NPK: The Essential Nutrients of Cannabis

How do I use NPK to grow the Best Cannabis?

If you are planning on growing cannabis, there is a lot of information to absorb. One of the most basic and important elements of growing great cannabis is making sure it has the right nutrients. Like any plant, cannabis has a special diet  made up of three main elements. Instead of eating fats, protein and calories like humans, plants need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium or NPK for short.
The three main nutrients are known as macro-nutrients and basically all plants need them to survive. From giant redwood trees to Venus Fly Traps, Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the building blocks of a healthy plant. Yet not all plants require the same amount of each element so care is needed to provide the right mix of nutrients.

So how do I get the right mix of nutrients?

The easiest way to adjust the nutrient balance of soil is to add fertilizer. Modern cultivators have a wide range of products available to choose from. Most garden supply stores have a dizzying array of fertilizers in a myriad of forms. Liquid, solid, powder, organic, the list of methods for delivering nutrients to plants goes on. Each method or delivery system is keyed to different growing techniques but there is some basic info on every one of the bottles on the shelf.
All fertilizer has three numbers on it referred to as the NPK levels. The three numbers on fertilizer represents the value of the three macro-nutrients used by plants. These macro-nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) or NPK for short.
Why do they call it NPK?
People have been growing plants for a LONG time. Some of the most important cultivators we have records of are the Greeks. Not because they were inherently special, but they helped propel language into a new era through conquest and trade so people often refer to them as founders of “Western Societies”. Greek also provided the root for the development of Latin. The Greek impact on cannabis cultivation permeates deeper than many understand.
Take the names of the nutrients; Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. Nitrogen is a French word coined in 1790  by Antoine Chaptal from Greek nitron “sodium carbonate” and French gène “producing,” which is itself a derivative from Greek -gen “giving birth to”.
Phosphorus comes from Greek φῶς and -φόρος (phos and phoros), which means “light bearer”. They called it that because white phosphorus emits a faint glow upon exposure to oxygen. Phosphorus was also the ancient name for Venus, or Hesperus, the (Morning Star) which has a faint glow. Then we get to Potassium which is often referred to as potash.
The English “potash” means “pot ash” as potassium is a compound prepared from an alkali extracted in a pot from the ash of burnt wood or tree leaves. Potash is a literal translation of the German potaschen, which means “pot ashes”. The symbol K is from the Latin name kalium, which means “calcined” or powdered ashes.

So how do I read the NPK values?

All modern fertilizer has the NPK values on the packaging. These values scale with potency. The higher the number, the more concentrated the nutrient is in the fertilizer. For example, fertilizer listed as 20-5-5 has four times more nitrogen in it than phosphorus and potassium. A 20-20-20 fertilizer has double the concentration of all three nutrients than one with 10-10-10.
Plants need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to grow. Without enough of any one of these nutrients, a plant will have issues and may even die. But they need each for different reasons. Nitrogen (N) is largely responsible for the growth of leaves and foliage on the plant. Phosphorus (P) is largely responsible for root growth and flower or fruit development. Potassium (K) helps the overall functions of the plant like stem development and water absorption perform correctly.

How do I know how much to use?

For cultivators working with prepared soil like Dakine 420 or Fox Farms, the level of nutrients in the soil is labeled. For cultivators working with native soil, getting a soil test is a great way to measure its health and fertility. These tests are generally inexpensive, but vital when it comes to growing and maintaining healthy plants in the garden.
Soil tests are used to determine the current fertility and health of your soil. Once a cultivator has this information, they can find the right formulation to bolster what is already there. Soil tests also show the pH in addition to macro-nutrient levels.
By measuring both the pH level and pinpointing nutrient deficiencies, a soil test can provide the information necessary for maintaining optimal fertility. Most plants, including grasses, flowers, and vegetables, perform best in slightly acidic soil (6.0 to 6.5). Others, like azaleas, gardenias and blueberries, require a somewhat higher acidity in order to thrive.

Why do most nutrients have a Veg and Bloom portion?

