The High End: The Best in Pre-Roll Branding

The High End: The Best in Pre-Roll Branding

By Michael A. Stusser on July 2, 2017

About 20 years ago there was a rumor going around that legendary rock poet Bob Dylan had custom-made packs of cannabis cigarettes delivered to him at shows all along the road. Now I have no idea if that’s true, but I always thought if I ever got famous, the first thing I’d do was get ahold of whoever was hand-rolling Bob Dylan’s boutique joint packs and have ‘em start delivering them to me. Well guess what? I may not be famous, but the legal cannabis biz is booming, and dozens of companies are now rolling top-shelf packs of laughing grass!

Historically, pre-rolled joints have gotten a bad rap because they’ve often been made with leftover shake and seed-laden dregs full of stems and seeds and nasty schwag. No more! Today, good ganjapreneurs understand if they fail on flavor or quality, they’ll lose customers quickly. The best legal joints are now full of top-shelf flower. Many also have outstanding packaging—as cannabis connoisseurs who pay a premium prefer pretty presentation over plastic doob-tubes or crappy sleeves. So we’ve sought out the very best of both the bud and the branding. Here’s The High End!

Saints SGB (Seattle Green Bud)

The artisans at SGB get it. In addition to gorgeous packaging and all-organic first-rate flower, they keep things interesting by constantly changing up their Saints branded offerings: Sold as singles or five-packs, their hand-selected pre-rolls come in a variety of indicas, sativas and hybrids. My favorite is the Artist’s Series Pack, a five joint multi-strain sampler collection, each one specifically labeled (with strain names, THC/CBD levels) in the event you find a favorite for the future. The boxes were designed by Jeremy Fish, famous for his work with Upper Playground. Doesn’t hurt that their well-built boxes are printed on hemp and proceeds for their Limited Edition Pride Packs go to Equal Rights Washington.

Strike Your Fortune

Fortune pre-rolled cannabis joints come in whimsical five-packs (including one wrapped in pure gold leaf and in an elegant glass tube) with a golden font adorning the box that clearly hints of the carnival fortune teller vibe you’ll be experiencing. There’s also a groovy sticker and tarot-inspired keep-forever card in the box to elevate the experience. According to their website, the Oregon-based pre-rolls are “carefully crafted with a touch of mystical alchemy to guarantee an extraordinary smoking experience.” Smoke too many of these babies, and there’s no doubt you’ll be seeing cloudy visions. “The future’s so bright, ya gotta wear shades.”

Leira CannaGar

The Leira CannaGar are small-batch, hand-rolled cannabis cigars encased in elongated glass tubes and sealed with a purple wax seal to remind consumers of elegance, power and wealth. The price ($420) will also remind you. The good news is that once you fire one up, you’ll need some leisure time to get through it as estimated burn time is four hours. The 6″ Corona is packed full of 12 ounces of primo bud, then covered in three grams of rosin oil, then wrapped in at least two layers of stunning pure cannabis leaves, then cured. When someone says, “It’s how we roll…,” they should be talking about one of these.

Sitka Spliff Cigarettes

Packed in elaborate aluminum gold tins, the packaging for Sitka Spliffs is reminiscent of old-school boxes from the early 1950s cigarette era. Along with filtered tips and white-paper wrap, the Mad Men design and branding is top notch. Sitka spliffs are all natural, additive-free and unbleached. Best of all, when you’ve run out of their pre-rolls, you can use the handsome tin to store your personal hand-rolled joints!

Bloom Farms

Some of the most beautiful designs in cannabis come from Bloom Farms. Their founder, Michael Ray, studied and worked in graphic design before getting into the ganja biz, and it shows. The strain-specific full-flower pre-roll cases could fit into an Art Deco coffee table book. It’s also cool that the company puts social responsibility in their mission statement, and pledges a meal for someone in need with every purchase.

Vashon Velvet

A small family farm growing plants out of an old horse barn on Vashon Island in Washington State, Vashon Velvet prides itself on producing pot “like we used to smoke in college: that makes you laugh and not fall flat on your face.” Their all natural pre-rolled joints come in custom-made boxes containing five joints made from premium flower. Velvet is a women-owned canna-business: Susie Gress is the founder, her sister Kay Rice created the lovely artwork and packaging and Ivy Gress handles branding and sales. The feminine (nurturing, loving) touch shows, as happy plants make for the best buds….

