THC’s endocannabinoid counterpart

by Kevin Ferdowsian, JD

Kevin is an attorney, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and homeopathic practitioner. Kevin graduated from Duke University and OCU law, and lives with his wife Anna and two children, Ivan and Arthur.

Because cannabis sativa contains more than .3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it is classified as a schedule I – status drug by the US federal government and is subject to a host of restrictions as a controlled dangerous substance. These restrictions have severely limited broad-scale rigorous studies on THC and its therapeutic value. That’s not to say research hasn’t been done. In fact, nearly $2 billion per year is spent to determine all the harmful effects of cannabis. The conclusion of our tax dollars at work? For people over eighteen, cannabis is relatively harmless.

Easy Street Extracts, by Anna Ervin

So, we don’t have a lot of research on THC consumption in regards to therapeutic benefits. We do know some applications at this point; for PTSD, opiate addiction, and various neurological disorders to name a few. But there is growing evidence that THC and cannabinoids in general, possibly in concert (entourage effect), may have substantial therapeutic applications. These include alleviating symptoms from cancer, inflammation, blood pressure and heart rate disorders, metabolic disorders, fevers, locomotion disorders, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, colon disorders, reproductive disorders, bacterial endotoxicity, cirrhosis of the liver, sepsis, central nervous system disorders, and even aging. That is an extensive list of ailments for which THC may treat.

If federal research has not been funded, and even private research is so highly regulated, how do we know these potential applications? Basically, even though researchers are limited in their study of THC, there have been robust studies on its endocannabinoid counterpart: Anandamide. Anandamide (from the Sanskrit for “inner bliss”) is an endocannabinoid synthesized in all animals including primitive creatures, such as nematodes. It binds to the same receptor as THC (CB1R) and induces similar psychotropic effects. These compounds, though molecularly distinct, are pharmacologically similar. The list cited above is taken from recent studies on Anandamide; considering that THC mimics Anandamide and initiates the identical process, clearly future research should focus on THC as a therapeutic for many of these ailments.

As a co-owner of multiple cannabis businesses, I am interested in the advocacy of researching THC for its therapeutic value as well as its cultural acceptance. We all should be. THC, along with other cannabinoids, could open the door to accessing the endocannabinoid system, a fundamental governing system that appears to regulate the activity of every other physiological system.

That’s Not a Potato

by James Bridges | Herbage Magazine

“So we decided to grow the real big buds.”

When I was a kid I had a vision of what it would look like to be a wild man.  I imagined I would of course own a helicopter, many unnecessary firearms, a pet grizzly or some sort of bizarre animal, the ability to travel at a moments notice, ultimate survival skills, and a beautiful queen to guide the way.

I met a man a few years ago that reminded me of that vision. I was nearly jealous of the assumptions popping into my head as he discussed some of his travels.

Rocky Fisher is the grandson of Brant Biggerstaff and the son of Brant Fisher.  The family has a special tie to the geography surrounding Fort Gibson.  The town is located in Cherokee and Muskogee counties in Oklahoma. This family was one of the first five families to settle outside of Fort Gibson before Oklahoma statehood.

The family started a potato farm in the bottoms surrounding the area. They were very well known for their spuds.

Rocky and his beautiful queen, Shirley, dreamed of one day opening a steakhouse in memory for the family as well as to show off some culinary skills. They would name the restaurant, “Biggerstaff.”

It just so happens that Rocky’s guiding queen has led them both to a more fitting business venture. That venture is, “Biggerstaff Buds.”

It was 2018 and someone needed some help with some genetics. They needed it bad. The now very successful Arbuckle farms called upon Rocky Fisher and “Brother’s Grimm”. Rocky was already a force in the industry and his name was floating around as one of the heavy hitters with contacts.

After four or five months as outside investors, Rocky and his close partners knew they were onto something good, but felt very limited within the Brothers Grimm atmosphere. Rocky and his intuitive wife Sherli made the decision to move forward with the partners and discovered a wonderful threshold which was Seeds Here Now.

