Cannabis is touted among many as nature’s “cure-all”, and for good reason. It offers numerous physical and mental health benefits, such as:
- Pain management for several chronic conditions, such as arthritis, migraines, fibromyalgia, and endometriosis.
- Reduced inflammation, which can be beneficial for managing conditions like Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Mental and neurological disorders, like anxiety, depression, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Sleep disorder management for conditions like insomnia, restless leg syndrome (RLS), and circadian disorders.
- Cancer management, as it can ease pain, as well as nausea, vomiting, and other issues that may be caused by cancer treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- Assists in managing and overcoming alcohol, opioid and other substance addictions.
These are just some of the ailments that cannabis has been found to be beneficial for; not to mention the fact that it just makes you feel good. Technically, at least in regards to the above mentioned therapeutic applications, marijuana can be classified as a natural medicine, as it is a plant, and plants come from nature.
However, it’s important to note that there’s a problem with a lot of the weed that the vast majority of people use: it’s exposed to many different types of chemicals. That’s right, chemical concoctions are added to the soil, and are used as fertilizers and pesticides, and while these chemicals may help to promote faster and bigger bud growth, and can successfully ward off pests, there’s one major problem: they can alter the structure and the health of the plant.
Whether you smoke it or use it to make edibles, it’s a no-brainer that using cannabis that’s been treated with chemicals isn’t exactly natural, nor is it good for you. In fact, it can be downright detrimental to your health. Sure, it’ll get you high and it might provide some of the benefits that marijuana is said to offer, but if you really want to experience marijuana’s amazingness, you’re going to want to avoid chemically-laced weed. But how can you do that? Simple! By going organic.
What is organic marijuana? Why is it better than chemically treated weed? What benefits does it provide? How do you go about getting your hands on it? Read on to find the answers to these questions and more and to learn why you should only fill your bowl (bubbler, one-hitter, papers, brownies, cookies, etc.) with organic cannabis.
Looking for resources to get started? Below are some of the most highly reviewed books written by big trusted growers:
What Is Organic Weed?
In order to understand the benefits of organic marijuana, it’s important to understand the origins of growing weed organically. It all started with Jeff Lowenfels, a graduate of Harvard (one of the most prestigious universities in the world), a lawyer, and a gardener who is credited with starting a new age of marijuana cultivation, which undeniably set the tone for the organic weed movement in the United States.
In addition to practicing law, Lowenfels is also an Alaskan gardener. He started a unique but very sound gardening movement, which really shook up the methods that were traditionally used to grow weed in the US. In fact, Lowenfels approach was so effective and made so much sense that his methods got other home marijuana gardeners to start questioning the methods that they were using, and thus, a movement that has been dubbed the “No Rake Movement” was born.
The premise of this gardening movement is simple, but makes total sense. The idea is for farmers to avoid interfering with the soil the plans are growing in, and instead, just let them take their natural course.
In other words, plant the seeds in natural, healthy soil, and other than providing water and sunlight, just letting nature do what it does best. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides should absolutely not be used; the earth should be allowed to create plants naturally without human interactions forcing unnatural growth.
The advice that Lowenfels offered made sense, and it offered the proof to match his claims that organic farming really is the best way to yield the healthiest plants. Gardeners and homeowners who followed his lead found that their lawns were much greener, fuller, and more lush when they stopped interjecting and just let the grass grow the way that nature intended.
Instead of gathering the clippings after they mowed their lawns and raking up the leaves, homeowners left them be and allowed them to decay. The decayed grass clippings and leaves fertilized the grass, and the result was extremely green, thick, and health grass; much healthier, cleaner, and fertile than homeowners experienced when they applied fertilizers and pesticides.
In the fall, when the leaves fall onto the ground, they’re left alone, turn into mulch, and nature follows its natural course. The process that nature uses is referred to as the “soil food web”, and when human interjections are avoided, the process is referred to as “organic”. Who would’ve thunk it?
What is a Soil Web?
