A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Cannabis at Home
In most states with recreational or medical marijuana programs on the books, it is legal for adults over 21 to grow a certain number of cannabis plants in their home. The exact details of the rules can vary; for example, Oregon places the absolute limit of cannabis crops at four, regardless of how many people live in that home or at what stage of maturation the plants are, but in Maine, adults can have up to six flowering plants per household more that aren’t flowering if they hold a medical card. In contrast, marijuana users in Arkansas must visit a dispensary because home growing is prohibited.
If you are interested in growing cannabis in your home, you should start by checking your local laws to determine that it is safe and legal. Then, you can follow this guide to raise your weed seedling to a healthy, flowering, valuable crop.
Make Space Indoors
Most places prohibit outdoor growing, or at least growing in areas visible and accessible by the public. Unless you live on several acres with impeccable security, you probably want to make some space indoors for your new cannabis garden.
Though you can adapt almost any space to growing marijuana, if you want to limit your energy expenditure, you want to select an area that receives plenty of sunlight but isn’t visible to the public; in other words, you don’t want to use a window facing the street. Homes that don’t receive 10 or so hours of sunlight might need to invest in grow lights, which are special UV lights that give plants the right nutrients.
Additionally, cannabis plants don’t often thrive in areas with high humidity, like bathrooms and kitchens. If you live in a region that maintains high humidity year-round, you might consider using a dehumidifier around your crop. Regardless, you should be growing in a large container with well-draining soil, to prevent water from building up around the roots and causing rot.
Choose the Right Strain
Before you start growing, you might try to sample a few different strains from a recreational or medicinal dispensary near you to determine what you like from your cannabis experience. Different strains have different concentrations of cannabinoids like THC and CBD as well as different terpene profiles, which not only provide varying aromas and flavors but also contribute to how the high feels. For example, strains with limonene, the citrus terpene, are likely to provide more energy whereas strains with linalool, the lavender terpene, are likely to be more sedative. You can always talk to budtenders or correspond withmore experienced cultivators in online forums for help finding strains that suit your needs and are appropriate for beginner growers.
Endure the Vegetative Stage
The vegetative stage is when the cannabis plant is growing rapidly from seed to sprout to seedling and beyond. At this point, the plant is nothing more than a vegetable — root, stalk and leaves — and it has minimal quantities of cannabinoids and terpenes. All of the plant’s energy is going to growing to maturity. The vegetative state can last between four and eight weeks, depending on how old your cannabis plants were when you acquired them.
For the most part, a cannabis plant’s needs are simple during this stage: light, water and nutritious soil. You probably don’t need to dote on your plant too much, but you should monitor its health and make changes if it seems to stop growing or wilt in any way.
Tend the Flowering Stage
The flowering stage, as the name suggests, is when the cannabis plant develops flowers. During this phase, you will need to increase the amount of light your plants are getting to at least 12 hours per day, which will provide them with enough energy to produce big, bountiful buds. You should also monitor your crop for signs of males, which produce smaller buds that fertilize your females and create seeds instead of marijuana nugs — a result you probably don’t want. You will need to physically separate your male plants; in fact, you might want to throw them away, since they won’t produce a harvestable flower.
Harvest and Enjoy
Once your buds stop growing new hairs, it is time to harvest. All you have to do to collect your bounty is use scissors to trim off the flower matter, and hang the nugs upside down in a dark, cool, dry and well-ventilated space. This will help them dry and cure without generating mold. Once your harvest is appropriately dry, you can place them in an airtight container and use at your leisure.
If you have a green thumb, you could end up with several months’ supply of the good green stuff after just one harvest. Then again, it takes some growers several tries to get the vegetative and flowering stages right. As long as you are patient with yourself and your plants, you should enjoy the process of growing weed at home.