“Now we are on the premier genetics where the real deal takes place,” Rocky was excited to show the rooms. As we walked through the hall I couldn’t help but notice the attention to detail. Even the bolts in the wooden bed frames looked as if they were carefully placed. If there’s one thing that I am learning about Rocky and his crew. They are running a tight ship.

“So with this new build I wanted to know, exactly, how everything was working. Let’s say I took a hands on approach,” there’s that smile.  “I was there from the sheetrock to hanging lights. You name it partner.”

“We went through fourty or a million different variations of lighting, soil, and what have you… Everyone had an opinion. Most were different. So, I went with the old tried and true. The way I know.” Rocky seemed proud. I was reluctant to ask for the secret sauce. So I left it at that.

During Rocky’s journey he ran into someone special, Luke Dreyer. Luke quickly became the shop’s operations manager. There are people behind the scenes, but this seemed different. “Luke is like a cannabis whisperer,” Rocky laughed. I could tell he meant it.

“I work 7 days a week. I follow all of the best genetics online. I stay on top of things like OMMA compliance, and much more. My job is something I love. These plants are like my family. It’s funny because harvest day is always a happy/sad day for me. I’m sad they are all coming down, but I’m super happy to know the medicine is helping people.” Luke quickly exited the room to go to work.

“We are a small operation compared to many.” Fisher said, knowing that I know that does not matter when it comes to good medicine. He and his wife, the team, and even his daughter Jenni Leigh Fisher have all found themselves in a very unique situation. They are growing top shelf flower and are able to sell at top shelf prices. That and they are in a pre-order atmosphere. It’s hard to stay mad at anything for long with that kind of juice in my book.

Rocky expressed his extreme gratitude for his relationships he has made with whom he considers the best of the best in cannabis.

“Come over here James. I want to show you something.” Rocky pointed at the table. He explained to me the elusiveness of some of the strains and seeds in packages. “No one gets to see this kinda stuff James. But I do because of Seeds Here Now.”

Kind Origins Cannabis

by Anna Ervin

When Camron Owens began growing cannabis in his home garage during the early days of Oklahoma legalization, he knew he had found his calling.

“I’ve been supporting cannabis since 2015 or so, and I just love the product. I love the plant.”

With a little help from his Dad, Camron transformed a 1,600 square foot shop in his own backyard into a proper grow facility. Complete with two grow rooms, and later expanding to over 2,000 square feet, this shop became the initial headquarters for his crew to truly hone in on their craft.

Camron and his team quickly realized they had a great opportunity on their hands, and started making plans for the future of Kind Origins Cannabis. “I was in operation over there for about 2 years,” Camron reported, “and I sold that company to fund this place.”

“We came into this building in February of 2020 and have had plants in the building since around June.” Camron’s wife, Jo informed me, “and we’re just getting started on month-to-month harvest.”

I had arrived just in time to see the Kind Origins crew harvest one of their most medicinal strains, Strawberry Slurpee. When I asked what makes this bud so special, the team reported personal experiences that ranged from pain and muscle relief to “a clear-headed high for focus.”

“Lab testing reflects diverse terpene content,” Camron informed me, “accounting for its delicious aroma. Some of the more common terpenes like limonene, linalool, and terpinolene are used to treat depression, anxiety and prevent infection.”

“However,” he continued, “what makes Strawberry Slurpee really stand out is the presence of more exotic terpenes, like nerol and valencene, which may help with cell regeneration, acne, and sun damage. Farnesene is known as a muscle relaxer, while humulene offers anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-cancer properties. Rich terpene content paired with over 20% THC content makes for effective medicine.”

It’s nearly impossible to find a strain of cannabis that offers a “one size fits all” type of relief. Walking through the KOC facility, I couldn’t help but admire how unique each plant was to the next. As Camron showed off their temp beds, holding nearly 3-week-old plants, he pointed out the distinct difference in appearance between strains that had been transplanted just 2 days apart.

