Visiting a “Grow” was a fascinating and educational experience. Each plant has a slightly different leaf structure based on the strain and also has a different smell based on the terpenes.  Growing quality MMJ is a science.  Be sure and check out the video where Hunter from Emerald Alley Dispensary explains their grow process.

READ ON to learn more about the process of growing marijuana…

Marijuana plants are grown in two ways:  seeds or clones.  When a seed becomes a mature female plant you may either send that plant to flower (creating the harvestable buds) or you can maintain the plant in its’ non-flowering state and this plant then becomes the “Mother”.  A Mother plant becomes fully grown in approximately 4 months.  At this point, you may clip the ends off the branches and root those ends out to make many plants which is a process  called “cloning”.  Whether or not a plant flowers is determined by the light settings.  A 12 hour on/off light cycle with allow the plant to flower while an 18 hour on/6 hour off light cycle will keep the plant in a non-flowering state.  Mother plants can live for quite sometime in the 18 hour on/6 hour off light cycle and not go into a flowering stage.

Different mediums are used to hold the plants in place.  Emerald Alley Grow places rooted clones into a substance made from cocoa palm plants that has a dirt like consistency without the dirt.  This is an inert (no-nutrient) dirt simply used to hold the plant in place for the roots to mature properly.  These plants receive all their nourishment through the use of water soluble nutrients which are fed to the plants using an elaborate watering system twice a day.  Emerald Alley uses all organic nutrients and no pesticides in their grow process.  Other Grow houses may have different methods.

Using the 18 hour on/ 6 hour off light cycle, the plant will continue to grow for about two months in the “vegetation” stage of growth.  When the plant has reached a certain size, the plant will be placed in a different room, called a “flower” room where the lighting conditions change back to the 12 hour on/off light cycle to help the plant to start flowering.  Emerald Alley Grow maintains consistent humidity, temperature and lighting conditions in order to produce optimal growth and for consistent THC production in the buds (flowers).  The plant will mature and be ready to harvest in approximately two months after being moved to the “flower” room.  These all-female plants produce the buds where THC is found.

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Each flower will produce these tiny iridescent crystals (called frost or frosty) where you find a concentration of THC.  Growers know when these are ready to harvest when they change to a slightly orange color.

When the flowers are ready to be harvested, the entire plant is cut apart. The stems with the buds on them will have all the big leaves pulled off and allowed to dry in a separate drying room.  The first stage of drying takes about 7-10 days, after which, the buds are clipped off of the dry stems and placed in bags to continue to cure.  The curing process, which enhances the THC and the taste (terpenes), takes about 4 weeks.  Once cured, samples of the buds are sent to a third party testing lab to determine precisely the amounts of THC elements, CBD elements and the type and amount of terpenes contained in that batch of buds.  Once the test results (Certificate of Analysis “COA”) is returned to the grow with passing grades, then the grow may sell the buds to a dispensary for retail sale, or may sell the buds to a processor to be used in the process of making gummies or other edible or concentrated products.

Each “Grow” has their own unique process, nutrients, room settings (if indoors) which contributes to the differences in the strains.

I want to thank Emerald Alley Dispensary for allowing us to film and providing a wealth of knowledge for this educational series.

To your health,

Laura