What is a soil web, you ask? It’s pretty simple. A whole community of organisms lives on top of or directly within the soil. It’s a living and very complex system, and interacts with the plants that grow in the soil, as well as animals, and the environment that surrounds it. The soil web is comprised of five individual levels that rely on one another. These levels include:
- The first trophic level, which is comprised of photosynthesizers
- The second trophic level, which includes decomposers, mutualists, pathogens, parasites, and root-feeders
- The third trophic level, which features shredders, predators, and grazers
- The fourth trophic level, where higher level predators can be found
- The fifth and higher trophic levels, which again, features higher level predators
When Alaskan gardeners saw that their lawns were greener and more lush than they had ever been before, despite the fact that they had not interjected with the application of any fertilizers or pesticides, word spread, and before long, there was a huge organic movement. Growing organically just makes sense; since there aren’t any chemicals involved, it doesn’t harm the environment, and it yields much better and much healthier results.
The Move Toward Organic Cannabis
Fast forward, and the premise of taking a natural approach to farming – relying on the soil food web – moved from lawns to produce, and the results were the same: healthier crops that were better for the environment. The organic food movement pushed forward and really became a trend. In fact, growing and shopping organic became “en vogue”. Eventually, the public started to seek out organic products, not only for their food, but for pretty much everything that they consumed, including cannabis.
In the US, the organic cannabis trend really took off in states where organic food was extremely popular and where medicinal and recreational marijuana use was legalized, such as California and Colorado. As more and more states are legalizing cannabis use, not just for medicinal purposes, but for recreation, as well, it’s expected that there will be more stipulations regarding cannabis cultivation methods, including organic growing, In fact, organic marijuana cultivation is already starting to become a trend nationwide.
And that’s how the push toward organic cannabis began.
Why is Non-Organic Cannabis Bad?
Whether you’ve been using marijuana for a while or you just recently started, chances are that any of the weed that you have consumed has been non-organic. In other words, synthetic nutrients and pesticides were applied to the plants while they were grown. You might be thinking to yourself, “I’ve been just fine using the weed I’ve been using thus far, so what’s the big deal?”
In a word, non-organic cannabis is inferior. But to explain it further, here’s a look at some of the most notable cons that are associated with non-organic weed.
What & How Many Chemicals Are In Weed?
When you’re smoking or munching on your favorite strain of indica, sativa, or whatever other type of cannabis you prefer, it probably isn’t readily apparent, but while you’re indulging in the bud, you’re unfortunately also getting a dose of chemicals and toxins.
Specialized synthetic plant foods and pesticides are laden with chemicals that can be toxic to your health, and as you can probably guess, humans aren’t supposed to ingest toxic chemicals. Piperonyl butoxide (PBO) is an example of one toxin. It’s a synergist chemical, ant it’s often added to pesticides in an attempt to improve their effectiveness.
Bifenthrin, a synthetic pyrethroid, is another example of a toxin that is often added to the soil before the seeds are planted to keep spider mites at bay. While the plants may not have been in the soil at the time that bifenthrin is added, the chemical can contaminate the plants, as it can work its way into the seeds and the marijuana as the plants grow.
As you can imagine, smoking toxic chemical compounds isn’t exactly good for your health. When you inhale weed that has been treated with chemicals, those toxins directly enter the bloodstream without having been metabolized by the digestive and hepatic systems.
As such, chemicals that are inhaled are usually present at significantly higher levels throughout the body. Plus, just think about it for a second: Do you really think that breathing in a chemical that is designed to kill pests? We venture to guess that your answer is a resounding, “No!”
Dangerously High Levels of Metals and Salts
Non-organically grown plants, including marijuana, are chock-full of heavy metals and salts, two things that negatively impact the entire genetic makeup, and thus, the health, of the plant.
To illustrate, water soluble nitrogen is laden with nutrients, and as it the water leaves the soil that the plants are growing in, it takes those metals and salts with it out to the areas where it drains, such as rivers, ponds, lakes, and oceans.
In other words, the harmful toxins that the herbicides and pesticides contain are carried out into the environment. The environment will be polluted, and in turn, plants, animals, and humans at large will be negatively impacted.
Clearly, chemically grown cannabis isn’t a good thing. Not only is it bad for your health, but it’s bad for the environment at large, too. With the increased understanding of the adverse effects that are associated with weed that’s grown using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and the increased understanding of the benefits that organic farming provides, it’s easy to see why there’s been such an increased interest in organic cannabis cultivation in recent years.