I wondered, if each genetic has its own unique appearance, smell, and medicinal qualities, would the challenges they faced growing them vary as well?

“Strawberry Slurpee is a bit of a low yielder for a strain we would run over and over again,” Camron told me. “The KOC staff made a conscious decision to continue to cultivate this strain, despite those lower yields, because it is excellent medicine.”

“It has a delicious strawberry flavor, beautiful finish, and potent aroma—we feel it’s one of the best dessert strains on the market. We get enough positive feedback that it will be on our roster indefinitely.”

I’ll be honest, it was hard to take my eyes off of what was left of Strawberry Slurpee in the grow room, but one bed of plants, in particular, managed to steal a little bit of that spotlight—Mimosa boasted colors that reminded me of the kind of sunrise you might wake up to amidst the earliest hours of dawn.

“It really does smell like a mimosa,” Camron was excited to share, “it’s delicious. I’ve been using cannabis for a long time, and I just grow the healers.”

As we continued through the building, I noticed that the Kind Origins facility had a lot of space for growth. “The new building is 22k square feet,” Ops manager Curtis Wilson explained, “with acreage earmarked for future outdoor projects. The indoor renovation is about 50% complete.”

“We have products in around 60 different dispensaries across the state,” he continued. “Right now, what we produce, we sell out of.”

With plans to complete their indoor renovations, build outdoor light deprivation greenhouses, and expand their processing from pre-rolls to concentrate extraction, I look forward to seeing where Kind Origins Cannabis takes their operation in the coming years.

For more information on Camron’s rapidly growing operation, visit kindorigincannabis.com

Sowing the Seed

by Chet Tucker

As we move into the stages of growth, I felt it necessary to twist one up a bit and reflect on how nature (plant medicine) and ourselves are mirrors of growth. We’ve covered the genetics, the soil, the medium,
the water, and the light and they all lead to the strength of the plant’s growth. With a wild year in 2020 that hit us all hard a year ago, it’s important that we look at the growth of not only cannabis, but it’s movement, and our own movement. What does the growth of cannabis and its accessibility represent? It represents freedom to cultivate, freedom to choose plant based medicines, freedom from government or societies that somehow believe that we must follow what they think is best for us and our bodies.

So, what growth have we made in Oklahoma? What growth and freedom have you made over the last year? What did you do to keep your freedom and health? Oklahoma has been booming in cannabis and some think it may be too much, others still say, “hit the throttle”. With cannabis making waves from west to east (mostly), we see the growing acceptance and a return to controlling more natural consumption practices to maintain our physical, spiritual, and mental health. Oklahoma sits in the middle of the world when it comes to cannabis. We’re breaking records and showing the rest of the US (and world) that we are about our birthrights and it’s quite simple, we should not be controlled by governments when it comes to accessing what can be safely grown anywhere on the planet. Losing a father over a decade ago to epilepsy, at ripe old age of 54, definitely created a rebellion to what pharmaceuticals and governments push into our bodies. Had CBD even been “legally” accepted back then, I know my father would be a huge promoter of cannabis here in Oklahoma. On the other side of the coin, it’s as much about our rights as it is about medicine and we should all be free to consume without judgement or harassment.

Moving into the growth section of how plants mirror us and how it’s impacted the state’s growth, what growth did you see in a world locked down and controlled for a full year of seasons? Personally, I did all I
could to break through the incessant fear and I sipped rum in a park parking lot, I walked the beaches of Santa Barbara, I explored Grand Lake, the Wichita Mountains, and hit the slopes of Colorado for my first ever snowboarding wipeout weekend. The point is, we should not take our birthrights for granted. We are free to breathe and not be seen as viruses. We are humans. We are friends. We are family. We should be leveraging the freedom of cannabis and what it represents to gather and share and build. Pushing back against the wind and the storms, just like the strong development of a budding flower, creates growth. No matter your position on the world, I feel it’s time for people to rethink with love and logic. To turn off your electronics and go hike, bike, road trip, camp, sit out on a patio, etc. Get out and live and breathe and make human connections, face to face, eye to eye, freely exchanging words of encouragement and peace. The only way to grow stronger is to overcome these frictions and enjoy every moment.

