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The Deep Water Culture

Friday, 12 May 2017 12:00:56 Europe/London

Growers paradise or stoner nightmare?

By Tony, Dutch Passion Seed Company, Amsterdam

Deep Water Culture, or ‘DWC’, is regarded by many as the fastest way to grow cannabis.  Other less charitable home growers will claim it is simply too technically demanding and has ruined countless cannabis grows due to the complexity of the technique.  So what is DWC and is it worth the effort?

DWC is a hydroponic (soil-free) system of plant cultivation which suspends the plant roots in a solution of nutrient-rich, highly oxygenated water. Normally cannabis roots would simply rot if left in water, but an air-stone (or similar) at the bottom of the nutrient bucket ensures that the roots are bathed in an oxygen-rich nutrient solution which keeps them healthy and allows rapid growth.  The air-stone needs to run for 24 hours a day.

Over the years many different types of DWC have evolved.  Although they use the same basic principle the technique can be modified according to the available equipment.

DWC may offer rapid growth of cannabis plants, but it is not recommended for the inexperienced.  If you prepare the nutrient concentration wrongly, or forget to check your plants then its easy for DWC to go wrong, and to do so very quickly.  DWC requires the grower to know and understand the different feeding requirements at different stages of plant growth.  And DWC requires precision in the way you prepare the nutrient pH (level of acidity) and EC (nutrient concentration). Even a small mistake, or a faulty pH meter/EC meter can cost you an entire grow with DWC.  Like many things in life, the risk can be worth taking when you know what you are doing.

Traditional DWC systems tend to use plastic buckets with the plant contained in a net pot suspended from top.   The net pots often contain a cube of glass-wool or clay pebbles.  Seeds are easy to germinate in rock-wool cubes.  The roots grow downwards and are suspended in the nutrient solution in the bucket, often 20 litres or more in size. An air stone at the bottom of the bucket oxygenates the nutrient solution. With both oxygen and nutrients the roots will grow rapidly and the plant will be able to reach a large size and produce plenty of cannabis.  As experienced cannabis growers already know, a healthy abundant root system is essential if you want to grow monster cannabis plants.

Recirculating deep water culture, also known as RDWC, is another variant of traditional DWC.  RDWC uses a reservoir to provide water for multiple buckets.  If the buckets are connected together you can run multiple buckets/plants without the hassle of checking/adjusting individual buckets for pH and EC.  Aeration of the nutrient solution can take place with a large air-stone in the central reservoir.  The use of spray bars in some RDWC systems also allows oxygenation of nutrients.  The constant recirculation ensures a good mix of nutrients and makes sure that pH and nutrient concentration is the same in each bucket.  This is great when a single variety is being grown, however it means compromises have to be made if you are running different varieties with different nutrient requirements.  One of the requirements of any DWC system is an experienced grower who knows how to keep the plants in the nutrient ‘sweet spot’ throughout the grow. 

The best DWC growers do not under-feed plants in early development, this limits growth.  Over-feeding plants is even more damaging and can permanently stunt the growth of a small plant.  In order to be a good DWC grower you will probably have learned the basics of cannabis growing from soil or coco-fibre growing.

One variant of DWC called Bubbleponics involves dripping feed in thru the top of the plant container in addition to the normal bucket of nutrient solution with an air stone at the base.  Bubbleponics takes feed solution from the nutrient bucket and pumps it up through a circular dripper ring at the base of the plant.  This helps early plant growth, especially in the period while the baby roots are reaching down into the nutrient solution.  The dripper ring runs for 24 hours a day and devotee’s of RDWC will claim it allows a faster start and results in bigger final yields. 

The DWC nutrient solution is often changed every 5-7 days to ensure a fresh batch of nutrients.  In-between nutrient changes growers will often top-up the volumes check and adjust their pH and EC every day. The pH is often kept around 5.8, if pH drifts it becomes impossible for the roots to absorb certain minerals even if they are present in the nutrient solution.  This is often called ‘nutrient lockout’, and adding more nutrients won’t solve the problem, the only option is to change the nutrients for a fresh bath with correct pH and EC.  Many DWC growers have lost an entire crop because they relied on an uncalibrated pH/EC meter. Eventually every pH/EC meter fails and gives erroneous readings.  Thats why the best DWC growers have back-up meters and calibrate regularly. 

Mature female plants will often drink several litres of nutrient solution each day, the lost volume has to be replaced or eventually the nutrient solution is consumed and the plant will die.  One of the criticisms of DWC is the need to regularly check the plants and replenish feed solutions.  If you need to spend periods of time away from your grow room then DWC may not be the best system for you.  However if you enjoy checking your plants regularly and have the skills, then DWC could be the fastest way to grow.

DWC growers need to keep their system clean, regularly removing any slime/sludge build up and wiping down surfaces to remove salt and mineral splashes.   Algae will form readily in a nutrient solution especially if light can reach down into the nutrients and provide the energy required for algae growth.  

DWC is a high-maintenance grow technique, it needs skill, time, precision and effort.  Some people love the challenge and rewards on offer from DWC. Others have tried it and felt it was an expensive error which over-complicated their passion for home growing and removed the fun.  If you do decide to attempt DWC then research it thoroughly and remember that few DWC growers master the technique on their first grow.  

This article first appeared in Issue 123 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

The Greening of Vegas

Thursday, 11 May 2017 09:45:59 Europe/London

Road Trip: Las Vegas, Nevada

By Sharon Letts

“Las Vegas” translated is “The Meadows,” once the last watering hole after the ice age’s glaciers melted, leaving the valley lush and green – forming pools of water that ultimately became Hoover Damn, and a point of interest in the now barren valley.

In the late 1930s Thomas Hull, owner of the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, had his eye on the desert, and built the first casino in downtown Las Vegas, opening the fancy western-themed “El Cortez Hotel” in 1941. At that time Vegas was a weekend getaway from Los Angles for rebel rousers – a place to drink, gamble and get a quickie divorce.

Soon after the El Cortez was a hit, Hollywood reporter Billy Wilkerson dreamed up the “Flamingo Hotel” in an attempt to attract high rollers. The name was inspired by Bugsy Malone’s starlet and sometimes mob courier girlfriend, Virginia Hill, after her long, skinny legs. Funded by mobsters, The Flamingo became the start of a string of hotels along what is still referred to as “The Vegas Strip.”

As a child visiting Vegas in the 1960’s with my parents, I remember Highway 15 cutting straight through town and into the lights. It was, and still is, a magical experience to arrive in Vegas, with its metropolis of fun rising up from the desert floor. The casinos were built as gaudy palaces, with winding driveways circling fountains with Greek Gods looking on; greeting star-struck visitors hoping to strike it rich via card tables and slot machines.

My sister and I were only welcome poolside at the casinos or inside “Circus, Circus;” playing our own slots via rows of pin-ball machines upstairs, overlooking the adult-filled casino below, where my dad played Keno and mom camped out in front of a nickel slot machine.

Our coffee table at home hosted ashtrays from The Flamingo, Cesar’s Palace, and The Golden Nugget - relics from the old strip, where casino lights still give the illusion of daytime at 3 a.m., and light shows entertain out front for free.

Winning Green

Since medical cannabis was voted into effect via Nevada Senate Bill 374 with a 17-4 vote during its State Legislative session in 2013, Vegas has embraced the culture. Just a year prior to pending legalization, the historic “Bonanza Gift Shop,” Vegas’ largest, block-sized tourist attraction, now sports cannabis leaf emblazoned ashtrays and shot glasses, declaring “High Rollers,” in a whole new light. (My anti-Hippie dad would roll over in his grave at the sight.)

Just four retail shops were open by the time the city’s second annual “Marijuana Business Conference & Expo” took palce by Marijuana Business Daily. I was able to visit two, “Releaf” and “Inyo,” both beautiful, state-of-the-art facilities staffed with knowledgeable and friendly reps.

As a patient from another medically legal state, I’m in luck in Nevada, as they recognize my rights to safe access of my good medicine. You just need to bring your letter of recommendation and an I.D. from your home state.

Getting Relief at ReLeaf

While in Releaf I had the good fortune to chat with longtime Vegas resident, Mr. Johnston, who shared with me he had arrived to the city in 1959 as a working musician. Not allowed to enter the casinos through the fancy circular driveways this writer had traversed with her family years ago, Mr. Johnston, due to the color of his skin, had to enter through the back.

I mentioned the celebrity cover for the issue I was working on was to feature Jimi Hendrix, and he shared with me that he once had the good fortune of playing with the late guitarist, remembering his last performance in California at The Monterey Pop Festival as he stood on the sidelines.

It was a surreal encounter, as the lineage of the stigma with black musicians and cannabis runs deep. One can imagine Sammy Davis, Jr. burning at the rear entrance with some of the greats - black and white entertainers at the time, for the herb knows no color.

