You have likely heard from someone older in your life that cannabis has become so potent and advanced, it is unrecognizable from the stuff they used to get back in the day. Well, believe it or not, they are absolutely right. Over the decades, the way in which strains are crossed, plants are grown and therefore as a direct result the flower is different leading to a market that has changed dramatically too.
Today, we will be talking about how cannabis farming has changed, including the many factors that have increased its quality over time so that we can better get the desired results when we smoke.
Why Cultivating Cannabis Has Gotten More Advanced
We would not have the advanced cultivation practices that we have now if it weren’t for a few factors that have appeared over the last couple of decades.
Technology has undoubtedly played a major role in how we grow our cannabis. We are able to use advanced data systems to ensure consistency between crops. We have the means to identify specific strains using more advanced testing methods than what once existed before, which gives us insight into the specific levels of certain chemical compounds found in the plant material. And, we have the ability to control growing conditions in ways that were not possible only a few decades ago.
Demand has increased exponentially since the old days, which has increased competition between farmers. This has given farmers an incentive to work harder to produce the best crops possible, in order to compete in today’s larger market. As demand increases, farmers are forced to get more creative (supply) to ensure that their cannabis is the best that they can possibly produce.
With legalization taking place throughout the country and other parts of the world, farmers can grow crops legally, which has benefited them enormously. Legalization has allowed farmers to work directly with research institutions and laboratories to uncover data that helps them in every step of the process. It has also enabled farmers to grow their crops in a more industrialized way, which allows them to utilize modern technology in ways that were not possible when they risked legal repercussion.
Modern Techniques for Cannabis Cultivation
It’s impossible to ignore the role that technology has played in modern marijuana and hemp cultivation, as a series of advancements have allowed cannabis to be grown according to more precise factors than ever before. Let’s go over some of the most exciting advancements that the cannabis industry has seen in recent years.
Technique #1: Feminization
Feminization has been a gamechanger in the world of growing cannabis. As many of you know, cannabis can produce male, female, and hermaphrodite plants. Only the female plants have the cannabinoid-rich buds and resinous trichomes that give us the desired effects. This means that for a long time, hemp farmers had to throw out about half of their crops. This was extremely inefficient, costing money and time devoted to caring for plants that would eventually be discarded.
Feminization is a fascinating cultivation technique that yields up to 99% female plants, which benefits farmers by keeping down both cost and time. The most common method used today involves the utilization of colloidal silver, which allows the female plant to develop pollen which will directly result in more female plants. By spraying the plants with the silver, they develop male pollen sacs instead of pistils and calyxes.
Technique #2: Hydroponic Systems
Hydroponic systems are not new and were first used to cultivate cannabis in the 1980s. But now, they are becoming more common due to increasing demand, especially for those who do not have the ideal growing conditions in their outdoor spaces. Hydroponics is a method of growing that ditches soil in favor of nutrient-rich water which supports the root system of the plant.
In many ways, it allows for a more stable and controlled growing environment, and ensures that climate conditions, which can be unpredictable, do not have a negative impact on the crop. Hydroponics has directly resulted in more competition, as it has allowed farmers to enter the market who would not have been able to grow plants otherwise due to their climates.
Technique #3: Climate Control
There are ways to control climate that don’t rely on hydroponics, as well. Today’s farmers have access to advanced technology that allows the growing conditions to remain stable. Growing indoors is becoming more and more common, with devices that mimic natural, ideal light cycles as well as humidity levels and temperature. This modern technology is better at tracking and displaying climate information so that farmers can cultivate with precision that was once unavailable.
Technique #4: Hybridization
Anyone who has been a cannabis enthusiast for more than a couple of decades is blown away by the variety of strains that are available today. Cross-breeding techniques have improved so much that cultivators can essentially develop any chemical composition that they wish. They can create strains with unusually high levels of THC, ones that contain high CBD levels that were once impossible, and ones that are developed specifically for certain ailments. Nowadays, you can walk into a dispensary and tell the person at the counter exactly why you want cannabis, and they will give you a strain based on your needs, much like a doctor writing out a prescription.
All of this comes from the process of hybridization, which has really taken off in the last two decades. One thing that has made hybridization more accessible is the indoor growing boom, which makes it easier to grow different existing strains that would usually be incompatible with specific growing climates. Further, modern technology has allowed us to understand the specifics of individual strains in terms of their chemical compositions, and this has directly resulted in developing strains according to percentages of certain terpenes and cannabinoids.
Technique #5: Advanced Testing
Advanced testing methods allow cultivators to maintain consistency across their crops, as they can see the percentages of each chemical compound. Testing also allows farmers to look for impurities like never before, which plays a major role in the overall quality of the buds. And, of course, testing allows farmers to ensure that they stay within legal regulations.
Technique #6: Market Competition
Market competition has indirectly benefited cannabis cultivation by forcing farmers to get more creative and invest more into modern technology in order to ensure consistency and quality. The bigger the cannabis industry gets, the more drive there is to produce the absolute best crops possible with today’s resources. We know that there is growing competition for rare and exceptional strains, for instance, which is why we have the incredible selection that is available to us today.
Technique #7: Bigger Budgets
With a more profitable cannabis industry, cultivators generally have larger budgets that they can use to invest into the quality of their crops. We know that the cannabis industry in the United States is growing each year economically, and this means that there is a lot of money that’s going directly to farmers who can use these resources to explore higher-end technology. Further, cannabis companies are using investors to fund research and new, cutting-edge techniques that will continue to shape the future of the market.
Our Final Analysis
The cannabis industry is more profitable, advanced, and legal than ever before, and this has directly resulted in cultivation techniques that were unheard of just a couple of decades ago. All of these advancements in cultivation have given us better-quality buds that are more capable than ever of meeting our needs. In the years to come, as more and more money is invested into the industry, we expect to see technology taken to further heights.