Three Ways to Germinate Marijuana Seeds

how to germinate marijuana seedsWith recreational marijuana initiatives on the ballots of 8 more states this November and a recent 9th circuit appeals ruling against the Fed’s ability to prosecute medical marijuana cases against defendants in compliance with state laws, there has never been a safer time to grow weed. Big tobacco companies have had marijuana cigarette brand names trademarked since the 1960’s but regardless of what happens post-legalization, there will always be a market for high quality cannabis; and what better way to ensure quality than to grow your own? In this article, we’ll take a look at the first and most critical stage of growing marijuana— germination of seeds.

The Best Plants Come from SeedIMG_1224

So you’ve decided to grow your own bud but you’re lucky enough to have options— you can get some seeds or you pick up some clones. Which should you choose?

While clones are a convenient way to skip the first few weeks of growth and not worry about sexing (males are usually undesirable), they don’t exhibit the same vigorous growth or fruiting of a plant grown from seed. Additionally, clones have the genetic age of the plant they were cut from and can often be older and more susceptible to disease and undesirable mutations (as well as hermaphroditism).

Growing from seed is not only incredibly easy but plants grown from seed exhibit faster, more vigorous growth and a greater tolerance for the conditions they’re grown in (particularly important if you grow outdoors in hot, dry areas). While clones are often susceptible to “shock” under changing conditions, seed-grown plants rarely exhibit such a slowdown in growth thanks to more robust cell structure in the roots— that’s why we recommend all connoisseurs and especially newbies grow from seed! Cloning is really a technique to be used in large-scale production, not for the “private reserve.”

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Seeds come in different sizes and colors so we rely on the “squeeze” test

Cannabis seeds come in a truly astounding number of sizes and colors

Three Easy Methods

When it comes to germinating seeds there are three techniques that almost everyone uses; the traditional method, the paper towel method, and the cup method. First you need check the viability of your seeds— the most reliable way to test viability of a seed before planting is to squeeze it between your thumb and forefinger. If it cracks, the seed was probably not going to germinate, if it doesn’t crack under the pressure then you likely have a viable seed! Cannabis seeds come in a truly astounding number of sizes and colors, some with markings and some without, so it’s important to use the “squeeze test” and not rely on looks alone! Once you’ve separated viable seeds from non-viable seeds, you’re ready to germinate.

The Traditional Method

The traditional method is, as you might have expected, just to plant the seed in some moist, high quality organic soil about 1/4” to 1/2” deep. If you keep the soil moist and in a warm place (perhaps on a windowsill), seedlings are likely to pop up after 3-5 days! Some seeds can take a little longer, especially if they’ve been sitting around for a few years (we’ll cover a few tricks for those at the end of this article).

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Drain excess water and place the towel in a bag to prevent evaporation

The Paper Towel Method

A favorite among pot growers for decades, the paper towel method allows you to see the taproot pop out of the seed before you put it in your growing medium. This is ideal if you intend to use a soilless medium like rock wool cubes where you need the taproot to point downwards. Simply fold your seeds inside a paper towel so it’s wrapped around them like a pouch and then wet the paper towel with some tap water. Allow the excess water to drain from the towel (you should be able to see your seeds wrapped inside) and then place the paper towel and seeds inside a ziplock bag to prevent evaporation. Check every 24 hours for a taproot and then remove any seeds that pop as soon as possible to prevent the roots from gripping on to the paper towel (if they do don’t worry, just remove the seed with the little bit of paper towel attached and plant that. Do NOT try to rip the seed off the paper towel as that can damage your fragile taproot!). Remember to be especially carefully of the taproot, avoid touching it with your fingers and make sure it faces down when you plant it so the seed doesn’t spend energy flipping itself over!

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The floating seeds will sprout tap roots

The Cup Method

Perhaps the easiest of all germination methods; simply drop seeds in a cup of water and cover. If left undisturbed, seeds will float on top of the water and sprout a taproot in 24-72 hours. If left longer, roots will grow downward without any negative effects (which is what makes this easier than the paper towel method). The one thing to be careful of is that after 24 hours seeds can sink and drown if disturbed too much. Again, once the taproot appears, plant in the desired medium with the root facing down.