Louis Armstrong was no stranger to the herb or Vegas, and was an outspoken proponent of the plant at a time when it was taboo, stating, “I just won’t carry on with such fear over nothing and I don’t intend to ever stop smoking it, not as long as it grows. And there is no one on this earth that can ever stop it all from growing. No one but Jesus – and he wouldn’t dare. Because he feels the same way I do about it.”

Healing at Inyo

While filling out my patient intake form at Inyo Dispensary I noted a woman in a wheel chair attempting to fill out her paperwork with the help of her grown daughter. She had dropped the clipboard on her leg and was in extreme neuropathy pain and sobbing.

My heart sank and I handed her my vape pen for quick relief, but cameras were watching and patients are not allowed to medicate inside, nor are they allowed to share. She took my pen outside and felt better, but I soon learned she was there just for flower to smoke. We laughed at the thought of her being able to pop an Oxy inside a pharmacy, but taking a hit of a natural plant-based medicine in a dispensary is off-limits.

She had a morphine pump implanted in her body, but smoking gave the most relief – as is common with opiates and other pain killers, cannabis enhances the effect. Patients can still have pain on up to 300 mg. of morphine, but when they smoke, it gives immediate relief. Do away with the morphine and ingest, and do away with the pain, but patients are just beginning to learn the difference.

I made a deal with her and said I would help pay for a topical cream or edible tincture if she’d like to try it. She ended up buying flower and a transdermal patch made by “Mary’s Medicinals,” a Denver-based company that produces CBD only products (from cannabis) that can be shipped across state lines, due to its low THC count of 0.03 percent. She told me to keep my money and was grateful for the help.

Testing, to be Sure

One evening Susan and Curtis Bunce were watching the news on television when they noted one laboratory in Nevada getting its license to test medical cannabis. Susan said a light bulb went off above her head, as she surmised it probably would take more than one lab to test all of Nevada’s finest.

One thing led to another, and as is often the case in this seemingly magical industry, someone knew someone who “used to work at a lab.”

That “someone” turned out to be none-other-than Savino Sguera, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University; and former Laboratory Director for the first ever cannabis testing lab in California, Steep Hill Labs. Not a bad connection.

“Savino is now our laboratory director, and his business partner, Marco, is now our laboratory manager,” Susan said of the team they were able to put together with a combined 80 years of lab experience, with the majority of staff said to be women.

Product is coming and the 20 samples per week DB Labs is currently testing will soon jump to 60 samples per day in the immediate future.

“That number will soon expand to 100 samples per day as the production increases in the New Year,” she explained.

Nevada currently has the most stringent testing seen in the world’s cannabis market, and Bunce said BD Labs uses the most state-of-the-art equipment available, with rigorous standards.

Savino, who also consults for the cannabis industry regarding extraction and analysis, said the lab is currently opti-mixing its output efficiency and refining its methods to make room for the onslaught of samples to come.

“We are also looking at the possibility of seeing more analytes - new cannabinoids, more required pesticides, lower tolerance levels, and so forth,” Savino explained. “With such an expansive market due to open in Las Vegas and elsewhere, Nevada has the potential to become the next major source of cannabis information and research.”

The advantage of coming into the game behind Colorado and Washington, Savino said, is being able to share what’s learned in every arena.

“When different doctors, cultivators, producers, and especially laboratories, begin to pool the information gathered on this enormous set of samples,” he said. “We will have an invaluable new insight into the cannabis plant. For instance, how does the plant handle different chemical additives and contaminants? How can we identify strains based on chemical profile? How do growing conditions control this profile – and how do these chemical profiles translate to pharmacodynamics of cannabis medicine?”

One thing Savino said we must remember about cannabis is that it is still a plant, and unlike pharmaceuticals, its effects cannot be narrowed down and attributed to one or two chemicals that can be isolated and purified – although some companies do take that approach.

“A majority of cannabis’ medicinal qualities stem from the as-of-yet unknown interplay between hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes that currently only living plants can produce in the correct amounts,” Savino continued. “As such, the best cannabis will come from the healthiest plants, and healthy plants are in constant symbiotic balance with thousands of different bacteria, fungi, and even parasites – with most of these microbes easily kept at bay by a healthy human immune system.”

Going Green

Former attorney Chris Van Hook is founder, program director, and chief Inspector for “Clean Green,” a certification program for farmers, in a “start to finish” inspection covering all areas where crops would be worked with, stored, and/or cured.

Prior to its inception in 2004 the company was working closely with the USDA National Organic Program, certifying organic farms, so the transition to cannabis was a natural one.

With nine inspectors working their own regions, Clean Green has been able to spread out and help many, currently certifying five states, with applications pending in five more.

“Eighty farmers were certified last year alone, but all told we’ve helped more than one thousand come into compliance since we began,” he said.

Green Life Productions in the town of Parhump was the first farm to be certified in the State of Nevada, and Van Hook said, “Its facility is an excellent example of how top quality indoor cannabis can be grown in a manner with very low consumption – and in a remarkably sustainable manner.”

Van Hook said that GLP uses LED lighting, which does not require heat removal via either air-conditioning or fans, making the reduction of energy in Nevada’s harsh environment easy, while producing a high quality flower, with the lowest electricity consumed in a region that demands energy use.

“Its continual reuse and rebuilding of the soils in place further reduces the overall footprint of the facility, by not having to replace their soils with each crop – which would require trucking it in and out of the valley,” Van Hook explained.

Farming Nevada

The cannabis market is still being developed in Nevada, with farms and product being procured as I write this, leaving dispensary shelves a bit wanting for the moment, with Green Life Productions (GLP) able to acquire a license and a step-up in the market.

Parhump is a small town about an hour out of Las Vegas proper, and to the east of Death Valley. GLP is an indoor farm, warranted by the harsh conditions of the Nevada desert – which means snow and frost in the winter and a short outdoor season with temperatures climbing to 120F in August.

The difference between GLP and a traditional indoor cannabis farm is, they grow in large, square beds, with cover crops to feed the soil, and soil regeneration via organic composting – otherwise known as sustainable farming.

But the real story of GLP lies in its co-founder’s past. Steven Cantwell was born and raised in the tiny desert town. Bored and challenged, Cantwell refers to himself as a “troubled youth,” and began training in martial arts as a diversion.

At 17 the local “Floyds Ace Hardware” sponsored him for a move to Las Vegas to live, train, and compete as a professional. It was a good move, and by the time he was 20 Cantwell was signed by the WEC, and soon after won his first title at 21, making him the WEC Light Heavy Weight Champion. And then the injuries came.

“I started fighting with serious injuries,” he explained. “I knew the dangers of pain pills from what close friends and family had been through with them, and knew I had to find an alternative way to manage what was sure to be a lifetime of chronic pain.”

Cantwell began researching, studying, and testing cannabis as medicine, realizing the benefits of the plant, with some reservations, enlisting his longtime partner, Kouanin Villa, to help him.

“Steve and I met when we were 17, when he moved into the gym where I worked,” Villa explained. “Twelve years later we are still happily working together growing cannabis in the former ‘Floyd’s Ace Hardware’ building where it all began.”

Villa shared that Cantwell didn’t always just farm cannabis, with his love of farming starting with fruits and vegetable gardens at home, then transitioning to coral reef fish tanks, then to hydroponics and working with nutrients.

“I began growing in soil first with rock wool cubes, then coco coir, and bottled nutrients, to mixing and recycling super soil – to finally what I believe to be the safest, most sustainable style on the planet earth – no till, organic, living soil.”

Cover crops are used as companion planting, just as real backdoor, organic farming dictates, with biodiversity and rich soil the outcome, and less pests.

“Our goal is to introduce and grow healthy, beneficial life that outcompetes negative pests and pathogens, creating symbiotic relationships above and below our soil,” he concluded.

What this means is, GLP’s bud, and subsequent medicine made from it, is clean, pure, and loaded with beneficial compounds.

Truth and wellness go hand in hand in this industry, and Cantwell, with Villa, say they are in this for the long haul. Putting off kids for three Rottweilers, while growing some of Nevada’s finest.

“We feel true healing can only take place when we first free ourselves from the legal and moral convictions both society and our legal system has put on cannabis,” Cantwell shared.

From Silver, to Gold, to Green

Nevada has had the advantage of watching what other states do, be it medical or recreational, for a very long time. We already know the money is there, the green tourist trade is a given, and they are getting ready in a very smart way – beginning with testing all products from seed to shelf; farming with the cleanest and most efficient methods; and making medicine for real ailments, not just prepping for recreation.

What this traveling writer has noticed covering, now five states via my Road Trip series, is when a state legalizes, more people get helped and healed. For legalizing helps a medicine maker feel safe to come out of the green closet to share for the greater good.

Whether you are a high roller, or heavily medicated in Sin City, you will be healed with this plant – fiscally, or otherwise. The plant and its people continue to prevail. 

