconut oil is now ready for short or long-term storage, or to be used in your favorite recipe as-is ! The best option for long term storage is to place two “pint” blocks into a clean and sterile qt. mason jar and place in the freezer. You may also slide a single block back into a clean pint mason jar and place it into the refrigerator for easy access. The infusion will keep for up to 30 days worry free in the fridge. Do however use a quart jar for freezer storage as the air space around the blocks will prevent the glass jar from breaking from expansion caused by freezing. [insert image #16]

The finished blocks of infused oil will smell amazingly clean, pure and void of any “off” smells or flavors that come with a batch that has either been scorched or not properly rinsed and de-waxed. Do yourself a favor and pop a small chunk of the finished oil into your mouth, savor the delicate nutty flavor as it gently melts and coats your taste buds with wonderful subtleties only these two incredible ingredients can create together. Organic Coconut oil and Organic Cannabis....Oh, life's simple pleasures!

 

Relevant Notes and Considerations:

When using the infused oil in your favorite recipe(s), simply substitute ALL fats by volume with the coconut oil.....it is FAR superior in overall quality than butter, margarine or shortening and will produce an exceptionally light and delicately flavored treat. It can also be creamed and whipped, just like softened butter. You WILL NOT be able to tell that your finished baked good is loaded with Cannabinoids. This extraction is so pure, your finished product will look, smell and taste very much like the non-medicated version.

Remember to start small when it comes to edibles and allow a full 2 hours to feel the effects of the Cannabinoids after ingestion, especially if you are unaccustomed to ingesting Cannabis. People's digestion varies greatly but the average onset is 60 to 90 minutes. The high can be quite intense for certain individuals and should always be used with caution. Please keep infusions and medicated baked goods at a safe distance from children and pets.

Our favorite way to enjoy the infused oil is simply spooning straight from the jar out of the refrigerator! Absorption via sublingual administration certainly has its  advantages. The onset of the high will happen faster than relying on digestion and the duration will be shorter overall. It is also much easier to titrate and manage successive doses. However you choose to ingest it, enjoy this very simple, versatile and delicious Cannabis infused treat !

Stay tuned for the final installment of this series on Homemade Cannabis Medicine. In Part 3 we will wrap the series up by blending together the Pure Cannabis Extract from Part 1 into the Infused Coconut Oil, crafting capsules and oral syringes on a fully customizable basis!

To Your Health!

Words and pictures by Nugs and Nurse Tori

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 116

Posted in Cannabis News

Dutch Dragon from Paradise Seeds: Sweet is the breath of the dragon!

The Doc was happy to grow a longtime classic and bestseller of Paradise Seeds: Dutch Dragon, a mostly sativa strain with South African pedigree. Its creation by Paradise breeder Luc dates back to 1994, so this botanical “monster” will celebrate its 20th birthday next year, while it was genetically improved though in 2002. So The Doc wondered whether Dutch Dragon would have kept its sweet poisonous dragon’s breath, its great deal of sativa potency (15-18% THC) which according to Paradise leads to a long lasting and clear high with relaxing effects, stimulating one’s senses, effecting an increased appetite and receptiveness for all kinds of pleasure such as listening and dancing to music. This sativa strain grows tall, producing slender fan leaves and big long resinous tops, requiring 9-10 weeks of flowering for this. The aroma is sweet and citrus-like, it may remind of tangerines according to Paradise. Due to its sativa heritage and respective stretching behaviour, height can be an issue indoors, to be controlled by an early induction of flowering if necessary. Dutch Dragon has quite unusual pH needs, Paradise recommends to keep it below six. Outdoors, it is expected to perform best in warm climates, but can also be cultivated successfully in colder countries (between 50º n.L. and 50º s.L. in general), thanks to its ripening time of mid October. The plants can grow up to three metres tall and potentially deliver 600-700 grams, according to Paradise Seeds. And Dutch Dragon also is an award-winning strain - it took first place in the Bio category of the Highlife Cannabis Cup 2006.

