Medpot Minstrel: Hydroponics Medical Marijuana

Saturday, June 24, 2006

If you can't stand the heat...

Carbon Dioxide (CO2), yes the same stuff that humans exhale, is essential for plant growth. Commercial growers of marijuana use it to double their yields and grow healthier, more robust plants. As a humble, small-scale medpot grower, I thought I’d give it a try. The results have been excellent (see the picture in last week’s posting)!

The red object in this week’s picture is an old-fashioned CO2 generator. I managed to get it for a good price, used. It burns propane gas to produce the carbon dioxide. A cleaner, cooler method is to use a CO2 emitter system, which releases controlled amounts of the gas from a bottle containing compressed CO2 that has to be refilled periodically.

The latter method can be completely automated. You can set the rate of injection (depends on the size of your room, the number of plants, the intensity of your light[s]) by means of a controller that is linked to a regulator via a solenoid valve. You calculate the square volume of the area you want to fill with CO2 and preset the level (let’s say 1200 parts per million). A built-in light cell will shut off the system during your night cycle.

Needless to say this system is more expensive than the one I have. The propane gas burner option has a pilot light, which is connected to a solenoid. A timer switches on the solenoid, which then ignites the burner and presto, you have CO2 filling your grow room. You have to build a shelf for it high up on the wall, since CO2 is heavier than air and will sink. In order to get it to the leaves that breath in the gas, it has to be above the plant canopy. You can also hang it from the ceiling, provided you insert strong enough hooks to hold the weight.

CO2 treated marijuana plants require more watering and nourishment, than untreated plants. Luckily, Advanced Nutrients Medical (my company of choice) has a lot of experience with just the proper amounts of nutrients necessary for a CO2 room and they are not shy about sharing this knowledge. I use 100% organic nutrients made by this company and the results are always terrific!

One drawback with the propane burning method is the heat generated by the burner. In the sweltering heat of summer some air conditioning is necessary to cool the room to a manageable level. I temporarily solve this problem by not burning CO2 during the summer months. In the fall, winter, and spring the heat is not a problem, provided you have two strong fans, one bringing cold air in, the other pulling hot air out.

Commercial grow ops solve the heat problem by installing either air or water-cooled air conditioning systems in their grow rooms. Another difficulty is the pilot light of the CO2 burner, which confuses the plants during periods of complete darkness. That’s why the red box around the burner is designed to obliterate any light coming from the pilot.

Normal room air has around 300 parts per million of CO2. In order to ensure the optimum growing environment for your medpot plants, that should be increased to 1200-1500 PPM. Good Luck!

posted by Wes @ 4:53 PM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, June 16, 2006

Let this lady light your fire!

I grow my medpot in a grow room next to my home office. It takes about four months to selectively grow six female plants from germination to maturity. Commercial growers do it faster, but they force-feed the plants and coerce them to flower, which I don’t do. Besides, harvesting six large plants three times a year provides more than enough medicine for me and my wife, Claire.

I start with 15 seeds. Only when a plant is especially sweet and powerful do I take cuttings. The drawback of cuttings is that you can transfer diseases through them. During the seedling and vegetative stage, the lights can be kept on for 24 hours. Only during the flowering stage do the plants require 12 hours of light, followed by 12 hours of total darkness. Thus the need to cover the windows of your grow room with black tarpaper or plastic.

During the seedling stage I use fluorescents; for older plants the 600W High Pressure Sodium lamp fixture, with a conversion bulb, to provide blue light during the vegetative cycle. Then, when the flowering starts, I switch to an HPS bulb in the red end of the spectrum.

When the plants are young, you can bunch up to 15 of them under such a light. I augment my hydroponic buckets with smaller pots at this stage. For the pots I use a peat moss, perlite mixture—for the buckets, it’s baked clay pebbles as the growing medium.

The hydroponic bucket system is set to flood the roots of the plants with nutrient solution at periodic intervals. The plants in the pots should be watered once a day with the appropriate fertilizer. I use 100% organic Iguana Juice Grow and Bloom for all my plantings, expertly blended for the two major cycles of the marijuana plant.

When the plants reach about two-three feet, I switch over to the half and half regimen of light and darkness. This is the signal to the plant to start flowering. As soon as the plants exhibit male and female characteristics, the culling can begin. The males have to be removed before they are able to release their pollen.

By a process of pick and choose style elimination, I reduce the number of plants to six, and put them into the hydroponic buckets. These are my Ladies and they provide the best medicine for Claire’s migraines, and my cancer.

It takes about eight weeks for the females to flower. When the large leaves start to yellow and drop off, it’s time for the harvest. We do a little ritual, Claire and I, thanking the Creator for bringing this sacred herb into our lives and deeply inhaling the aroma of our plants. If we’re lucky, the buds are dripping with resin by this time. They have to be hung up to dry for a week.

In addition to good luck, we also rely on Colossal Bud Blast by the Advanced Nutrients Medical folks to ensure superb bud formation on our ladies. We also use Bug Away, because the occasional critter does manage to enter our secure grow space.

The picture on top of this page shows our pride and joy this year. It’s a hybrid called Northern Flame. We harvested her in April and have been enjoying her powerful essence ever since. Just because it’s our medicine, doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to enjoy it, does it? My philosophy is if it feels good, do it. After a good smoke, it’s so much easier to love everybody.

“Love is just a song we sing, fear’s the way we die, you can hear the mountains sing, or make the angels cry…c’mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try and love one another right now.”


posted by Wes @ 5:32 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Smoke to protect your lungs from cancer?