Reference List:

Marijuana Policy Project/Nevada MMJ Laws:

Americans for Safe Access/How to, Nevada:

Las Vegas Releaf dispensary:

Inyo Dispensary:

DB Labs:

Green Life Productions:

Cutline for terpene viles:

The terpene bottles hold a small amount of homogenized plant sample sealed into a headspace vial. The vial gets heated, and a small sample of the vapors produced are removed with a needle and injected into the gas chromatography column by the headspace sampler. Here the vapor can be separated into its various organic chemical components before each one is detected and measured by the mass spectrometer. The same type of analysis is also performed on extracts and oils to analyze the content of any solvent residues. 

This article first appeared in issue 121 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

Purple Princess by Billie of Emerald Alchemy

Wednesday, 10 May 2017 09:50:44 Europe/London

Words and Pics by The Dank Duchess

Just as every plant is different, so is every batch of Hashish, and hash makers come in as many flavors as their products.  I have had a lot of icewax over the last year, but the Purple Princess really stands out, partially because the hash maker, Billie of Emerald Alchemy, has struck her own path and is following her heart.  With an unconventional approach to processing cannabis, Billie’s style of hash-making is different, reflective of her lengthy experience, 8 years, and her unique perspective on the process. Unlike most, she uses only cured material.  She creates icewax that is full spectrum, rather than individualized microns.  And the biggest difference is her Hashish making method. Most Hashish makers, myself included, make bubble hash using a machine.  Billie, however, completes the collection process by hand. When I ask her how she can handle the physical demands and the strain put on her body, she positively remarks that she is saving herself a gym membership.   She happily explains why she eschews the use of mechanical instruments to facilitate making bubblehash and why the workout is one of love.

“My philosophy is to let the resin tell me what to do with it. I like to be in control of every detail of my hash making process thus doing everything by hand allows for me to be involved in an intimate relationship with every batch. When I am processing I constantly stop and take note of what is happening in the wash. I look at how the plant material is holding up in the agitation process I look at how saturated the water is with resin.”

Billie considers her hash creations to be ‘soul extracted’ as she put all of her heart and soul into her work. Describing her work as magical, she appreciates the privilege of not only processing, but growing cannabis. I listen to her detail, with passion, the other products she makes with cannabis flowers and Hashish - floral and CBD tinctures that feature 40 other medicinal herbs.  An avid nature lover from her youth, she marvels at each experience and I am eager to find out if her affection translates into unforgettable Hashish.

Created by The Doc, a Santa Cruz area grower and breeder with 40 years of experience, Purple Princess is an indoor-grown, Indica-dominant hybrid cross of Pre-98 Bubba Kush and Lavender.  The Hashish was meticulously processed from high quality sugar leaf, heavy with ripe trichomes.  Though the flashiest Hashish these days is golden, gooey, and greasy, true to Billie’s off-beat style, Purple Princess is sandy and ecru-colored; comfortably unassuming, like a pair of Toms Hemp Shoes. Opening the jar allows a funk body odor aroma to escape, quickly followed by robust, citrusy sweetness. Drawing the jar closer, pink grapefruits come to mind as the Hashish continues to express herself.  I am reminded of warm tropical Miami nights punctuated by short gusts of sea air which sting and tickle the nostrils.  
I rip a small piece of RAW parchment paper and pour the Purple Princess Hashish onto the surface, carefully folding it in half.  It seems very dry and I am unsure if the beach sand will fuse together.  Applying my heated hashpress, coarse grains press smoothly into a translucent film; thick enough to support its own weight yet easily pliable.  The smell of citrus rind wafts upward and I fire up my torch and blaze my Halen Honey Hole knowingly.  If it presses, it will most probably dab, and I am in the mood for a fat dab.

As the Hashish touches the quartz, it bubbles only momentarily before practically disappearing.  My clean, full melt is fully appreciated as I take a puff and welcome the smoke into my mouth.  Like the aroma, on inhalation, the funky and aggressive flavor announces itself brightly and then is subjugated by a delicate floral mouthful that tastes like a bowl of orange honeysuckles.  I take another dab, low temp, and delight in the mouthwatering mix of fruit, candy and the tart, musky flavor of overripe lemons.  Sliding coolly down my throat, the Purple Princess Hashish gathers steam and thickens, creating a full mouth feel.  The exhaled smoke is robust, playful, and hazy; diffusing the bright sunshine streaming through the windows. 

My mouth tingles like I just swished mouthwash  and my chest feels somewhat stretched. I feel little else in my body, though a mental change overcomes me almost immediately.  A cheery focus urges me start trimming plants from this season’s harvest.  Trimming can be tedious, but feeling eager to keep my hand busy, I sit down and trim steadily for more than 2 hours.  Gingerly holding fat OG colas, I snip at fan leaves and think about the care that went into the soil, the light that nourished it, and the grower that fawned over it.  I manicure the buds anticipating the Hashish that will be made with the sugar leaf.  I poke and prod at the tiny leaves, revealing the beautiful buds beneath and revel in the inherent beauty of cannabis.

Time passes and feeling a little cramped, I decide to take a much needed break.  In appreciation of Billie’s dedication to plants and flowers I change my set and setting to the lovely outdoors.  The Bay Area is enjoying an extended ‘Indian Summer’ and Morcom Rose Garden in Oakland is the perfect place to enjoy more of this Purple Princess.  The 7 acre garden is home to more than 5,000 rose bushes, quiet, sun-dappled paths, dramatic stairways and several gorgeous water features.  I hop into the back seat of my car and, using my three-hole pipe I take a few more hits of the Purple Princess Hashish.  The thick, silver smoke slides out of my mouth and curls alluringly, like the smooth swish of a Chinese painter’s brush.  The smoke hangs expectantly, trapped by the raised windows and unable to dissipate.  Time and again, I am reminded how the sensual qualities of Hashish keep me mesmerized.  Purple Princess is headily intoxicating and I love it.  I notice that while in the first session, I felt the Hashish mostly in my head, after four or five puffs, I now feel an intense body high as well.  My neck throbs, not unpleasantly, while my chest feels weighed upon, warmed, and expanded; like resin being pressed and fused into a mass of Hashish.  I envision my brown skin like a river of chocolate heated by the sun.  My legs are heavy; almost immovable, but I am not bothered.  A calm and pleasant positivity has settled upon me and I smile in anticipation of the luscious garden. Pausing momentarily, I slowly open the door; letting in a stream of cool, crisp air. The confined smoke, still swirling, drifts upwards lazily. 

With THC and the myriad of other cannabinoids coursing through me, I exit my car and walk over to the garden.  The formal garden is nestled in a small canyon, pine trees tower along the sides recalling nature’s heavenly cathedral.  I walk leisurely, allowing myself to be overcome with the beauty and the quiet majesty of the environment.  Though easily accessible by car, the glorious flowers and proud trees whirl visitors into an enchanted cove seemingly far from city life.  I breathe in deeply, savoring the scents of thousands of mature flowers, unwavering in their mission to beautify, even as their dying leaves stretch in vain for the ever-shortening rays of the autumn sun.  

My legs are starting to feel weary and as I pass a large, tiered fountain, I stop to watch the soothing cascade. Like the cool water,  pleasant waves of content continue to wash over my mind.  I sit on a bench surrounded by a dozens of roses and I am very happy.   The air is filled with the animated chatter of birds high up in the tree canopy.  I pay attention to the call and response of different groups of birds before I focus my attention on the lush floral banquet everywhere I look.  Some of the body high has worn off and I energetically  skip through the rose bushes, taking pictures, and taking time to sniff a few.  I particularly like two hybrid tea roses that remind me of the Purple Princess: Magenta, a dusty purple rose that smells of crushed lemons and honey, and Barcelona, a dark reddish, purple beauty with a loud, bold, and showy fragrance.

Though my body high has mostly subsided,  my mind is still going as the Purple Princess continues to infuse the mundane with an ethereal quality. Everything about these moments is precious.  Similar to when I was trimming the cannabis, the little peculiarities of each flower stand out to me briefly, popping forth like  photographs before receding into the background.  I begin to spin in place, turning  slowly at first, peering at the varied green palette dotted with pinks, whites, and purples.  Whirling like a dervish, bushes become a solid green mat, streaked with undulating splashes of intense color.  This Purple Princess has whisked me off into a fairytale and I do not wish it to ever end.  As the sunlight fades,  I slowly walk back to my car,  grateful for the experience and looking forward to the next.

Purple Princess is the breathtaking result of unwavering dedication to quality and an unforgettable expression of love.  Like royalty,  she is utterly enchanting, not quite what is expected, and full of much more richness than she readily shows.



This article first appeared in issue 120 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

More Tips from the Professor

Tuesday, 9 May 2017 10:49:38 Europe/London

Professor Lee,

I have a question about an article I read about determining the sex of cannabis seeds. I was wondering if there was any truth to it, and I would appreciate your thoughts on the subject.