Lola Lola

Lola Lola’s tagline is Alchemy Reimagined, and it’s a pretty apt slogan. Family-owned, the San Francisco based company knocks out killer weed from their Lola Lola Farms in Mendocino County. Their Three Cone Kit includes hand-packed joints using Grade A fresh flower and comes with a lovely limited edition Lolalandia lighter. (Collect all 10!) As they say, “We believe in good vibes, smart storage and delightful design.” Roll on!


PotBox is known for their luxurious California cannabis subscription service that delivers the highest quality, most ethically grown cannabis to San Francisco doorsteps. What does “ethically grown” mean? It means using sustainable practices, recycled materials, all natural sun-grown farming, along with organic soil, nutrients and fertilizers. In addition to quarter-ounces of several carefully selected small-batch strains per month, subscribers also receive two elegant hand-rolled joints in wax-sealed glass tubes that make scarlet letters and the Maker’s Mark cork look downright out-of-fashion. Pre-rolls also come with an info sheet containing the vitals on the strains, species, genetics and farms where each plant is grown.

 Island Co.

Like all the High End pre-rolls, Island Company uses the finest cannabis that’s hand-crafted and carefully tested. What sets them apart, aside from their surfer vibe and sunset beachy-inspired packaging, is that they offer premiums (eight king-sized filtered hemp tubes) as well as pre-roll Minis! Sometimes you don’t have the time or patience to burn one all the way down, so the Island Mini (hand-rolled in organic hemp paper and packaged in a convenient book-fold box) gives you options when time is of the essence.


Lucy’s pre-rolls are a classic smoke with a modern twist. Using all 100 percent sun-grown cannabis flower, they’re lab tested and packed to perfection. Elegant packs containing seven individual half-gram pre-rolls come in either Daydreamer packs (uplifting sativas with a floral finish) or Sweet Dreams (powerful indica-dominated blends for beddie-by). Though not hand-rolled, the makers of Lucy’s have come up with a patented, all-organic, heat-stitched rice paper combined with an extra-long crutch that’s designed to give users the ultimate, optimally cooled hit. And isn’t that the point?


NATIV produces high-quality cannabis using sustainable farming practices that’s free of pesticides and grown in fertile soil. Their pre-rolls come in three categories: Black Label (using Nativ’s Private Reserve flower and hash), Gray Label (combining both Nativ’s cannabis and hash) and their White Label (using 100 percent top-grade flower). Nativ’s serious about purity, having their joints inspected and tested for cannabinoid content, residual solvents, terpene profiles and pesticides. Go Nativ or go home….


The Illuminatus folks have created a pack of cannabis joints that look just like a box of high-end cigarettes you’d see in the import section of a smoke shop. The machine-packed smokes are slim and thin with each silver-embossed box containing five “filtered stix” made of hemp paper in a beautiful black box for indica or a rocking red one for sativa. Illuminatus stix pack a punch with more than 25 percent THC in their top-shelf proprietary ganja, with a filter that also mellows and cools heated smoke. Best of all, disguising a cannabis product as a cig not only allows you to roam freely in public and near law enforcement, it also avoids the deadly effects of cancer sticks. “Enlightened health” indeed….

Lowell Smokes

The family behind Lowell Herb Co. have been in the weed biz since 1909 when William “Bull” Lowell started growing “Indian Hemp” on his coastal California farm. Lowell Herb Co. still takes their “hemp” seriously, growing weed without pesticides and using only organic fertilizer. They also pay a proper living wage to their community of family farmers and use natural materials from seed to sale. Packs of premium Lowell Smokes have 10 joints full of all organic flower and pack a punch at between 22 and 25 percent THC content. The smokes are top-o-the-line, and their politics and practices even better.


