Cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning it can be categorically divided into male and female plants. Male plants produce the pollen necessary for a female plant to produce seeds, while the female plant is the one to naturally produce more of the major cannabinoids, namely cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), which convert to CBD and THC, respectively. Cannabis also produces several other valuable compounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids, that potentially work synergistically with the cannabinoids to enhance desired and therapeutic effects.
While still highly debated, most countries only recognize one cannabis species, Cannabis sativa L., but some recognize up to three species — C. sativa, C. indica, and C. ruderalis — based on geographic origin, genetics, and morphology. The central difference between today’s indica and sativa plants is in their observable traits during the cultivation cycle.
Indica plants tend to grow short with thick stems and broad, deep-green leaves. They also have shorter flowering cycles, and grow sufficiently in cold, short-season climates. Sativa plants have longer flowering cycles, fare better in warm climates with long seasons, and usually grow taller with relatively light-green, and narrow leaves.
Knowing the morphological, or physical, form differences between indica and sativa plants is more useful to growers and cultivators than virtually anyone else in the cannabis space, despite the terms’ common use in the consumer marketplace.
Every part of the cannabis plant is usable. Historically, cannabis has been bred by humans for three distinct purposes:
- Fiber – harvesting cannabis stalks, typically from hemp varieties.
- Seeds – harvesting seeds from a female hemp plant for its rich oil and protein content.
- Drug-type cultivars – harvesting cultivated varieties for their psychoactive and therapeutic cannabinoids.
From seed to harvest, the cannabis plant’s growth cycle can last anywhere from 10 to 26 weeks. The cycle has three main stages: germination, vegetation, and flowering. Like most plants, cannabis requires light, air, nutrients, and a medium to house its roots. The amount and duration of light the plant is exposed to dictates which growth stage it will be in
Our Cannabis Growing Process
At Reap Right Farms we grow marijuana indoors which means a warehouse setting, which requires artificial lighting and use of air conditioning and dehumidification systems. The intention of an indoor setup is to mimic the elements of the outdoors that facilitate plant growth while maintaining full control over every environmental parameter. High upfront costs, including the building structure, equipment, water, electricity, and other utilities, is the major downside of growing marijuana indoors but a necessesity that we have adopted to ensure that only the best quality is obtained.
Once the cannabis plant is ready for harvest, its precious and delicate trichomes are in one of their most vulnerable states. Overexposure to oxygen, light, and/or heat may degrade cannabinoids and terpenes, or activate them prematurely. Trichomes become more fragile and therefore more susceptible to breaking off the plant if mishandled under extreme conditions. When harvesting cannabis plants, our growers implement methods of drying, trimming, and curing that reduce the amount of agitation the plant experiences in order to limit any damage to the trichome glands.
When our cannabis is ready to harvest, our growers cut the whole plant at the base or cut the plant into large branches. They hang the plant or cuttings upside down on a clothesline in an environment that is not overly dry or humid. At this point, our growers growers begin manicuring their plants by cutting off all remaining fan leaves and some of the sugar leaves. Plants should be left hanging upside down to dry until the stems slightly snap when bent.
Our growers avoid losing trichomes by not letting our branches hit any surfaces while hang-drying because contact with a surface can damage the trichomes and could cause them to break off the plant.
Once the initial drying is complete, it’s time to finish trimming and manicuring your bud. Cannabis is typically trimmed to remove the excess sugar leaves that, while consumable, have a smaller concentration of trichomes than the flower and can be harsh when smoked. Sugar leaves aren’t normally discarded, however, as they are excellent for making edibles or concentrates.
Curing can be considered the final drying stage, allowing bacteria on the surface of the buds to break down any residual chlorophyll and ensuring the colas are neither too moist nor too dry.
This is a gradual process, as bud that gets too dry will degrade more easily during transportation and packaging, lose potency, and become unnecessarily harsh to smoke. On the other hand, bud that is too wet may grow mold. Preserving fragrance and flavor is a key concern for our cannabis cultivators while curing. Overexposure to light, oxygen, and high temperatures can break down cannabinoids and terpenes, and ultimately reduce potency. Striking a delicate balance between dry and moist is the key indicator of a finely cured bud.
Our growers never rush through curing.
Glass jars are the ideal option for storing our cannabis for short-term. Ideally, cannabis jars should be opaque and airtight for ample preservation of cannabinoids and terpenes. For long-term storage, our growers vacuum seal their final product whenever possible.
Cannabis cultivation is a dedicated practice for our professional cultivators alike. To master growing marijuana takes a lot of patience mastered by our seasoned growers which ensures quality products from us.