This plant is fascinating to some, and evil to others! Personally, I think it is misunderstood and truly is a wonderful plant! Join me on my quest to uncover the secrets of marijuana!
Marijuana has a long history that goes back further than Christ himself, 8000 years to be exact. The Latin name for marijuana is “Cannabis Sativa”. Cannabis means “flowering plant”, Sativa (feminine) meaning “sown” or “cultivated”. Cannabis Sativa has two faces marijuana and hemp. Hemp is and was grown for many uses: to make rope, canvas, and even clothes. Hemp is grown in fields and then soaked in water, after soaking in water; then they beat the stalks making the hemp fibers stronger. The fibers are left to dry in nearby fields where they get ready to be broken down and weaved. Once dried, the breaking and weaving process begins. An experienced hemp breaker can break down 100-200 pounds a day! After the hemp is weaved, it is made into clothes, rope and even canvas.
Marijuana and hemp are one of the most ancient plants cultivated by mankind. The Chinese took this plant and used it for many things in their culture. They had around 5000 uses for marijuana and hemp plants, the major ones being paper, fishing nets, clothes and even food. Hemp seeds have high levels of amino acids, and amino acids are really beneficial to us. From hemp seeds you can make porridge, flour or even popcorn and unsaturated oil, which can be used for cooking.
Lots of people also wore hemp clothes because it was cheaper than silk and was an excellent work cloth, very strong and durable. A Chinese scribe named Cai Lun in the Imperial Court in Newel was the first to discover the art of making paper from hemp in 105 A.D; this was considered to be one of the four greatest inventions by the Chinese culture. The Chinese did not pass on the skill of papermaking with hemp until the fifth century, only reaching Europe in the eight century. Gutenberg’s first bible was printed on hemp paper in the years of the 1470’s.
Hemp and marijuana were the first crop to be used for war. The Chinese used bamboo bowstrings but then switched to hemp because they found it to be stronger and longer lasting than the previous bamboo. They also set immense plots of land aside for hemp and marijuana production. They would use the hemp for their bowstrings and the marijuana leaves for bandages while on the battlefield. They believed that the leaves had a magical power to heal sickness, wounds and disease. Marijuana has been used medically since the year 2800 BC. The Romans used marijuana to keep their troops happy during depressing times.
The Cannabis Sativa plant has two sexes, male and female. The male plant has strong fibers, a tall stock and has a small amount of foliage. Male plants are used more for hemp because of their attributes. Where the female plant is bushy and produces a bud, which contains THC. THC is “a crystalline compound that is the main active ingredient of cannabis”(K). THC is an abbreviation of tetrahydrocannabinol. The chemical compound for THC is Carbon 21 Hydrogen 30
Oxygen 2. The bud from the female bud can be smoked or eaten. Each will give you a different high. When smoked it will give you a mental high and when you eat the bud it will give you a body high, which will have an affect on your limbs, causing them to feel different. These feelings can be classified as sedatives or a stimulant.
Today’s uses for marijuana are quite different from the past. Today marijuana is used mostly just to get high. People get high off the bud, and Hash. They get high off the hash by smoking the hashish compound. Hashish is “an extract of the cannabis plant, containing concentrations of the psychoactive resins” (D). Hash is made by taking the buds and leaves from the marijuana plant and putting them into nylon bags that have different gauging at the bottom and fit into each other nicely. These bags go into a bucket of ice-cold water. Once in the cold water the resin crystals fall off the leaves and buds, and because they are heavier than water they sink to the bottom of the bags and some go through the screens at the bottom. The water must be agitated for the resin to sink to the bottom. The screen sizes range from two hundred to forty microns. Hash makers say that the best hash is from the screens with seventy to seventy-five micron levels. The bags are to be left for ten to thirty minutes after being agitated for the right amount of time. The bags are removed from the bucket of water, and then sprayed with water to be cleaned off. Once the bags are clean they scrape off the hash that is left on the bottom. It is then placed out to dry and becomes hard after a couple hours of sitting
There are two methods of growing marijuana, indoor, and outdoor. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods. With outdoor growing, you have to deal with Mother Nature; she can be an advantage and a disadvantage at times. She can change the weather on you at anytime, ruining your crop. Getting water and such supplies like that can be a problem; because it is a hard job to get these supplies to your crop this is why it is wise to set your crop by a flowing water source. With the water source you can set up an irrigation system. An irrigation system is really handy for outdoor growers because it allows the plants to be given water throughout the day without the farmer being there. The way the irrigation system works in the woods is having a gravity feed; this means setting up a small hose under ground so it is not noticeable. The irrigation system will drip water into the plant’s root systems. A fancy irrigation system can be set on timers, allowing your plants to get only a certain amount of water you want them to, thus allowing the farmer to leave his crop for two to three days at a time. Another feature to look for in a crop site is, does it get enough sunlight? It is best to put your crop on a south-facing slope, because marijuana plants need about twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness. The growing season for outdoors is from April at the earliest to a harvest in late October. You also want your patch to be discreet and hard to find from the sky and hard to be stumbled upon while hiking. The more times you go to your patch the easier it is for strangers to find it only make necessary trips. The soil for your patch should be prepared in early March to mid April if the weather permits you to do so. Once your
