How Does Your Garden Grow?

A Cornucopia of Books to Nurture a Green Thumb

by Mary Lou Smart

For anyone who enjoys or needs marijuana, history repeats itself every day of the week.

Thanks to a modern-day Prohibition on marijuana, our favorite cash crop is expensive. Even though it is widely distributed in a barely regulated market, demand is sky high. If you are obtaining it on the black market, you are paying a sky- high risk premium.

If you are buying it from a legal venue such as a wellness center or dispensary in one of America’s medical marijuana states, you are also prob- ably paying a sky-high price thanks to the unwillingness of the federal government to stop its budget-protecting War on Drugs. In the United States, dysfunction at the federal level in keeping a harmless medicine scheduled as a dangerous narcotic serves to keep even legal businesses operating in prohibitively-expensive legal grey areas. As anyone reading about the arbitrary decisions to shut down hundreds of dispensaries all over Los Angeles, California or throughout the state of

Montana, this is a risky and expensive business that enables law enforcement and military budgets to soar to higher levels every year while guaranteeing lucrative careers for lawyers and drug dealers.

As long as a modern-day Prohibition is kept alive, end users will pay top dollar for a weed. For those with any number of medical conditions that require a decent supply for regular dosing, growing at home is almost a necessity.

While the prospect of learning to grow can be daunt- ing for those already burdened with illness, there are scores of cannabis gardening books catering to novices. Because the advice given varies from book to book, the first-time grower should probably buy more than one and read each carefully before proceeding. The authors selected by Green Candy Press, which specializes in grow books, draw from extensive personal experience.

CANNABIS CULTIVATOR

Jeff Ditchfield is a versatile grower from the United Kingdom. He lives in Spain, where he enjoys 320 days of sun- shine a year, and boasts of getting 48 ounces of dry bud off of one plant. His book, Cannabis Cultivator, is a slim, easy-to-digest guide offering basic infor- mation for indoor and outdoor gardens.

Ditchfield is not a patient. He spent many years supplying cannabis to multi- ple sclerosis (MS) patients in the United Kingdom where he set up Bud Buddies. From 2002 until 2007, Bud Buddies, an illegal medical supply organization, operated with the goal of getting cannabis and cannabis preparations to over 600 seriously ill people. Before it was shut down, the organization deliv- ered compassionate care with its high- quality organic bud, cannabis oils, tinctures, oil for topical application, cannabis oil capsules.

Ditchfield has spoken about cannabis culti- vation and its medical application to many in the medical profession including pharmacy students at John Moores University in Liverpool and physicians at the Royal College of General Practitioners in London.

While working at Bud Buddies, he learned about MS. His patients often told him that Sativa varieties are good for treating neuro- pathic pain, whereas Indica varieties relieve muscle spasms. He offers their experience with this debilitating condition as a caution against putting too much faith in advertising for medical cannabis seeds and strains. While discussing his book, he explained that, “Medical cannabis lists on cannabis sites and forums should be taken with a huge dose of salt. Take MS, for example. Multiple  sclero- sis is a degenerative disease where the body’s own immune system attacks the myelin coat- ing of the nerves, the symptoms are very diverse, and sufferers endure intense neuro- pathic pain, vision problems, vertigo, dizzi- ness, fatigue, incontinence, muscle stiffness, spasms, tremors, trouble with swallowing and depression. MS sufferers can experience some or all of these symptoms. To claim that a specific strain is good for MS is at the best  a wild guess, and at worst a ploy to sell more seeds.”

Ditchfield offers that “searching for the per- fect medi-strain is as pointless as searching for the Holy Grail, and medi-users will be much better served by having access to a pure Sativa and a pure Indica strain. This will allow them to experiment with blends.”

With excellent photography, numerous tips, and a troubleshooting section for cannabis nutrient deficiencies, Cannibis Cultivator shows that even though there is a trick to growing healthy plants, with proper prepara- tion it can be very easy to do.

“It has been 11 years since the passage of the 18th Amendment as interpreted by the Volstead Act. The time has come when we should organize, and become articulate, and to work for some sane solution in this problem. Prohibition, it has led to more violation of, and contempt for, law, to more hypocrisy, among both private citizens and public officials, than anything else in our national history.” –Pauline Sabin, Founder of the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform, 1929.

THE CANNABIS GROW BIBLE

Greg Green’s book, The Cannabis Grow Bible, is a comprehen- sive guide that digs deep with a gene-centered review of the age- old plant’s nature. First released by Green Candy in 2003, it has been the publisher’s most popular cannabis offering to date. An evolutionary biologist by trade, Green drives home the message that each living thing is only as good as its genetic material, meaning that healthy plants must come from strong stock. He devotes considerable time to the topics of seed selection, species and strains.

fall into the naturalistic fallacy of say- ing that if it happens in nature, it’s good for us too, but I would suggest that individuals who think that cannabis and human beings have no history whatsoever, and that cannabis is dan- gerous because it is something artificial or brand new, are not drawing on what scientific evidence shows. The scientific evidence and the archeological evidence show that there is a very strong correla- tion between human beings and the cannabis plant. There is an evolution- ary trajectory there. The evidence is in the genes; it’s in the DNA; it’s in the biochemistry.”

At over 500 pages, The Cannabis Grow Bible offers something for everyone, including a chapter on making hash; a chapter on social issues; and even a chapter with an illustrated how-to for making a vaporizer out of a lightbulb. Hint: wear protective gloves!