Chief pre-rolls come in playful packs of seven totaling 1/8th of ganja, and the three-inch cone-tipped joints come in indica, sativa and hybrid strain packs. It’s also nice that each Chief package is labeled with the specific strain and THC percentage, giving buyers information to customize their high. The folks who make Chief also produce Canna Sierra, creating joint packs with a slightly lower THC level. Inspired by wild and beautiful places (and including names like Mt. Whitney, Swell and Grizzly), the folks at Canna Sierra emphasize a “get out, stay out” mentality trying to inspire folks to head to the great outdoors with friends and family. And get baked in nature, naturally….

Valhalla Matchstix

Keep it simple with Valhalla. In addition to the lovely lettering and colorful blue six-pack, the Valhalla Matchstix box comes with… matches! Come on! An all-in-one solution? That’s ingenious! And you know you lost your lighter somewhere….

Michael A. Stusser is a documentary film-maker and host of Higher Ground TV.

The High End: The Most Expensive, Outrageous, Over-the-Top Cannabis Products in the World

Host Michael A. Stusser gives a stoned TED talk on the incredible and outrageous products available for cannabis consumers. From $100,000 glassware to solid gold grinders to elegant canna-fashion, The High End covers it all.

The Pax 2 Review

PAX 2 Review
Michael A. Stusser

First things first: There are people who like to smoke out of bongs. There are people who prefer to roll a fatty. (That’s me!) There are fans of the one-hitter, glass pipe aficionados, Roor rooters, boisterous bubblers, glass-beaker geekers, hookah-suckas, and everything in between (i.e. partially crushed aluminum cans, pineapple pipes, etc.). And it’s all good. However you want to get high is your business – so long as you share.

One of the more modern conventions for getting baked is through the use of a vaporizer….Vapes allow the user to inhale “vapor” – and not smoke. Instead of the cannabis being combusted (by match or Zippo or blowtorch) – the vaporizer brings your marijuana flower (or oil or hash) to a temperature that’s hot enough to sublimate cannabinoids in cannabis, but doesn’t actually combust the herb. Sort of like a convection oven instead of a raging BBQ…but hand-held. In addition to it being an excellent option for individuals wanting to eliminate the various risks of smoke inhalation (a good choice for MMJ patients wanting the benefits of cannabinoids and terpenes, but not the potential lung irritations from smoke inhalation), vaporizing marijuana creates a more effective release of the medicinal properties of the cannabis flower.

Known as “The iPhone of Vaporizers,” the Pax brand has been around since 2012 (previously Ploom, now Pax Labs Inc.), and the product reviewed here is their second – and highly improved edition. I experimented with the original Pax a few years back (which sold over 500,000 units), but why waste time on the iPhone 4S- when there’s a new version of the iPhone 9 to discuss?

The new re-designed Pax is available in four color choices, all made from a hip and durable, transverse-brushed aluminum (the same anodized shell the iPhone 6 is forged out of). The iconic Pax looks like a minimalist high-end, high-tech product you’ll be proud to be seen carrying around. (Let’s be real – if you’re paying top dollar for a glorified pipe – around $280 – it better be sexy as hell. And this is.)

The new Pax 2 is 25% smaller and ten percent lighter than the original, and instead of a retracting mouthpiece, has a groovy flap of sorts that, according to the manufacturer, uses “lip-sensing technology.” (I wish my girlfriend did!) A second rubber mouthpiece that extends slightly from the top is also included. The Stanford University geeks who created the Pax brand have done a great job of combining applied science principles, technology, and a very cool (and stolen from Apple) design – to wind up with a unique and quality product that does not disappoint.

While there are a plethora of settings available for the Pax, for folks like me who like to “dumb it down,” the elegant product is also extremely easy to use. Press…wait, and in less than a minute, when the iconic LED Pax logo goes from pulsing purple flickering glow to a solid neon green, begin to suck. When you’re done, click the top mouthpiece down to turn it off, and re-load!

The heating element in the Pax can be set to four various heat settings, and has an intelligent cooling down system as well. While I’ve had the unit for several months, I rarely cycle through to choose a particular heating level, but instead let the smart machine do it’s thing.

