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                                                         Harvesting your crop - reaping the rewards 

Finally the day has arrived. After all your hard work, going from the strain selection process right through to the final stages of flowering with all that nurturing of your chosen ladies and attending to their every need, now is the time to see how they reward you for your efforts, hopefully you should now be looking at a crop of beautiful pungent buds adorning your plants, glistening with sticky trichomes. You have now reached harvest time.

Overall, trimming and drying your crop is rather self explanatory and, on face value, quite simple, but is by no means any less a crucial and important time as any other throughout the growing process. This is the time for perfecting the crop, the finishing touch as it were, and can play a very large role in the final outcome of your finished products flavor, strength, and smoke. Sadly I have seen many a beautiful well grown plant be ruined by an incorrect attitude to trimming and drying. That being said, every grower will have their own tricks and ways to go about drying but the growers with the tastiest buds will always tell you to take your time and not rush.

Most commercially grown bud I have seen recently has usually gone from plant to baggy within 4-7 days and achieved by having fans, heaters and dehumidifiers forcefully removing the water quickly from the plant, this practice may be more financially beneficial, allowing quicker turnovers etc., but on a smoking level it leads to a harsher taste as a consequence of chlorophyll from the plant being trapped where it has not had a chance to break down; usually this would be removed naturally in the drying process, which is why some dry buds have a “green” flavor to them which in my mind is an awful shame considering the time and effort put into growing the crop in the first place. If dried slowly over a period of time without forcing the process, the outer layer of the buds will dry slowly and the moisture from the core of the buds will slowly transfer out. Gentle circulation of the air at a stable temperature and 5-10 minutes of extraction every couple of hours will remove the built up humidity from the drying process.

Air is a very important factor of drying: too much and they will dry too quickly, too little and you run the chance of mold which can destroy a drying crop in a very short amount of time. Your crop will go through several stages of feeling dry to the touch but actually still being very moist inside. You can judge this by breaking apart a small bud. If this is the case you may need to slow the circulation down a touch so the outer layer doesn’t dry completely. I find if it dries before the last of the water has worked out of the stem then it will act as a barrier and not allow even drying, which is crucial to a decent burn and a smooth smoke. The entire drying process should take about 7-14 days depending on your conditions and also the density and size of your buds and then you would move on to the curing or “fermenting” stage which allows the breakdown of any traces of chlorophyll and various other compounds leaving you with the full unadulterated flavor of just your buds with no leafy or green flavors interfering.

We have jumped ahead of the process slightly, purely as I feel the environment for drying has to be well thought-out. I would plan it well before getting the scissors out and, if you are drying in the same area you have grown in, make sure to remove all moist substrate and water-butts as it may prolong things and the extra moisture in the air increases the chances of mold. Once you have your environment figured out it's time to tackle the plants hands on.

Leaving your plants an extra day or two more than you usually would to dry out after their final flush is definitely beneficial; your plants should not be at the wilting stage but by now you should know your plants' habits and drinking rates better than they do. Doing this will naturally drop a day or two off of the drying cycle without rushing things in any way.

So with the drying area set up and ready it's time to start cutting down and trimming your crop, plan this out and do things in stages I have caused myself problems by chopping more plants than I had time to trim in that sitting and then ended up having a nightmare removing the wilted leaves instead of nice perky fresh ones, I have found it better to do it plant by plant just in case you do need to take a break. There are various ways of trimming and manicuring your buds. I have tried various different methods from kitchen scissors and a bread-knife for the stems to thousands of pounds worth of machine trimmers and all of them have their pros and cons.

The mechanical methods are fantastic labor saving devices and cut down the time it takes to trim a large crop by over half and leave the buds looking picture perfect but the major downside I have found in the mechanical methods is they all involve some form of rubbing. From the hand operated trimmers to the large motor driven ones, they all in some way roll the buds using rubber fingers or rub them over a grate, in my mind rubbing a live plant creates charas by smooshing the glands under friction and I have found this changes the flavor of the strain considerably - I have had many a lovely potent smelling flower have its flavor reduced by 40% by the rubbing action of the machines. As the buds have been removed from the stalk for trimming in some machines you have to dry in multi-tiered nets instead of hanging the buds still on the branch.

The drop in flavor problem I proved to myself by hand trimming half a plant and machine trimming the other, when dry I found the hand trimmed and branch hung side had an amazing, full, rich flavor and was covered in THC (how it should be) whereas the other, which seemed to have dried a little faster due to being off the branch and in nets, looked amazingly manicured and had a lot of smell but a lack of flavor and was not as glistening in THC as the other. if you are growing on a larger scale and do not have the ability to manage harvesting on your own and can't have a few friends over for a  trimming party, or are growing for medical use and find hand scissors difficult or uncomfortable to use then they are the perfect way to help manage your harvesting. Furthermore, the trim they collect is amazingly good for BHO production and the rubber fingered versions physically collect a stunning hash for you to scrape off and enjoy, it's probably the closest thing to true hand rubbed charas hash you can find without getting very, very sticky.

Personally, the method I prefer to stick to is the simple old fashioned way of going about a crop harvest by careful hand trimming and manicuring to maintain the flavors and strength that the strain intended. There are many variations of trimming and manicuring scissors available but personally I prefer the slightly curved blade ones with a fine point. The few pairs I have had for years are still very sharp so, unlike some others, it is definitely worth spending the extra money on a decent set to last you. Most importantly, make sure they are comfortable in your hand, it is surprising how quickly painful blisters can appear if you have a bad pair of scissors.

I like to select branches of the plant and deal with them one by one. I tend to work from the bottom up, trimmed branches should be able to be hung nicely on lines to allow proper airflow between them and you won't need to turn or touch the buds until they are dry (unlike nets where you would have to turn your buds frequently to try and avoid flat spots and trapped moisture to allow an even dry). Gloves are a must if you have a lot to do and a small bottle of isopropyl alcohol will prove to be a lifesaver when everything starts getting gummed up from scraping scissors with a fine blade to collect any resin. A quick clean in ISO and rinse and dry will restore your cutting efficiency to full flow. If you decide to smoke what you scrape off your scissors while trimming this will greatly reduce your trimming efficiency: it is very enjoyable but probably better saved until you are on your last plant or two. I have made this lovely mistake a few times and been left staring at a wall for hours with an insane grin on my face and no trimming being done. Careful handling of the buds during cutting will prevent bruising of the glands and maintain a superior flavor and a frosty look. And carefully collect your trim as there are many treats locked inside the “waste” just waiting to be processed into FECO oil, some tasty ice hash or some dabtastic BHO.

Harvesting is usually treated in two ways: those that want money and the quickest turnover possible and those that want the best product they can achieve. The end user is the one that can tell the difference and in some cases the bud that looks picture perfect isn’t strictly the best flavor or strength bud on offer. Long story short: treat your plants with the love and respect they deserve throughout the whole growing process and they will reward you. Growing a lovely crop then drying the whole lot in musty cardboard boxes for the sake of not using your grow space for an extra week or so, or waiting until the buds are sticky then storing them in plastic bags to retain weight is not the way forward in my mind, but I see it happen frequently.

We are in control of the outcome of every plant and every grow we do so why not make them the best we can in every way, sometimes it's not so much a way of doing, but a way of thinking. Love your plants and they will love you back

 

Much love and peace, happy growing.

 

Words and pictures by Kem Osiris

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 114

Posted in Cannabis News

Outdoor self-sufficient cannabis growing in 2015

Its the dream of all cannabis lovers.  Having as much great quality cannabis as you care to smoke and all for free.  The good news is that this is easy to achieve with a small amount of planning.  Lots of people find that growing their own cannabis outdoors is surprisingly easy.  It requires no special skills, just a pair of walking boots and an appetite for a mini adventure. 

Growing your cannabis plants outdoors has some great advantages over indoor growing.  You don’t need to spend cash buying the tent, carbon filter, fans, pH meters, EC meters, lights etc.  You don’t need to worry about the kids/guests discovering your little hobby.  You don’t need to worry about the police taking a dislike to your indoor horticultural tendencies or nosy neighbours.  You don’t have to worry about electricity costs, you don’t have to feel paranoid about having the loft full of ganja nor do you have to worry about your grow room bursting into flames 5 minutes after you leave the house.    Whats more the sun is free and the best outdoor cannabis genetics really will grow themselves.

Growing outdoors is possible even in Northern European latitudes, and in places such as the Mediterranean and sunny American states outdoor growing has been the norm for years.  Many outdoor growers feel that the natural light spectrum provided by the sun gives an extra ‘kick’ to the potency and flavour of their cannabis.