Hello Mitchell,

I have heard of this but never tried it myself. Most growers just accept the fact that on average, non-feminized seeds are roughly 50 percent female and 50 percent male. I’ve discussed sexing marijuana seeds with some growers who claim that this technique does indeed work, but just to settle things, here’s what we can do. I want to ask all the Weed World readers that are about to start some new plants to take a few moments to examine their seeds and help us figure out if it’s possible to pre-sex the little buggers. 

Here’s the theory: Every seed has a hilum, basically the seed’s belly button, where it was attached to the plant while it developed. Female seeds supposedly have a nice round hilum shaped like a small volcanic crater. The males are said to have a smaller, less defined hilum that may be shallow, deformed, and/or resembling a slit. Anyone interested in helping, or satisfying their own curiosity, should take note of what kind of hilum their seeds have and then separate the seeds accordingly and mark each plant’s container with the supposed sex. After the plants present their flowers we’ll know if it’s true or not. If you’re using feminized seeds please take note if they all have well developed hilums or not.  This would be useful information as well.

Please contact me on Twitter @ProfessorLee420 or on Facebook at with your results. I’ll be sure to report the findings in a future issue of Weed World. I look forward to seeing how this works out. 

Thanks in advance,

Professor Lee

Hello Professor Lee,

Can I ask another question on clones? We have done some cuttings and put in rockwool with root powder, but after three days the stems are soggy and rotted away. What can cause this to happen? 


Hello again Gerard,

Here is a rambling answer to your question.  

My first guess would be an infection. It is important to sterilize the rockwool before using it and to keep the instruments and cutting area clean. A good soak in water with hydrogen peroxide or another sterilizing agent will work well for the rockwool. Use alcohol to sterilize any scissors or razor blade before/between taking cuttings. Also, properly sterilize the cloning box they’re being rooted in and use distilled water in a sterilized spray bottle to mist them with. Oh, and wash your hands with soap and hot water and/or wear disposable gloves. Keep the time between making the final cut and the insertion into the rockwool to a minimum; if you take too long the cut area can dry out a little and the clone won't be able to uptake water effectively.  

Hope this helps. Please keep trying! Most growers eventually get a near 100% success rate with cloning.  It just takes a few batches.

Good luck,

Professor Lee

Hello Professor,

I have a simple question about what humidity I should keep my plants at. Is it the same from start to finish, or should I change it as I go?



P.S. This will be my first grow ever! 

Hello Michael,

Congrats on your first grow! You’re in for a lot of fun.

For vegetative plants I recommend maintaining your humidity levels at between 40 and 70 percent. When you are ready to flower, try to keep things around the 45 percent mark. Young plants can usually tolerate quite a bit of variation, but proper humidity levels are extremely important during the flowering cycle. If it gets too high you’re inviting the dreadful bud rot into your garden. A simple humidity gauge is available at any nursery or grow supply store. I always had at least two in my gardens. Most private growers can solve any humidity problems with a good ventilation system. Sometimes a grower may have to invest in a dehumidifier. 

These things can sometimes be a challenge for new growers, but you’ll soon discover that we can be determined and creative people. I always welcomed a challenge and felt great when I could figure these things out. 

I hope this helps get you started.

Professor Lee

Hello Professor Lee,

I think my plants might be sick. I have a couple of plants in my garden that are taller than the rest and seem to be growing pretty well, but the lower leaves are getting pale. Some are pretty yellow and there are dead spots on them. Also, the stems are turning red. I thinned my lower growth some time ago and the leaves in question get plenty of light. I’m trying an organic soil mix I bought at my local supply shop for the first time and the plants are about two months old. They’re in three gallon pots and I haven’t seen any bugs or smelled anything rotting. Could they have a virus or something? 


Hello Luke,

It sounds like you don’t have a virus or other bug, but maybe a potassium deficiency. Plants low on potassium will have these symptoms. Organic soil mixes are great, but the nutrients in them are finite and eventually plants will munch their way through them and need a fertilizer boost. You can make up an organic tea with either bat guano or kelp meal to solve the potassium problem, but this could be a sign that your other nutrients could run out pretty soon as well. I suggest you try a tea that will cover all the major nutrients: nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. A good mix would be something like worm castings and alfalfa meal. Worm castings are great because they have beneficial fungus and bacteria that help the plants. You could just use alfalfa meal if you want, which is what some growers do, but I prefer a more interesting blend of kelp meal, cottonseed meal, and soy meal. If you do use the cottonseed meal in your tea be sure to use organic cotton sources. Commercial cotton growers use some of the highest levels of pesticides in agriculture which can wreak havoc with an organic grow. 

The best way to prepare a tea is to place your ingredients in a bag of some kind; a nylon stocking or cloth bag will work very well. Next, soak the bag in a bucket of water for a few hours. It helps to add a single drop of liquid dishwashing soap to break the water tension and allow the water to fully penetrate into the organic mix. Every hour or so dip the bag in and out of the water to enrich your water mix. When ready, just drain and remove the bag then water the plants with the mix and the problem should correct in a week or so.  Use this fertilizing method every second or third time you water the plants to prevent future deficiencies. 

I hope this helps!

Professor Lee

Hello everybody,

There were a lot of really great questions this time around. In this issue I sent Luke a copy of my book, Marijuana 101: Professor Lee's Introduction to Growing Grade A Bud. Figuring out what could be wrong with a sick plant is pretty hard to do and can be confusing, or there might be more than one thing going on. Please keep the questions coming and next time it could be yours that I pick for an autographed copy of my book.    

Happy growing!

Professor Lee

 This article first appeared in issue 115 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

The Concentrate Controversy

Monday, 8 May 2017 09:34:58 Europe/London

 The concentrate scene is wild, extreme and seems misaligned with the most recent science around cannabis in comparison to the most ancient traditions for a 'Frenchy' who has smoked Hashish for over forty years and been schooled in various producing countries.

The art of collecting resin and making concentrate is possibly ten of thousands of years old, and quality has been define by taste and smell for just as long. The psychoactive property of cannabis’ resin has been what most certainly triggered a coevolution with humanity since the dawn of time; but would it have been the same if it’s resin had tasted foul? 

The oldest traditions from India tell us that the gods sent man the cannabis plant so that we might attain delight and that cannabis sprouted from a drop of nectar that fell from heaven; it is the most ancient ode to terpenes and terpenoids.

Beyond the realm of their biological and medicinal properties, terpenes and terpenoids regulate the effects of THC and other cannabinoids, as well as enhance the potency of THC. Terpenes also adjust the permeability of both cell membranes and the blood/brain barrier, causing THC and other active cannabinoids to have a faster onset and a more thorough absorption. Science, traditions and even mythology show clearly the fundamental importance of terpenes, making their preservation mandatory in the production of any type of concentrate.

The manufacturing of fine wine, liquor or Hashish is based on the same concept; bring to a greater dimension a raw substance by enhancing its characteristics (which is quite different from distilling moonshine or extracting resin with a chemical solvent). The BHO/CO2/ISO concentrate versus Hashish could be compared to the difference between producing a fine liquor like Cognac and the manufacturing of full proof alcohol: both products serve a purpose, just not the same.

The “journey” toward well being/altered reality is what makes each experience unique and truly satisfying; the total delight of bursting flavors and aromas on the tongue, of transforming essences and lingering aftertaste, the truly gratifying onset to a general sense of well being.

As you must have guessed by now, I find certain aspects of butane extraction production objectionable, mainly with the misinformation surrounding the product and with the solvent itself. Butane extraction requires the use of petrochemical solvents. The unrestrained use of petrochemical products and by-products is bringing our planet to the verge of a total ecological collapse whereas Cannabis is a plant that can remove radioactivity, metals, pesticides, solvents, crude oil, and toxins from our planet. Why would we process cannabis with petrochemical derivatives to extract cannabinoids for their medicinal and/or psychoactive properties when there exists time-tested alternative methods of extraction that do not cause any negative environmental impact, such as in the traditional process of making hashish?

The advantages and overall benefits offered by a butane extract need to be significant in order to morally justify the cost to future generations and to the planet.

While different techniques create different textured BHO products (shatter, budder, etc.), the extraction process remains the same: “blasting” butane to strip the resin heads from the plant material, purging, winterizing (freezing in alcohol to finish cleaning lipids, fats and plant waxes), before using a vacuum chamber and vacuum pump to remove butane and alcohol from the dissolved resin.

Butane is flammable, explosive and contains potentially poisonous and harmful chemicals, so a vast amount of knowledge, experience and lab equipment is mandatory to the production of a really clean extract. BHO concentrates are also a recent trend, with little scientific information around the potential negative long-term effects of exposing the body and its respiratory system to these potent solvent extracts, whereas we have thousands of years of documented history of Hashish and Charas being smoked generation after generation in producing countries to no negative side effect.

BHO, a product whose cleanliness over sieved resin heads is one of the main given benefits, requires rigorous and hazardous cleaning to create a consumable and safe product. It is an extreme step to take just to clean the remaining microscopic plant material and the wax membranes that hold the resin, but purity is important and on that I totally agree, which is why I press my resin glands into Hashish and let it cure for 10 to 12 weeks; the resin, being “corrosive”, as nature intended, does all the cleaning for me; but that is another story for another time.