Unlike many vaporizers with temp control, the smartest part about PAX is that it measures the temp of the herb…not the stainless steel oven itself. So instead of the chamber burning away, the PAX makes sure you’re cooking your prime ganja all the way through. (If you’re spending serious money on a vape, you better also be putting some cool cash into the best weed out there…)

There’s a distinct and almost sweet smell that my Pax emits when the ganja is ready – and the clovers glow green. It’s not so much that anyone would be able to call out the stank of cannabis – it’s almost like a bagel’s ready. Once you exhale from the Pax, or course, there is vapor (looks like smoke to me, but all the vaporizers gotta vape something…and it’s more than just heat), and the smell of marijuana. Given that I’m in a legal state (and don’t mind breaking the public consumption of cannabis laws) – the sweet smell actually makes me proud to share with my fellow citizens.

The newest Pax is also designed with various built-in sensors (it’s not a Tesla, but close!). The sensors include an accelerometer to put the device to sleep when it’s been set down, and the battery level which can be checked when the user shakes the Pax. (The four clover leaves show the various levels of charge remaining.) It’s also just fun to rotate the device in your hand three times to show your friends the spinning, colorful Pax clover in Party Mode. (Seriously. It’s beautiful.) Apparently there are also various “secret” games…though I had difficulty figuring them out, especially after taking several draws off the machine. (I even got sent a special detailed PDF from PAX public-relations on each and every user-interface and indicator, and I STILL don’t understand what the fuck’s going on.)

Until you take the Pax out for a test drive – outside your home – you really don’t get the coolness factor of the product. I’ve had the unit for 2 months, but it sat next to my gorgeous double-bubbler art-glass PDX bong, which is quick and powerful and easy to use. (No battery required.) So the PAX just sat there, looking like a slick modern remote control next to my weed box and bong. And then it hit me. Portable. Oh yeah. PORTable! So I packed it tight (as the manual suggests) and hit the bars. So cool. People love it! And when you whip out your Pax, you’re the hit (literally) of any party.

Could this sleek, gorgeous gizmo be better engineered? Probably. It needs a deeper chamber. WAY Deeper. Even though it’s larger and wider than the original version, the current “bowl” is only big enough to pack about 7-10 real “hits” in one go-round. While that’s enough for a few people to get nicely baked, it’s then necessary to knock out the roasted and toasted ganja, and repack a re-fill. As with all vaporizers – is a bit of a to-do. (The bottom sub-flush lid comes off simply enough – and is held in place with two powerful neodymium magnets.) It should also be noted the chamber for weed is consistent with other high end vaporizers…so it could be me that needs to cut down and get a grip on this gripe. Similar to a bong or pipe, a bowl can only be so large for maximum freshness and use before it needs to be refilled – so my complaint may simply be a factor of my own need for moderation.

The only other tweak I’d make on the next version (Pax 3!) is the shape. Given our digital obsession (and societal one at large, now that I think of it) – it’s true the Pax could be more iPhone-shaped: Skinner, longer, and with a slight arc to fit along your skinny thigh. But the current heft is fantastic – it’s got a perfect weight in the palm, and that glowing psychedelic clover is just the fucking coolest thing ever.

The Pax uses a USB-charger (similar to Apple’s Mag-Safe units) that powers up a lithium ion battery, and – as tested – lasts for over 3 hours per charge (90 minutes to charge, on average), which is more than you’ll need. The unit turns itself off if you don’t draw on the mouthpiece or touch in for three minutes (and goes into standby mode by slowly lowering the temp after only 20 seconds) – so you’ve actually got five or six hours of party time before the battery truly runs out.

By far the best feature of the Pax is that it’s stealthy – not because of it’s actual size (which is really the smallest/most compact of the high-end vaporizers on the market) – but because even when I bring the thing out in broad daylight – at football games or bars or concerts or cafes – people see me handling this odd-looking graphite device that has a pulsing light and can’t fathom it’s a cannabis vaporizer. They’re more likely to think I’m holding a digital tape recorder up to my mouth than a machine that allows me to smoke (vape? cook?) marijuana! It’s so elegant, I often set mine on the table in cocktail lounges (sadly, next to my fawking iPhone) and see if anyone reacts. It’s rare. Mostly (sadly) they’re lost in their own digital devices, and not paying any attention.

In the end, how do I know I like it the Pax? Because it’s in my pocket every time I leave the house.