Out of a package with five feminised seeds, The Doc put three to germination, and they quickly germinated, placed between moist kitchen paper sheets. Then he planted them into

11 litre pots filled with Plagron Standard Mix soil (to which, as usual, he had previously added 5% expanded clay and horn chippings) and after about three days, their heads showed up above the surface, stretching towards the light. Right from the start, the pots stood in his actual grow room illuminated by two 600 W MH bulbs and one 400 W HPS bulb. One week after germination, the three plants had arrived at the third internode already, exhibiting a fast growth rate. “These are becoming strong and solid plants”, The Doc reported two weeks later, when the plants were 20 cm tall, exhibiting vivid side branch growth. “The shade leaves were quite broad in the beginning, but the following sets of leaves are gradually becoming more slender, truly looking like mostly sativa”, he added. He then extended the veggie stage from regularly 3.5 to 4.5 weeks: “I’ve decided to so, because the three Dutch Dragons are still growing extremely compact and bushy, and I have lots of space in my room upwards, so in the flowering stage, they may stretch as hell and it still wouldn’t be an issue for me.” When he induced flowering at the age of more than four weeks, the plants measured 45-54 cm in height, growing remarkably homogeneous, exhibiting about ten internodes. The daily light regimen had been cut down from 18/6 to 12/12, and the two MH lamps been replaced by HPS versions. The three plans responded unusually quickly to the change of the light period, after 4-5 days already having produced their first female preflowers. “A very high willingness to flower Dutch Dragon has, I’ve rarely ever experienced such a fast reaction”, The Doc praised.

When the plants were three weeks into flowering, he noted: “As expected, they are subject to a strong stretching effect during the first weeks of flowering, meanwhile having arrived at a height of about one metre. Flower production is heavily pushing, there seems to be an enormous deal of blooming power contained in this strain.” Two weeks later, he continued: “The plants are about building big dense buds, it’s a sheer pleasure to see them bloom that busily, and already at this stage, they are very frosty, covered with lots of resin glands. I am also taken by their high calyx-to-leaf ratio that corresponds to Dutch Dragon’s mostly sativa pedigree, but their bulbous shape also reminds of indica. The stretching effect lasted very long, but now seems to come to an end. A delicious intense sweet citrus-like odour is spread by the plants, just as stated by Paradise.” After eight weeks of flowering, the buds had become even thicker and richer in resin, they were about getting on the home stretch. It turned out that The Doc’s Dutch Dragon plants would ripen at the beginning of the harvest period reported by Paradise, while one plant was mature after 61 days already and the other two after 63 and 65 days, chapeau! “Simply wonderful plants they are”, The Doc enthused, “they remained bushy and compact until the very end, having so many beautiful strong side branches packed with dense hard buds, and their big long top colas are true smashers as well.” Final heights were 107, 111 and 116 cm, not exceptionally tall for a sativa strain.

After the drying process had been finished, it was time to weigh the buds which yielded a total of 325 grams, more than 100g per plant on the average, what a fantastic outcome. Those Dutch Dragon buds, dense hard sticky nuggets that highly attracted The Doc, had preserved their sweet citrusy smell that was very smooth though, more reminding of mild tangerines than acrid lemons. “Sweet is the breath of the Dragon, indeed!”, The Doc confirmed, “but will it also be very poisonous, full of magic?” He couldn’t wait to find out about that and swiftly rolled his first Dutch Dragon fattie… and the Dragon would unleash mighty white clouds of THC vapour breath from his mouth that didn’t benumb The Doc though, but extremely excite him, effecting a thrilling sativa high that made him feel energized and soaring to higher regions, as if the Dragon would have taken him on his wings and flown up and away. That mental flight lasted for about one and a half hour, then The Doc & Dragon slowly landed back in reality, what a trip! His journey was additionally sweetened by a lovely flavour, as the Dutch Dragon buds proved to taste just as they smelled – sweet, fruity and smooth, a yummy-yummy flavour sensation that was enjoyed by The Doc very much.

“Dutch Dragon did impress me in any aspect, it has proven to be a friendly THC monster with a very high yield potential and, for a mostly sativa strain, really short flowering time and well controllable height. It’s one of my Paradise favourites now, and also a sativa strain favourite in general for sure. Well, an age of almost 20 years isn’t old for a real dragon, but for a cannabis dragon, it certainly is, and I can tell – That Dutch Dragon is as strong and mighty as ever!”, The Doc concluded.

Words and pictures by Green Born Identity (G.B.I.)

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 116

Buy Dutch Dragon seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

Frisian Duck.  The stealth cannabis variety that hides itself.