High quality ice water or dry sieve resin has only 1 to 7% plant material and an unknown amount of wax membranes that may actually have beneficial properties, somewhat like the skin of a fruit or vegetable that hold beneficial compounds. While quantifiable BHO may be a marginally cleaner product than sieved resin, the difference is minute and the overall cost of the process is expensive and more importantly environmentally unsustainable.

The second and most enticing aspect of BHO is higher potency, which can range from 50 to 80% THC, but that should be expected when you “concentrate” resin that has a base test at 20% and above on the flower; sieved resin can test as high as 60 to 75% after all. BHO just cannot be stronger than the original resin; the resin does not get a higher THC, cannabinoids and terpenes content by being dissolved in butane and/or alcohol; it is transformed by a chemical reaction to a liquid form only to facilitate the cleaning of all remaining impurities. However, the probability of altering and affecting the natural integrity of the resin by changing its structure with butane, CO2 or alcohol is real and the repercussions of changing the combining benefits of the plant are unknown.

BHO has one true advantage over sieved resin and Hashish: BHO combusts instantly so that, from a medicinal perspective, significantly higher doses can be inhaled at a time which can be important for people suffering seizures and severe chronic pain; patients who care less for the experience than for the end result can receive instant relief from pain and/or seizures.

Nevertheless, this gain of a few percent in purity and potency achieved with BHO comes too often at the highest cost of all: a loss in terpenes and other important compounds. Cannabinoids, terpenes, terpenoids, flavonoids, etc. within the cannabis plant resin work in synergy; they work in a similar manner to the body’s endocannabinoid system. All the components of the Cannabis plant (more than 480) exert some therapeutic effect, more than any single compound alone. It is called the “entourage effect”, as first described by Raphael Mechoulam. The cannabis compounds simply work better together than in isolation.

The vital importance of terpenes is proven scientifically and extract providers on the cutting edge are going as far as removing the terpenes before the actual solvent extraction and then infusing them back into the product as is done in the perfume industry. This is a real solution but not an easy one; the easy one is to use (in exchange) common inexpensive essential oils like Limonene, Myrcene, Pinene, and others used in the manufacturing of food and beauty products, after all terpenes will still be terpenes - doesn’t matter the provenance, right? Well, unfortunately, we actually do not know that. No studies have been made on the subject, but why not just keep them in the first place by simply collecting instead of extracting?

Hashish is the finest and final expression of the cannabis plant; it embodies all the plant’s characteristics and takes them to a higher dimension. Hashish symbolizes this mythological divine relation between the plant and humans by the glory of its smell, aromas and flavors. Poets have praised the pleasure and the mystical experience that is smoking Hashish for the past thousand years, some Hashish have become legendary for their quality and today we are creating new myths, thanks to the amazing genetics and the dedication of a new generation of Hashishin.   

I believe that unless you need to consume very high potency doses for medical purposes, where experience, aromas and flavors are supplanted by a medical need to reduce a symptom, there is simply no reason to be choosing solvent extracts over Hashish.

by Frenchy, photos courtesy of TC

This article first appeared in issue 112 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

Growing Tips from the Prof

Sunday, 7 May 2017 11:02:55 Europe/London

Hello Professor Lee

I have a question about PPM and EC. What is the difference between the two and is one better than the other?

Some Guy

Hello Guy

Good question. This one gives a lot of people problems. PPM stands for parts per million and EC stands for electrical conductivity. They are both methods for considering how strong a nutrient mixture is, but they just go about it in different ways. It’s kind of like the difference between using the metric or standard systems of measurement to determine how far you’ve traveled or how much sugar to use in a cake recipe. I always liked to use the PPM system simply because that was the style of the first meter I ever bought. Such meters are generally called TDS meters. TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids. In my imagination I like to visualize a room filled with a million golf balls, and if my meter told me my PPM was 650 then I would imagine that 650 of the golf balls in the room were a different color than all the rest. I know it’s kind of stupid, but that’s the way I got used to thinking of my nutrient concentrations and it’s stuck with me ever since.

I find that most growers pick one method and from then on they’re a PPM or EC grower. It’s silly but true. Now that I’ve said that I should also point out that TDS meters are really variations of EC meters. At this point you should be thinking, “What the fuck?” Yep, that’s right. TDS meters use electrical conductivity to initially measure the dissolved nutrients and then convert that information into PPM. I think this is one of the major sources of confusion when discussing the difference between PPM and EC.  

As a baseline, pure water doesn’t conduct electricity, but the more mineral ions that are added, the higher its conductivity. This is the reason sea water conducts electricity more efficiently than fresh water.  Most PPM and EC meters pass a small electrical charge between two electrodes to measure this conductivity and give a fairly accurate account of the nutrient mixtures strength. When you mix up a batch of nutrients, be sure to check the water before you add anything to it. Any initial impurities in the water will show up in your measurement. For instance, my tap water measures about 100 PPM. If I didn’t know that beforehand I might think my mixture had more nutrients in it than I thought. 

I hope this helps,

Professor Lee

Hey Professor

I’ve got a mutant plant! It alternates between having only one leaf and branching site on one internode and then three leaves and branches on the next. All the other plants in my garden are normal and have the standard two leaves and branching sites per internode. Have you ever heard of this happing before? Will it keep doing it or correct itself in time? It’s about two months old and I’m growing it in a flood and drain hydroponic system under a 1000 watt MH lamp. 




Hello Matt

You’ve found yourself a plant that has a trifoliate growth pattern. I’ve only seen this in person a couple of times, as it’s kind of rare, but it does happen. Nothing is wrong with the plant, it just has a different growth profile than the rest of your plants. It should keep growing like this for the rest of its growth cycle. Sometimes the main stem of a trifoliate plant will spontaneously split and develop into two main stems. My suggestion is to enjoy the novelty of it. 

Good find!

Professor Lee

Hello Professor Lee

I like to grow in a 4x4 grow tent with CO2 and a 600 watt HPS. I grow my plants in a soil mix that I like to prepare myself. This time around I’ve tried a plain mix of coco, perlite, vermiculite, potting soil and a complete organic nutrient mix. They guy at the store told me that since it was calcium based I didn’t need to add any Cal Mag. Does that sound right to you? 

A. Grower


Hey A

Congrats on your state’s legalization! It’s one more excuse for me to head out to the Pacific Northwest again. Calcium is the building block for cellular division for growth within a plant this is one of the reasons that companies are starting to incorporate it in their products. If the nutrient mix you bought is calcium based then you shouldn’t have to add any Cal Mag, but I would suggest adding enzymes, such as Multi Zen, Zyme or Bio-Cozyme to the soil to help accelerate the mineral breakdown of the nutrients. The reason I suggest the enzymes is that you are growing in a sealed environment with extra CO2 and your plant’s accelerated growth will have heavier than normal nutrient requirements. 

I hope this answers your question and happy growing.

Professor Lee 

Hello Professor

I’m pretty new to growing and I’ve kept things simple by just growing a couple of plants in some five gallon buckets on my back porch. Last year’s crop came in at just under a pound dry and my friends liked it a lot! They claimed that it was really good and they weren’t just saying that to seem grateful for the free weed! The only complaint I got was from one friend who said that the ashes in his bowl told him I hadn’t flushed out the chemical nutrients I was using. I hadn’t told him what I used, but he was right about me not using any organics. This year I decided to try organics to see if he would say the same thing or not. So I’ve been buying compost tea from the grow store in my town that makes it there on site in this big tank. It’s pretty cheap and I don’t think I’m ready to start mixing or making my own organic stuff yet. Anyway there is a big sign next to the tank that says the tea is super charged with worm castings. I know that means worm poop and after it rains around here my yard is full of little piles of it. The next time I grow should I add some of these to my soil mix or would that introduce any bad microbes to my soil? Is such a thing worthwhile or should I just keep buying the compost tea? 

Thank you,


Hey Angie

Compost tea with worm castings is a excellent fertilizer to add to your plants and it’s important to support a local business. Until you feel comfortable mixing up soils and/or nutrients on your own it’s a great way to go. As for the worm casting you find in your yard, there is nothing wrong with adding them to your soil mix. They won’t contain any harmful pathogens like E.coli or salmonella; in fact quite the opposite! Fresh worm casting are full of beneficial bacteria that will help the plants access nutrients in the soil. I like to gather them out of my own yard and added them to my compost tea to give it a bit of a super charge. No matter what fertilizer source you use, be sure to flush the excess nutrients out of your soil with plain pH-balanced water starting about ten days before your harvest. This will remove excess nutrients from the plants and improve the taste and smoke of your buds. If your friend really knows their stuff they should be able to tell the difference. 

Great question and keep up the good work.