Secret Gardens – Just as hooch had to be hidden from view behind cleverly constructed revolving bookcases or in speakeasies during the first failed Prohibition, everything to do with marijuana must be kept under wraps. Loose lips sink ships. All grow books offer tips on safe- ty and security.

Greg Green’s book, The Cannabis Grow Bible, is a comprehen- sive guide that digs deep with a gene-centered review of the age- old plant’s nature. First released by Green Candy in 2003, it has been the publisher’s most popular cannabis offering to date. An evolutionary biologist by trade, Green drives home the message that each living thing is only as good as its genetic material, meaning that healthy plants must come from strong stock. He devotes considerable time to the topics of seed selection, species and strains.

Most comfortable with research, Green, who lives in Europe, shared that the cannabis plant developed over time alongside human beings in a mutualistic relationship. Considering that the human body is chock full of endocannabinoid receptors that pro- vide pathways for medicinal benefit, he notes that a prohibition on cannabis is contrary to scientific evidence. Just as bees polli- nate plants as they suck nectar from flowers, ours is a symbiotic relationship that developed over time.

“It is unnatural to tell people not to take cannabis, given that within our DNA we can verify that our bodies have been using cannabis for a very long time,” he said, adding “I don’t want to fall into the naturalistic fallacy of say- ing that if it happens in nature, it’s good for us too, but I would suggest that individuals who think that cannabis and human beings have no history whatsoever, and that cannabis is dangerous because it is something artificial or brand new, are not drawing on what scientific evidence shows. The scientific evidence and the archeological evidence show that there is a very strong correlation between human beings and the cannabis plant. There is an evolutionary trajectory there. The evidence is in the genes; it’s in the DNA; it’s in the biochemistry.”

At over 500 pages, The Cannabis Grow Bible offers something for everyone, including a chapter on making hash; a chapter on social issues; and even a chapter with an illustrated how-to for making a vaporizer out of a lightbulb. Hint: wear protective gloves!

MARIJUANA 101

Professor Lee’s book, Marijuana 101, was written with the novice in mind.

So wary is Lee of thieves and  law enforcement, he didn’t even write his book until he had completely stopped growing and smoking, but he admits  to being proud of having gotten  away with growing his own for over a decade. A retiree living in Texas, he is not thrilled to be taking pharmaceutical medications for age-related aches and pains, and yearns for the day when his favorite remedy is legal. Until then, he plans trips to Amsterdam or the Toronto Cannabis Cup, and enjoys writing articles and giving lectures.

Marijuana 101 is a treat, filled with attractive graphics such as a square- pants instructor who Professor Lee jokes has more hair than he does.

Fantastic photography, illustrations, and Tips!, Warning!, Danger!, and Fix! guide boxes make his lessons lively. Throughout, his concern for new patients rings clear as a bell.

“The first bits of advice that I always like to give to anyone contem- plating growing concern security and safety,” he said. “Just because    it might be legal for you to grow (if you are fortunate enough to live  in a state with a medical marijuana program), you still have  to  watch out for thieves who won’t think twice  about  breaking  into your place and stealing your crops, even if that means hurting you     to do so. Always keep a low profile about the existence of your gar- den, and use great discretion with anyone you trust. After that, I strongly suggest that people use caution to avoid accidentally hurt- ing themselves or damaging their homes. Anytime one mixes water with electricity and confined spaces, the risk of electrocution or fire goes way up. Of course, these are extreme scenarios that can be avoided with the practical application of common sense and self- control.”

In our modern-day Prohibition, authors writing about marijuana often enjoy using it, and most hide their identities with pseudonyms.

Mediman is no exception. His book, Marijuana Made Simple, is Green Candy’s most recent offering.

“This is my first book, and I’d love to see my real name on  the cover,”  he said. “It does feel kind of corny being called Mediman,   but with the laws the way they are, I have no choice.”

MARIJUANA MADE SIMPLE

Mediman, 36, suffers from Wilson’s disease, an extremely rare genetic disorder resulting in copper overload. Copper accumulates in tissues causing everything from neurological symptoms to liver disease. It is treated with medication that reduces the copper absorption. Mediman’s symptoms, such as a brain that operates in over- drive, can be controlled with cannabis. Completely disabled, Mediman was among the first 100 people to become a legal patient in Canada in 2001.

Mediman, who developed an award-winning strain to treat his own condition, has helped many patients build secret rooms. His methods have been so successful that he decided to write about them. In his book he guides new- comers through basic steps necessary for creating the perfect do-it-yourself grow operation.

A computer engineer before his serious condi- tion was finally diagnosed; he employed a con- cise and methodical approach in developing his guide. Having found that many of the grow books on the market are more like encyclope- dias than guides, his primary goal in writing Marijuana Made Simple, was not to over- whelm the average person. His book offers easy-to-follow instruction on getting started, with guidance on fertilizer, pests, oil and hash preparation, and delivery methods.

Beginning patients that get into gardening to keep the cost of medicine within reach often find that nurturing their secret stash becomes a healing process.

“I do feel that the personal energy that you put into this not only has much to do with how your product turns out, but it gives each plant your own unique characteristics,” Mediman said. “Our energies coincide. It’s kind of like that premise that the more love you put into it, the better it will turn out. Growing is very therapeutic.”

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