Freedom is here and we must continue to return to it. We owe it to ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities to set an example of pushing the right to cultivate, the right to produce and consume our own plant-based medicines. We’re retuning to an age of freedom and should govern ourselves with peace, kindness, and love for our neighbors. I’m certain that last year’s impact on the world has budded many with new visions and appreciation. Through the chaos, loss, confusion, and resistance of controlled force, we are here now and I hope we’ll continue supporting each other in this return to living freely. A big tip of the cap to all celebrating 4/20 and let’s keep Oklahoma as the example of what freedom looks like to the rest of the US and beyond.


By James Bridges | Herbage Magazine

Finally after hearing and reading and talking back-and-forth I am able to sit down with this once cannabis prisoner, the “Genetics Man” himself, Brandon Rust.

“When I go in there I put in the contract that any genetic material is my property. “That’s one of the reasons why some of those I help don’t sell cuts.  It’s because those are my genetics. I don’t want market competition…. Brandon Rust”

This is the kind of logically creative (it’s a term now) individual that I’ve been looking forward to talking with and getting his insights on the plant to paper.

“I don’t grow you know cookies and gelatos and you know all the stuff that’s just hype. I would much rather smoke some of the stuff that we’re going to be hunting.”

Bam!  In my face was some Sour CheeseBerry day 28. My fingers instantly went for the leaf to squeeze and smudge a smell.

Brandon was in his element, “ This is a very interesting strain right here. You hardly see Delta 3 carene (promotes healthy bones) and ocimene (anti-congestant/anti-inflammatory) as the top terpenes very often.”

What was very interesting was that most of the varieties that are in the room are from 20 years ago. A friend of Brandon and the gang bred these between 2001 and 2003.

Brandon was laser focused, “We have some pretty super old and really good strains that work.  Old blueberry, super silver haze, old stuff from San Diego, the bull rider, p91… and you can see the transition from the clones to all of these super silver haze crosses. They’re super long and sick.  It’s all filling in and you can see from right there.”

Brandon seemed to have been a little Rusted himself.  Smacked in the face with this knowledge of what fantastic cannabis really could and should be, he pointed at his crop as we stood and looked.  He talked about them all as if he were the paterfamilias.  Yet he treated them as if he were their humble servant.

“I want to find the ones that are best suited for our environment.” Brandon pulled down a stem. “Look how much leaf there is. So it’s not necessarily desirable based on flower production. Since we’re going to be working with different processors this might be one of those things that is excellent for washing right?  This is what we do. We hunt strains.  We grow the best.  We have strains that are rare.  If we grow some of those and they are of the same quality, but for whatever reason aren’t as “pretty” then we send them to wash.”

It made perfect sense to me.  Why would you throw out something that smelled exactly like the bottom of a garbage truck?  The only reason I can find is if that smell were not intentional. However, this purposely grown stank smelled like the garbage truck was buried under another garbage truck for a few years.  Must have been some potent stuff…

Brandon also does some outside consulting in the grow space.

“My Consulting is pretty selective because I don’t have the time to allocate. I know a whole lot of hands-on stuff but remote consulting is a lot easier. I can do soil auditing. I can look at soil in saturated pace testing.  I can help dial in the numbers to get to targets.  One of the biggest assets I offer is knowledge in ways to cut costs.”

Brandon continued, “I’m able to reduce the input costs because typically in cannabis you’re using fertigation salts and it’s very very expensive. It’s a continuous occupancy and expenditure that increases the production value.  That increases the cost to grow that cannabis.”

“When you’re doing something organically with modified mixes and living soils you can reuse the soil continuously cycle over cycle so you’re not wasting any. You’re not throwing it out. Also to get your soil’s back to the target levels you can take what’s called a soil and saturated paste testing. These mixes work more like hydroponic media than they do actual soil because there’s no sand, silt, or clay. There’s no naturally weathered elements to this soil. So what we’re looking at is what elements fall into the solution. Water until you’re able to take the saturated paste test and it gives you those values and you can dial in those values based off of your mineral inputs.”