Find the right outdoor growing location

Growing outdoors is really very easy.  The main challenge is to identify, prepare and maintain a private outdoor plot.  Once the plot has been found it will often deliver years of faithful service.  Some growers are lucky enough to have a secluded and sunny place in their garden, a greenhouse is ideal since it mitigates the worst of the early/late season weather.  But many growers find their ideal grow space in the hills, forests, fields or riverbanks.  There is no substitute for ‘boots on the ground’ to find a good growing location with direct sunlight, reasonable soil and a nearby water source.  Google maps are a great ally of the outdoor guerrilla grower, they will show you more than you can see on foot.  The best locations offer some protection from the worst of the weather/winds, the best plots are difficult to find accidentally so you will need to look hard.  Many outdoor growers will look for a plot that is surrounded by brambles to deter grazing animals such as deer, or they will plant brambles deliberately to protect their grow location.  Some growers will often create a ‘crawl hole’ as an entrance, this is a good way to prevent accidental discovery of your plot by e.g. a dog walker.  Often outdoor growers have several plots in case one is discovered.  Soil quality can be improved with nutrients, fertilisers and fresh compost.  In very hot countries, or in times of summer drought, you may need to visit the plants to give some occasional water.  This is one reason why it can be useful to have your secret outdoor garden near a small stream.

Starting your plants.

Cannabis plants are at their most vulnerable as seedlings.  For that reason many growers will germinate their preferred outdoor cannabis genetics at home, and not plant the seedlings outdoors until they are 2-3 weeks old.   Small plants are easy to transport to your outdoor grow location.  They should be planted into good quality soil, perhaps supplemented with compost.  Seedlings should be initially well watered in their new location and protected with slug pellets.  Experienced outdoor growers will use a small copper-tape collar around the base of the seedling to deter slugs/snails, these can be bought from any garden centre, or you can easily make them yourself.  

Monitoring your plants.

Unless you are lucky enough to be growing your plants in your own greenhouse/garden you may not be able to visit your plants as often as you would like.  Having spent a long time finding and improving your prized secret countryside garden you do not want to compromise it with regular visits which will leave trails leading directly to your plants.  Some growers will restrict themselves to perhaps 5 or 6 visits in total, and this will often include the initial planting and the harvest visit.  This is where it is important to be able to rely on proven outdoor genetics bred to be tough enough to survive with minimal help.  Feminized seeds are also a great ally of the outdoor grower, they allow the grower to use a smaller plot and grow fewer plants.  You need to select genetics that will be able to finish blooming at your latitude.  Established outdoor cannabis seed genetics such as Frisian Dew, Passion#1, Durban Poison or Purple#1 are all capable of being grown in Northern European latitudes or extreme southerly latitudes in the southern hemisphere.

Bringing the buds home

There is no point growing outdoors if you have nowhere to dry the harvested crop.  Drying them in the spare bedroom will not cut it; the smell could land you in trouble without odour control.  An indoor drying space should be equipped with a carbon filter and fan to remove odours and moisture.  Small specialist tents designed for drying your buds can be bought cheaply, or built easily.  The buds will take a few days to dry, and then just need to be put in jars to cure.  With any luck your outdoor crop will keep you supplied in top quality cannabis all year, and you will have become a self-sufficient outdoor grower.  Outdoor medical growers often make concentrates such as cannabis oil or edibles from their outdoor crop. 

Field extraction.

Some outdoor growers have personal circumstances which prevent them from bringing their outdoor crop home.  Perhaps they live in shared accommodation and there is simply nowhere to dry/store their crop.  For these growers there is still one option, which is to make a ‘field extraction’ using e.g. IPA (Iso Propyl Alcohol).  IPA is flammable and has to be handled with extreme care, away from sources of ignition.  Normally buds are supposed to be dry before they can be treated with IPA to remove the oil.  But freshly harvested buds will also work. The IPA extraction may not be quite as efficient with wet buds compared to dry buds.  But when a field-extraction is the only option there is no choice.  Buds are simply harvested, the fan leaves removed, and the buds are put in a bucket, covered in IPA and left a minute or two for the IPA to dissolve the resin and cannabinoids.  The IPA is poured from the steel bucker into a container.  The green-coloured IPA is then stored in a solvent-safe container until a safe and suitable opportunity is available to evaporate the IPA, which will leave pure cannabis oil. To minimise the risk of contaminating the cannabis oil, metal containers are preferred over plastic/rubber.

Lateral thinking

Frisian Duck is a new Dutch Passion variety developed outdoors over several years in Holland.  This variety has deliberately been bred to grow with webbed leaves to disguise the plant and prevent it being immediately recognisable as cannabis.  The variety is ready to harvest outdoors around the end of September in the Northern Hemisphere, it was created after hundreds of requests over many years from outdoor growers for a variety which does not carry the distinctive cannabis shaped leaf.  The Frisian Duck is a cross of the proven Frisian Dew with an unusual ‘Ducksfoot’ cannabis cultivar which has webbed leaves similar to a Ducks foot.  Frisian Duck is an ideal stealth variety, even experienced cannabis growers may fail to be able to identify it as cannabis.  

Outdoors is always an option

Indoor growing is not always possible, but with the right preparation and the right genetics most people can harvest an outdoor crop.  The arrival of automatic varieties allows a mid summer harvest, with traditional photoperiods ready a month or two later.

Words and pictures by Tony at Dutch Passion Seed Company

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 114

Buy Dutch Passion seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

Serious Seeds strain story

Motavation - THC hammer with a surprise factor

Through the acquisition of Magus Genetics, the 70/30 indica/sativa strain Motavation found its way into the fine seed assortment of Serious Seeds. The development of that strain by Magus breeder Gerrit took an unusual way, dating back about ten years. In the beginning, there was a precursor called “Starwarz”, as once reported by Gerrit: “Starwarz was a plant that was selected from a cross between the Bluebird's (a famous Amsterdam coffee shop) favourite Sensi Star clone and my best Warlock male.  Later I started my own Sensi Star lines derived from the Bluebird clone and some Sensi star seeds that a friend (the American "Mosca Negra") gave me and made some test crosses between the offspring and the same Warlock male I'd used for the Starwarz. There was some difference between those families but I really liked the overall results so I could not leave or destroy the surplus seeds. Instead of that, I gave away the (mixed) seeds, some of them in the "bargain mix", along with some others, but also some labelled as SS F2 x WL. A few of those I sent to an Austrian grower and patient who had asked for something indica with medical potential. Some months later he replied that he was very happy with the results, that he had named it “Medizin Power” and that it had become pretty popular among his circle of friends, other medical marijuana patients. For a report in Heads Magazine, I then used this partly German name “Medizin Power” as a temporary strain name.” Later, in other publications, Gerrit referred to this strain as “London Memories”, however. Why? Gerrit: “In October 2004, the first UK "London Hemp Fair" was held in the Wembley Conference Hall. Coincidentally, I had finished the evaluation of a few test crosses made between Sensi Star and Warlock a while earlier. Since a little more than 1000 seeds I had left from the best performing family where not enough to offer for sale at that moment, I decided to give them away as freebies at the London Fair. I had also not yet registered the (already picked) name Motavation, so I thought it would be nice to give them "London Memories" as a temporary name. This way I could register the name while producing fresh seeds and bringing the strain to perfection.”

Almost instantly after its market entry in 2005, Motavation received early great honours when winning the first prize in the indica category of the International Cannagraphic Cup 2005 – with blind testing by a varied group of international growers and smokers! Two more prizes would follow in the course of the years, with the last one being a victory in the indica category of the renowned Expogrow Cup in Spain.

Motavation is described as a short/squat plant that should spend a bit more time in the vegetative stage than usual, Serious Seeds recommends five to six weeks. She reaches maturity within 50-60 days of flowering, with yields of 300-500g/m2 to be expected. Under natural light, Motavation will finish at the end of October. She produces dense big buds that may be a little bit leafy but are richly covered with resin so that it’s almost a waste to manicure the buds, Serious Seeds says. Motavation’s aroma is a powerful and a very special one, somewhat sweet with a touch of turpentine or fresh paint. The high is an overwhelming indica body stone, while on the mental level, it shall also effect a creative surge. “However, the execution of those many ideas that one has then, must wait until the effect is over”, breeder Simon comments with a twinkle in his eyes. Motavation is also medicinally valuable, for example as a pain reliever or simply as a relaxant with a deep effect.