The Pax 2 runs around $280 and includes a 10 year warranty.

Available in charcoal (black), topaz (aqua), flare (red) and platinum (silver).

3.87 x 1.21 x 0.85
18.5mm x 8.6mm x 10mm
Lithium-ion battery recharges in 2-3 hours via USB or AC wall adaptor

Thin film Kapton heater flex
Detects motion to put PAX in standby-mode when not in use to conserve battery life and oven contents
Vapor path is constructed entirely from medical grade components. All plastic components are food-safe engineering plastics of the highest quality available.

Included in the box are:
•The PAX 2
•Two silicone mouthpieces—a flat one, flush with the top of the
device, and one raised option
•One magnetic charging cradle with USB cord
•PAX 2 cleaning kit with isopropyl alcohol & pipe cleaners

Marshawn Lynch Gets His Own BeastMode Strain

Seattle Seahawk Marshawn Lynch is known for his powerful, creative running style, so it only makes sense a local marijuana dispensary would name a strain after him. Beast Mode! We’re smoking Super Bowls of it here… Go Seahawks!

Holiday Gift Guide for the Cannabis Connoisseur

Live from the GreenPole, Higher Ground hit the Hot Pot Product Bazaar for the High Holidays! Check out the greatest gifts on Earth for cannabis connoisseurs! And if you’re lucky, Sativa Santa will pay you a visit this year! (Make sure to leave him milk and cookies…) Thanks to the wonderful sponsors and MJBA (Marijuana Business Association)!


Tommy Chong Smoke Swipes

The Vape Co.

Farmer Tom


Clear Choice Cannabis

JuJu Joints



Cannabis Basics

Seattle Hempfest

Snoop Dog GPen

I Love Cannabis & Coffee

Dope Magazine



Cannabis-Infused Coffee? Talk About Buzzed!

We got our hands on some THC-infused coffee called Legal, and the stuff has us buzzing around the Higher Ground offices like nobody’s business! Here’s our exclusive review.

Presidential Candidate in Favor of Legalized Weed!

Gov. Gary Johnson (New Mexico, 1995-2005) is not only the highest-ranking Presidential candidate to ever come out in favor of the legalization of marijuana, he’s also CEO of a new company called Cannabis Sativa Inc. The ex-governor has a refreshing conversation with Higher Ground host Michael Stusser about the benefits of gangja, his bold predictions for the future, and a new way to get….Hi!


There’s a new group of business people capitalizing on the legalization of marijuana: Ganjapreneurs! We give you the inside scoop on the cannabis capitalists!


Chapter excerpted from “The Pot Book” A Complete Guide to Cannabis Edited by Dr. Julie Holland—Amazon | Barnes & Noble

“Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw.” – Henry David Thoreau

From my observations based on traveling to cannabis fairs and pot gardens worldwide for many years, growing cannabis for personal use is on the rise as more people discover the virtues of creating their own “homegrown.” Police crackdowns push regular consumers away from the black market while economic downturns convince more of them to become self-sufficient smokers. The same pressures have driven pot seed breeders and advanced cultivators to create new hybrids, growing techniques, and stealth products to stay one step ahead of the authorities.

The real secret is that growing cannabis for your own use is quite simple; provide the proper environment including lighting, nutrients, humidity, air movement and pest control, and the plants will produce many ounces for a small fraction of current prices.

Stick to the easiest ways to grow at first, using a loose potting soil or a soil-less mix in 2-4 gallon buckets with holes in the bottom for drainage. A lower wattage (250-400-watt) HID (High Intensity Discharge) growlight or a few compact fluorescents are perfectly adequate for a closet or small grow area. Larger rooms will require HID’s with higher wattages such as 600-watt or 1000-watt HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) or MH (Metal Halide) bulbs and ballasts. Higher wattages produce stronger lighting but also more heat. New advancements in Light Emitting Diodes technology look very promising, and initial testing results show that their future is bright.  LED’s drastically reduce power consumption and heat, creating usable lumens without the typical drawbacks of other light systems.

Indica vs. Sativa

The cannabis we smoke can be generally classified as either indicasativa, or more often, a hybrid — a combination of the two. (Cannabis Ruderalis, is a low-THC variety native to Eastern Europe and Russia which grows wild but is not smoke-able).