soil and irrigation system is set up and ready to go, its time to bring the plants in. You can bring plants that have been pre-started from seed, or cloned from home, or you could even start everything at the patch. This is good way of starting your patch but you must be able to identify your male and female plants apart really soon, because you do not want the male pollinating your female plants. If the male does this it will cause the female to go into seeding mode and she will not produce the buds you desire. You can identify the male and female apart by a couple of methods: 1) there is a white feather-like growth on the male plant. 2) The female plant is bushier than the male. There are a couple growth stages of this plant; the first three weeks are the vegetative growth stage. During these stages the plants should be given “growth” fertilizers this will help them become strong plants and cause them to get larger. In the first week the plant should start to have a strong root system. The second week the plant should be about six to eight inches tall; by week three they should be about ten to twelve inches. The next stage the plants go is the flowering stage; this is where most of the nutrients go to the bud instead of plant growth. At this stage you should change from your “growth” fertilizer and switch to “flowering” fertilizer because this will help bring nutrients to the bud to help it grow. This would be week four. The plant should be fourteen inches tall by this point in the game. Once the plant is ready to harvest it is a good idea to have a game plan so that everything goes down smoothly. This means having a location where you are going to take the herb to let it dry. Before you take your herb anywhere it is a good idea to cut all foliage off. This includes fan leaves and other
large leaves on your plant. You want to be able to set your herb out to dry as soon as possible, because fungus will start to grow on your herb and ruin your bud if left in a bag for more than twelve hours. When you hang your herb to dry hang it upside down and make sure air can circulate around the buds; this will make for a better-dried bud. Your temperature for drying should be a comfortable room temperature, nothing over thirty degrees Celsius; your room’s humidity for drying should be at about fifty percent. You do not want your room to get to a humidity level of thirty percent or higher this will cause your herb to dry out to quickly and it will be come poor herb. Your herbs should be dry in about five to seven days, and after that it is ready to smoke.
Growing electric lettuce indoors is very similar to growing it outside. There are just a couple things different. Instead of Mother Nature being uncontrollable, you get to play Mother Nature. There are two styles of growing indoor marijuana: using regular soil and hydroponics. I will talk about the regular soil method first. Using regular soil is the better option for beginner farmers. It is easier to control the levels to keep your plant alive. If the levels of water or fertilizers change too frequently, this will become harmful to the plant and cause it to become stressed. When a plant is stressed it will do many different things. Some of the stress symptoms are that the plant will stop taking in water, or take in too much and try to drown, or dry itself out. They will sometimes stop taking in the fertilizers. A noticeable way to know your plant is stressed is to look at the leaves they will start
to wilt and turn yellow. To cure an over-fertilized plant is to give it four times the water it receives for a couple of days until you notice the leaves to become green again. After they are coming back to health cut back on the water they get.
Hydroponics is a bit more difficult than growing in soil, because the plants are grown right in water. They will suck up nutrients and fertilizers faster than in soil. To grow your marijuana in water you need little pebbles to secure the roots of the plant. That is basically the only difference with using dirt to grow your electric lettuce. If you have the right set up you can be harvesting your plants every two months, although requires that you have a mother plant. A mother plant is a plant that is kept under eighteen hours of light and has six hours of night. Once you are ready to start the two-month harvest cycle you will need to cut off some clones. Clones are plants that are cut from the mother and cloning is four easy steps: Step 1) you want to pick a healthy-looking branch that is about four to five inches long. Once you have found the branch, you want cut it off from the mother at a forty-five degree, doing this will give your clone a larger area for sprouting roots. Step 2) Dip your freshly-cut clone into a rooting growth hormone this will help with the rooting stage. Step 3) Have a moist Rockwool cube ready for the clone to be inserted in and do this gently as possible. Step 4) This is the final step to cloning. What you have to do is cut the fan leaves in half; doing this will cause the nutrients to go to the roots instead of being made into food. After you have completed this step your clones are ready to grow. Once your clones are all set and in the vegetating stage
you wait until they are in the flowering stage. Once this happens, cut some more clones from the mother. Then when the first set is ready to harvest you have plants already in the flowering stage. This cycle will be harvestable every two months if done right.