Not all plants require the same nutrients throughout their lives either. Marijuana requires a higher nitrogen ratio during the vegetative and early flowering stages  as it is the main component for plant growth. During flowering the plant prefers a lower nitrogen and higher phosphorous NPK fertilizer ratio because phosphorus is important for flower and resin development. Adjusting the micro-nutrient levels can also change the absorption rates of macro-nutrients.
The NPK fertilizer ratio does not show the micro-nutrients. These are trace elements provided by most soils. They need to be added when using a hydroponic grow system. Having ‘hard water’ or water with calcium above 200 PPM makes adding more calcium counterproductive and can lead to nutrient lock-out. This is why several companies offer micro-nutrients for hard water.

So are all fertilizers with the same NPK interchangeable?

Even given the exact same NPK ratio, not all formulations are the same. The NPK elements of any fertilizer are bound up in molecular compounds with differing degrees of bio-availability. Companies may offer their nutrients as inorganic salts, oxides, or even as colloidal minerals. Depending on the individual system (soil, hydroponic, aeroponic) one method may be preferable over another.
Be sure not to mix nutrient lines from different manufacturers without knowing how their micro-nutrients interact. This is a difficult process for most without a chemistry degree so it is advised to see if other cultivators have experimented with identical mixtures. If their results are  and mimic their process. Remember that order of operations is important and to follow their process exactly.

What should the NPK levels be?

Even more important than the actual numbers on the package is the ratio of each of the primary nutrients to each other. One cultivator can grow using nutrients with a rating of 15-30-15 and another can get identical results using 5-10-5 because the proportion of each nutrient is the same. During vegetative-growth, phosphorus levels should remain at about 1/2 of nitrogen levels. Potassium should be close to 1/2-2/3 that of nitrogen.
During flowering, phosphorus takes the lead. Keeping nitrogen at 1/2 and potassium at 1/2-2/3 the strength of phosphorus is a common benchmark. It is important to note that potassium is consistently maintained throughout both stages at 1/2-2/3 the level of the main nutrient. Staying close to this ratio will prevent a nutrient lock-out.
A nutrient lock-out is when nutrients combine to form compounds that your plant can’t use. Many liquid and powder nutrients need to be added in a specific order to prevent them mixing with other compounds and forming unusable compounds. Make sure to read the instructions on any nutrients used to prevent wasting product or damaging plants.
Thanks for reading.

With A Heavy Heart We Remember Jack Splitt Son Friend And Advocate

With a Heavy Heart We Remember Jack Splitt- Son, Friend and Advocate

There have been many individuals who have left their mark on the cannabis culture, but none were quite like Jack Splitt. Jack Splitt was the inspiration behind “Jack’s Law.” Jack’s Law requires schools in the state of CO to allow parents to administer cannabis-based medicine to their children on school grounds. Jack suffered from cerebral palsy and experienced very severe pain due to this illness. He utilized a cannabis-based medical patch which delivered medicine throughout the day and was very successful at relieving his ailments. When a school employee removed this patch from his arm back in 2015, Jack’s Law was introduced to make changes. After changing the minds of many legislators, Jack’s Law was signed by Governor John Hickenlooper this June. Aside from Jack’s Law, Jack was an inspiration of many initiatives in the state aimed at the rights of pediatric medical marijuana patients. He was also the inspiration behind CannAbility Foundation. This foundation helps to provide resources to the families of sick children who utilize whole plant cannabis for treatment.
It is with a heavy heart today, that we report Jack lost his battle to cerebral palsy and passed away at home with his family on Wednesday, August 24th at just 15 years old. His passing comes one week after he started classes at Wheat Ridge High School. Jack has been described by many as a very vibrant, happy and even flirtatious young man, despite the suffering he went through for so many years.
In Jack’s 15 years of life he brought hope and a smile into thousands of people lives. Everyone who knew Jack and had the pleasure of meeting him has had one common thing to say in their remembrance of Jack, and that is that he had a smile that would change your day. Through his and his family’s advocacy, they have changed the future for thousands of children that rely on cannabis for relief. Jack will forever live on in the hearts of his loved ones as well as thousands of people from around the world that have followed his story.
In the wake of Jack’s sudden passing, his family has set up a Go Fund Me account to help raise the funds needed for his burial services.  If you would like to help this family during their time of tragedy, please consider giving to this fund. If you have a memory of Jack, we would love for you to share it with us in the comments below and help his legacy be remembered throughout the community and culture.  Our deepest condolences to everyone touched by his passing.

