In this podcast, Mike Rodriguez at Premium Hemp Growers talks about his techniques to grow hemp in his greenhouses. He discusses the legal aspects of growing hemp and the state laws governing it. He also speaks about the various smoking habits of people and how people prefer smoking hemp flowers over cannabis. Mike even touches upon CBD's medicinal aspects and how growing hemp can prove to be very profitable.
Mike shares that you must get a permit to grow any type of cannabis plant. You should also keep in mind that it's not easy to grow on a large scale. The temperature and humidity need to be accurate. Mike says his greenhouse has around 30 windows that house almost 8,000-8,400 plants. These windows help in the optimal growth of the plants, mainly during the harvesting period.
Mike discusses how ingesting cannabis involves processing the cannabinoids through your liver, this usually takes about 30 minutes or even longer for the effects of the medicine to kick in. But when smoked, the lungs usually help absorb the cannabinoids instantaneously into the bloodstream, giving immediate results. This is the main reason why most people prefer smoking rather than consuming it. The same thing goes for CBD and CBG. Smoking the flower even has some benefits without many issues. However, currently selling the smokable flower is not allowed despite having a THC level well under state regulations.
The reason for this massive gap in the market is that the state does not allow for a broad spectrum plant to be vaporized. In addition, the state has already established that there is no reason to use a flame to smoke the flower because there are no medical benefits associated with flames. The state feels that a good alternative is CBG, which is good for pain, it’s an anti-inflammatory, and has been known to help with depression.
Mike says he sees the medicinal value of CBD & CBG and the potential of how the flower product can be grown and harvested at scale for its immense medical benefit. He says the process of growing hemp or cannabis in greenhouses, the way he does, is a cumbersome process. Each plant must be looked after and cared for meticulously, but in the end it’s worth it.
Mike knows some people prefer rolling one or two joints of cannabis after struggling through a tough day. However, others (such as people who are going to work or running errands) want the medicinal benefits without the psychoactive effects. This latter group often questions the reason for smoking hemp flowers when they receive no recreational value from it.
Mike continues by saying THC levels in CBD must remain consistently lower than that of flower, so as to not ruin the crop. On the flip side, the flower market is always wanting the highest concentration of THC as possible, which allows Utah growers free reign to push the limits of how much their plants can contain.
Mike shares that a “Cannabis University” of sorts does exist. Oaksterdam University has in-person and online learning where people can learn the art of growing hemp. There are also various grow schools in the country where people can quickly learn to grow hemp.
Mike says, before the USDA hemp bills were passed a year and a half ago or so, it was not a field that one could easily get involved with. The hemp bills opened the door for people who didn’t know how to grow cannabis, but were passionate about hemp, CBD, or CBG to more easily obtain a license to grow and take advantage of a wide range of equipment being sold for an easy setup.
Mike says there are obvious downsides of growing cannabis on large scales; for instance, if you do not pay enough attention, your entire crop could get infected by spider mites, caterpillars, aphids; eating up to as much as two-thirds of your crop. Spider mites or caterpillars are particularly common problems. Also, if the irrigation wasn't done just right, the yield stands to be ruined completely. One needs to keep at mind that problems which may be more than manageable at a smaller scale, are greatly multiplied as your scale increases.
According to Mike, it is quite challenging to trace caterpillars on vast lands. You will not even notice them as you walk through the same field daily, and before you know it they would have finished off more than half of your produce. The best way to mitigate them is to check your leaves regularly. If you find bite marks, it means that caterpillars are likely feeding on your harvest.
Mike says there is a great opportunity to profit from growing hemp in a legal way (depending on what the state allows you to grow and sell). He also adds that in his experience anyone who may choose to go the other way by growing illegally, thinking that may be able to make more profits down the path, are being terribly short-sighted and the costs of doing so will always be lower than the benefits received. He absolutely recommends growing legally and sees huge potential in doing so. Mike recognizes the clear monetary value of growing and selling legally.
“Discover Marijuana” is an educational series in collaboration with Zion Medicinal. The series will be released on November 21st, 2020 on YouTube (out now!). The videos from the series will be focused on the “science meets the medicine” aspect of the marijuana plant and will be educational in nature, with Tim Pickett and Blake Smith (Chief Science Officer, Zion Medicinal). The series will look to cover some of the more frequently asked questions around the plant and its medicinal aspects.
Tim can be reached here at utahmarijuana.org where we just launched a new chat feature and they have people standing by during the day to answer any questions.
Chris can be found on his I am Salt Lake podcast website where you can hear about local foodie people and the impact of COVID on local eateries.