Mr. Power-Planter precisely needs such a strain to come down from his laborious daily work and clear his head. So he decided to put Motavation to a test grow. The vegetative part was done by his pal Ellis D. this time, due to lack of space. Ellis D. germinated five feminised Motavation seeds in Jiffy pots, placed in a heated mini greenhouse. After about three days, the seedlings’ heads popped through the surface. In the first two weeks, they were raised under two 36 W fluorescent lights (after some days, Ellis had transplanted the young plants into 7.5 litre pots filled with Plagron soil) which led to a very compact early growth, with the first side branch tips emerging very soon from the nodes. After two weeks, the five Motas were placed under a 250 W HPS bulb, growing healthy and very homogeneous. They became bushy, with lush green leaves, a real pleasure to look at. When Ellis D. passed them on to Mr. Power Planter after three weeks, the five plants were about 30 cm tall. In Mr. Power-Planter’s grow room, they then enjoyed an excellent light intensity of about 600 W/m2 which, together with the fact that they had been transplanted for the second time (into 18 litre pots), effected quite a burst of growth. After one week, i.e. a total of four weeks of vegetative growth, Mr. Power-Planter induced flowering, at plant heights of 45-50 cm. In view of the only moderate stretching effect to be expected for the flowering stage, the plants would have profited from a longer vegetative stage by growing bigger and taller, but Mr. Power-Planter already had to place the next generation of plants into his veggie room.

In the course of flowering, the previously already well-developed side branches kept on growing dynamically, forming a dense wide carpet of fat flowering heads around the strong main stem and its top cola. Surprisingly, the indica-dominant Motavation strain exhibited a considerable sativa impact in its flower structure: All of the buds revealed a high calyx-to-leaf ratio, with countless tightly packed small calyxes. While also having that kind of flower structure, one of the plants formed a more longish, tapered bud shape and also was the tallest of all. The buds of the other four plants were more chubby instead. But what all of the buds had in common, was the density and hardness of an indica. And also the odour spread by them was identical: There really was that smell of fresh paint which in that case, being 100% biological, could be deeply inhaled unconcernedly. Mr. Power-Planter liked that increasingly intense smell a lot, and the same was true for the rich resin content of the buds, even most of the bigger flower leaves were completely lined with resin so that he already thought of preparing great water hash after the harvest.

At the end of flowering, the plants’ height ranged between 68-87 cm, decreasing a bit with each single plant, like stairsteps. These differences in height were so slight though that one could still call those five plants’ performance homogeneous. The more so because all the five Motavation plants impressed Mr. Power-Planter with a parade of long side branches densely packed with buds and crowned on top by fat head buds that could almost compete with the top cola of the main stem. And also the flower maturation process went along pretty uniformly, after 54-57 days Mr. Power-Planter could harvest all the five plants, within the time frame officially stated.

They yielded an excellent dry harvest of 385 grams, almost 80g per plant on the average. With a longer vegetative stage, Mr. Power-Planter certainly would have hit the 100g mark. When test-smoking the Mota buds then, this strain gave him another surprise: Although having that distinct touch of sativa, they packed a most heavy indica punch which already after a few tokes weighted his body down like lead, and also his head felt heavily dazed in the beginning. Judging from the look of the buds, Mr. Power-Planter had expected that those sativa traits would have translated into a likewise obvious effect in the high. However, the sativa share of Motavation didn’t completely go by the board – After a while, creative thoughts were arising in Mr. Power-Planter’s head, suddenly conveying the solution of a certain technical problem in his grow room to him. So Mr. Power-Planter felt tremendously stoned and deeply relaxed, but at the same time mentally agile and slightly euphoric. That kind of effect lasted for about two hours. On the flavour side, the Mota buds proved to be as aromatic as their smell – still like fresh paint after the drying process - had promised. But of course they didn’t actually taste like fresh paint, but had a complex sweet spiciness that lingered on the palate very long.

“An easy to grow, very potent and high-yield strain with a very special odour and unusual combination of effects”, Mr. Power-Planter said and added: “Thankfully, this strain was preserved by Serious Seeds after the demission of Magus Genetics!”

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

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 113

Buy Motavation seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

Ripper Quake pollen hash

This hash was made from 2 of TGAGenetics legendary strains Jack the ripper and Cheese quake. The hash was made from the sugar trim with 90% being JTR and 10% Cheese Quake. The aim being to get a end product that gave good motivation whilst elevating pain, controling anxiety and getting my mind in a good state at the same time. Lets test it out and see how it did!

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION : This is by far some of the finest dry sift hash I have ever seen. The overal look looks like old school Moroccan hash but with a nice crumbly texture. When we checked it out under a 100x scope I would say this had 75-85% trichome heads (Ranging in size from 150u-25u), with around 30% amber trichomes and very little contaminates in the end product. 

With dry sift hash you get one thing you don't get with bubble hash which is an amazing smell which I dont tend to find with other concentrates and the smell from this amazing. There is a very nice light lemon smell from the JTR followed by a full on hit of spice and a underlying skunk smell. the main smell is definitely the lemon!.

SMOKE TEST COMMENTS: This hash (pollen) is very kind on the lungs but hit,s very hard with very thick clouds of super lemon, lime hash infused smoke, this is by far the tastiest smoke we have had in a while, actually a mouth watering smoke, very Moorish.

We used mainly a mini 14mm hole rig to test this hash out and a mini bubbler just to give that extra filtration to produce the cleanest hit!. Every hit was outstanding with immediate pain relief which is sometimes required but not overpowering to send me into a panic attack,s, which some cheese strains can do so very well balanced for me!. 

If you need to get pain under management fast then hash is the way to go. Very fast onset of effects, a very cerebral high but a high you could easily work on whilst keeping pain at bay! and definitely gets your brain working in a creative manner!. 

A very good all-round hash that hit,s the spot every time and that sublime lemon/lime after taste with a cheesey twist just wants you going back for more!. 

FINAL COMMENTS:This hash was made from the sugar trim from subcool,s (TGAGenetics) Jack The Ripper (JTR) and Cheese Quake sugar trim. This combination has created one amazing batch of drysift hash!. Not only does this hash help pain management in a super fast way but it helped us with multiple ailments such as bi-polar disorder and more importantly for me severe anxiety and social phobia problems!.

 This is a excellent way to use up your un-wanted sugar trim, popcorn bud or even full plants of bud as you will not be didapointed in the concentrate you make. This hash has really surprised me i thought bubble hash was the best for my anxiety but in testing this dry sift hash i have now found another way to consume my medication!.

All around this was a pleasure thank you Subcool and TGAGenetics for producing these great genetics and GreeenJon for his superb hash making skills. This has been a real pleasure to test and has become one of my top 5 smokes of all time!, a top shelf hash with no mistake.

 Just goes to show you need good genetics to produce good concentrates!

Words and pictures by SkunkMad

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 113

Posted in Cannabis News

Paradise Seeds CBD Strain reviews

2017-02-01 12:50:38

Paradise goes CBD!

A new chapter in breeding medicinal cannabis: Durga Mata II CBD & Nebula II CBD 

For a long time, worldwide scientific and medical cannabis research had almost only dealt with the exploration of the cannabinoid THC, the agent of the cannabis plant “that dreams are made of”, being mainly responsible for the psychoactive effects of the drug. THC was discovered by Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam in 1964. But already in 1940, two independent investigation groups had managed to isolate another cannabinoid from the plant: Cannabidiol (CBD). It was professor Mechoulam again though who actually discovered the chemical structure of CBD much later, in the year of 1963. Together with his elucidation of THC one year later, he thus laid the basis for the modern pharmacology and research of cannabis.

Within the Cannabinoid system, CBD acts as an antagonist to THC, attenuating its psychoactive effects, including negative kinds of: Scientists found out e.g. that smokers consuming cannabis with a higher CBD/THC ratio are less likely to experience schizophrenia-like symptoms. Research has proven that CBD medicinally has anti-convulsant, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects. Much hope is raised by the fact that it seems to be able to play an important role for new approaches to the treatment of cancer: In clinical studies, CBD showed anti-cancer effects for example in brain and breast cancer cells and also inhibited lung cancer metastasis. Other fields of medical CBD research conducted by scientists are focusing on neurobiological aspects, and the good message here is that CBD, thanks to its antioxidant nature, seems to have a brain cell protective effect as well. There are strong hints that it may help to prevent brain damage in stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and maybe also heart attacks. And if that wasn’t enough, CBD has been approved to treat inflammation, pain and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and ease or even prevent epileptic seizures. Another highly interesting field of application is the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), there are a lot of reports from ADHD patients saying that marijuana strains rich in CBD are great for calming down and becoming able to focus on things. If one looks at how many million children worldwide are turned into heavily sedated kinds of deadhearted “zombies” by the strong pills they get regularly prescribed, it becomes obvious what a huge blessing the application of the non-psychoactive, very well-tolerated cannabinoid CBD could mean to these poor young people, free of any negative side-effects!