Introducing the ACMPR Canada New Cannabis Regulations

Introducing the ACMPR – Canada's New Cannabis Regulations

The ACMPR officially goes into effect today in Canada which makes changes to the old MMPR. What does this mean for the citizens of Canada? Canadian citizens with a medical card now have access to growing their own cannabis. Per every gram prescribed to be used by a medical card holder each day, they are allowed to grow up to five indoor plants or two outdoor plants. This means if the doctor recommended the patient 3 grams per day, they could cultivate 15 plants indoors or 6 outdoors. Plants are not allowed to be grown near child care facilities, schools, playgrounds, or public areas that are frequented by children. It is recommended that all grows be locked and secured as well. Cannabis products that are being cured are to be locked in child-proof containers according to recommendations from Health Canada.

Patients are also able to take on another unique aspect and choose a designated cannabis grower to cultivate their medication. This law is making many people happy because on average, 5 indoor growing hydroponic plants can produce over 50 ounces of herb. This gives medical marijuana patients in Canada a new outlook on growing medicine. They’re also able to augment their supply of cannabis by supplementing orders from online dispensaries throughout Canada such as Weedism or Bud Xpress.

One of the conditions, in order to become a designated grower for someone, is to not have any felony drug convictions on your record in the past 10 years. The list of qualifying conditions to receive cannabis patient status in Canada ranges from PTSD and nausea to vomiting and cancer-related pain.

One of the major problems facing Canadians who are looking to utilize cannabis as an alternative treatment to dangerous and deadly pharmaceutical prescription drugs, is a shortage of medicinal supplies from state licensed vendors. There are said to be 34 licensed cannabis dispensaries across Canada. According to the ACMPR, all starting product must be purchased from one of these licensed facilities in the form of seeds or clones. The problem many patients face is simply running out of medicine which could be detrimental to their regimen.

Patients who suffer from cancer, leukemia, epilepsy, and other dangerous life-threatening illnesses cannot afford to go days or weeks without their medicine. Cannabis truly does work. It’s not like being without pharmaceuticals from the doctor for a week. Medical marijuana patients in Canada are having to turn to the dispensaries, which the government says are operating illegally, in order to receive the medications they so desperately need. The problem is Canada already has countless marijuana dispensaries that are set up and serving the people successfully.

The people have even spoken and it’s very clear that they want dispensaries. The Canadian government, however, has a different plan that includes strict regulations and iPad-like stores. This also brings up the issue of cost eEffectiveness. The low-income population of Canadians across the country falls short of being able to afford access to medical cannabis. This is a group that is making sure this problem gets the necessary attention that it needs to become solved.

Many patients that are working with licensed government facilities have run into the issue of them not having a consistent supply. This has not been an issue with dispensaries. In fact, many times if a patient cannot find their medicine through a licensed entity, they will find it at a dispensary. It is also not uncommon for dispensaries to provide free medical cannabis to patients who can not afford it. This cannot be said about governments anywhere. The new ACMPR is definitely an improvement and a step in the right direction but Canada still has a long ways to go before they truly implement a program that will work well for the people.

Second Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opened This Week In FL

Second Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opened This Week in FL

The Sunshine State AKA Florida has experienced a considerable loss in their tourism dollars and is also seeing a decrease in the number of snowbirds that are flocking to the state. The loss of tourism and number of residents who live in the Sunshine State during the winter months is in large part contributed to cannabis legalization in states such as Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. Many tourists are choosing to go to one of these states to spend their vacation time as well as their hard-earned dollars.