“Let’s say if you were deficient in calcium but everything else was in balance. You could add something like Gypsum to give more calcium into your soil. The calcium level will increase with a little help. “

“A lot of different functions of overall mineral inputs are very cost-effective and are typically used for conventional agriculture.  That’s one of the reasons why they’re so expensive. Because these things are produced for applying pounds per acre. You can use the same very inexpensive CDFA certified organic mineral inputs to increase and balance your soil and keep it in balance. Furthermore, if you do that, you’re going to be able to maintain your health and your quality. Your production will be consistent as long as you’re collecting data and you’re using science then you’ll always be able to maximize your quality and yield.”

Brandon is not alone in this venture. “My partner he’s been growing indoors since 92 he showed me how to do this. I had the opportunity to get him out here to work on this project and we work really well together. We maintain this place just as if it were a boutique style. Even though we scaled this we still do all the maintenance work. We still do all that integrated pest management protocols. We still go in and prune. You know… we do all the same things that we would do for a boutique style or indoor cultivation and the reason why is because we still want to be able to produce high-quality products to the market and what I think that would be a cheaper price point.”

Something we can all get behind is what Rust Brandon and the crew believe in wholeheartedly; “a little trickle down to the patient, they will be able to consume a high-quality product that is safe.”

“I do not want to do anything to my plants that isn’t natural. That’s why you see all these sachets hanging. These beneficial mites will protect these plants from any type of pest and these plants are protected. Even though you can’t see. These plants have been biologically protected. I can safely say that we did this the right way, our way, and it’s the healthy way…Brandon Rust.”

High on Green Mountain

by James Bridges | Herbage Magazine

Once, when I was very young, my little sister, brother, and I went on a canoe trip with my grandparents. Some of my most cherished memories come from the adventure road trips with them. One day it was a different kind of an adventure.

We found ourselves in a bit of a pickle. On one end we had my 100lb sopping wet grandmother clinging to a tree with her other hand holding onto a quickly sinking and non-user-friendly vessel as her grandchildren dog paddle to safety. Meanwhile, Gramps is swimming and trying to collect all our valuables. To say the least…it was by far one the most dramatic things to ever happen to a group of children and their grandparents while on vacation. Ever. According to the audio tapes of those children involved telling the story once they got home to mom and dad. Seriously, the tapes exist…

Now on this wonderful day I can revisit an area that has been imprinted into my head as a danger zone.

Today on this beautiful mountain, overlooking the winding and always intriguing Illinois river, I was able to witness this chaos of survival. I was able to witness the survival mode of something positive and uplifting. I was able to bury that danger brand I associated with the Illinois river and replace that danger association, with something positive.

Green Mountain Farms in Tahlequah, OK was founded in 2018 by Mark Turner and has been pesticide-free since day one. They consider themselves pioneers in irrigation theory. What I walked into was an automation system that blew my mind.

“I can go back 2 years and tell you what happened every week with battling humidity and weather conditions outside versus what is going on inside of the building. Our state-of-the-art monitoring systems help me predict what I need to do, no matter what conditions are occurring. For example, if you have a storm coming and it is going to surround your building, it could bring a hundred percent humidity for the next 6 days and you just put a new crop in the Cure room even though we have three inches of rain already. Mother nature. She comes right in with you”

Mark took a moment to shift his thoughts to vapor pressure deficit.

“This is the key number I watch right here.” As he pointed at one of his many graphs on a screen, “This is the VPD, that’s what determines how stomata on the back of a marijuana leaf will open and contract based on the ambient conditions in the room.” He was teaching me something.