 Frisian Duck is a specially developed cannabis variety which grows with webbed leaves making it very difficult to identify.  It was made by crossing Frisian Dew, an outdoor bestseller, together with a special cultivar of Ducksfoot.  The result is Frisian Duck, it is tough enough to cope with the variable Northern European summer yet it retains the webbed leaf structure which makes it difficult even for experienced growers to identify as cannabis.  Outdoor and greenhouse growers have been asking for such a variety for many years, it has been one of Dutch Passion's trickiest breeding projects.

Ducksfoot is a fascinating variety, developed in Australia it grows with webbed leaves which look quite unlike the traditional Cannabis shape.  You could quite literally walk past it and never know it is cannabis, the weird squashed leaf shape simply blends in with the rest of the surrounding vegetation and you wouldn’t give it a second glance.  

However the original Ducksfoot was never hardy enough to thrive outside of warm climates.  To really allow the true potential of the Ducksfoot to shine through it was important to toughen up the genetics, and if possible improve the yields.  Crossing Ducksfoot with Frisian Dew and selectively breeding from the offspring over several years was where the really difficult work came in. The breeding had to maintain the webbed leaf shape and at the same time improve yields with early harvests in order to make the genetics suitable for non-tropical outdoor climates.  Targeted selective breeding is always demanding and Frisian Duck was no exception: this was one of the most challenging and technically complicated breeding projects since the introduction of autoflowering varieties.  Others had tried and failed, but perhaps the most important aspect of toughening up the Ducksfoot genetics was the hybridization with the hardy Frisian Dew genetics.

Frisian Duck shows the stabilized webbed leaf structure, the leaf shape is similar to the shape of a Duck's foot print as it is squashed with webbed leaves.  Most of the leaves show this structure and during the first few months of its life the Frisian Duck really is difficult to identify as Cannabis.  Outdoors in the Northern hemisphere it is ready to harvest around the end of September, and it is only really during late bloom when the buds are fattening up that this plant looks like traditional cannabis.  But by this point the plant is almost ready to harvest.  The real value of Frisian Duck is that for the bulk of its life it is simply unrecognizable, and that makes it a convenient stealth variety for a range of growers that can use the camouflaged appearance to tremendous advantage whether growing in their back garden, in a greenhouse or in the countryside.

Outdoor growers often have a few outdoor ‘guerilla’ grow locations that they use for growing.  Guerrilla growers take great pride and passion to find and optimize their outdoor plots.  Often the best plots are south facing, in the countryside and off the beaten track.  Sometimes the grow locations are created inside bramble bushes to ensure that people, dog walkers, deers and rabbits can’t get anywhere near their cannabis plants.  For guerrilla growers the accidental discovery of their plants at any stage of life often means the end of that grow location.  But even if the Frisian Duck plants are discovered it is unlikely that they would be recognized during their vegetative growth.  So Frisian Duck is an opportunity for guerilla growers to tip the odds in their favor.

Back garden cannabis grows are popular with people lucky enough to have a reasonably private area to grow in.  Often the urban cannabis grower had to rely on their ability to keep the cannabis plants hidden from view by using creative techniques such as using a surrounding barrier of taller plants to provide guaranteed cover for the cannabis, but with Frisian Duck there is no need to provide an impenetrable barrier of camouflage shrubs, just let the Frisian Duck blend in with the other flowers, shrubs and runner beans.  You will be surprised at the stealth improvements that come from the simple removal of the iconic cannabis-shaped leaves.  Perhaps part of the reason for the success of Frisian Duck is due to the fact that everyone knows (or thinks they know) what a cannabis leaf looks like.  The reason no-one has come up with this idea before is the difficulty stabilizing the duck foot leaf shape in a toughened genetic form that can withstand non-tropical climates and still deliver decent yields.

Those that grow their cannabis in a greenhouse or poly-tunnel will also benefit from the stealthy Frisian Duck genetics which look distinctly unrecognizable surrounded by tomatoes and chili plants.  It takes some of the paranoia and stress out of greenhouse growing knowing that only you are aware of what's really growing behind the prized vegetables.  

Despite being developed primarily for outdoor/greenhouse growers, Frisian Duck does grow well indoors.  Blooming is initiated in the normal way by switching the light regime to 12/12 (12 hours light followed by 12 hours of darkness) and flowering takes around 8 weeks until its ready for harvest.

