In most states with medical and/or recreational marijuana programs, patients are given the option of growing a certain number of plants at home. This is supposed to reduce the expense and inconvenience of traveling to dispensaries, especially for patients to need regular, high doses of cannabinoids to manage their conditions.
Growing weed at home can be fun and rewarding, but it can also be tough. Unlike most other household plants, cannabis is cultivated for a purpose: to get users high — or at least provide pain relief and relaxation. To achieve this goal, the plant needs to be cared for in a specific way, with certain amounts and types of sunlight, soil, food, water and air. To compound the difficulty, most states have rules controlling how plants can be grown, e.g. away from public view.
Before you jump head-first into growing marijuana at home, there are some fundamental dos and don’ts to understand, so you can have a fruitful crop your first time around:
Do: Check Your State Laws
As mentioned above, most states with laws that permit some amount of marijuana use also allow some amount of marijuana cultivation — but that doesn’t mean that all states have the same cultivation rules. For example, Vermont allows its citizens to grow their own cannabis plants at home, but for now, commercial sales of cannabis products are unavailable. In contrast, Maryland has a robust medical marijuana program and plenty of dispensaries, but home cultivation remains as illegal as ever. You absolutely should thoroughly research your state cannabis regulations, to include any recent addenda that might affect cultivation rules, to ensure you understand the letter of the law and will avoid any trouble that could result in fines or jailtime.
Don’t: Expect to Make Concentrates
Growing cannabis, harvesting flower and preparing those delectable nugs for smoking is one thing; making concentrates like budder, shatter and isolates is quite another. Most industrial concentrates used for vaping or dabbing require complex equipment as well as toxic and dangerous solvents that put your health and your home at risk. If you do want to make cannabis products besides the typical plant trimmings, you should stick to simple extracts and infusions, like canna-oils and tinctures. If you still want access to concentrated products, you should buy them at reputable dispensaries.
Do: Consider Using a Grow Kit
Cannabis isn’t particularly finicky, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore it and expect to reap high-cannabinoid results. Unfortunately, some information about home cultivation can seem to conflict with other information, which is confusing to first-time growers. This disagreement is often explained by differences in how certain strains grow, regional differences in growing techniques and personal grower preference — but because you are operating at the bare minimum of skill, you shouldn’t have to take in any of this info just yet. Instead, you should consider relying entirely on a cannabis grow kit, which will have everything you need (instructions included) to produce a healthy crop.
Don’t: Get Fancy for Your First Crop
You might have read or seen images of incredibly complex grow operations, with lines of bright purple grow lights or an intense hydroponics system in lieu of soil. While these advanced operations might be amazing to behold, they are the opposite of beginner friendly. Ideally, your first cannabis crop will grow in a simple pot of dirt next to a sunny window or on a bright patio. As you learn more about how cannabis grows and matures, you can begin to experiment with more complex systems, but for now, you should be focused on keeping your plant alive and thriving.
Do: Engage With the Growing Community
Just because you are a first-timer doesn’t mean you wouldn’t benefit from some mentorship. Cannabis cultivation communities across the web are filled with more experienced growers with knowledge you can lean on during times of stress. If your crop isn’t maturing as you expect, if it seems to be suffering from some disease or malady, or if you are considering a radical change to the plant’s care, you can turn to your community for support and guidance. Hobbies are always more rewarding when you can join a community of like-minded folks, and the hobby of growing cannabis at home is no different.
Cannabis cultivation can be rewarding and convenient, especially if you rely on cannabis for medical treatment. By starting from the beginning and learning as you go, you can become a master marijuana grower in no time.