Indicas, which originated in the Hindu Kush area of Central Asia, are characterized by their short stature and fatter leaf structure. Traditionally, these plants were grown and bred for making hashish. The buds are covered with glandular trichomes that we sometimes refer to as “crystals” or “kif.” The trichomes are sifted away from the leaf and buds and then pressed to make hashish. Indicas tend to give their users a lethargic feeling sometimes referred to as “couch-lock” or “stoned.”

Sativas are the taller, longer-flowering variety native to equatorial regions with a longer growing season. The leaves are typically thinner and longer, and the buds tend to be thinner and more elongated as well. Sativa plants were traditionally bred for hemp purposes as well as for medicinal applications from smoking and brewing tea. Less trichome production is augmented by the characteristic sativa high, know as racy and “electric.”  This “up” high was described by veterans returning from Vietnam who smoked the Vietnamese, Thai and Laotian sativas of Southeast Asia. Some pure sativas have been known to induce paranoia and heart-racing in unsuspecting smokers.

Pot aficionados know that different hybrids exhibit unique characteristics of flavor, scent and intoxication. The qualities expressed by strains of cannabis vary greatly from catatonic to giddy, and from stoned to high. Personal preference plays an enormous role, and humans have bred the cannabis they most enjoy repeatedly. Many connoisseurs consider sativas to be a daytime smoke and indicas primarily as a nightcap. Most of what is smoked is a hybrid of the two, typically not more than 60 percent of one over the other.

Males vs. Females

The buds we smoke are the dried flowers of the female cannabis plant. Males are basically useless to anyone but breeders, who collect the pollen from male flowers in order to pollinate female flowers to produce seeds. For pot production purposes, male plants should be discarded as soon as they’re discovered to prevent seeding your entire crop of females.

During the early stages of flowering, males will begin to show their sex at the plant node — the area where the leaf meets the main stem. Male flowers will protrude like the tip of a spear and then droop down, resembling a tiny bunch of bananas. If they are allowed to continue growth after this point, the “bananas” will open, spilling their pollen to the wind and ruining your dreams of growing seed-free pot (sinsemilla). Show no mercy and discard all males.

Females will also start showing their sex in early flowering. Pear-shaped bracts form at the nodes and white hairs emerge from them. These hairs are a sure sign of a female plant but you must beware of hermaphrodites.  Some plants show their sex as females but actually have male flowers as well that can ruin a crop. Always check developing flowers for signs of hermaphrodite behavior, and be sure to nip it in the bud by getting rid of those meddlesome plants whenever you encounter them.

Soil vs. Hydroponics

Traditionally, plants are grown in soil or soil-less potting mixes that mimic natural earthy loam. Advances in hydroponics, or the growing of plants with their roots immersed in a nutrient solution, allow cultivators to increase the rate of growth as well as final yields. Roots growing in a hydroponic system typically grow bigger plants faster than the same roots in a soil-type medium.

Hydroponic growing should be considered an advanced technique because much more must be taken into account; water temperatures, nutrient levels and pH (the acidity or alkalinity of the nutrient solution) must all be monitored several times daily for optimal growth. Soil growing is much more forgiving; problems can be solved over a matter of days instead of hours. Beginners should almost always start with plants in a soil-type potting mix to ensure success.

Recent advanced techniques in hydroponics prove interesting to growers. Aeroponic systems, in which roots are constantly misted with nutrient solution, were pioneered by NASA for long-term space exploration and exhibit astonishingly fast growth rates in optimal lab-like conditions. Also, new 360 degree grow units take advantage of the full light footprint of their air-cooled growbulbs by rotating the plants fully around the light-source.

Hydroponic growers are also perfecting ways to use organic nutrients with the most interesting subset being Aquaponics, in which fish farms stacked below hydro trays feed plant roots in a symbiotic relationship creating both plant and animal produce for local markets.