So, if you are looking for a cannabis variety which is quite unlike anything else you have grown, and if you think that the traditional cannabis leaf shape compromises your security, then it could be worth thinking about what Frisian Duck has to offer.

Words and pictures by Tony at Dutch Passion 

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 116

Buy Frisian Duck seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

Zkittlez Hash Review

2017-02-03 11:36:45

Zkittlez by Brandon of 3rd Gen Family/Moonshine Melts

#Taztetheztrainbro is a most appropriate slogan for the Zkittlez Hashish by Moonshine Melts.  After all, she is a brash, insistent, and LOUD locomotive barreling through the cannabis world. The persistent buzz has been building for a while, but recently it has become an undeniable and deafening roar; and with good reason.  Zkittlez has not only won many awards, but she has captured the hearts and tastebuds of all fortunate enough to have tried it.

 

“We create the funk.”- Brandon, Hashish maker, Moonshine Melts

 

It is a bold statement, though definitely not without merit. Brandon speaks lovingly of 3rd Gen Family, the tight-knit Mendocino County family known for being a closed circle, keenly focused on making the best medicine possible, and continually redefining measures of quality. In the last 24 months, 3rd Gen Family has amassed an enviable 18 awards. 

 

“Plenty can be friends, but few can be family.  We're brothers.” - Shiloh Massive, Farmer

 

Not content to rely upon the skills of one member of the family, 3rd Gen Family features several talented growers and concentrate makers.   It is the group-minded ethic and the unflinching attention to detail that has made the family so successful.    Zkittlez alone has garnered the following accolades:

2014 Emerald Cup 2nd Place (Concentrates)

2014 Emerald Cup 5th Place (Flower grown by Tony Mendocino)

2014 Emerald Cup 6th Place (Flower grown by Brandon)

2014 Seattle High Times Cannabis Cup 2nd Place US Solventless

2013 Emerald Cup 9th Place (Grown by Pineapple of Connoisseur Union)

 

Keeping the entire operation in-house, the Zkittlez Hashish was originated by the Terp Hogz crew.  Organically sun-grown by Papa Greenbear in Spring 2013, this Sativa-dominant strain is an OG x Humboldt Grapefruit cross with more proprietary information not yet revealed. Brandon processed the whole plant fresh frozen.  A heavy yielder, the Hashish was very resinous and odorous, and according to him, a joy to create. But considering all of the hype, will it be a joy to smoke?

 

Before me sits the 45 micron sample. In contemporary style, the Hashish in the jar is loose resin waiting to be pressed.  Opening the jar affords me the immediate and unmistakable ambient aroma of gasoline, as well as my first good view of the tiny golden brown nuggets. I am amazed at how the trichome heads glisten like diamonds in the sunlight; individually packaged morsels of psychoactive bliss. Getting closer, continuous whiffs recall bright citrus that comes in waves, like driving through thousands of acres of orange and lemon trees in rural Florida.  This exuded aroma harkens cocktails and good times.  I pour a small amount of the resin onto parchment paper, and using a Hashish press,  smooth the resin into a thin slab of terpy goodness.  Her essential aroma is sweet like confectioner's sugar. Like fine silk, I pick up a small portion of Hashish and gingerly drop it in my perfectly heated Halen Honey Hole.  The dab is completely full-melt, bubbling beautifully as the enticing smoke curls seductively into the dab rig.  A sinewy and determined lady is on her way and there is not much I can, nor want to, do about it.

 

With a mid-temperature dab, Zkittlez Hashish reveals herself and she is glorious.  Inhaling and then exhaling the Hashish is like water-skiing through gasoline and then throwing a killer aerial while kite-surfing through a bag of tasty, unending rainbows.  The flavor of Skittles candy overlays the initial fuel and carries through the end of the smoke.  Minutes afterwards, I can still taste the lime and mild acidity that earned the Zkittlez Hashish her name.  However, her fanciful moniker belies her very heady high.

