Intro to medical cannabis growing
We’ve seen medical cannabis usage spike dramatically over the years. This coincides with world governments beginning to legalise their manufacturing and sale. This is no different in Australia.
Growing medical cannabis is completely legal, as long as you have the correct licensing. Companies need to obtain a series of manufacturing and cultivation licenses and permits. Each state may also have its respective requirements for licensing. All in all, that makes getting started an arduous process.
On the other hand, growing medicinal cannabis is simpler than some might think. It does, however, require significant financial investment, as well as a lot of time, to do it right.
The stages of marijuana growth are roughly divided into:
- Seed germination
- Growth of the plant
The next big distinction revolves around the choice to grow cannabis indoors or outdoors. Each method has its pros and cons, as well as its own set of requirements.
Remember that the medical cannabis industry exists under tight controls throughout Australia. Medical marijuana growing laws classify recreational, unlicensed growth as a serious legal offence that would be met with some pretty severe penalties.
Critically, these penalties also apply to anyone purchasing marijuana without a medical prescription.
What you need to know about growing medical marijuana
The strength and potential benefit of the cannabis flower are all down to proper growth. Manufacturers take this extremely seriously and marijuana growth is becoming an increasingly scientific process. A massive distinction from its illegal origins.
Generally, the cannabis plant takes anywhere from between 2 and 8 months to reach maturity. This is largely dependent on the growth method and the intended yield.
Marijuana grows just as easily indoors as it does outdoors. Either way, the growth stage of the plant is likely to be the most patience-testing.
Studies have shown that exposure to light is a critical part of the process. There’s a direct correlation between how much light the plant receives and the size and quality of its yield. When it comes to indoor growth, this requires investment in a powerful artificial light source with adjustable settings and timers.
Other important elements include:
- providing the optimal environment in terms of temperature and humidity
- feeding the plant the correct nutrients
- natural wind flow or fans to simulate this indoors.
Medical marijuana growth is possible both at small and industrial scales. However, access to the latest technologies is a huge advantage for the modern cannabis cultivator. Most operations are simply too large for the full hands-on approach.
The indoor vs outdoor marijuana debate
Opting between indoor or outdoor growth is primarily a matter of what’s most convenient for the manufacturer. Remember, cannabis is called ‘weed’ for a reason. A simple seed placed into soil and given regular water will eventually produce marijuana. It’s a persistent plant, to say the least.
- considerably more expensive and technically complex
- requires specialised equipment
- places greater strain on available water and electricity sources
- far easier to control in terms of final yield
- more capable of producing potent strains of cannabis.
- much cheaper and more practical for small-scale manufacturers
- far more demanding in terms of space requirements
- more naturally capable of large yields due to the space available
- generally more unruly and unpredictable.
The grow style may also be influenced by the chosen strain of cannabis.
Certain strains are pickier about the environments they thrive in than others. This means that the required space, length of time until maturity, presence of pests and other environmental factors may differ from strain to strain.
Large scale manufacturers are perhaps more likely to pick less finicky strains. The more personal attention a plant needs, the higher the costs involved in maintaining it.
Navigating the stages of medical cannabis growth
Providing the utmost care across every stage of the cannabis plant’s lifecycle is paramount. This can make it a demanding process, despite its reputation for being easy to grow.
This is especially true of indoor grow operations. They generally make use of complex air filtration systems that protect the plant from bacteria. This is critical across every stage.
Nevertheless, all cannabis growth starts at the same place: preparation and germination.
This stage involves:
- identifying and selecting the most mature seeds
- sprouting the first root by providing water and light
- protecting the developing root system and the seed’s first leaves
Next, we have the growth stage, where:
- the roots and stems start to mature, and more leaves grow
- the plant begins to demand more water, light and nutrients
Following that, the pre-flowering and flowering stages begin. Here:
- manufacturers can identify the sex of the plant (only females produce cannabis buds)
- male plants are separated from females
- plant trimming and training kick into high gear
- plants are temporarily placed in total darkness to boost flowering.
Finally, we have the harvesting stage. This involves:
- breaking the plant down into smaller branches for drying
- leaving those branches to dry under high humidity
- curing the dried buds by storing them in airtight containers.
Summary of how medical marijuana is grown
Growing medical cannabis is more or less as complicated as manufacturers chose to make it. It could be as easy as growing any outdoor plant or a mammoth indoor operation requiring industrial lighting, temperature, and air filtration systems.
Both indoor and outdoor growth are capable of producing quality yields. However, indoor production undeniably allows the manufacturer a superior level of control.
Either way, medical cannabis growth is a lengthy process requiring a significant amount of care and attention at every stage.
Remember that growing weed is strictly for the licensed professional. The end goal is cannabis as a medical product. Anyone looking to get a hold of medical marijuana in Adelaide will need to do so by consulting their doctor and getting a prescription.