I always recommend a soilless mix or coco coir (a renewable product made from hulled shells of coconuts). These mediums hold roots, yet allow plenty of oxygen to reach them without the typical hassles of hydroponic growing, such as water temperature fluctuations or clogged tubes. Coco coir requires a slightly different nutrient and pH profile, and watering must take place more often than with soil, but I find it to be the best of both worlds and one of the most ecological ways to grow indoors.

Vegetative vs. Flowering Growth

Cannabis plants grow in two distinct stages — vegetative and flowering. Seedlings under proper light will grow taller, spreading their branches and creating more growing tips until the light cycle is shortened to 12 hours per day or less. Outdoors, this occurs naturally as summer turns to fall, but indoor flowering must be induced by the grower.

This means that if you don’t reduce the amount of light, the plant will continue to grow vegetatively and never flower, leaving you with a lot of lumber, leaves and sticks but no buds. The only time when this practice is useful is when growing motherplants in order to take cuttings or clones of vegetative plants in perpetuity. Even then, motherplants will need to be cloned after several years of “vegging” due to stresses and space limitations. I’ve seen twenty-year-old motherplants in gardens, but they’re quite rare.

Indoor plants begin their lives under 18-24 hours of light per day. When they have attained the desired height, a timer reduces the amount of light to half the 24-hour period. If the 12 hour dark period remains uninterrupted, the plant will gradually shift from upward and outward growth and begin to form flowers, which eventually turn into the buds we prize.

This transition, however, is gradual, and the plant will continue to stretch for the first several weeks of flowering. The hybrids typically grown by most cultivators flower for 45-65 days, but some puresativas have been known to have flowering times of 3 months or more.

Vegetative and flowering plants have completely different food requirements, so you must tailor the nutrients used in each stage to the proper formula. During the vegetative stage, a nitrogen-heavy nutrient, such as liquid fish and seaweed, is necessary, while flowering requires more potassium and phosphorous-based foods such as bat guano. It is crucial to know your NPKs!

Indoor vs. Outdoor

In general, pot grown outdoors is less highly regarded than its indoor-cultivated counterpart. This is because outdoor pot tends to be leafier and less fully-developed, due primarily to its being grown on a much larger scale. It’s infinitely easier to properly manicure a few ounces than hundreds of pounds. Nonetheless, great pot can be grown outside, as long as several factors are met.

Wind and rain can destroy cannabis plants quickly. Wind degrades THC and terpenes, bruising trichomes and breaking branches. Always create a wind break or greenhouse to protect outdoor plants. Rain, especially during the later flowering stage, can create molds and bud rot that will quickly consume your colas. Water plants at their roots and cover them during rainy or humid weather.

Indoor plants require a whole different system of growing. The best indoor bud is grown in rooms that use a combination of intake and outtake fans in conjunction with charcoal filters to clean the odor. Negative pressure creates a constant supply of new cool, fresh air. Spent hot air is vented elsewhere, sometimes even heating the house or a pool.

Pot plants indoors need constant supervision for pest control. Without natural predators, vegetarian bugs can have a field day on un-inspected leaves. Branches may also need to be staked to strengthen them up. Lighting must never be too close or too far from the plant tops. Between one and two feet is about right for most indoor grow lighting applications.

Organic vs. Chemical: Fertilization

Like all plants, cannabis needs nutrients to grow. Besides the basic N/P/K profile (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium), several other micronutrients must be present — some in quite miniscule amounts — in order for proper growth.

The difference between chemically-based nutrients and organic ones is determined by how the plant foods are derived. Concentrated salts formulas such as Miracle-Gro, developed in a laboratory, are typically not considered organic. Nutrients derived from a recently living organism such as Bat Guano or Liquid Fish or Seaweed are.

To grow organic pot means that your growing medium and plant foods come from natural sources, not synthetic salt compounds dreamed up in a lab. Don’t get me wrong, great pot can be grown with General Hydroponics 3-part formula, but it’ll never be organic, and it would probably be better if it was.

Some growers claim that the plants can’t possibly tell the difference between the elemental molecules they take up and thus believe that “organic” is a sham and a waste of money. Organic growers will swear their buds are safer and better tasting. The truth is somewhere in between.