 

A few minutes after the first dab, I feel my spirits lift.  I am already feeling pretty good, but, now I am feeling content, and more than a little giddy.  A smile is still on my face while I suck at the roof of my mouth, eager for more of that Zkittlez flavor. It is intense, luscious, and everything I need right now. I am tempted to take another dab, just to taste the Hashish more fully, but opt not to.  She is already bringing a steadily soaring high and flying too high will prevent me to fully experience her wonders. 

 

I enjoy this present plateau.  My limbs have relaxed, but do not feel heavy.  My head tilts back and I look at the plain white ceiling with newfound interest.  I am lost in thought, but my thoughts are not racing.  I pause my thoughts to put on music and sink further into the comfort of my sofa while I laugh to myself about a private, inside joke.  I am not couch-locked, but rather supremely satisfied by the plush of the cushions.  As stressful as life can be, sometimes a simple moment in pleasurable silence is all that's necessary.  Fifteen minutes later, I am again chuckling about life and allowing the week's negativity to pass by.  I crank up the music and feel the bass throbbing through my body.  The vibe is deep and I feel connected to the singer's every word. I am in a private party in my living room and I am loving it.  Besides, another hit is soon in store.

 

Being Frenchy's student, I would be remiss if I did not press the resin and let it sit for a while.  With this in mind, I had rolled 1 gram of Zkittlez resin into a ball 3 weeks ago.  Cleaving into the mass is like pulling apart blond taffy.  Hitting with my 3-hole pipe, I find this specimen even more flavorful than the first.  The fuel is still intense, but slightly mellowed.  The candy flavor coats all of my mouth and travels down to my lungs, dripping syrupy goodness all the way.  Breathing out, a distinct, perfumy taste slides by, like the caress of a departing lover, punctuating the experience perfectly. Zkittlez Hashish is mouth-watering opulence with a bite. She is so good, I confidently say the hubbub was definitely warranted. Get on the Z train, man.  The next stop is mood-altering awesome, so you had better hang on.  

Words and pictures by The Dank Duchess

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 116

Posted in Cannabis News

Smoke report

Strain-TGAGenetics Dairy Queen (Cheese x Romulan x Cindy 99).

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION: When I got given the Dairy Queen to test there were 2 very distinct phenotype`s. The 1st pheno was very cheese dominant, with a nice compact, tight bud structure, very dense hard buds, still very sticky to the touch (after a 8 week cure) and a real nice amount of trichomes which when looked at under a 100x scope were 35% amber/60%cloudy/5%clear. Phenotype 2 had a much more fluffy texture with still nice chunky buds bud not as hard and dense as pheno 1, they still had a very nice appearance and the same trichome development and color. The real difference between the 2 phenotype`s was definitely the smell!. Pheno 1 had a super strong dank cheese smell but with a slight fruit aroma!, whereas pheno 2 was totally different. It still had the cheese smell but that was overwhelmed with a amazing tropical fruit smell which we have dubbed "the pina colada" pheno! due to the coconut smell which I have never come across before in any strain I have tested! so that got me intrigued to say the least.10/10 for bag appeal super looking bud!

SMOKE TEST COMMENTS:For testing the Dairy Queen we used mainly the plenty vaporizer, a RooR bong and in joint form. For me the best hit and fastest effect was through my trusty bong but we got the best flavor from using the vaporizer!. As you would expect from any cheese hybrid strain this was a heavy hitter right from the start. Phenotype 1 was just a total knock out cheese smoke, super fast pain relief with a very fast onset of effect,s and a few bowls before bed time did the job of knocking me out. As I suffer from amnesia this was a great relief! and the effects lasted for a good 2-3 hours. Now phenotype 2 was a totally different smoke all together!, the smoke expansion in your lungs was not as heavy as phenotype 1 but that was more than made up with the super mellow high that lasted for a good 2 hours followed by the most flavorsome smoke I have had the pleasure to test!. Both phenos had a nice fast onset of effects with pheno 1 being the more stronger knock out smoke and pheno 2 being the more mellow smoke with superior flavor.

FINAL COMMENTS:!. I suffer from agoraphobia (fear of leaving the house) which can bring with it panic attacks! In my experience cheese dominant strains can set off my attacks due to there overwhelming strength!. I must have got a pheno leaning towards the c99 or romulan strains in phenotype 2! For the 1st time in 7 months after smoking the "pina colada" pheno I was able to not only leave my room but my house. It was only for a brief walk but when you dont leave the house at all a brief walk is a real great thing and I owe that to pheno 2. Now phenotype 1 was too strong for me to use as a daytime smoke so was mainly used at bedtime to knock me out asleep and to stop my mind racing which was great!, this strain had me covered from all angles!. 