“I am sure you have been in grow rooms where the plants look like they are praying and look happy. They are not happy. They are trying to expose the back of their leaves to as much of the atmosphere as possible and capture some CO2. She either has too much light, too much food, or not enough CO2 for her to absorb the food she is getting. VPD allows me to monitor these and find the ideal leaf temperature and humidity to grow thriving plants.”

“If you can maintain the temperature within 2° plus or negative, or the humidity 2% plus or negative, you can actually watch the stomata of the plant constrict or expand on a microscope. So, I know to watch the VPD closely, this way I keep those stomata cranked wide open all the time, maximizing growth. Manipulating the watering frequency makes them believe they are going into drought, causing them to uptake more nutrients. Then if you maintain a specific moisture content, voilá, magic.”

I felt like I was talking to a baseball team manager at some point and other points I was listening to a Ted Talk hosted by Einstein himself. I noticed the intricacy of this new-found technology that Green Mountain Farms uses to produce some of the top-quality products in the state.

“Everybody here is very passionate with good souls,” Mark said to me.

“I’ve got my own fishbowl here and everybody here is a different kind of fish, swimming around trying to make it better for all the other fish in the bowl. We all work well together and they bring a passion to work every day, I love it. We soak it up and we are learning together. There ain’t like no secret deal here. When everything works together, it’s fire right?” Mark is correct.

Brent Sullivan, who is a key player for Green Mountain, met Mark while he was selling vehicles at a local dealership. “Being in the car industry, I saw a lot of people that claimed they were growers. Mark came in and there was just something different about him.” Brent was recalling as if it were a memory from childhood. “Mark bought several cars from me for his people at the grow. He talked about his grow and the technology that he was working with, and I was intrigued. I was so inspired by his passion. I asked Mark right from the get-go if I could invest, he told me no.” Brent laughed out loud. “He said no, no, I’m good.”

“Mark came back and bought a few more cars. I would ask how it was going and again I would be inspired. Of course I asked about investing again. Again, Mark said he was good. I attempted this several times.” Brent = Determination.

“I got a phone call from Mark about three weeks later and he finally said he needed help.”

Forced by growth in the company, Mark could no longer keep up. He was directed by the universe to bring on a team of outstanding individuals that bring their own set of talents to make the well-oiled machine I see before me today at Green Mountain Farms.

Cecilia came onboard in January 2020 as a trimmer. “At that time we were just selling flower as fast as we could get it trimmed. Mark did a great job teaching us by giving us hands-on experience with the flower from the very first. He had us working one-on-one with the plants.”

Cecilia has an interesting background to wind up in cannabis, but now that I give it a thought, it completely makes sense as to why she is so good for the brand. She has a degree in fine art and worked at The Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas before moving to Tahlequah.

“There are many duties at the grow that I do or oversee, along with a team of people.
“Kadin, Justace and I make sure all of the orders go out correctly. We build routes and schedules deliveries. Most of all, we work hard to be good stewards of our cannabis.

Once the products come out of the cure room to be handtrimmed, that is when my work begins. I work with other team members to make sure everything in the cure room is organized, labeled correctly, and properly tested. I oversee our cured flower until it goes out the doors, bound for one of our dispensary partners. I also communicate with the dispensaries to make sure they have everything they need from us, including in-depth information on each strain to pass along to budtenders. It’s a lot of hats, but a
lot of fun.” Cecilia continued to show her smile.

Come to find out, Mark does have some inspiration. Some of it from a completely different industry.

“Up in Pryor, Oklahoma they have a Google facility. I did some research and found that the HVAC needs of a building full of super computers is similar in technology to what is needed to control humidity in grow rooms in respect to painting the line, control-wise. So, we ordered those exact units except we doubled their dehumidification capability. This turned out to be a wise choice!”

Mark is obviously an indoor hydro/irrigation expert. I asked him his thoughts on those that are getting into the outdoor grow industry in Oklahoma.