Luc Krol from Paradise seeds has committed himself to the medical aspects of the cannabis plant. Not only he founded the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour in Spain that each year raises a high five-digit sum of money to fund independent research into the treatment of cancer with cannabis - Luc has also created and released two medical CBD strains now: Durga Mata II CBD and Nebula II CBD. So what made him focus on CBD? Says Luc: “Well I realised already a few years ago that people requested varieties that are not too euphoric not too stoned/high, but with the strongest medical properties. Due to contact with medicinal patient and hearing how the effect of THC helps them getting back on their feet again, literally! living for years in wheel chairs, sometimes addicted on pain killers, morphine etc. with no sight on improvement until they started to consume cannabis products. Using Cannabis changed their lives for the better and stopped their prescription drugs / pharmacy synthetic drugs entirely to get their normal live back again! Knowing that CBD compensates the high effect of THC, it would be good to offer varieties that have both cannabinoids inside. This way people/ patients have a more relaxing state of mind and body and still have the advantage of THC which has in fact the majority of beneficial properties on human conditions. CBD also has a healing effect especially on patients with epileptic seizures and Gilles de la Tourette syndrome for example, but most commonly known and scientifically proven is the healing property on inflammations of bone and tissue. So I realised that the combination of both THC and CBD in varieties would be ideal for a large group of patients. When I heard that there was already a variety with this high ratio of both cannabinoids, I got really interested making some of my own for Paradise Seeds. I contacted the group of persons who were doing this and we agreed to collaborate in a project for Paradise Seeds which has resulted after two years of breeding in two really good medical varieties, one is our famous Nebula which is a mostly Sativa like hybrid, and the other is a strong Indica, our well known Durga Mata! In the future we aim to make more CBD rich varieties also with different ratios. In the Nebula and Durga Mata CBD rich varieties, the ratio is 1:1, about 8 % THC and 7 % CBD.”

Durga Mata in its regular form is a Paradise indica strain with highly resinous dense compact buds that finish within eight weeks of flowering, and Nebula regular consists of indica/sativa, in 60-65 days of flowering producing likewise resin-dripping heavy buds. Mr. Power Planter was curious to find out how these two Paradise classics would perform in their new makeups as CBD rich varieties, and of course also how it would feel to smoke varieties with lots of CBD which he had never experienced before. So he put four feminised seeds each of Durga Mata II CBD and Nebula II CBD to germination, placed into Jiffy pots. All the seeds germinated quickly, after three days the young seedlings were all vigorously stretching towards the CFL lamp hung above them. Mr. Power Planter potted them into 6 litre containers filled with Plagron Grow Mix soil. Due to circumstances, he could give the plants only one week in the vegetative stage, then they were already moved into the flowering chamber, where the enjoyed about 600 Watts of light coming from an Osram Son-T HPS lamp. Which made the eight plants grow into height quickly, and after 9-10 days, the first female preflowers became visible. The four Nebula II CBD plants, due to their indica/sativa nature, expectedly grew more dynamically, also sporting a few side branches, while the Durga Mata II CBD plants focused on building strong sturdy main stems that soon were lined with dense indica-style flower clusters. And also the Nebula II CBD plants were busily producing excellent flowering tops along the main stem and side branches after four weeks. “Everything looks pretty normal, I cannot see any difference so far between the regular and CBD-version Durga Mata and Nebula strains”, Mr. Power Planter reported. “This is also true for the resin output of these eight plants, after four weeks of flowering now, the young buds are already coated with lots of resin glands and I bet that in the end, they won’t fall short at all here of the regular strains. So one can see that a much higher CBD share obviously doesn’t have any influence on the resin production capability of the plants, luckily!”

And indeed, the eight plants had become remarkably resinous after eight weeks of flowering, even THAT insanely resinous that Mr. Power Planter simply couldn’t imagine that these buds wouldn’t give him a mightily strong stoned high as usual. Well, much resin also means much aroma – and these two CBD-rich strains also intensively smelled just like their regular strain ancestors: The Durga Mata II CBD buds gave off a perfume-like sweet odour, while the Nebula II CBD buds proudly presented their trademark honeyed sweet and somewhat fruity smell. At harvest time, all of the eight plants had produced marvellous thick head and side buds oozing with resin. Which also were rock-hard, with the Nebula II CBD buds naturally exhibiting a higher calyx-to-leaf ration than the Durga Mata II CBD buds. Regarding their very short vegetative stage of one week, Mr. Power Planter was surprised how big and productive the plants had become. They also impressed him with a high degree of uniformity, in each strain group, there was only one plant that was about 10 cm taller or shorter than the other three plants that had the same or almost same height. The Nebula II CBD plants had arrived at heights of 55-65 cm in the end, while the Durga Mata II CBD plants measured 40-50 cm. As for flowering times, the four Durga Matas needed 56-58 days to ripen and the four Nebulas 60-63 days – again another perfect match with the respective regular varieties!

With the dry bud yields of 21-25 grams (Durga Mata II CBD) and 28-33 grams (Nebula II CBD) achieved with such a short cultivation cycle, Mr. Power Planter was more than satisfied. Then he got really excited because the time had come that he would smoke his first CBD-rich cannabis strain. He decided to start with Nebula II CBD. As mentioned before, it was hard for him to believe that those super resinous and super fragrant buds wouldn’t pack a most heavy punch, but after having finished the first joint, he realised that it was just like that: Instead of a strong THC high making him stoned, Mr. Power Planter felt a mellow head buzz and a pleasant, both mentally and physically relaxing effect. The high CBD share gently calmed him down, making him feel even-tempered and well-balanced, totally centered. Although he had not felt anxious or uneasy before consuming Nebula II CBD, Mr. Power Planter sensed how this strain noticeably stabilised his inner balance and well-being, while his head remained clear enough to easily perform diverse tasks. As expected, this effect didn’t last for hours, but was gone after about an hour. So he then lit his second test joint, Durga Mata II CBD. Considering the fact that this strain has the same almost 1:1 THC/CBD profile as Nebula II CBD, it didn’t come as a surprise that Mr. Power Planter couldn’t sense any difference in effect between these two, again he experienced that very pleasant relaxation and stabilisation effect, and again, it lasted for about an hour. Only the taste was different, basically very sweet with both strains, but Durga Mata II CBD packed more spiciness, whereas Nebula II CBD expressed its fruity sweet note very distinctly.

Mr. Power Planter gave some sample buds to a friend whose 20 years old son suffers from ADHD. Not having being under tablet medication any longer for two years, this son struggled to keep his disease under control. A week later Mr. Power Planter was told that smoking those two Paradise CBD strains had impressively helped his friend’s son to keep cool and calm, to focus on and master the tasks of his everyday life!

So Luc’s two new CBD-rich strains proved to be medicinally very effective and valuable, indeed. Mr. Power Planter feels that they are a great beneficial addition to Paradise Seeds’ strain assortment, presenting a totally new kind of marijuana effect experience. He definitely looks forward to more of such CBD varieties to be released by this company in the future. 

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

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 113

Buy Paradise Seeds varieties from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

4th Generation Autos

A great step forward in the development of autoflowering strains

There is no doubt that we are living a very productive period in the present cannabic world when it comes to breeding new varieties. We now have strains with very attractive and striking colours, but also an extensive range of aromas and effects that turn the growing of this beautiful plant into something even more engaging and exciting.

I’m not going to use this article to focus on all of these changes. One or other plant, that will appear later in the article, will show some of these reddish noteworthy colours. But I will focus on something that, in my opinion, is where the biggest and most significant developments are taking place: the autoflowering strains. To anyone unfamiliar with this type of Cannabis plant, their distinguishing characteristic is their capacity to flower regardless the number of hours of light they are subjected to. They are not photo-dependent and since they are germinated they have a predisposition to flower and die, which makes it impossible to keep them as mother plants.

As we know there are 3 varieties of Cannabis. Two of them being photo-dependent (needing 12 hours of continuous and complete darkness everyday to start flowering) and psychoactive (containing high concentrations of THC and other cannabinoids). These are known as Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. The other variety is Cannabis Ruderalis, which is very low in THC and known for a low psychoactive effect. But nevertheless there was something in Cannabis Ruderalis that captured the breeders' attention. It was the capacity to flower regardless of the hours of darkness per day that the plants are subjected to. These plants are not bothered with light contaminations during the night cycle and they even produce bigger flowers if we give them a longer light period, like for example 18 hours of continuous light and 6 hours of darkness (per day).

To create these first autoflowering strains the breeders crossed Cannabis Ruderalis plants (neither photo-dependent or psychoactive) with Cannabis Sativa or Indica plants (photo-dependent and psychoactive). With time, the levels of psychoactive effect have been increased in autoflowering plants and only the specimens with the highest psychoactive levels are used for breeding new strains.