When I first got asked to test the Dairy Queen I was a little skeptical, that was due to me growing up in the UK and knowing cheese strains very well!. Over the years many seed company's have tried to improve or tweak the original cheese and not done a very good job!. This was not the case with the Dairy Queen and I must say that TGAGenetics have created a great strain that worked very well for my medical needs! A massive thank you to Subcool and the whole TGAgenetic team for creating a strain that finally got me out of the confines of my house. With this strain if smoked in moderation I can now leave the house on the odd occasion which to me is a great accomplishment and all that needs saying, no other strain has helped me like the Dairy Queen and for that I will be eternally grateful! and delighted I got asked to test this amazing strain!

Words and pictures by Skunk-Mad

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 115

Buy Dairy Queen seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

A Sweet Seeds guide for Autoflowering growing

General concepts.

Breeding, Selection and Evolution.

When breeding autoflowering Cannabis plants (also known as autos or automatic) two main techniques are used. One of them is crossing selected specimens from two autoflowering strains. This is the case in, for example, Big Devil XL Auto® (variety SWS28 from Sweet Seeds) which is the result of the cross between an autoflowering Jack Herer developed by the Sweet Seeds I+D department and a Big Devil #2 Auto® (SWS20). The other technique commonly used consists of the hybridization between an autoflowering and a photoperiod dependent genetic. In this case the resulting hybrid is not autoflowering and two more generations of breeding and selection will be necessary to fix the autoflowering trait with a rate of 100% in all the offspring. Most of the Sweet Seeds strains have been developed using this technique and a good example would be Cream Caramel Auto® (SWS22), which is the result of a cross between selected 2nd generation autoflowering genetic lines and a Cream Caramel® (SWS04) elite clone.

In the previously mentioned technique, performed in the development of Cream Caramel Auto®, the autoflowering genetic contributed with the desired trait that makes it flower regardless of the light cycle. The Cream Caramel® contributes its hugely appreciated qualities like potency, taste, aroma, quantity and quality of the resin, type of effect, etc. to the genetic pool of the new hybrid. Several generations of crossbreeding and selection will be needed to fix the desirable traits found in both parental.

Depending on the type of autoflowering and photoperiod-dependent genetics used in the cross and on the selection of the desirable traits, we can obtain new autoflowering hybrids leaning to the sativa or indica side (sweeter, spicier, etc.).

Every time we cross an autoflowering strain with a photoperiod-dependent the resulting hybrid will reduce its Cannabis Ruderalis inhereted genes by 50%. With this we manage to distance it more and more from these primitive genetics. At Sweet Seeds we decided that every time this happens, a new generation is created and this is how we establish the different generations of our autoflowering strains. It’s important to distinguish the concept used with these 'generations' from the so-called generations resulting from the successive sexual reproductions. Not performing this differentiation could lead to wrong interpretations.

In the last 5 years we released multiple autoflowering strains. Starting with the first autos – Speed Devil Auto® (SWS11), Fast Bud Auto® (SWS16) or Big Devil Auto® (SWS15) – that were very well received by many growers who quickly noticed and made good use of their benefits, we then passed to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations. Now we have eradicated almost every undesirable trait of the first Ruderalis genetics. A completely new range of strains with new tastes and aromas are born, with plants that finish their automatic flowering between 60 and 90 days after germination, with a much bigger size than their ancestors do. The flower and resin density of these strains is now similar to any photoperiod dependent polyhybrid.

At Sweet Seeds we work hard in the development of plants that are easy to grow, very aromatic and with a great taste. At the same time we want them to show an outstanding growth vigor, bigger size and greater flower production. This improvement is noticeable in our appreciated Big Devil XL Auto®, a 3rd Generation autoflowering strain recently awarded with the 1st Prize in the III Copa Cannábica Expogrow Irún 2014 that can reach to 1.5m in just 9 and a half weeks after germination. We could start calling these plants as high stature Autos. Cream Mandarine Auto® (SWS29), Green Poison Auto® (SWS14) and several other classics from our photoperiod-dependent collection also joined the big family of autoflowering strains with admirable results.

