You might be used to farmers growing crops like wheat, certain berries, canola, and barley, but did you know more and more Canadians and cultivating cannabis crops?
Yes, many Canadians are now starting their own medical marijuana operations, and, if you are interested, so can you.
Here are 7 steps that will help you grow your own medical marijuana in Canada
Step 1: Getting Your ACMPR License
The first step to growing your own medical marijuana in Canada is getting your ACMPR License. This process is fairly simple. Once you submit your application, you can expect to wait 6-8 weeks. Just be sure all the information is correct, and that the application is complete, as your application can be refused at any point in the process.
Step 2: Growing Environment
After getting your ACMPR license, the most important consideration you will have to make is where you will grow your crops, whether indoors or outdoors.
You will have to consider:
- The weather (sunlight, humidity, rainfall, temperature)
- Pest control
- Security (animals and people)
- The amount of space you will need
- Growing medium (soil or rock wool)
If the weather is normally cold, with low precipitation and low sunlight, then growing indoors is probably your best option. However, if you do not have enough space inside or enough funds to purchase indoor growing equipment, but the weather conditions are ideal, it is best you grow your crops outdoors.
Indoors, you will seldom have to worry about pests or weather, but the startup costs will be pretty high. You will need equipment such as thermometers or temperature gauges, carbon filters, artificial lighting, growing tents, pots and containers, pH readers, and so much more.
Outdoors, you will have to worry about animals and even people interfering with your crops. You will also have to think about how you will navigate the various weather changes. However, soil nutrition will be less of an issue as soils normally contain all the nutrients needed, and you will not have to worry about pricy startup costs.
Step 3: Choosing Strains
After you have decided on the ideal growing environment for your situation, it is time to pick the strains of cannabis you wish to cultivate.
The first thing you should consider is what kind of effects you wish to experience. Do you want cannabis that will make you sleepy and relaxed? Or would you prefer a strain that will make you upbeat and productive?
Once you decide that, you should consider other factors such as growing costs, time, and difficulty.
You should also note that certain strains grow better in certain environments. So, while one is much easier to grow indoors, it might be a bit more difficult outdoors, so be sure to do the proper research one each strain you have in mind.
NB: Buy only feminized seeds. These will grow higher quality cannabis buds.
Step 4: Navigating The Germination And Vegetative Stages
A seed needs water, the right temperature, and the right location. Germination will not take place unless these conditions are met.
One way you can germinate your seeds is by placing them in a moist paper towel in a warm, dark place. This way, your seeds will retain moisture and humidity, and, in a few days, you will notice that they have begun to sprout.
You can also choose to ditch the paper towel and soak the seeds in enzyme enriched water. After the taproot appears, transfer them to your growing medium (e.g. soil)
Another way you can germinate your seeds is by placing them directly into the growing medium. This way, you will reduce the chance of transplant shock. Alternately, you could place them in jiffies, plugs or rock wool starters to achieve the same results.
If you can afford to purchase a germination station, it will make this process a whole lot easier. You will be able to control the temperature and humidity, and this can even speed up the germination process. Whatever method you decide to use, if you have multiple strains, be sure to label them to avoid confusion in the future.
After your seeds have sprouted, it is time to pot them. If you have chosen to grow your plants indoors, expose them to at least sixteen hours of sunlight a day. It is best that the majority of light exposure occurs during nighttime, in order to save on electricity costs. Outdoors, cannabis plants grow more rapidly during the spring and summer months. After the vegetative stage ends, your plants will go into the flowering stage.
Step 5: Flowering Stage
The flowering stage is identified by the development of buds, flowers and hopefully crystallization. Here, light exposure is equal, with twelve hours of light and 12 hours of complete darkness.
Depending on the strain, this stage should last anywhere from six to twelve weeks and afterward, you will be ready to harvest.
Step 6: Harvesting
At the last stages of growth, nutrient intake should be reduced and the plant should be flushed with fresh water. This ensures a pure, nutrient-free yield, free of salt aftertaste.
To tell if your plants are ready for harvesting, use a magnifying glass to observe the trichomes or the tiny hairs that cover the buds. If they are a milky/cloudy colour or amber, you may go ahead and harvest.
Step 7: Drying And Curing
Once your plants have been cut, it is time to dry and cure them. To do this, place them on a drying rack until all moisture is removed. Then, place your cannabis into an airtight container to begin the curing process. Open the container once a day for a few minutes to allow humidity to be released and air to be circulated. When it is completely dry, reduce opening the container to once a week.
Curing can last for up to a month and the container should be kept in a cool dark place. When you are ready, you can enjoy your medical marijuana in various forms.