Cannabis

Medicinal Cannabis Blog #7

Medicinal Cannabis Blog #7

by Jim Hole

This week, I am beginning a series on CBC radio Edmonton on the life cycle of a single cannabis seed. We will follow it on its journey from sowing to maturity and see what a cannabis seed needs to grow. The seed will even have a name that will be chosen by CBC listeners!

Tune into CBC’s ‘Radioactive’ program every Tuesday at 4:30pm to see how she is doing. And yes, it’s a female seed that I will be growing and there are both female and male cannabis plants!

Medicinal Cannabis Blog #6

Medicinal Cannabis Blog #6

by Jim Hole

For the past number of weeks, the team at Atlas has been aggressively pruning cannabis plants.

Cannabis branches aggressively and unless it’s brought under control, entire grow rooms can become dense jungles of foliage. And foliage that is not exposed to direct sunlight becomes a ‘sink’ rather than a ‘source’ of sugars.

In other words, sink leaves take sugars away from the plants rather than contributing sugars to developing buds. Pruning is simply a way of removing the freeloaders!

Medicinal Cannabis Blog #5

Medicinal Cannabis Blog #5

by Jim Hole

Some plants are weak rooters and some are strong rooters. Cannabis falls into the latter category. In fact, cannabis is one of the most vigorous rooters of any plant that I’ve seen.

As a result, cannabis can easily outgrow a pot unless there is sufficient root space, so to err on the side of a larger container and greater soil volume is the best strategy. A good target is about a 10 litre pot size.

Medicinal Cannabis Blog #4

Medicinal Cannabis Blog #4

by Jim Hole

Cannabis has two distinct phases in its lifecycle. The first is the vegetative phase which involves a proliferation of leafy growth followed by the flowering phase.

The trick with growing excellent quality cannabis is to fertilize the crop with the correct quantity of leaf-inducing nitrogen fertilizer and then knowing when to back-off with it so that the plants don’t a mass of dense foliage at the expense of flowers.

Failure to get the formula correct means a lot of extra work trying to prune and train the cannabis plants into a manageable size which is costly and tedious. Given that cannabis can grow 15cm per day at its growth peek means that staying tuned into the best fertilizer formulas for both stages of growth is critical!

Medicinal Cannabis Blog #3

Medicinal Cannabis Blog #3

by Jim Hole

Last week, an entire grow room of cannabis was harvested and, literally, hung-up to dry. Drying is undertaken in a special room that is tightly controlled for humidity and temperature. Cool and slightly humid air is the best environment for proper cannabis drying and curing and it’s a process that can’t be rushed.

Proper drying is critical for two main reasons. The first is to preserve the important ‘phytochemicals’ contained within the leaf and flower tissue. And the second is to provide a poor environment for the growth of mold and bacteria. Both are equally important and tightly managing the drying room environment is critical for top quality medicinal product!

Medicinal Cannabis Blog #2

Medicinal Cannabis Blog #2

by Jim Hole

Cannabis is referred to as a ‘short day’ plant. What this means is that most cannabis varieties require day lengths that are equal to - or shorter than – nights, before they are capable of flowering.

 At the Atlas Controlled Environment facility, plants are grown under long days (18 hrs or more) until they reach sufficient size and then the lighting program is switched to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of continuous darkness right through until harvest.

 When cannabis plants experience short days, flowers are initiated and buds swell, producing a rich mix of medicinal ‘phytochemicals’. The science of short days and flowering is pretty straightforward but the art of knowing the best timing for switching the lighting is variety dependant.

 Switch too early and yield is compromised. But switch too late and cannabis earns its nickname ‘weed’ because the plants become giant masses of stem and foliage and extremely hard to control even with diligent pruning.

 Cannabis varieties remind me of tomato varieties. Some grow slowly and have more of a ‘mounding’ habit while others would grow to the ceiling if you let them!

Medicinal Cannabis Blog #1

Medicinal Cannabis Blog #1

by Jim Hole

As many of you know, I wear two hats when it comes to horticulture.

The first is overseeing ornamental and edible plant production at Hole’s and the second is being in charge of medicinal cannabis cultivation at Atlas Biotechnologies in Lac Ste. Anne county, Alberta.

Naturally, many people are curious about cannabis and how it grows so I thought that it would be great to give some insight into the world of medicinal cannabis and what it takes to get from seed to sale. With this first blog on medicinal cannabis the first place to start is with the Atlas Biotechnologies facility itself.

The requirements for growing medicinal cannabis are very strict with sanitation being at the top of the list. Hallways and grow rooms are spotless and “gowning-up” to enter any grow space becomes second nature. Putting on suits, hair nets, beard nets, booties and gloves are just the minimum standard attire that each employee and visitor must don inside the grow facilities at Atlas.

 Grow rooms are sanitized after each harvest and tested for bacteria and fungi. To say that the facility is more like a hospital than grow space for plants is an understatement. Every plant has its own unique identification number and every bit of plant material is accounted for and documented.

 Medicinal cannabis production is a fascinating endeavour!