Sweet Seeds autoflowering strains are in constant evolution. Besides the initial development and improvement, every time we produce a new commercial seed we get back to the selection of the best specimens so that we can use them as parents to the next generation. Sometimes introducing a new genetic is also necessary in order to avoid consanguineous depression and keep the much appreciated hybrid vigor.

As time went by new traits appeared, got fixed through selection of our best autos and we can say that it was only in the last few years that these genetics have been subjected to a significant evolution regarding both qualitative and quantitative traits. This was the result of fixing, generation after generation, the most desirable traits from our elite clones and taking advantage of the Ruderalis genetic exclusively for the genes responsible for the automatic flowering.

After two seasons of previous work, in 2013 Sweet Seeds released a very special new range of autoflowering strains, the Red Family, with three big colorful bets ranging from red to purple flowers. The three aforementioned strains are Black Cream Auto (SWS37), Dark Devil Auto (SWS38) and Red Poison Auto (SWS39).

In 2014, Sweet Seeds kept on with the autoflowering revolution releasing a new generation of autos and opening a range of varieties of high stature and abundant production. We would like to highlight the spectacular Bloody Skunk Auto (SWS44), winner of the 2nd prize in the III Copa Cannábica Expogrow Irún 2014, with its precious reddish purple flowers, the versatile and magnificent Sweet Trainwreck Auto (SWS47) and the well famed Ice Cool® (SWS06) in autoflowering version, all of them belonging to the 4th Generation.

 

GROWING GUIDELINE

Let us now enter the grow zone and learn about the best way to get the full potential from these fast strains. There are no big differences regarding photoperiod dependent strains, but it’s advisable to pay attention to a few basic rules that can help us to get the most out of them.

I can personally confirm that growing autos can be addictive due to their rapid growth, something that we always seek when we germinate seeds. However, that same rapidity can turn against us if we are not watchful in some critical moments and this could lead to slower growth.

This short guide is compatible with every type of cultivation technique. It can be followed for indoor and outdoor growing, SCROG, SOG, LST, hydroponics, soil, etc. It’s also important to clarify that the highest productions will always be obtained in indoor grows.

With that being said, the only notable difference will be the different number of light hours per day that each plant receives. Outdoors it will be no more than 15 hours (between Spring and Summer), while indoors we can give them the maximum hours of light possible, which would be ideally between 18 and 20 hours of continuous light every day. With 20 hours of intense direct light and 4 hours of darkness, we can ensure a prolific development. This is why autoflowering plants can also be grown in outdoor zones with a lot of light contamination. They can be perfectly grown from germination to harvest in a balcony that is lit by street lights the whole night or even in the veg room, something unimaginable for photoperiod dependent plants as they would never reach maturity.

Let’s pay attention to some important rules that can allow us to thoroughly enjoy growing autoflowering strains:

 

1 – Hydration and germination

From the main seed germination methods, the one that worked out better for me is explained as follows:

Fill half a glass of water (use soft waters), leave it to the open air for 24h, add four or five drops of hydrogen peroxide and drop the seeds into the water. Cover the glass and leave to stand for 24 to 48 hours in a warm place. Ideal temperature would be around 22ºC and 25ºC. After this, the seeds have probably already absorbed the necessary amount of water to open the shell and show a little root.

Then it’s time to transfer them to a humid paper towel or directly to a peat moss jiffy or Rockwool slab, although they could also be left in the glass of water for a while more until the root reaches to 1 or 2cm.  In that case, the water should be changed every 2 days. If you use paper towels try to find natural fiber papers without any additives, inks or bleaching, as it could damage the small root. Then they should be left well covered, in a dark place with the same temperature.

Soon the roots will grow, finding their way through the paper towel, which is why it is not advisable to leave them unattended for more than 12 hours so that they don’t grow more than 1 or 2cm. Just enough to be sure that the seed has totally sprouted with good health. In my case, as I grow in soil, I pass them to jiffys and leave them there until I see the cotyledons. After this, they are moved to the first pot.

 

 2 – Vegetative stage, transplant and different types of containers

Together with germination, this is one of the most critical moments when growing autoflowering strains. These strains start flowering approximately 3 weeks after germination, which means that they have a very short growth stage and, for that reason, we should make the most of it. It all depends on these first 3 weeks of life, for which we should pay even more attention than usual. It’s not hard, but it’s convenient to be extra careful.