“Oh my,” Mark shrugged. “Everyone says ‘I want to do an outdoor grow.’ I want to say to friends of mine, you are a gust of wind full of mold spores away from losing the whole entire crop. I considered spending $250,000.00 on a RF (radio frequency) machine to remove yeast, mold and all other contaminants, just to have some peace of mind. We even had some of our product treated in this manner for research and development. I wanted to see how the RF equipment affected our product. If it worked, we would also grow outdoors. I want to grow the best medicine, but also have some insurance if the Oklahoma
weather did not cooperate, so we tested. The terps were gone. THC might have stayed consistent, but the soul of the plant was gone.”

Even the best of us make calculated and sometimes very hard to live down mistakes. But the great ones learn from them and carry on, like Mark. “I bought two 200 acre lots across the road, on top of the hill right, before testing the RF treatment. I was in on the whole outdoor grow idea. Growing indoor is always challenging and my roots are sun-grown so I considered heavily taking the risk of an outdoor crop. In the end, I had to opt out.”

Mark pointed out, “Improvement is exactly what we’re striving for and creating here. For the same reason ferns grew 20 ft tall back in prehistoric days, they had the perfect ambient conditions, that is what I am trying to create  at Green Mountain Farms. We are not reinventing cannabis; we are merely finding better ways to grow it.”

Sowing the Seed

by Chet Tucker

We’ve covered genetics (seed), soil, and now we’ll cover the basics of the critical necessity of water (good water), along with touching on growing hydroponically. Nature provides the needed nutrients of water via rain and dew, however many cannabis growers use controlled environments to maximize the strength and quality of their cannabis crops. With these alternative growing environments, greenhouses, indoor facilities, and hydroponic grows allow the controls needed to avoid the collapse of a crop due to flooding or drought (and other natural disasters). However, it’s not as simple as just turning on the water hose to feed your plants.

Sowing the Seed: Seed to Soil, by Chet Tucker

Cultivators are very in tune with the necessity of “clean” or balanced water. A vast majority of city and county water supplies are filled with chemical treatments that can negatively affect plants (and humans for that matter). So, it’s important to understand what’s in your water and to counteract any negative impurities with treatments to neutralize, especially those that are harmful and that can show up in the final lab testing needed for sales. And though well water seems to be far superior to other forms of water, it’s not always the case and it’s just as critical to measure the pH along with other elements to ensure quality water. Rainwater and osmosis water are obviously great but just as mentioned before, treating them to include what’s needed to fulfill the plant is crucial.

Hydroponic cultivation is growing without the use of soil and is an extremely efficient and popular way to cultivate. Cannabis is typically supplied a nutrient-rich array of oxygen, nutrients, and water. The cannabis roots expend less energy acquiring food from soil and redirected energy allows the plant to acquire “food” easier. You use less water than soil grown cannabis along with needing less space. However, the negative side is that hydroponic grows can stunt the root structure vs soil which allows an extensive root structure to form.

Now, back to water in soil. Cannabis doesn’t like continuous irrigation, it originates from a dryer climate so the plant should be watered well but then the soil is allowed to dry before watering. Many use an every other day watering system, watering slowly and uniformly, to balance the irrigation and avoid over-watering. A good balance of absorption and drainage is critical to the plant’s success which means quality substrate is equally important. Just like so many pieces of the growing process, balance is key and it’s no different when it comes to the quality and amount of water used in cannabis. There are far greater details to explore but the basics are outlined here as we move into the light for next month’s edition of Sowing the Seed.

Chet Tucker
Executive Director
Cell: 580.350.0168
7680 Nugget Hill St.
Edmond, OK 73025

Sowing the Seed

Seed to Soil

by Chet Tucker

Last month we started with the importance of genetics, the seed. This month we move to triggering the birth of the seed and what most growers use to feed the budding seed outside of water, soil. Every farmer is different and some might mention that water is required next but we’ll dive into feeding the seed and its sprouting roots. We’ll hit the critical pieces of water next month, along with hydroponics.

More by Chet Tucker

I set out to learn and share some of the basics of soil mediums and what it needs to thrive for the budding cannabis plant. And just like the plant needs to be fed, the soil too must have its appetite fulfilled. So, I started by asking a few growers and asked them what their approach to soil is and why they prefer it over other growing mediums.