Variety is a huge thing in the world of marijuana. There are over a 1000 strains and the number is still growing. A strain is “a breed, stock, or variety of a plant developed by breeding” (J). For example, if you take the strain White Widow and breed it with AK-47, you get the strain White Russian. It is hard to get an actual number on marijuana strains because everyone is mixing their favorite strain with another favorite strain to make the ultimate strain for them, but this might be a horrible strain for others, this is why there is such a variety in marijuana.
After all the hard work you have put into growing your marijuana, what do you do with it? Some smoke it, others sell it. When selling it, you have to know whom you are going to sell it to. Most growers don’t like dealing it, they just do one sale and that’s to one person, that way it’s out of their possession and is no longer their problem. After the grower sells his crop it is shipped all over. Some of his crop will go as far as New York, but first it must be smuggled across the US/Canadian border. This is one of the hardest jobs in the marijuana market operation, but it is one of the best paying jobs.
Robert Sabbag came to British Columbia in 2004 and met up with Canadian helicopter pilots who were taking 250 pounds of primo AAA weed worth
$500,000 fifty feet over trees and canyons and about forty kilometers into Washington or Idaho or Montana. Get in, drop the six 40-plus pound duffel bags at coordinates marked by a Global Positioning System (GPS) and get back into Canada all in under one hour. Pilot’s earnings: $100,000. (F)
Another way marijuana is smuggled over is by vehicles, either in secret compartments, or in suitcases, people try anything to get their weed across the border to get a better sale price. Some people enjoy smuggling marijuana this way because they find it is like an art to fool the boarder patrol. Doing this is not a job to these people, it’s more of a game to them with high rewards. There are also crazy people who are willing to do the “marijuana marathon.” This is a term for backpacking weed across the boarder through the wilderness. These people will take around forty pounds on their backs and start booking it for the border, with only the bare essentials. These people will live in the wilderness for a couple of days up to a week, depending on the route they take. Once they get the weed across the border they meet the buyer on the other side and make the trade. From there the weed is taken to bigger cities and dispersed.
What does the average pound sell for, you might ask, that all these people are taking huge risks for? Well, just in B.C alone a person will get anywhere from $1500-$1800 per pound for outdoor marijuana. Indoor marijuana has a higher price value because it is stronger than outdoor. A pound of this will sell for $2300-$2500. Once it is across the boarder the price just keeps going up, like $3000 in Washington
State. If you can get it to California it can sell as high as $6000. The highest price you will see for a pound of Canadian marijuana is in New York; prices have reached up to $12,000 dollars per pound there. You may be wondering why people would pay crazy amounts for their marijuana when they could get it from their local grower but it’s just not the same as B.C Bud.
Some people think that marijuana is this horrible drug, but what some people don’t know is that marijuana has some great medical features. Some of its side effects can help a person who has cancer, AIDS, athirst, or even depression. Marijuana can be used as a painkiller, an antidepressant, and will even increase patient’s appetites, for those who are having trouble eating or holding food down.
Evidence supporting medical marijuana for appetite loss, glaucoma, nausea, vomiting, spasticity, pain, and weight loss is quite impressive. Evidence for its use for arthritis, dystonia, insomnia, seizures, and Tourette’s syndrome is also very promising. (H)
Medical marijuana is starting to be used more often, because some patients do not react well to pharmaceutical drugs. However, marijuana alleviates these patients’ symptoms. Marijuana is also a healthier drug than most of these manmade drugs to help the sick. Marijuana is a natural plant, and has been used medically for over 4,500 years. The only harmful thing marijuana can do to you while using it for medical purposes is that if used too much the effects it has on your body will not be as strong if you become a chronic user. Medical marijuana should be used within a
limit. Also, when using marijuana medically it is recommended to use a vaporizer, which is “a device that generates a particular substance in the form of vapor, especially for medicinal inhalation”(L). The vaporizer decreases the unhealthy effects of smoking marijuana, the smoking symptoms being smoking and wheezing. A vaporizer can be as simple as a water bong. A bong is a device for smoking marijuana out of but is filtered by water, making the smoke easier to inhale. Some people think that marijuana can be extremely harmful but the truth is it can be very beneficial as well.
I hope you have learned something new about marijuana on this quest to find out more on the topic, and to give it a second thought. Marijuana is a “gift from the earth and what’s from the earth is of the greatest worth”, Ben Harper, “Burn one down Lyrics” “.
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