As I was saying before, after I get the recently sprouted seeds in a jiffy, it’s time to choose a container and the type of soil. However, it’s also time for a very important decision: start directly in the final pot or use a smaller pot and only transplant to the final one a few days before flowering starts.

At this point there is a lot of controversy as some say that it’s better to use only one container from the beginning, without any transplants. If you choose this method, you should take into consideration these two basic principles:

-The advisable size of the container (or hole in the ground) should be of at least 7 liters. Optimal would be 10 liters, while 25 liter containers would be excellent.

-Be extremely careful and try not to damage the root system of the plant nor to provoke lack of Oxygen under the soil surface due to possible overwatering in the first days, as it could slow down growth or even kill the plant.

For this reason, I personally prefer to use the other technique, performing a transplant during the vegetative phase. The transplant brings about other risks as it could totally stop growth if it’s not performed with the adequate precautions, but next I’ll tell you about the way I usually do it and if it makes sense to you, maybe you can also try it yourself.

The first container should be as small as a 1 liter container or even smaller if possible. With so little soil on it, the medium will dry faster. This will lower the risks of drowning the seedling, while allowing for a vigorous healthy root growth. We should be cautious enough to give them all the water they need but always respecting the dry cycle between watering (wet-dry-wet). Don’t give them too much water if the upper layer of the soil is still moist. When growing autos it’s also important to avoid leaving the soil completely dry for longer than 12 hours as plants have fewer time to develop new roots.

I usually transplant them to the final container when root tips are visibly coming out from the lower drainage holes, which normally happens around the 10th day of life or when the third pair of leaves appear. As previously mentioned, the final pot should have the capacity of between 7 and 25 liters.

The most advisable containers are the ones that allow the soil to 'breathe', like Airpot® or Smartpot®, as they permit a lot more oxygen and air circulation to the roots of these fast plants. With frequent watering, they require more time and attention, but the growth is vertiginous.

Regular containers can also be used with excellent results as long as we respect the dry cycle before watering.

Regardless of which method you choose, you should pay attention to all the factors to obtain good results.

 

3 – Soil and nutrients

Choosing the right soil is also important but it could be the same soil that you would use to grow any other Cannabis photoperiod dependent strain. It should be rich in nutrients, very spongy, airy and preferably a well-known brand. It should not contain an excessive amount of Nitrogen. It shouldn’t be prepared with slow-release nutrients as the plants don’t have enough time to benefit from them.

Fertilization is another important task because we can easily compromise flower production and quality of the final product if the soil gets overfed. When we choose to do the pre-flowering transplant we should know that it’s not advisable to fertilize for at least 25 days afterwards. If we use a good quality soil mix, rich in nutrients, the plant can get everything she needs from the soil during 3 to 4 weeks.

After these 25 days the flower production is in its apogee and we can add some organic flowering stimulator to help in the development of big sized buds covered by a good amount of resin. At that point the plant has already ceased growing and is now focused on filling and maturing its flowers. We can add liquid fertilizers, but always take into consideration that it’s better to use low dosages as we can then add a bit more into the next watering. It’s easier to over-fert than to under-fert a plant, so moderation is always good advice, especially with autoflowering strains.

Sooner than you think your plant will be finishing its life cycle. At this point you should use only water in the last 10 to 15 days.

 

4 – Light and climate

Although there is no precise definition about the timing when flowering will start, there are no differences regarding any other strains when it comes to light and climate requirements. Therefore it is advisable to keep the plants under white spectrum lights (Metal-Halide bulbs are the most advisable lighting) at least for the first 10 days. After that, you can start using High Pressure Sodium bulbs.

Above all it is important to use a powerful light, ensuring an optimal flowering, while it’s also important to keep the climate controlled as with any other cannabis strain.

As you see, there are no big differences between autoflowering and photoperiod dependent plants, as at the end of the day they all need the same: love and a lot of sweetness during the whole life cycle ;)

You can visit us on Facebook, Twitter or in the Cannabic forums where we are present to send us your questions and comments.

Thanks for Reading!

Sweet smokes.

Words and pictures by Jaypp

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 115

Posted in Cannabis News

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