Dreamleaf Farms’ head grower, Cal Milliron, shared, “I prefer soil because I think it brings out the flavor of the bud more. I feed with Botanicare Kind Nutrients mainly but I also add dry amendments when needed.” Cal is responsible for more than 10,000 square feet of indoor grow space and Dreamleaf’s flower is mostly pre-sold which is a testament to quality flower in a crowded marketplace.

Next, I reigned in an all women’s grow in the SW part of Oklahoma, CanOkie Buds, to learn their boutique success using soil. They shared that they use organic soil free of chemicals or pesticides. Further delving into the fact that Holly Mills says, “Organic soil is rich in nutrients and minerals which leads stronger cellular walls and helps build a plant that’s resistant to disease and pests.”

Finally, I reached out to Chase Morris with Chimney Hill which is in southeastern Oklahoma. Chase not only prefers soil over all mediums but goes with the organic method of living soil. He prefers to feed the soil with worms and surround the plants with companion plants that help ward off pests and pesky insects. When asked why he prefers soil, and specifically, living soil, he confidently riffed, “I feel like there’s body with soil but there’s an added soul with living soil.”

We appreciate the time these growers spent and for the time in their grow businesses. We have some great facilities and farms in Oklahoma and the quality is shining through. Next month we will get into water and hydroponics and then we’ll get into roots, light, and managing the growth stages of the flower before the curing and processing elements that come before the end medicinal product makes it to a dispensary shelf.

How Sustainable is the Cannabis Industry?

by Brittiany Ralls

In the last piece “How Sustainable is the Cannabis Industry?”, we chatted about how cannabis

How Sustainable is the Cannabis Industry? (part 1) by Brittiany Ralls

sustainability is hindered in part to laws that restrict the ability of businesses to be able to be more sustainable. Huge bummer, I know. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to participate in programs or come up with ways to be more helpful in the aspect of sustainability. What are some of the steps your business can take to make your cannabis business more sustainable and eco-friendly? There are quite a fews ways, depending on the kind of cannabis business you have. We will start with simple solutions that most cannabis businesses can focus on at the moment to help get you going in the direction of sustainability. These are small things that could be implemented within your cannabis business quickly and easily thus getting you and your employees in the mindset of sustainability.

There are few ways to get started with this and I suggest starting with paper. There are quite a few ways to eliminate the use of paper as much within your cannabis business. Now I know that some cannabis businesses can’t do this completely, especially with programs like METRC that require you to print manifests to carry when transporting cannabis. But, you can eliminate some paper waste by using programs for your employees to clock in and out, dispensaries can use online loyalty systems for their patients instead of paper cards for the patients to keep track of, processors and cultivators can create documents for their testing accessible through QR Codes instead of printing testing papers to go along with the sales they make.

Grandfather of Alternative Rock | Photo Cred: Jeff Hooten | by Brittiany Ralls

Plastic packaging is a huge contributor to the amount of waste generated by the cannabis industry. Currently using plastics that are more eco-friendly will also mean a higher price tag. To keep from having to pass that cost along to the patient most companies opted for what is affordable vs. sustainable. But, with the ability to influence the laws created for this industry we can also create plastic buy back programs for recycling. Implementing recycling procedures for employees will help the entire company in its efforts to be more sustainable in the long run. If your business is a processing company you can use energy efficient equipment to help cut energy costs, as well as, implement systems that help employees reduce waste during production by using automated systems or make sure that your SOP’s are made with sustainability in mind.

These are some quick and easy ideas that can help get you started to becoming a sustainable cannabis business. Putting you ahead of the curve and allowing you to be prepared for the future of what cannabis will be. Cannabis will have the ability to help usher in a new mindset of creating a world that is sustainable and eco-friendly, so long as those within the industry put an emphasis on these factors and ensure that they matter. Which they do and will even more in the future.

Brittiany Ralls