Professor Lee 

Hello Professor Lee

I am thinking of building my own hydroponic system myself. I am pretty handy with building things from wood or PVC plumbing pipes. I’ve been prowling the aisles of my local do it yourself and grow stores for parts and ideas. I’ve have a simple NFT system in mind but I want it to have sprayers instead of just a shallow flow of water on the bottom. I found some misters and wanted your opinion on the micron I should pick. Any suggestions? 


Oakland California

Hello Lincoln

How are things in Oaksterdam? When it comes to microns it all depends on how fine you want your spray. One hundred to two hundred microns will create a soaking spray like the one used in most commercially produced cloning boxes. Thirty to one hundred microns will produce a wet mist, and at zero to thirty microns you will get something akin to a dry fog that works great in an aeroponic system or even for foliar feeding nutrients to the plants. The finer the mist, the finer the root mass that can be generated. Higher micron sprays like the one to two hundred range have a tendency to blast the smaller fan roots off of the root ball and promote spaghetti roots. By dialing down the impact, the root ball can develop more of its hair thin side shoots and as the saying goes, “more root, more fruit”! If it was up to me, I would pick the smallest micron sized sprayer or atomizer I could get my hands on. Some models are adjustable, allowing you to play around with the settings and dial things in to whatever you consider the sweet spot for your particular setup. 

Good luck,

Professor Lee 

Hello everybody!

Thanks for sending your questions in, and please keep them coming. Angie’s question about worm casting really took me back to the start of my growing career and to help her out I sent her an autographed copy of my book Marijuana 101: Professor Lee’s Introduction to Growing Grade A Bud.  Keep sending your questions and next time it could be you that gets a book. 

Till then, happy growing.

Professor Lee

This article first appeared in Issue 118 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

Genetics Gone Mad – The Pink Plant

Saturday, 6 May 2017 09:01:45 Europe/London

Collectives, patients, growers and breeders are coming forward and addressing the restrictions that counties and cities are placing upon the marijuana community here in California. Our county is no different – with my county considering banning ALL outdoor marijuana growing, there have been local supervisor meetings which have brought out past collective owners, medical marijuana delivery service owners, patients who are growers, growers that are just that “growers” and a few breeders. I listened to all of the speakers at the Boards of Supervisors (BOS) meetings and one in particular spoke about medical marijuana with passion and conviction. He spoke of the medicinal qualities of this miraculous plant and addressed the BOS with facts and educated not only those he was addressing but some in the audience. I decided I was going to meet this breeder of medicine – little did I know his whole story.

Genetics Gone Mad/Gene Madd/Focus … whatever you decide to call him, he is a man of many different names and personalities.  Gene, as I have decided to call him, met me in a little town located deep in the Far Northern California National Forest. Gene had just returned from a little walk from Red Bluff, California all the way to Reno Nevada a total walk of about 235 miles one way. Why? Well, Gene tells me that it was therapy as he was invited to meet with his favorite comedian – the invitation came via Paris Chong – yup – Tommy Chong’s son! Gene met with Tommy Chong of the infamous Cheech and Chong in order to talk specifics about breeding a marijuana strain specifically for him “…with so many people following me on Facebook, I decided to inspire others that may also have physical difficulties, showing them they can overcome with desire and diligence.”

When he was three years old, Gene choked on a cufflink and instead of seeking help he hid in a closet and expired of asphyxiation; his parents didn’t know he was missing until Gene had been called for dinner and did not come. They located his lifeless cold body and took him to the hospital where he “came back”. The way Gene tells it, he went “somewhere else and it changed me forever … I don’t talk about it much … I just came back … I had things to do …” Gene’s suffers from PTSD and chronic pain. From childhood Gene was not like most kids growing up in his generation; Gene grew up in the 60’s which were tumultuous times for American society anyway! As a youth, Gene lost his Uncle to the Bay of Tonkin in Vietnam, Gene’s older brother was what he describes as “obviously feminine” in a way that wasn’t “acceptable” back then and, subsequently, Gene was constantly battling bullies older than he was to protect his brother. Needless to say these experiences affected Gene deeply. Life wasn’t easy as a child for Gene, nor would it get easier. As an adolescent Gene broke his femur, dislocated his knee, and fractured his patella all in the same leg, losing his ability to walk which could explain his walking to Reno. Cannabis became Gene’s medicine of choice for the chronic pain he has been living with. Cannabis also helped him kick the narcotics he was using in the hospital.

Gene also sees things before they happen – Gene has visions about global events that will affect us all, which is his motivation to “…make little islands on the planet that are safe.”  Gene also has visions about events that will affect him. Once he was working in Inglewood, California, getting ready for a scene in the movie “Big Trouble in Little China” when he was stabbed in a random act of violence – which he had seen in a vision weeks before. I asked him what he does when he gets a vision like that “…not much you can do when fate is cast that way, ya know…you just gotta be ready for it.” His injuries were life threatening – the stabber had punctured a lung and nicked his heart – this time when he expired he didn’t go anywhere…“limbo … I just came back”  it was different from when he was a kid, “limbo” he repeats.

Gene checked himself out of the hospital against medical advice telling the doctors, “I am my own best doctor”

There are other things Gene has had visions of … he knew he was going to be published long before he grew cannabis. In 2011 he published 2 books Cannabis Indica – The Essential Guide to the World’s Finest Marijuana Strains and Cannabis Sativa - The Essential Guide to the World’s Finest Marijuana Strains, both published by Green Candy Press. He knew he would meet his favorite comedians Cheech and Chong, which he did just recently, and that he would become famous for a plant.

And the plant is Pink … Pink Cannabis … Genetics Gone Mad claims he can turn any of marijuana “pink” and cannabis cures cancer and other ailments which he has had verified by the University of Israel. Two years ago the University of Medical Cannabis Research Labs Israel contacted Gene and requested samples of Gene’s pink genetics for research purposes. The genetics of the pink marijuana are so dominant that they transfer their pink trait to the strain it is crossed with; often with only one crossing. It is considered an “indicator plant”. 12 years in development the strain has 19% THC, 8% CBD and .05% CBN.

In 2010 Gene was scouted by MSCAL out of Thailand who considered him to be one of the top 10 medical marijuana breeders in the world and offered him an honorary PHD for a 4 year commitment with their research in Thailand but, due to a death in the family, Gene had to decline. That’s when the Medical Cannabis Reasearch Labs of Isreal and the University of Israel contacted him.

Genetics Gone Mad

Redd Cross                                                                              

Genetics: Spirit of 76 X unknown Afghani

Indica dominate

Pink pistils

THC potency 18%

8% CBD

A sweet smoke that gives relief from bone and nerve pain. 

Platinum Blue Diesel

Indica dominate

Blue pistils

THC potency 23%

.08 CBD

A true diesel taste with an oily after taste – it’s a go-to-sleep, get-nothing-done kind of herb. Helps PTSD patients sleep.

Madd Kush

Indica dominate

Purple pistils

If you are interested in contacting Gene – Genetics Gone Mad at his GGM Laboratories you can email him at or follow his Facebook page Genetics Gone Mad. If you are interested in purchasing his genetics you can contact him via email and remember to put “magic beans” in the subject line!

This article first appeaed in issue 108 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

Q and A with the Prof

Friday, 5 May 2017 08:00:00 Europe/London

Hello Professor Lee

I've been growing hydro for a while but been wanting to try organic.  Have you ever dipped clones into a diluted tea before planting?



Hello Jack,

Yep, organic rooting teas are very effective at jumpstarting clones.  The official research I’ve dug up while looking into organic rooting teas/compounds dates back to the 1910’s, but I’m sure that people have been using them for much longer than that.  Rooting teas are easy to make and work extremely well.  The two main teas available to the average grower are made using seaweed, kelp, or willow.  The seaweed or kelp mixtures are available online or at good grow supply stores.  By happenstance I was in a store a couple of weeks ago, checking out the latest and greatest things on the market, when I found a bottle of seaweed extract that could make about 128 gallons for less than twenty dollars.  That’s pretty affordable when you consider how pricey a bottle of cloning powder is. 

The documented benefits of seaweed/kelp extracts include:

  • Larger root shoots that develop into a more substantial system.
  • An increase of available nutrients to the plant. 
  • A reduction in root and other plant diseases. 
  • A marked increase in stress resistance. 

Most people who use willow tea make it themselves by cutting up green or yellow willow tree stems into one-inch pieces, the more the merrier.  The pieces are then put into a suitable container and covered with boiling water.  Let the tea sit overnight to steep and cool.  The next day strain the tea to remove the stems.  Use the tea by soaking your cuttings in it for half a day before planting them in their medium or by simply watering the medium with the tea until roots begin to appear.  If you have ready access to willow trees this home brew method would be the most cost effective, and possibly the most satisfying solution to your organic tea question.  