Organic nutrients typically smell a bit more than their chemical counterparts, but the final product is worth the trouble. Plus, there are issues such as the environmental impact of draining all those chemical salts into our water supply and sewers. All in all, organic growing using compost teas and natural nutrients is cheaper, easier, and more healthy for people and the planet. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

All plants, organic or otherwise, must be flushed for the final two weeks of their growth in order to leach out salts and minerals they’ve collected throughout their life cycle. This is an essential step. If more growers would flush their plants, it would improve the quality of marijuana around the world.

Organic vs. Chemical: Pest Control

Another bone of contention among growers is the use of potentially harmful pesticides. Some swear by pyrethrum “bombs” and chemical sprays, while others lean towards natural Neem oil or predatory insects and nematodes that fight and destroy the pests we hate such as spidermites, whiteflies, and thrips. Most would agree that the latter are safer for the finished product than the former, but growers sometimes find themselves quite overwhelmed by pest issues. Many more resort to nuclear tactics than seem to admit.

A combination of good growroom hygiene practices, such as checking the undersides of plant leaves daily and rinsing them occasionally with a mild pest treatment, will surely keep most insect attacks at bay. Also, eternal vigilance against pests can lead to many other discoveries, such as a pH problem or a nutrient-burned plant. My recommendation is to use the least harmful ways possible at all times, whether nutrients, pest control, or sanitation in general. Well-cared for plants produce better-tasting pot, and no amount of rinsing can wash the residue off of some of the available products out there. Keep it simple, and keep it green!

The Future of Cannabis

More states in the US are passing laws allowing the medical use of marijuana, and majorities of voters clearly advocate the decriminalization of recreational cannabis use by adults. The will of the people continues to defeat the propaganda of the drug warriors. Doctors, nurses and patients’ voices are finally being heard, and the groundswell of support for marijuana law reform has reached a fevered pitch. Truly, we are past the tipping point.

Growing pot as a hobby and practice has spread throughout the planet. Our recent Global Harvest Report (High Times, Dec. ‘13) highlighted such far-ranging places as Spain and Mexico, Belgium and Lebanon.  Personal experience and anecdotal evidence suggests that cannabis cultivation is on the rise throughout Eastern Europe, Asia, and beyond.

Smart cultivators will develop a stable of motherplants and share the material with their like-minded compatriots. The time of hoarding strains is over. Medicinally, the best cannabis for each individual ailment will be isolated and developed to further soothe the selected symptoms.

From my perspective, the growers of the future are armed with more technology, information, and genetic material than ever before. Techniques continue to develop and become perfected, with cannabis cultivators sharing their experiences safely and anonymously. The Internet has created a forum for growers to work together, solving each others’ problems with solutions derived from collective experiences. As these alliances develop and thrive, strains and techniques make their way around the globe, spreading our favorite plant and her cultivation “secrets” far and wide.

Thanks to Danny Danko, Senior Cultivation Editor of HIGH TIMES Magazine for providing the excerpt. 


There are quite a few natural ingredients that pull double-duty as lube: aloe, coconut oil… and marijuana?

Yes, seriously: Foria Pleasure, a soon-to-be-released ‘pre-lube’ for women is made with cannabis. Why? THC, the main mood-altering chemical in pot, is said to help stressed-out women relax their pelvic muscles, making it easier to get to the Big O.

Is it safe to use on our most sensitive of sensitive areas? Foria Pleasure is also made with one of the safest natural lubricants, coconut oil, but the jury is still out on utilizing cannabis in the bedroom.

“There’s very little research on the safety and effectiveness of products like Foria Pleasure,” says Sara Gottfried, M.D., a Harvard M.D. and OB-GYN. “Some studies show that in animals, cannabis can adversely affect the vagina and uterus, and cause cessation of menstruation.”

Foria Pleasure will be out later this spring, but there’s one very important thing to note before you plan some marijuana-laced nookie: You have to live in a state that allows the legal sale of marijuana for medicinal or recreational use. You must have a medical marijuana card to even try a sample of the new product.

But, does it actually work?

“Some women with tight vaginal muscles anecdotally say that it helps them relax their pelvic tone,” adds Dr. Gottfried, “but data are lacking.”

Think we’ll skip on the vagina-toking for the time being.

Thanks to reporter Meagan Morris for this article.