It should be pointed out that Sweet Seeds has performed great work throughout the years, working with consciousness to create top quality, autoflowering plants. In which the taste, effect and growth pattern can be very similar to that of feminised plants, shortening the fine thread that separates them, year after year, generation after generation.

This year Sweet Seeds surprises us with the recent 4th Generation Autoflowering strains, finding ourselves in the presence of a quantitative and qualitative advance in this kind of plant. This advance can be really significant and gratifying if they are grown under ideal growing parameters that allow them to show all their potential. They are voracious plants and show a much more vigorous growth pattern when compared to their previous generations, making it important to use a good soil mix. But even more important than that, they should be allowed to receive as much hours of direct light as possible.

To create these new strains the breeders introduced genes from very tall, mostly Sativa plants, something that provides them a more vigorous growth. This allows for larger sized plants that are more productive than their previous generations. With structure and final results very similar to photoperiod plants. As a matter of fact, growing the new 4th Generation Autoflowering strains together with photoperiod plants, the “harvest per day” ratio tends to be higher with autos as, in only 8 weeks from germination, you will be getting multiple high caliber buds. While with photoperiod plants you would need to add an extra month of growth before you flip them to flower.

Now I’m going to talk about and show pictures of an indoor grow that I recently finished with Sweet Trainwreck Auto. I’ll also share some pictures of a grow from a friend of mine who harvested some beautiful flowers of Ice Cool Auto, Bloody Skunk and Devil Cream. All of them 4th Generation Autoflowering strains from Sweet Seeds.

Sweet Trainwreck Auto is a marvellous 4th generation autoflowering strain that develops a branchy structure, strong enough to hold the tight and dense buds produced. All this with very fast growth, exceeding the previous versions of autoflowering strains in height and production. Sweet Trainwreck Auto is a very easy to grow strain that is perfectly adapted to indoor and outdoor growing, with some plants reaching more than a meter in height.

In order to obtain this genetic, jumping from 3rd to 4th generation, the Sweet Seeds breeders crossed tall structured autoflowering genetic lines leaning to the Sativa side with a Trainwreck elite clone that is very famous in dispensaries across the USA. The result is a very fruity and sweet taste, with citrus hints. It features a very well balanced Indica/Sativa effect. Production is very substantial and the plants can be harvested only 8 weeks after germination.

THC: 17-20% CBD: 1% CBN: 0,2%

Indoor/Outdoor Harvest: 8 weeks from germination

Height: 60-120cm

 

The complete Sweet Trainwreck Auto grow report

Light cycle: 20 hours ON / 4 hours OFF, from germination to harvest

Power of light: Vegetative phase with 200w CFL / Flowering phase with 600w HPS

Number of Plants: 9 plants in 1 square meter (3 plants in 20 litre pots and 6 plants in 10 litre pots)

Total time: 8 weeks

Nutrients: Bio Canna range + Magical during flowering

Soil mix: Kilomix by Atami

 

1 – From the jiffy pellet to the small pot. First week of life.

Light: 200w CFL

Nutrients: Cannastart

All the seeds were sprouted in a glass of water with a few drops of H2O2 added. Then they were passed into jiffy peat pellets soaked in water + CannaStart and remained there for 3 days. Before I even saw the roots appearing, I transplanted them to 4x4cm pots where they then remained until their 8th day of life. I also provided them with continuous air renovation and a fan to stir the plants a bit helping to avoid spindly growth.

 

2 – The beginning of flowering. 2nd week from germination.

Light: 600w HPS

Nutrients: None

The plants responded well to the last transplant. It was performed on day 10 from germination and the plants remained in these pots until harvest. I would also like to mention that I introduced a change in my grow parameters and I think it was a good choice. This time I used Airpots and I could observe how beneficial they can be when growing autoflowering plants. Mainly due to their ventilation system, getting more air into the soil mix and allowing for very healthy and fast growth in plants.

I often advise the use of big pots but always together with the use of rich soil mixes that are light and airy to help with fast root development. Sweet Trainwreck Auto is a very fast and demanding plant in that sense, which means that every helping hand we can give her will be more than welcome by the plant.

This time I used two different pot sizes to compare the final height and production. I had 6 plants in 10 litre pots and 3 plants in 20 litre pots.

 

3 – Flowering time. 5th week from germination.

Light: 600w HPS

Nutrients: Bioboost + Rhizotonic + Magical + Cannazym

The growth pattern of this strain is very interesting to watch, they grow very fast, showing a lot of vigour and the changes are visible in a very short space of time.

Around the 24th day from germination I started to stimulate flowering with Bioboost using the maximum dosage and kept on until the 7th week. From the 5th week on, it became necessary to add Magical in some plants that were in the 10 litre pots and already consumed all the nitrogen available in the soil. Using Calcium and Magnesium between the 5th and the 6th week is a good way of helping a plant that shows signs of yellowing, weakness or loss of brilliance when flowering is starting. With this and adding also a bit of bloom nutrients, we can ensure that we will have a healthy plant until harvest time.

It’s convenient to use enzymes on a weekly basis to decompose the traces of dead roots and convert them into nutrients that can be used by the plant. I like to use it simply mixed in the water.

 

4 - Flower ripening. 7th week of life.

 Light: 600w HPS

 Nutrients:  Bioboost + Rhizotonic + Bioflores + Cannazym

Plants developed a lot of branches with multiple dense buds, all covered in resin. In fact the trichome production is copious and the aroma produced by them is incredibly sweet. It features some citrus and liquorice tones that will make you wish to be around the plants all the time. In the end your nose ends up sticky from the resin and you’ll be able to take part of that aroma with you.

The last 2 weeks were crucial for flowers to ripe properly and get that extra dense look to them. To help I used another additive, an organic bloom liquid nutrient solution named Bio Flores, from Canna. While reducing the Magical dosage, I increased the EC value with this liquid nutrient until it reached 1400ms and the plants absorbed it very well. As this fertilizer lowers the pH considerably, I used Bioboost and also added Rhizotonic to raise the pH value and leave it at around 6.2 - 6.6.

 

5- Harvesting the fruits. 8th week of life.

 Light: 600w HPS

 Nutrients: Cannaflush and Cannazym

We arrive at the 8th week from germination and most of the plants are ready to be harvested. A phenotype may need an extra week but as a compensation it will produce more and larger flowers.

For the flush I used Cannaflush about 10 days before harvesting the plants, followed by waterings with Cannazym from then to the harvest time. It is very important to clean the soil even when we only use organic nutrients because some parts of the mineral salts present in the organic nutrients can also concentrate in the soil and become toxic.

The final height of the plants was between 70 and 110cm. The differences between plants in the 10 litre pots and those in the 20 litre pots are remarkable. Plants in the 20 litre pots looked much healthier during the whole life cycle and ended up forming much denser and compact flowers.

As a final note, I’d like to add that the bud structure is that typically found in Trainwreck strains, with multiple dense flowers, crowding out with each other, covered by lots of trichomes that are visible to the naked eye.

It is a very resistant and easy to grow strain, perfect for SOG systems. One can obtain deliciously tasty fruits, productive and with a great quality of effect. It also features a sweet creamy hashish flavour together with its peculiar liquorice aroma with citrus tones.

 The other pictures I’m showing in this article are from a grow experience from a friend of mine who filled his grow room in only 8 weeks with the other new 4th Generation Autos: Ice Cool Auto, Bloody Skunk and Devil Cream.

 I wish you all a Sweet and easy grow!

Words and pics by Jaypp

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 112

Purchase Sweet Seeds auto lines from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

CBD – Absolute Afghani

Fifteen years ago, if you had walked into a coffeeshop in Amsterdam and asked about the CBD and THC content of cannabis, the odds are you would have been greeted with a look of confusion from the person behind the counter. If you had found your way to the Cannabis College and asked the same question, however, it’s likely that one of the volunteers would have drawn you a basic pie chart to explain the balance of the three cannabinoids that had been studied most: Tetrahydracannabinoid (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD), and Cannabinol (CBN). At the time, CBN was thought to be an entirely separate cannabinoid to the other two; we now know it’s actually a metabolite of THC, which is converted into CBN as the THC ages.

The Cannabinoid Pie-Chart

The pie-chart explanation was an over-simplified way of explaining the effects of different types of cannabis – after all, there are over 85 different types of cannabinoids that occur in cannabis, not just three – but it got the job done. If the THC slice of pie was larger than the CBD and CBN slices put together, the effect was going to be high and uplifting. If the reverse was true and the THC was the smallest slice of pie, then the effect would be more relaxed and soporific. Virtually everyone understood this immediately.