Willows have naturally occurring hormones that allow them to aggressively reproduce themselves from cuttings.  These hormones include Indolebutyric acid (IBA) that stimulates root growth and Salicylic acid (SA) that helps protect the plant from pathogens.  Salicylic acid is also the key ingredient in aspirin. 

I Hope This Answers Your Question and Good Luck.

Professor Lee 

Hello Professor,

I am a medical patient that has been growing indoors for a few years, but I recently moved to an area where I have access to a really big outdoor growing area.  Because I live in a state where I can grow outdoors I’ve always wanted to do so, but I didn’t have a backyard to do it in (LOL).  I plan on growing six plants and I want them to be big ones.  So far the tallest plants I ever grew were only about four footers.  I want to know what tips you might be able to share with me and what kind of problems I can expect.  I really want to do this right and I understand that nobody gets it perfect the first time.  I also know I want to eventually exclusively grow outdoors and I’ll stick to it until I master it. 

Thanks So Much!

Jenny (Not from the Block)

Hey Jenny,

Good for you!  Outdoor growing is challenging but super fun.  You have the right attitude: eager and willing to learn as you grow.  My first advice is to go over your medical marijuana grower regulations and make sure you are adhering to the letter of the law.  Some places require that you clearly post your growing credentials, only produce a specific number of plants, secure the site from roving hordes of kids, or even inform certain authority figures.  Once you have anything like that covered you can concentrate on actually growing. 

You may have some favorite strains picked out, but have you considered how well they will do outdoors in your particular part of the world?  After all, you don’t want to do all that hard work only to find out your plants can’t handle some local mold or weather phenomenon or won’t finish before the frosts come.  Consult with your local seed supplier and possibly growers you trust as to what varieties do well in your area with regard to pests and diseases, climate challenges, and ripening times. 

Next, you will want to consider your containers - when growing outdoors it's a case of the bigger the better.  Large plants produce large root systems.  If the roots are restricted the plants won’t get as large as they potentially could.  Large volume containers also retain more moisture, thus extending the time between watering.  It’s not uncommon for growers to use pots that hold two or three hundred gallons of soil.  If this seems too daunting, then start with thirty or fifty gallon pots, or build some raised beds with lumber to whatever size you want. 

I get asked a lot about burying containers or digging large holes and filling them with high quality soil and these techniques work well if your native soil has good drainage.  You could test the drainage of your yard by digging a three foot deep hole and pouring in a five gallon bucket of water.  If the water drains out in an hour or less you have good drainage, but if it takes all day your soil is too heavy and the roots could rot.  Most plastic containers that growers use come in standard black.  If it gets really hot in your area the black plastic can absorb a lot of heat and cook the soil a few inches within which will prevent the roots from completely filling out the pots.  If this is a problem try wrapping the containers with burlap or some light colored material.  This will reflect a lot of the sun’s heat during the hot months, and if the weather starts to grow cold you can remove the material and let the roots warm up during the day to extend your growing season a little bit. 

I don’t encourage using the native soil in your yard by itself.  Who knows what could be lurking in there: pests, pathogens, toxic waste, etc.  So, no matter what, always use the highest quality soil mix you can get your hands on.  In my opinion the best soil mix out there is Subcool’s Super Soil.  His recipe is free and online for anyone who wants to use it.  The only downside to his recipe is that it takes several weeks for the recommended beneficial fungi to colonize the soil, but if you have patience and the ability to try his blend, then I highly suggest it.   

Outdoors watering is one of the biggest challenges.  Reducing your need to water is a big deal, so doing things like applying several inches of mulch on top of your soil and/or including water-retaining substrates like vermiculite, polymer crystals, or simple compost can really help out a lot.  I also encourage you to run some dedicated hoses and emitters to make watering a lot less physical and more enjoyable. 

You will need to inspect your plants every day for signs of pests and pathogens because it doesn’t take long for a plague or blight to wipe out your whole crop.  This part isn’t really much of a chore for most growers as we find being in and amongst our plants is one of the great joys of growing marijuana.  Preventative measures like sprinkling diatomaceous earth on top of your soil or routinely foliar feeding your plants with a compost tea spray will stop a lot of pest problems before they can get started. 

Outdoor plants require sufficient space to prevent crowding each other, so use a minimum of ten feet on all sides when you initially plant them, more if practical.  The plants will also require substantial supports built out of lumber or heavy duty fencing wire.  Think tomato cages on steroids.  You may have to build successive support structures as the plants grow.  Be prepared to mend broken branches that can snap in windstorms or heavy rains. 

Because you’re used to indoor growing, chances are you’ve had to lollypop your plants to remove lower growth that was too far below the lights to produce anything of worth.  You’ll have to do something similar outdoors.  The inner growth of the plants will become shaded by the outermost canopy.  Removing this inner growth will send more energy to the outer developing buds and remove a habitat for fungi and molds. 

If you get through this year and decide you want your plants to get even bigger next season you could try starting them early indoors to give them a jumpstart on the season.  Just be sure to get them used to the sunlight beforehand by exposing them to a little more each day over the course of a week or so before dedicating them to full time sunlight. 

Finally, the best advice I can give is one you already seem to understand.  Nobody gets it right the first time and each season you grow there will be problems you will need to overcome.  Just do your best and try to keep it as simple as possible. 

Best of Luck to You.

Professor Lee 

Hello Professor Lee,

I recently bought a foliar feeding fertilizer that has instructions that suggest I spray the plants while my lights are on.  That doesn’t seem right to me.  Is there a benefit to spraying while the lights are on?


Confused Guy

Hello Guy,

Don’t be confused.  That advice seems really wrong to me for two reasons.  First, spraying water around hot bulbs can lead to exploding bulbs.  Second, water droplets on leaves under hot lights can act as tiny magnifying lenses that could burn the leaves.  I really see no upside to doing any foliar feeding with the light on.  In fact I always took great pains to avoid it.  Sometimes I’d take my plants to a shower stall and spray there then wait for the plants to dry before returning them to the garden. 

Good Question. Stay Safe.

Professor Lee

Hello Professor

I’ve been stalking the lighting section of my local grow store looking for a good light.  I want to pick up a 600-watt HPS which will fit in my space just perfect.  My question is about the reflector.  I know that a horizontal reflector will be the best choice but I didn’t know they made reflectors with a metallic surface. I’ve only seen white before.  They have one style that is smooth like a mirror and another that is dimpled.  Are these better than the white ones and what’s the deal with the dimpled one? 



Hello Kelly,

The textured surface of the dimpled reflector is called a hammer-tone finish. It will diffuse the light more evenly than the smooth mirror finish of its counterpart.  While it’s true that the smooth mirrored finish may reflect more initial light than the others, the light will not be evenly distributed across your garden canopy and there can be some serious hot spots.  Both the white fixture, coated in titanium dioxide paint, and the hammer-tone fixtures rate at about 95% reflectivity so unless there are other features like air vents to consider, your choice may simply come down to cost.  

I Hope This Helps.

Professor Lee

Hello Everybody

Thanks for sending your questions in. Please keep them coming.  I really enjoyed answering the outdoor advice question from Jenny – after all, spring is almost here for us growers in the Northern hemisphere!  I’ve sent her an autographed copy of my book Marijuana 101: Professor Lee’s Introduction to Growing Grade A Bud.  Keep sending your questions and next time it could be you that gets a book. 

'Till Then, Happy Growing.

Professor Lee

Professor Lee is a marijuana cultivation guru and author of Marijuana 101: Professor Lee’s Guide to Growing Grade A Bud, published by Green Candy Press and available through Amazon and all good bookstores, as well as for $20 US and £14.99 UK.

This Article first appeared in issue 116 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

My Favourite Bud. Jacky White

Thursday, 4 May 2017 12:29:27 Europe/London

Strain Name: Jacky White

Breeder: Paradise Seeds

Height: 125-250cm

Weight (yield): 500g/m2 or +750g/plant

Flowering time in days: 60 days indoor

Sativa/Indica Ratio: 25% Indica / 75% Sativa 


Jacky Whites hardiness, high yield, fast finish, and striking profile are appreciated characteristics. This mostly Sativa hybrid is also notable for her stability, with only slight variations between individual plants. Outdoors, Jacky White likes a moderate to sunny climate. She likes to branch, so the garden setup that optimizes yield on these plants would allow a bit more space for the side branches to fully develop. Pruning or bending to increase yield works well with this strain.

Jacky White smells like a grapefruit tree all through her flowering period, which finishes in 60 days at most, with an abundance of chunky colas glittering and luminescent with resin. Her indoor harvest is impressive - up to 600g per square meter under a 600-watt high-pressure sodium light. Outside harvests are predictably larger.

Jacky Whites growing style is Sativa-like, with a note of good Indica qualities (ease, hardiness, fast finish); likewise, her stone is Sativa-like with a hint of Indica to take off Sativa’s speedy edge. She offers a clear, mind-lofting cerebral high accompanied by a pleasant body buzz, with an enduring effect. The rich haze-citrus taste will have tokers reloading their bongs anyway.