What Are The Benefits of Organic Marijuana?
If you buy organic produces, there’s no doubt that you’ve noticed that you do have to pay a premium to for fruits and veggies that are grown without chemicals. The same can be said for weed, and as such, you’re probably wondering if paying more for organic cannabis is worth the investment. In our opinion, yes, the higher price is absolutely worth it.
Here’s a look at some of the key benefits that organically grown marijuana provides.
Organically Grown Cannabis is Generally Safer
As explained above, when plants are grown with chemical-based pesticides and fertilizers, they can contain high levels of toxins, and as such, when you consume those plants, you are ingesting the toxins that they contain. The same is true when you consume chemically treated cannabis.
Because weed has become legal in several states throughout the US, the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers in cannabis cultivation has become quite common. While the goal of using these chemicals is grow the crops faster, to yield larger plants, and to prevent the crops from being infested by pests, here’s a major downside: your health and safety.
Unfortunately, a lot of cannabis growers are applying knowingly dangerous pesticides to their crops as a way to increase their profits. Just like fruit and veggie farmers, cannabis farmers often forego quality and safety for the sake of making more money. As they say, money is the root of all evil…
By inhaling or ingesting inorganic cannabis, you’re inhaling or ingesting a lot more than the THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids and tannins that the plant contains; you are also taking in the chemicals and neurotoxins that the plants have been treated with.
Exposure to those toxic chemicals can have serious implications on your health. Thus, when you inhale or ingest cannabis that hasn’t been treated with chemicals, you won’t be subject to those toxic elements, and instead, you’ll only be inhaling and ingesting the naturally occurring compounds that the plant is so highly regarded for: THC, CBD, and tons of other cannabinoids and tannins.
There are plenty of organic nutrient companies (like BioBizz who have been producing organic nutrients since 1992) out there that produce high quality potent fertilizer solutions that are still entirely organic, so you can juice up your plants a bit if you need without worrying about adding dangerous chemicals to your cannabis plants.
Organically Grown Bud is Better for the Environment.
As we mentioned, inorganic farming is bad for the environment. When chemical fertilizers are added to the soil and when chemical pesticides are sprayed on the plants to keep pests at bay, the salts, metals, and other toxic compounds that they contain travel into the ground and the groundwater.
As such, not only are the plants that have been treated impacted, but so is the surrounding soil, and thus, the plants that grow in that soil. Additionally, animals and humans are negatively impacted by those toxic chemicals, too.
By growing cannabis in soil that contains organic nutrients and that is treated with natural pesticides and herbicides, not only will you not be damaging your marijuana plants, but you also won’t have to worry about damaging the environment at large.
As the food soil web explained above describes, growing organic marijuana involves the use of natural composts. As such, you aren’t interjecting with nature, and you aren’t adding anything into the soil, lakes, rivers, streams, lakes, oceans, and groundwater, either.
As a result, you’ll significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, organically grown cannabis is much more sustainable, and it also establishes a natural ecological balance, as it naturally promotes more fertile soil. It also helps to minimize pest infestations, as nature will account for these pests and adapt to keep them at bay without the use of chemical methods of eradication.
Organic Weed Can Have Better Terp Profiles & Flavor
Just like your mama knows how to make better treats, so too, does Mother Nature. Organic weed tastes a whole lot better and is way more potent than weed that has been treated with chemicals. Give it a try! We guarantee that as soon as you take a whiff of an organic bud and take a hit off a bowl that’s packed with organic bud, you’ll instantly notice the difference. We also guarantee that you’ll notice a significant difference in the effects you’ll feel.
The reason for the better smell, taste, and increased potency? It’s simple, really. When any type of plant – including cannabis – is grown in cruddy soils, is fed with harmful toxins, and is treated with chemical pesticides, it’s pretty obvious that the taste and flavor is going to be impacted.
Which do you think will taste and smell better: A naturally grown strawberry or one that’s laden with chemicals? Use that same logic and apply it to weed. Which do you think will taste better: Buds that are naturally grown or buds that have been exposed to chemicals?