Due to the THC component being the one causing the soaring, giggling, energetic high that was pursued by a great many people, a great deal of time, energy and resources were devoted to breeding strains of marijuana with as high a THC level as possible. The success of this trend culminated – at least in the Netherlands – with proposals from concerned (and generally ill-informed) parties to make the sale of cannabis containing more than 15% THC illegal in coffeeshops. On the mainly 90s – 00s quest to find the ultimate cannabis high, we gained strains such as Silver Haze and NYC Diesel but CBD and CBN were overlooked or forgotten by many of the commercial branches of the cannabis industry as a whole – except for the scientific and medical communities.

As previously mentioned, CBN is created when THC degrades; the two cannabinoids occur in inverse proportion to each other. This explains why, when harvested marijuana is kept for a long time (and especially if exposed to light and air) the buds can produce a stoned effect even if the plant has mostly Sativa genetics. CBN is only mildly psychoactive, and so far has not produced effects beyond those that THC and CBD already cause to a stronger degree. CBD, on the other hand, has displayed a host of properties that continue to have a significant impact on the field of medicinal cannabis use.

The Entourage Effect

By 2014, CBD has become more widely known and been the subject of many more in-depth studies. These have shown that, despite being regarded as non-psychoactive, CBD does have a soporific effect and acts as a mediator for the effects of THC. Experiments on the effects of THC when administered with and without CBD have shown that, when used alone, THC is more prone to cause feelings of anxiety and even morbidity; when used in conjunction with CBD – as, let’s not forget, nature intended – the uplifting, euphoric, giggle-inducing effect that most of us identify as the sign of a good sativa is strongly experienced. Outside of the laboratory, it is virtually impossible to consume pure THC as, in all natural forms of cannabis, all the other cannabinoids come along with it, tempering its effect in ways that actually enhance the high for the user; this has been called ‘the entourage effect’. It is research such as this which strongly suggests that medications isolating THC or made from synthetic THC are both less effective and produce far more unwanted side-effects than the unprocessed, natural plant form. Since cannabis contains such a large range of cannabinoids that we currently know very little about, and produces them in a delicate and complex balance that science cannot, currently, hope to emulate, it is not very surprising that the vast majority of medicinal cannabis users opt for the un-tempered herbal form.

CBD without THC – pain relief without the high

However, when CBD is administered without THC, there are none of the aforementioned negative effects of THC alone. CBD appears not to need THC in order to be a well-received treatment, and this is one of the most exciting facets of its medicinal potential: it can be used for the relief of various afflictions and diseases without causing a noticeable psychoactive effect. CBD has even been described as having even greater medical potential than its more famous cousin THC. Despite the accusations, not always unfounded, that medicinal users “just like to get high”, there are numerous people for whom the “getting high” part is an unwanted and even unpleasant side-effect of their medication. Cannabis that has been specifically bred to have a high CBD and low THC content would be an ideal solution for patients who simply want relief from pain without any psychoactive experiences.

In Israel, which has benefited from legal medicinal marijuana for more than a decade and boasts a medicinal program with around 12,000 patients, a breeding program to create precisely this type of cannabis has now been in progress for over ten years. The Israeli company Tikun Olam has succeeded in creating a strain that has less than 1% THC and an unprecedented 15.8% CBD. This new strain showed very positive results right from the start, as it was made available to licensed patients before clinical trials had even commenced.

Just as an aside, take a moment to think about that. Cannabis is so safe that an experimental new form of it can be issued to patients before they’ve even got around to testing it on mice. That’s how safe it is as a drug.

So what exactly is so amazing about CBD?

Well, in addition to moderating the effects of THC in various ways, including a reduction in the well-known experience of short-term memory loss, CBD alone can do some pretty spectacular things. Despite the reputation of ‘stoners’ for being withdrawn and anti-social, CBD actually has anxyolitic (anti-anxiety) and anti-depressant effects which can help to reduce social anxiety, among other things. CBD also acts as a proven analgesic, relieving localized pain without numbing the area. Research is currently underway into the neuroprotective properties of CBD; neuroprotection, put simply, shields the delicate structures of the central nervous system and brain from damage caused by stress, disease or other trauma. This is the property at work in the treatment of Dravet’s syndrome, when cannabis with a high CBD percentage can dramatically reduce the number of seizures experienced by sufferers. And, perhaps most amazingly, CBD has been proven to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells.

Cannabis does not cure cancer – yet.

It is this last fact that has led to the cry of “Cannabis cures cancer!” which, though incredibly exciting in its potential, is a statement made far too early and based on far too little. What we can say at this stage is that CBD may be able to cure certain types of cancer in some cases. Dr Lester Grinspoon, one of the foremost experts on medicinal cannabis and author of the ground-breaking book ‘Marijuana Reconsidered’, has this to say on the topic:

“There is little doubt that cannabis now may play some non-curative roles in the treatment of this disease (or diseases) because it is often useful to cancer patients who suffer from nausea, anorexia depression, anxiety, pain, and insomnia. However, while there is growing evidence from animal studies that it may shrink tumor cells and cause other promising salutary effects in some cancers, there is no present evidence that it cures any of the many different types of cancer. I think the day will come when it or some cannabinoid derivatives will be demonstrated to have cancer curative powers, but in the meantime, we must be very cautious about what we promise these patients.”

Lighting up a fatty – even one rolled with the deepest, dankest, most CBD-rich indica you can find - is not going to save your life, nor is it going to guarantee you a cancer-free existence. But it can make you really effectively relaxed, and for muscular aches and pains such as menstrual cramps, it can be even better than easing into a nice warm bath.

Afghani #1 – original indica from the mountains of Afghanistan

One such indica that is ideal for this purpose is Afghani #1 from Sensi Seeds. Throughout the aforementioned “let’s make the highest, most psychedelic weed ever!” breeding frenzy of the last couple of decades, some strains were simply maintained by Sensi in the closest form to their original landrace phenotype as possible. Rather than being a recently-bred strain of high CBD cannabis, one of the best strains for pain relief may be one of the oldest on the market.

The seeds that were the starting point of the Afghani #1 story were placed in the thankful hands of Ben Dronkers, founder of Sensi Seeds, on an unspecified day in the late 1970s by an Afghani farmer. The sun was shining as Ben traversed the Khyber Pass as part of his journey through some of the finest weed and hashish country in the world. He was originally looking for hemp fabric supplies with which to create the distinctive clothing he designed and sold in the Netherlands, a mix of classic and Mediaeval-influenced styles. The search for hemp, unsurprisingly, led him to vast mountainsides full of cannabis tended by farming families who had made their living in this way for many generations. In Ben’s words, “I asked the farmers about cannabis plants and they laughed rather secretively. One of them gave me a handful of cannabis seeds as a gift and told me the seeds were very important. Naturally, this inspired me to preserve them, to learn about the qualities of seeds from different regions, and to collect more.”

Plants of this ilk, from the fast, heavy, compact side of the cannabis family tree, are named after India, where these strains are commonly grown in the mountainous north of the country and used for making charas. However, the most perfect examples of the dark, ultra-resinous Cannabis Indica genotype are actually found hundreds of kilometres to the northwest, in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Marijuana in Afghanistan: C. indica or C. sativa?

 

Marijuana has been farmed in Afghanistan for thousands of years, leading to the evolution of several distinct landraces. There is even a possible subspecies of cannabis, C. sativa var. afghanica, which was proposed in 1926 by the Russian botanist Nikolai Vavilov. However, 2013 saw the publication of ‘Cannabis – Evolution and Ethnobotany’ by Robert Connell Clarke and  Mike D. Merlin, currently the most comprehensive and up-to-date book about cannabis in the world, which classifies afghanica with the Cannabis indica subspecies. C. afghanica does posess many of the hallmarks of classic indica varieties. The leaves are usually extremely wide, and are dark green with occasional purple tinges. The cannabinoid content is high in THC but also high in CBD and CBN, leading to a soporific, sedative effect. The mature plant rarely exceeds two metres in height – although thanks to the general tendency to breed for compact phenotypes, this is now considered tall for an indica - and there is little space between the internodes and dense, resin-rich flower formations. 

 

Dedicated students of Indica bloodlines often refer to these varieties as ‘Afghanica’ when speaking of their favourites and as ‘hash plants’ when talking generally of the strains found across India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Many Indica-lovers prefer their ganja without a trace of Sativa or Skunk, while some purists will only consume weed or hash that they know to be 100% Cannabis indica.

The quest for the ultimate Afghanica

In years past, the most determined Indica fans have journeyed all the way to Pakistan, then across the Afghan border into ‘hashish country’ — the high reaches of the Hindu Kush between Chitral, Mazar-i-Sharif, down to Kandahar in the south — in search of pure, unaltered local seeds which might be brought home to grow into the Afghanica of their dreams.