Taste: Hazy, Grapefruit, spicy

Scent: Citrus, Grapefruit, Herbs

What the dried bud/crumbled bud looks like: light-colour, powdery, trichome-rich, hazy nugs

Speed of high onset: Slow creep in

Duration of high: long lasting

Quality/type of high: Body, Calming, Relaxing

Medicinal qualities: Pain relief, Stress and Depression

Toking experience with this strain: Very smooth fruity and slightly spicy smoke, high creeps in and lasts long, good mood enhancer, nice for a day out in the park.

This article first appeared in issue 116 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

The Ace Of Spades

Wednesday, 3 May 2017 09:35:15 Europe/London

 This past year, I had the privilege of growing out one of TGA Genetics' newer creations: 'The Ace Of Spades'.  This gorgeous and delicious strain is a hybrid of Sub's prized 'Black Cherry Soda' UNK and his 'Jack the Ripper' (which is comprised of a lineup of great strains including Jack Herer, Purple Haze and Romulan).  TGA doesn't have a feminized seed option in their lineup so with my small-scale type of grow, I ran the risk of getting a male and ending up with nothing - but my curiosity in this strain got the best of me.  The past few years have seen my grow-room make the big switch from soil to hydro as I tried out some waterfarm units.  With limited time and space, only one plant was grown out - but superior genetics (and some good luck) proved that was all that was needed to obtain some truly impressive results!  Fun fact: The Ace Of Spades was appropriately released on April 20th, 2011 (4/20)


With the space that I have and the size of plants achieved with the waterfarms, I'm able to run two units under 2 separate 600w HPS cool-tube/reflector lights. With a carbon-filter drawing in air from within my tent it filters out the odor and ducts it through both cool-tubes and out through the top of the tent.  For fresh air and circulation, I've got a small inline fan in the bottom corner of the tent pulling air in and another fan in the middle of the tent keeping things moving as well.  Temperatures during lights-on are kept to the 75-79 degree range this way.  The Ace is sharing the 7x4 ft footprint in my tent with one other waterfarm and each plant has its own 600w HPS light.   I use waterfarms that are a hybrid drip / DWC system, and use hydroton as a medium.  (picture1)

Helpful tip:  Replace your grow light bulbs once per year for indoor grows in a perpetual grow-room, this will ensure you're not loosing lumens from used HID bulbs.

Germination and Seedlings

Using the paper-towel method, the seed took about 3 days to crack.  Most of the time my seeds take about 2 days, but this one appeared to have a thicker shell.  I've had almost 100% success with germinating seeds in a wet paper-towel.  After about a 1 day soak in a shot-glass of filtered water, the seed goes into the moistened paper-towel and in a zip-lock baggie (not closed all the way) and wrapped in a handkerchief.  I then put the handkerchief onto a dark, warm surface, like the top of my computer sub-woofer speaker, and it works like a charm!

This seedling got off to a bit of a slow start and had some early leaf damage which I suspect was due to the hydroton in the waterfarm being fresh and unused.  I've found that once your hydroton has been through one grow, it's easier to start seeds in it as it's 'seasoned' from having had water flowing through it for a few months – this can often cause plants to suffer through some early leaf damage even before the roots have made it all the way down through to the water in the reservoir of the waterfarm.  I had a Vanilla Kush plant in another waterfarm next to this one and it was almost twice the size of the AoS at about 2 weeks from germination. (picture2) Now that the plant's root had reached the water in the lower reservoir through the hydroton, things really started to get into gear.

Veg Stage

The AoS proved to be a very flexible but strong plant in veg.  As soon as this plant was 6 inches in height I started low stress training.  The first 4-5 weeks included some extensive LST control and the plant really opened up.  By the end of week 6 of veg, this plant was looking amazing and definitely ready to start flowering.  We had around 15 nice tops coming in distinctively at this point and you could already see a nice even canopy developing (picture3).  All the way up until now, I hadn't noticed any serious deficiencies on the AoS and it was a very 'happy and healthy' looking plant!  Over these first 6 weeks we slowly increased the nutrient PPM from 150 to about 500.  I use GH's Flora Nova Bloom nutrient throughout my grows and using one nutrient at different levels, as needed at the different parts of the grow, has given me awesome results.  I also supplemented my last few weeks of res fills in veg with a small amount of GH's Flora Micro to give it a bit of an extra nitrogen boost before going into flower. (picture4)

Flowering Stage

There were early signs of female flowers in this strain, showing obvious white hairs at around the 5th week of veg, but I didn't change my lights to 12/12 until just past the 6 week mark.  The LST tie-downs were mostly removed at this point and the already nice canopy was looking even better - even without a scrog screen to manage the tops.  The typical first two weeks of flowering showed some nice stretch, but nothing like some other strains that have more sativa in them.  At the end of the first week of flowering, I did some fairly aggressive super-cropping by twisting and pinching all of the tops (about 4-6 inches from the top on each). (picture5)  I've had great success with all of my grows using this method as it both limits the stretch during this period of the grow and ultimately gives some 'heavier' buds.  My theory is that due to the high level of growth at this point, the stem-stress causes the plant to focus on repairing the pinched stems and thereby providing more of that 'growth spurt' energy to those parts of the plant.  That's why I try to super-crop in these locations of the tops, as further down the road it provides buds that fill-out better, all the way down the stem.  Upon weeks 3 and 4 of flower, the buds really began to take off and show their stuff.  The leaf structure was showing some heavy indica signs with nice, dark, wide leaves and thick healthy stems. (see pictures6,7)  At week 6, the developing buds were really starting to show a strong purple-pinkish colour as well, together with a bit of lime-green - a truly beautiful plant. According to the parentage of this strain, the phenotype I apparently had was the Black-Cherry Soda dominant one, showing a shorter, thicker, heavier stature – other phenotypes with heavier Jack the Ripper influence being greener, taller looking plants.  The smell in my grow tent was a back and forth mix of berries (from the AoS) and lemony-pine (from the Vanilla Kush) and the frostiness just seemed to keep building more and more on this plant! (pictures8,9)


By the end of week 8 of flowering, we were seeing enough amber trichs on this girl to pull the plug and start chopping.  The last two weeks of flower allowed us enough time to bring the PPMs down to about 250 and the big healthy fan leaves faded out nicely right before we began harvest (picture10).  Some beautiful purplish solid buds had established on this plant which were super-sticky and frosted with orange hairs.  Trimming and manicuring took us almost an entire weekend. Maybe I'm slow, but I tend to spend extra time manicuring my buds, and keep all of the sugar-leaves and popcorn buds (small non-manicurable buds from the lower stalks and branches of the plant) for making BHO, cannabis-oil and canna-butter.(picture11,12,13)  Our dry climate here required us to only need a 5-day hang-dry before splitting our buds, weighing them and dividing them into mason jars to begin the curing process. This plant ended up yielding over 7 ounces of dried, sticky product. (picture14)

Cured Product

After a few months of curing, the AoS reached a nice point where it's moisture content was just perfect and broke up beautifully in our herb-grinder.  It produced that satisfying 'chill' and keen interest when taking a sniff of freshly ground sweet cannabis. (picture15)  Having kept all of our 'popcorn' buds from this plant in an aerated paper-bag stored in the deep-freeze, we soon discovered that those buds which were thought to be destined for oil and butter, would instead be completely smokable!  This technically added another ounce or so to our total yield.

Smoke Report

One of the things Subcool uses to describe the smell of the Ace of Spades is blue sex-wax – I think this is what best describes what we ended up getting from this heavy Black Cherry Soda phenotype; a very deep, concentrated berry smell.  The taste is difficult to explain as it's fruity, but very strong when smoked in joint form.  Vaporizing seemed to be the way to go with this strain, as we experienced some extremely tasty and pleasant-smoking tokes from the AoS.  As for the effect, we noticed this one to be an immediately 'heavy' head and body stone – very relaxing.  Late in its cure however, we noticed the AoS would not couch-lock us, but rather act as quite a motivational high when used during the day, and great to use on a weekend to easily complete otherwise bothersome chores.  We also discovered that, when used as an evening smoke, the AoS will guarantee you an amazing night's sleep – my wife thoroughly enjoyed medicating with this strain in the evenings for this reason.


It was truly a privilege to grow this strain as the true brilliance and quality of TGA's genetics really comes through here.  Looking like this at only 8 weeks of flower is an impressive thing indeed, with most quality of this level requiring closer to 10 weeks for other strains.  With minimal feeding, this plant stayed remarkably healthy in all stages of growth and we didn't exceed 1000 PPMs of nutrient by much in flower as she didn't show any signs of needing more.  It was easy to leach and flush the plant in the last 2 weeks of flower because of this and we ended up with a nice, potent, tasty result.  Being a 70/30 Indica/Sativa split, this plant makes a great candidate for producing cannabis-oil due to the heavily crystal-coated buds and leaves. 

This article first appeared in issue 105 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News
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