Elderly who retire to Florida are changing their tune and heading to rec pot states. They are finding that cannabis is cheaper than their prescription drugs and offers them a healthier lifestyle. Florida has faced issues with trying to legalize cannabis for many years now. With corrupt politicians and special private interest groups controlling the outcome along the way, there has been one blockade after another when it comes to having safe legal access to medical cannabis in the state of Florida. Luckily there is somewhat of a system in place, but it is only benefiting a small handful of individuals.

In April of 2016, Governor Scott signed HB 307 allowing entities to be implemented that are licensed to dispense medical cannabis to patients who qualify based on terminal status. In July of 2016, the doors to the first dispensary opened in Tallahassee and has been providing medicinal marijuana to qualifying patients since. Trulieve which is a part of George Hackney, Inc. was thrilled to be the first entity in the state to supply medicinal marijuana and were even more thrilled when they opened the doors to their second dispensary on Thursday.

The newest location can be found at 24761 US Highway 19N #630 in Clearwater, Florida. Trulieve offers both low THC and high THC cannabis products at their locations and they provide delivery services statewide to qualifying patients. Trulieve is expected to open more locations before the end of the year.

Now that Trulieve has opened its doors in Clearwater, qualifying patients in the area can finally start getting some relief by utilizing a safe all natural plant. Pharmaceutical drugs and prescription drugs alone account for more deaths than cocaine and heroin combined in the United States. Both intentional overdoses and accidental overdoses have been on the rise continually with no sign of relief in sight.
That was until cannabis became legal in the state of Colorado. Statistics have shown that overdose rates from prescription drugs have dropped by 25% or more since cannabis was made legal on a recreationally or retail basis. Other states are starting to see similar results and Florida could stand to use some of these results themselves. The Sunshine State also has considerable problems with heroin, cocaine, and pills.
Being that they are right on the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean it makes them a major port for drug trafficking. By allowing safe access to medical cannabis in the state of Florida many people could see a higher quality of life. We can only hope that this November, residents will be able to vote for a more comprehensive and helpful medical marijuana program that includes all the patients that could benefit from cannabis, not just those who are terminally ill.
image credit: wikimedia

Snoop Dogg and NFL

Snoop Dogg Isn't Playing Around When it Comes to the NFL

Snoop Dogg is one who is always known for speaking his mind when it’s needed most. There has been an ongoing debate over the last several years regarding whether or not NFL players should be able to utilize marijuana. Despite the NFL’s lack of policy change for players regarding cannabis, one of their recent decisions has Snoop blazingly pissed off. After hearing that the NFL made a decision to allow NFL players to own guns and even went as far as to add gun responsibility to their player conduct training, he went to Instagram to let the NFL know just what he thought about it. 
Anyone who has common knowledge regarding cannabis knows that NFL players could benefit substantially from being able to utilize marijuana for medicinal purposes. For some reason, the NFL thinks that players owning guns is more important than them being able to utilize a natural plant for medical applications. Snoop Dogg was also quick to point out that NFL players are already a little wired up and how cannabis can help ease their agitation.
In the past few years, there have been several NFL players including  Eugene Monroe and Ricky Williams that have come out of the cannabis closet and started to speak up for the players in the league regarding just how beneficial marijuana can be.
Eugene Monroe is reportedly the first active NFL player to have ever openly campaigned for legalizing the consumption of medical marijuana. Unfortunately after spending an off-season advocating for medical marijuana and spreading knowledge about how NFL players could benefit from cannabis, he was released from his position as an offensive tackle with The Ravens. Despite being released from the team, Eugene has no plans of stopping and has vowed to continue advocating until the league accepts “medical cannabis as a viable option for pain management.”
Leonard Marshall is former NFL player that is also speaking up about the benefits that players both in the league and retired can gain from cannabis. Being a former linesman for the NY Giants, Leonard knows firsthand the injuries that can come along with being a part of the league. Unfortunately, he also knows about just how quick an injury can turn into an addiction to opiates. This is why the former linesman is now advocating for the NFL to remove cannabis from their list of banned substances. He is also urging the league to invest money into research surrounding how cannabis can help combat traumatic brain injuries which are suffered by many players throughout the NFL.
If you would like to check out the original NSFW video posted on Instagram by Snoop, you can find it here.