With this in mind, Ben set out to create an ultimate Afghani using the finest examples produced by the seeds he had gathered from the region. These genetics were carefully preserved in a form as close to that of the original landrace types as possible as well as being used in a number of exciting new crosses that would emerge during the 80s and 90s. The very best parents from Sensi’s unparalleled range of Afghani cultivars were distilled into a single seed variety capable of giving growers textbook examples of the Afghanica genotype every time. Eventually, the perfected result of the pure Afghani breeding project was released: Sensi Seeds Afghani #1.

Robust plants with sticky buds

Anyone looking for a fast, easy-growing indoor strain capable of copious yields and almost-frightening resin production need look no further. The pure indica composition of Afghani #1 makes it ideal for medicinal users looking for a straightforward stone, and the strength, especially in the hands of an experienced grower, is a stone to be reckoned with. Be warned: this is not a weed for everyone to smoke first thing in the morning! Even first-timers find it hard not to succeed with this strain, as its robust, survivalist nature will reward even fairly haphazard attempts at gardening with dense, heavy buds that are sticky to the touch from early on in the flowering period. Afghani #1 can sometimes produce a taller phenotype than is usually associated with Indicas, especially if given a long vegetation period, thanks to the dedication of the Sensi breeders to preserving the truest version of an ultimate Afghani possible outside of its native regions. This can be a disadvantage to those with limited ceiling height but if your grow space allows it, you can achieve larger than usual yields thanks to this trait.

Whether you’re consuming for pain relief or just for fun, Afghani #1 is definitely a variety to experiment with. Experience a taste of the Khyber Pass – just be careful not to pass out!

Words and pictures from Sensi Seeds

First published in Weed World Magaine edition 111

Buy seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

Kandy Kush: Forbidden sweetness - Too potent for the confectionery shop!

Another famous Kush cross from DNA Genetics that has been available for a longer time already is Kandy Kush, a mostly indica strain (60/40 indica/sativa) consisting of OG Kush x Train Wreck (T4). In 2010, Kandy Kush won a remarkable prize when out of 140 strains she was chosen as the best medical marijuana at the 1st Colorado Cannabis Crown contest. Another award followed at the Spannabis Outdoor Cup 2012, where she took third place. DNA Genetics says about its growth and bloom behaviour: “Classic stretch of the OG Kush that bulks up and fills out like the TW to give you OG flavor and TW nugs.” The Train Wreck strain was used for this cross because of its commercial productiveness, very high resin content and lemony aroma. Just like the OG Kush, it has become a highly popular American flagship strain in recent years, so Kandy Kush is another exciting meeting of two giants in the world of cannabis strains. Marrying Train Wreck to the OG Kush led to an insane sweetness reminding of kandy, “a true California flavour” according to DNA Genetics. They praise Kandy Kush as “one of the most resinous plants in their catalogue” (which certainly means a lot), announcing the onset of heavy trichome production after the 5th week that won’t stop increasing until the very end. With 9-10 weeks of flowering, Kandy Kush takes a bit longer than most of the other DNA Kush varieties, but with regard to its big yield potential of 450-550 g/m2, nobody will get impatient I guess. 

She is available both in the form of feminised and regular seeds. Growulff sowed half a package of six feminised seeds only as he shared the other half with a friend. Together with Kandy Kush, he also started Stacked Kush and a few other varieties. Placed into Jiffy pots, the three Kandy Kush seeds popped up within three days and were raised under under two 75 Watts high-efficiency CFL lamps in a Secret Jardin one sqm. grow box at first. The leaves soon produced by the plants were quite broad in the beginning, but then became a bit thinner with every new set, until they were more on the sativa side. After two weeks, Growulff had transplanted the plants into 22.5 litre Air Pots filled with coco ground and watered by hand. Then they were moved into the actual grow room that was equipped with 6x 600 Watts lamps (3x HPS, 3x MH, adding up to +600 Watts/m2), where the vegetative stage was continued for another two weeks. The Kandy Kush plants exhibited a very early onset of strong side branch growth, but at the same time vividly stretched to height, growing very vigorously and also homogeneously. After four weeks, at the end of the vegetative stage under a daily light cycle of 18/6, they measured 86, 91 and 98 cm in height already, lined with a lot of long side branches, adopting a rhombus or diamond shaped growth model. An already intense kushy sweet scent gave a good hint of what was to come, a true “aroma bomb” as Growulff did expect. Highly satisfied with their vegetative performance, he sparked the three Kandy Kush plants into flowering mode by cutting down the daily light cycle to 12/12. Three more 600 watts HPS bulbs were installed in the grow room, replacing the MH ones to give the plants a perfect light spectrum for the flowering stage.  

Within 7-9 days, the first female preflowers became visible at the tops of the plants. And the Kandy Kush plants would waste no time, fully switching to the flowering mode without hesitation. While lots of dense clusters of female flowers were developing allover the plants, they kept on stretching to height for about another four weeks. It became obvious that similar to the Stacked Kush plants, long drawn-out mighty main top colas would steeply arise from a wide carpet of side branch top buds located in the middle of the plants. The budding pattern was clearly dominated by Kandy Kush’s indica genes, with fairly big calyxes shaping chubby succulent buds that exhibited quite a high calyx-to-leaf ratio. One could not have said there was little resin on the buds before flowering week six, in fact, there already was quite a lot of. But as announced, resin gland production was noticeably changing into the highest gear from that point on, in the following weeks also packing the edges of larger leaves in the buds into crusty thick layers of resin. At the same time those intense sweet Kush aroma clouds spread by the plants were accordingly becoming even more overwhelming, it almost was as if one could have cut the air into pieces. 

After nine weeks of flowering, Growulff scheduled harvesting the plants in about half a week or one week, so it was all going according to plan obviously. In the end, those frosty plants were 118, 122 and 132 cm tall, laden with tons of juicy tight indica-like nuggets. The tallest plant had produced a tremendous main stem top cola that was longer and thicker than a strong tall man’s underarm! This majestic Kandy Kush plant needed 69 days to ripen, the other two 66 and 71 days. So once again a DNA strain had proven to perform very evenly, the more so, as also that incredible smell given off by the plants was all the same. Also, not a single male flower showed up.

When the buds had been dried and slightly fermented, Growulff weighed those silvery white, super sticky and dense Kandy Kush buds, reading harvest weights of 115, 123 and 135 grams off the scales. Needless to say he was extremely delighted about that fantastically fat yield that even surpassed his expectations! And the buds’ odour was simply awesome and highly alluring, spreading an incredible spicy sweetness, smelling like peppered kandy. Their yummy flavour then would keep this promise of a particularly savoury smoke experience, delivering a full-mouth piquant sweetness that lingered on the palate extraordinarily long. Last but not least, the long-lasting turn effected by Kandy Kush was another real smasher, shifting Growulff into a state of deep physical and mental relaxation in no time, but at the same time he remained active and mentally clear enough to properly think and move, so he wasn’t totally devastated and instead also sensed a certain grade of bright euphoria in his mind. He appreciated that state of mind and body very much and considers Kandy Kush’s kind of high as ideal for respective medical treatments.

After that great Kandy Kush cultivation experience, DNA Genetics strains keep on impressing Growulff and he looks forward to testing more of their new Kush crosses such as Lemon OG Kush, Chocolope Kush and Holy Grail Kush…

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

First Published in Weed World Magazine edition 111

Buy Kandy Kush seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News


The dark side of cannabis force:
 TH Seeds’ devastatingly strong Darkstar

It has paid off for the Amsterdam-based seed company, TH Seeds, to establish outposts in other countries in recent years. TH Seeds Colorado, launched by TH founder Adam Dunn himself, can openly produce seeds for medical marijuana, thanks to the med-pot laws and the historical legalization of cannabis in that U.S. state. This is a stark contrast to the Netherlands, where the seed companies have had to do their work via underground means since 1999 when the ban on drug cannabis seed production was released. In Spain, TH Seeds Iberia is prospering under the rich Spanish sun and liberal marijuana climate; they had their Cannabis Cup debut in November 2011, presenting, amongst others, their new Darkstar strain to the public. Those who tried it were stunned by its overwhelming indica potency. Later on, for its “strongest strains of 2013” list, High Time Magazine conducted a THC laboratory test with Darkstar, yielding an impressive 22% - it's no wonder that Darkstar easily made it into their annual elite list. A big success for TH Seeds and its young Spanish outpost.