Why does naturally-grown taste better, smell better, and have more potency? Well, put simply, it’s because you really can’t mess with Mother Nature. You see, the earth has a way of knowing exactly what plants need to thrive. Just like any female, Mother Nature is complex, and if you mess with the strategies that she has developed and perfected for centuries, you can pretty much bet that your plants aren’t going to meet their full potential.
In other words, when plants are left to their own devices, their flavor, aroma, and potency are all naturally optimized. Organic weed generates the ideal amount of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids, terpenes, and terpenoids; the combinations of which provide marijuana with its enticing aroma, its delightful taste, and the perfect amount of potency that generates those feel-good effects.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, another major benefit of growing cannabis naturally is consistency. That’s right, the flavor, aroma, and potency is much more consistent when cannabis is grown organically. You’ll never have to worry about packing a bowl and wondering, “What types of chemical fertilizers did the grower apply to this batch? How will those chemicals make the hit taste? Will those chemicals make the effects I feel this time different from the effects I felt last time?” In short, you’ll always know what you’re going to get when you use organic cannabis.
Organically Grown Cannabis Can Result in Better Yields.
One of the biggest concerns among commercial cannabis growers is the potential for reduced yield when they start growing organically. However, in reality, that usually isn’t the case; in fact, if the conditions are ideal, you can actually achieve much higher yields when you grow organically versus growing with chemically treated soil and pesticides.
While it may have been true that at one time, it was difficult to achieve an optimum micro-environment, which did sometimes lead to lower yields than inorganic farming, that’s no longer the case. Numerous organic fertilizers have been discovered that have been proven to provide the ideal amount of additives and growing media have been determined in recent years, as well as the appropriate ways to use them.
In fact, one of the most notable innovations in organic farming in recent years has been “super-soil”, a growing medium that has been carefully tweaked and monitored over the years to determine the ideal amount of natural nutrients that cannabis needs in order to grow in abundance. In fact, super soil yields even more abundant yields than chemically fertilized soils.
Don’t forget too that things growers are in control of like air circulation, types of lighting, frequency of watering, and plant training methods are all things that can be manipulated without invalidating the organic nature of your cannabis crop.
In short, organic cannabis tastes and smells better, the effects are more reliable, and it’s a whole lot better for the environment – and for you!
How Is Organic Cannabis Grown?
Picture, if you will, a pristine greenhouse filled with rows of intoxicatingly aromatic and brilliant green cannabis plants, and then harvesting those plants, drying out the buds, and then treating yourself with perfectly rolled joint or freshly packed bowl of the tasty goodness. Are your interests piqued? Are you thinking about trying your hand at growing your own organic cannabis? Good for you! So, how, then, do you go about making that picture you envisioned a reality?
Here are some of the best guides available on how to get started and find success in cultivating cannabis in an organic fashion, written by some of the foremost experts on the subject:
Of course, the entire purpose of Herb CEO is to connect like minded cannabis enthusiasts, from consumers to business owners to growers and hobbyists. If you are a passionate organic cultivator or consumer and know of other good resources that may help other people get turned on to organic pot then please let us know in the comments below!
In addition to the above published guides we were also able to find quite a few organic cultivation tips on YouTube aa well, so if you’re tight on cash that may be a great free option to self-educate as well!
Herb CEO Summary
We’ve undoubtedly smoked a ton of non-organic weed because hey, we’re suckers for insane flowers that stand out at the dispensary with different shapes, smells, colors and textures. We’re suckers for cannabis-shiny-object syndrome. If there is a new trending exotic strain then we’ll be the first one in line for tickets to the hype train.
That said, we also usually try to buy organic when possible. Most high end dispensaries around the Portland area where we shop feature majority organic-grown flower from very reputable local growers.
However, after doing this deep dive into the potential dangers of inhaling flower that is still flush with synthetic nutrients, pesticides and the like, we’re seriously re-thinking our dispensary shopping strategy, with a new found appreciation for asking budtenders up front which options are organic, because, for both personal health, health of earth and the continued safety of this burgeoning industry, it just seems like the right thing to do.
Last update on 2021-06-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API