Donald Tashkin, a lung specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles, has been studying the effects of marijuana for thirty years. The largest study of its kind recently concluded that smoking marijuana, whether casually or heavily, does not lead to lung cancer.

This is not what the researchers were expecting to find. “We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,” Tashkin is quoted as saying. “What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.”

Whew! Let me get my head around this last statement! Protective effect? That means that marijuana smoke actually protects people’s lungs from lung cancer? Could it be? Could it be that the U.S. government has been lying to us all along? Could it be that marijuana DOES have healing properties?

If you haven’t caught on by now, that was a rhetorical question. Of course marijuana has healing properties. My wife Claire and I can attest to this fact, over and over again. And for a lung specialist who is a long-term researcher into cannabis to confirm this with the conclusions of a large study, just rubs the lies into the noses of the FDA, the DEA, and the HHRA,or whatever alphabet soup of initials this two-faced government throws at us.


Since we live in one of the eleven states that allow medicinal marijuana, and since both my wife and I are medpot patients (me for cancer chemo, Claire for migraines) I decided to build my own grow room in the basement, next to my home office.

I had to decide how many plants I wanted to grow (six is below the legal limit) and then what kind of light fixture would I need to grow six good-sized marijuana plants. I consulted the experts at Advanced Nutrients Medical, and they assured me that a 600W High Pressure Sodium bulb would light a big enough area to grow six plants, provided the walls were covered in white plastic to reflect some of the diffused light.

They also informed me that I would need a conversion bulb for the vegetative growth cycle, then switch to a regular HPS bulb for the flowering stage. HPS bulbs are designed to deliver light in the red end of the spectrum, while the conversion bulbs shine in the blue end, which is closer to the properties of sunlight.

I had to build a shelf for the ballast for the light fixture and duct tape all my electrical cables to the wall and off the floor, to keep them from getting wet. I bought a six-bucket ebb and flow hydroponic system, and chose rock wool as my preferred medium of growth.

They suggested their line of superb organic fertilizers, such as Iguana Juice Grow and Bloom, Sensi Zym, and Colossal Bud Blast. They all take care of essential macro and micro nutrients, enzymes, and growth enhancement needed by my very sensitive “Ladies,” as I call my plants. As you know, the female plant buds are the most powerful on the planet.

“Don’t Bogart that medpot joint my friend, pass it over to me.” Even though I was born way after the sixties were over, I enjoy listening to music from that era. Squirrel, which is my 9-year-old daughter’s nickname, was watching some teenage singer on TV the other day, doing a song called “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow,” which was on one of the best albums of all time, called Rumours, by Fleetwood Mac.

I informed her that I know who wrote that song and she was heartbroken, since she thought that it was written by Hilary Duff, who sang it on her TV show. “I thought Hilary wrote that song, not some useless hippie.” Ouch!

posted by Wes @ 2:11 AM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, June 02, 2006

Medical Marijuana is Antiemetic

Antiemetic is a technical name for a drug that reduces the urge to vomit, and subdues the vomiting itself. The most common use for medical marijuana in the U.S. is as an antiemetic. This property of cannabis had been known for thousands of years—a 2,000 year-old Chinese text lists marijuana and the 100 illnesses that it was used to treat at that time. High on the list is nausea.

The anti-nausea effects of marijuana were rediscovered in the 1970’s, when chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer became widespread. This coincided with a high incidence of marijuana use, and cancer patients who also smoked pot reported to their doctors that cannabis helped with their nausea and vomiting. The 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on the medical use of marijuana confirmed this—since then, thousands of medpot patients have used therapeutic cannabis just for this purpose.

Another great use for medicinal marijuana is as a pain reliever. Ancient Chinese doctors administered it to patients prior to surgery. Migraine sufferers, such as my wife Claire, benefit from both of these properties of medpot. Luckily, we live in one of the eleven states that allows the use medicinal marijuana, as well as permits patients and their caregivers to grow a limited number of plants.

My name is Wes. I started using medpot personally when I was undergoing chemotherapy for a cancerous tumor. Prior to my operation, the doctors at the cancer clinic dosed me with radiation and chemo. I couldn’t have survived the upheaval of chemo without the pot. Luckily, my doctor was in total sympathy. I finally understood why some cancer patients begged their loved ones to allow them to die, rather than undergo the rigors of chemotherapy once again.

Claire woke up with another migraine this morning. Her attacks are so bad, that she was wailing and asking for something to vomit into, when she woke up. My daughter (age 9) rushed down to my home office to say that her Mama was in pain and that she asked me to bring her medicine. I rushed upstairs and made sure that my daughter was engrossed in a TV show before I took the joint to my wife in the bedroom. We try not to smoke in front of my daughter. I guess we’ve also been brainwashed by all the anti-pot and anti-smoking propaganda.

Prior to our medpot use, my wife used to self-administer injections of Imitrex, when these intense attacks happened. Eventually, even that powerful drug lost its effectiveness. Claire finds that even half a joint is better than conventional medicine. We share the doobie and I put my arm around her and she loses her anxiety and slowly her pain dissipates. Then she is able to face the day.

I so strongly believe in the healing properties of this sacred herb, that I set up a grow room in the basement, next to my home office. We live in an urban environment, where outdoor gardening was out of the question. In my subsequent postings, I will explain in detail how I set up the grow room and what kind of pot I grow. Also, how I feed my ladies (the female marijuana plant produces the most powerful buds). I gained all this knowledge from an incredibly helpful website, put up by a company called Advanced Nutrients Medical.

BTW, in case you’re wondering about the “Minstrel” part of the title, I’m an amateur musician who sings the praises of medpot as often as I can.

posted by Wes @ 5:53 PM 0 comments links to this post