Darkstar merges a range of oldschool classics into a three-way mostly indica hybrid with a lineage of Purple Kush (Hindu Kush x Purple Afghani) x Mazar-i-Sharif. Those Purple Kush genetics may lead to Darkstar plants exhibiting purple colored leaves, but not in the majority. One can expect 400-500 grams p.sqm. of dense fat nuggets from her, having a high calyx-to-leaf ratio and copious resin amounts. Taking 70 days of flowering to ripen, Darkstar arrives at heights of 120-140 cm by the end, so, despite her mostly indica nature, growers should not underestimate her height/growth behaviour. TH Seeds say that “her potency is out of this world” which is going along with a great deal of medicinal value; it is great for relieving pain and enhancing appetite.

Master grower The Doc, suffering from chronic arthralgia, is always in search of super strong, highly medicinally effective strains and thus was full of happy expectations when he conducted a Darkstar test grow with a package of five feminized seeds. After three days of germination, all of them had come off the Jiffy ground. He gently planted them into 11 litre pots filled with Plagron Standard Mix soil  “pimped”, as usual, with 5% expanded clay and horn chippings. Together with plants of two other strains, they were grown under a 600 W MH bulbs at first and ten days after germination, the five seedlings looked strong and uniform. Another ten days later, the plants were about 20 cm tall, exhibiting eight internodes, as well as very solid stems and vivid side branching. The Doc had added another 600 W MH bulb in for good measure – this guy can certainly not be accused of being miserly with lights! The more so, as he even hung up a 400 W HPS bulb to top it all off.

Four weeks after germination, The Doc induced flowering by switching the lights from 18/6 to 12/12. To accomplish an optimum flowering light spectrum, he replaced those two 600 W MH bulbs with two 600 W HPS ones. At that point of time, the five Darkstars had already passed the 50 cm height mark, due to a noticeable stretching effect having set in. They still shaped into a bushy appearance with lots of long dense side branches that were about to level off at the exact same height, forming a plateau around the main stem that was emerging from the centre. After two weeks of flowering, The Doc reported: “I think that two different phenotypes are developing within this beautifully growing batch of mostly indica plants. Two of them are meanwhile showing a stronger stretching effect and producing darker leaves now with every new set, with dark purple streaks gradually conquering them; I guess that the upper leaves will be fully purple in the end. The other three are brighter and staying more compact during bloom than the other two plants.”

When five weeks of flowering had passed, he continued: “The two plants that are becoming more and more purple, are measuring 110 and 130 cm in height now, the other three between 90 and 95 cm. All of them are having abundant flower clusters that are getting very thick and dense, shaping a high calyx-to-leaf-ratio, indeed. A deliciously sweet-not-pungent smell is given off by the plants with almost no difference here between the two phenotypes. Their resin production is most promising, the young buds are already densely covered with countless silvery white trichomes.” Two weeks later, considering the officially stated flower time of ten weeks, The Doc was quite surprised to find that already about one third of the flower hairs had withered and become brown. “Seems as if my Darkstar plants will be finishing faster than usual”, he reported, “and also the fact that their buds are already so well-developed, so fat and dense and incredibly resinous, makes me feel that they are particularly quickly travelling cannabis stars.”

After 62-65 days of flowering, the five plants had reached the homestretch already, having fully matured one (or almost one) week earlier than predicted. “It’s some fantastic eye candy”, The Doc enthused, “those numerous buds are so copiously dipped in silvery-white resin that they are brightly glistening just like stars in the sky! They are ridiculously thick, fat and rock-hard like stones. The real deal, I love it. Although it had intensified during the last weeks, Darkstar’s smell doesn’t rank amongst the strongest, it’s very sweet though and a bit spicy, with a slight hint of pine.”

The fairly low leaf share of the buds made harvest work a breeze and quick indeed. After the Darkstar buds had been dried, The Doc weighed them and was flabbergasted by a whopping 589 grams from those five plants, about 118 grams per plant. “Hell yeah, Darkstar really gave me a wonderful harvest heaven”, he commented. And he’d stay right there in heaven when test-smoking his first Darkstar joint: Raw overwhelming indica power came over him in no time, and The Doc felt liked being drawn into a black hole in his own inner cannabis universe, shifting into a dreamy and most heavily stoned state of mind. At the same time, his arthralgia almost totally disappeared, leaving The Doc deeply relaxed. This strain proved impressively that it has a strong medicinal effect. The taste was expectedly sweet and mild, and also in the smoke, a slight hint of pine came through.

“Darkstar made me feel the dark side of cannabis force, but it turned out to be a good beneficial force, temporarily curing my pains”, The Doc said, “and that mighty effect lasted for more than two hours during which I wasn’t able to do anything but watch TV, but hey - that’s what I expect from a strong indica, full relaxation! Also for me, Darkstar is one of the strongest strains ever encountered, amazing stuff that will surely be loved by any indica afficinado.”

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

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 110

Buy Darkstar seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

Timewreck breeders report

2017-01-31 12:23:54

A Pause in the rotation of the planet

Timewreck!

As many of my readers may know, I am not a huge fan of the flavor of Trainwreck or even our amazing (rare) cutting which we call Bloodwreck. However, she has quickly become one of our more popular strains due to her sheer potency and ease of growing. So, many people said to me "Sub, you have to grow this thing out for yourself". Now, while I have tasted and tested dozens of batches of Timewreck, the cat was correct, so I started a 5 pack and got 3 nice females and we ran all three through the garden in TGA Super Soil.

The results blew even me away. Even the plant we deemed a non keeper, due to her shape, will knock you on your ass and the best of the three is a cash-croppers dream. With very little work we grew a massive plant whose buds were rock hard and the top cola had a crown of secondary buds that were just as dense.

I should take a moment to clear up the whole Trainwreck Versus Bloodwreck thing and how Timewreck came to be. People want to create some conspiracy about it but it's really simple. I grew the Arcata Trainwreck and documented her in my book, Dank, complete with Thomas the Choo Choo models. I found the cuttings to be lanky, they took too long and produced heavy amounts of male stamens (even at week 7 of budding) and so I decided not to work with her. Later on, the head TGA breeder, Dioxide, came across a cutting that was obviously Trainwreck dominant but very short, fat and turned an amazing shade of Blood red at week seven. We have been told she is a possible Trainwreck/Trinity cross but we simply don't know for sure. What we do know is that she is one bad ass cutting which will not hermaphrodite, she resists mold and mildew and, best of all, she passes this trait on to anything she is bred with.

I basically ignored the plants, just using Super Soil and water from my well that measures 170 PPM and is high in both Calcium and Magnesium. We use RO water on our clones and babys, but the full size plants seem to love the extra minerals as they stay lush and green up to week 6-7 before they start to naturally fade. The buds on Timewreck #2 started to get rock hard at this point and 2 days from harvest I am not sure I have ever held buds that felt like Pinecones before, I'm talking resin coated grenades!

The smell is amazing, while there is a hint of the earthy smell that comes from Bloodwreck, the Vortex added an amazing lime/citrus smell that's quite pleasing and, of course, it's a TGA strain so there is a hint of that baby poo smell as well. I couldn't wait to start taking some of these meaty buds down but this story had to wait a few more days...The plant was just a joy to trim, producing heavy amounts or sugar trim we used to make some incredible full-melt, ice water Hash. The volume of white beach sand looking trichomes was staggering and we got jars full. One surprise was that in the 160 bag, which is usually just waste, it was full of off-white resin which tastes just as good as the 120 UI. We got just over 7 ounces on this fairly short plant and this was mainly due to the density of the buds. We were so impressed that our summer indoor run will be 16 plants of this one Timewreck #2 clone.

As the flowers cured we could not wait any longer than 4 weeks and MzJill had the honor of the first hit and she loved it from the first puff. It instantly replaced Vortex as her favorite smoke because it shares that same sour fruit smell, but it has a much calmer high that allows you to function throughout the day. As time passed (pun intended) the jar of rock hard buds smelled better and better, and while Jill smoked only those flowers I matched her toke for toke with the amazing 120 and 70 UI Hash powder. As we let other people sample both the flowers and the Hash it was apparent that we had a real winner on our hands. People everywhere had just been bragging like crazy about this hybrid and now I fully understand why. While I have tasted many samples the best way to really get to know a strain is to grow it yourself for a few runs. This is one that no grower should pass by as I feel it is unique and different from anything I have ever smoked before. I must warn you though, while a few hits creates a nice euphoria just a few additional leaves you staring at the walls happy to just sit immobile until the high subsides. A bit like many of our hybrids, it serves a duel function. I use it in small doses when I have to do some chores or work on a project and just want to feel better about the day (but still be able to perform the task properly). When I want to just forget about the day and melt away into the couch, listening to some tunes I will enjoy, then I just need to rack up about 6 bowls and I'm pretty much FUBARED.

We named this one well as it is certainly capable of Wrecking Time!

Words and pictures by Subcool 

First published in Weed World Magazine edition 105

Buy Timewreck seeds from our online store!

Posted in Cannabis News

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