Talk to the Hand DEA- Quit Lying for Personal Gain

Talk to the hand has been a phrase used by kids, teenagers, and adults alike for years, however, more recently cannabis activists have been utilizing the phrase to educate the public about the documented proof that cannabis is medicine!

If you are part of the cannabis community or have friends in your social media circle that are cannacentric, chances are you have seen a different posts and profile pictures popping up that include a picture of someone’s hand with a patent number written upon it.

You see just recently the DEA announced that they would not be rescheduling cannabis or removing it from a categorization that puts it in the same danger level as heroin, cocaine, and other deadly drugs.

This has outraged cannabis activists and medical marijuana patients alike as our federal government holds not just one patent stating that cannabis has medicinal properties but several.

One of the excuses the DEA gave for not rescheduling cannabis was the fact that it has no medicinal properties.

If you take a simple look at these patents you can see for yourself that this is an outright lie as they have known that cannabis has medicinal values for several years now.

In fact, the federal government has been sending medical marijuana to 4 patients for decades to be used for medicinal purposes. If you are sick and tired of the government lying and deceiving people for their own monetary gain, I challenge you to tell them to talk to the hand. Learn more about these patents via the links below.



Other patents are listed in more detail here.


5 Medical Marijuana Nurseries Approved in Florida

Florida has just approved five new medical marijuana nurseries.
The Florida Department of Health just released the names of five nurseries authorized to grow cannabis for use in cannabis-based medicines. The announcement is a big step forward for the medical cannabis program, which was approved by lawmakers last year.
Under the new law, those with cancer, epilepsy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) who receive a recommendation from a physician are authorized to purchase, possess and consume low-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), high-CBD (cannabidiol) cannabis medicines, such as pills, oils and tinctures.
The approved medical marijuana nurseries are Chestnut Tree Farm in Alachua, Costa Farms of Goulds, Hackney Nursery in Greensboro,  Knox Nursery in Winter Garden and Alpha Foliage in Homestead. Each will cover a particular region of the state and supply medicine to cannabis dispensaries that are expected to open sometime next year.
As this new law moves forward, activists are attempting to once again put a much broader medical cannabis legalization initiative to a vote of the people. United for Care, whose 2014 medical cannabis initiative failed at the ballot despite garnering 58% of the vote (it needed 60% to pass given it was a constitutional amendment), has already collected over half a million signatures (with a goal of a million) in an effort to put a similar — though slightly reworded — initiative on next year’s general election ballot.
According to polling released last month, 87% of voters in Florida support legalizing medical cannabis.

pot saved my life wr

Pot Saved My Life

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, which is defined by three criteria:
1.    A substance with high potential for abuse.
2.    A substance with no accepted medical value.
3.    A substance unsafe to use – even under medical supervision.
But the public perception of marijuana has shifted drastically over the years. In a 1969 Gallup opinion poll, only 12 percent of Americans were in favor of legalizing cannabis. Today, that number is closer to 58 percent, while a whopping 80 percent support it’s medicinal use.
For the first time since cannabis prohibition began, a clear majority of people believe in legalization. But for most of us, it’s just an opinion. We may feel strongly about it, or we may not.
Let me introduce you to some folks who do feel strongly about it. Very strongly, indeed.
Joy Williams is a 50 year old woman from Gladstone, MI who believes she owes her life to marijuana. A few years ago she weighed more than 400 pounds, and she was taking 42 prescription pills per day to manage her pain, anxiety and COPD. The drugs were slowly killing her – her liver and kidneys were failing, and her energy was non-existent. She spent nearly all day lying in bed.
In October of 2012, she replaced her prescriptions with medical marijuana, as part of an complete lifestyle overhaul (she also switched to a vegan diet). Since then she has lost 270 pounds. Her liver and kidneys are functioning normally. She is cured of COPD.
Most importantly, she is able to play with  her grand daughter, and enjoy her life and her time with her family.
And then there’s Jim Gilliam. In March of 2009, Jim published an open letter to President Obama on the Huffington Post, entitled “Pot Saved My Life, Mr. President.” Written in response to the President’s comments about marijuana policy, the letter describes Gilliam’s battle with cancer and radiation treatments, which left his lungs so scarred that he had to undergo a double lung transplant.
In the process, he nearly wasted away. His doctor diagnosed his weight loss as life-threatening, and wrote him a prescription for Marinol (a synthetic form of THC). Marinol enabled Jim to put on weight and get out of the danger zone. He concludes his letter by saying:

“Pot saved my life. It’s a miracle drug, even the crappy, non-organic kind made in a lab.”

Greg Scott of Ft. Lauderdale, FL was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987, at a time when there was nothing that doctors could do for him. He turned to marijuana to manage his symptoms and strengthen his appetite, and credits cannabis with keeping him alive long enough to benefit from more modern medical treatments. As he testified before a Florida commission:

“Because I smoked pot, I lived.”

If you live in or near Los Angeles, CA then you have probably heard the story of Bill Rosendahl, the city councilman who was the first elected official to openly use pot while in office. Bill first used medical cannabis to help relieve the stinging pain of neuropathy in his feet. He continued to use it when late stage cancer began affecting the nerves in his back, causing debilitating pain. But with the help of marijuana, Rosendahl is sleeping through the night, sitting and walking without pain, and feeling more like his old self again.
Oh, yeah – and his cancer has gone into remission. He gives credit to cannabis, saying in an interview with Huff Post Live:

“Medical marijuana saved my life.”

Mr. Rosendahl isn’t the only one who has found pot to be an effective anti-cancer agent. There’s also Mike Cutler of the UK, a 63 year old grandfather who was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2009. He received a transplant, only to find out that cancer had attacked his new liver, too. Doctors told him there was nothing else they could do. He turned to cannabis oil, and his symptoms disappeared. In May of this year, doctors told him the cancer cells had also disappeared.
Rick Simpson was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2003. He applied cannabis oil bandages to his skin spots and they cleared up in just days. He was so convinced by his own experience that he became something of a crusader, doing everything he can to spread the word about hemp oil and make it available to those in need – even to the point of facing criminal charges.
Dennis Hill is a biochemist who used cannabis butter and hemp oil to successfully treat malignant tumors. Dusty Frank used it to cure his prostate cancer. VICE magazine did a story about “Brave Mykayla” Comstock whose parents are treating her leukemia with cannabis oil. Dr. William Courtney told Huff Post Live about  an 8 month old infant whose inoperable brain tumor was drastically reduced by hemp oil – administered via pacifier.
I may not know the name of the baby Dr. Courtney is referring to, I do know the name Jayden David. 8 year old Jayden has a very rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, which is unresponsive to all forms of “conventional” treatment. But two years ago he found relief from his debilitating seizures through CBD-rich hemp oil, and is now living a normal and active life.
Jayden’s case is very similar to that of Charlotte Figi, who suffers from the same condition. Her case was in the national spotlight last year, after being referenced by Dr. Sanjay Gupta in his public statement coming out in favor of medical marijuana. Cannabis oil has also helped kids with autism and muscular dystrophy, like Joey Hester-Perez, and also Smith-Magenis Syndrome, like Colin Ulrick.
These are lives saved by pot. These are children who are alive and healthy because of cannabis, and it’s incredible medicinal properties – which we are only beginning to explore and understand. These are men and women of all ages, who have been healed and found new hope, new strength and new life through marijuana.
Everyone has an opinion about marijuana, and most of us are in favor. But for these people and their families, it’s not just an opinion. It’s a conviction. Cannabis is not a Schedule 1 drug – it’s a medicine.
Pot saves lives. It saved their lives. And it can save thousands more, if we just give it a chance.