Old, Stubborn Seeds

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tap roots have just sprouted, time to place in the growing medium with the tip facing down!

While almost all marijuana strains germinate within two weeks (unlike some of the hottest peppers which can take a month), some older seeds need a little more love to get them to germinate. A 24 hour water soak is almost always beneficial to germination of cannabis seeds and sometimes a light sanding of the outer shell— called “scarification”— can help water penetrate the husk to reach the germ in the seed. Some people choose to put their seeds in the freezer for a few days prior to germination to simulate winter and bring seeds out of dormancy. Regardless, if its been three weeks and you aren’t seeing a root or any swelling within the seeds, its time to throw in the towel and start over!

You Can Do It!

Hopefully this post will help some of you curious dabbers break into the wonderful world of home growing! After all, you can’t blast live resin without some fresh frozen buds… and what better way to get some fresh buds than to pick ‘em yourself? Stay tuned for more growing tips and keep dabbin’

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Seedlings have sprouted and germination is complete!

The Secrets to a Successful Tolerance Break

Tolerance-2From a toxicology standpoint, there are few substances less harmful to the human body than marijuana but as Daily Dabbers, we often test the ability of our bodies to process THC leading to ridiculously high tolerances and a decrease in the benefits we enjoy from dabbing. If you’ve got a tolerance that makes single dabs feel like nothing or that’s affecting your day-to-day life, it’s probably time to start addressing it! In this article, we’ll discuss why tolerance happens and how you can plan a successful Tolerance Break to bring that tolerance down with as few negative side effects as possible!

What is Tolerance?

Tolerance describes the phenomenon of a drug becoming less effective used frequently over time. With regards to a psychoactive substance like THC in marijuana, this occurs on both a physical and mental level:

On the mental side of things, it’s easy to become conditioned to being high for doing daily activities. Eating food? Take a dab. Get home? Take a dab. Do anything? Take a dab. Once you begin to work dabbing into part of your daily routine, it can start to become more of a habit and lose the enjoyable qualities it provides— relaxation, creativity, peace of mind. It can also begin to affect how you spend your time not dabbing; if you’ve ever skipped out on something you would otherwise like doing except you wouldn’t be able to dab for a few hours, that’s not right! It should also be considered that if you spend most of your time high, is consuming marijuana really allowing you to alter your consciousness or is it enabling you to escape reality? It’s hard to notice an altered state of mind if that’s what you’re used to!

On the physical level, THC binds mostly to receptors in the brain called CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. These receptors exist naturally in everyone’s brain and were thought to exist exclusively for THC until the discovery of Anandamide in 1992 (a naturally occurring substance in humans and animals that mediate many of the functions marijuana seems to affect— no surprise there). Like many receptors in the brain, these CB receptors are essentially small molecular structures that stick out of the brain and have puzzle-piece like ends that only fit with specific other molecules (in this case cannabinoids and anandamide). Once a receptor is activated, it tends to recede into the brain so it can recover before being activated again.

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Illustration of a CB1 receptor extruding from a nueron

Physical tolerance begins to occur when you have fewer and fewer receptors available to bind with THC. If you continue to flood your brain with THC, it can temporarily wear out the receptors and really make dabbing ineffective. The good news is that it’s only temporary— the bad news is that the only cure is to abstain from consuming THC and allow your receptors to recover.

The Keys to a Successful Tolerance Break

While simply “taking a break” sounds simple, it can prove incredibly difficult; especially if you’re a heavier user. Withdrawal is a very real part of almost any marijuana detox and though the severity depends mostly on how much THC was being consumed, there are steps one can take to reduce these negative symptoms and increase the chances of a successful tolerance break.

    1. Set a Timeline

Planning is key with a tolerance break and setting a timeline is the first step towards a successful detox! Depending on why you’re taking a T-break, you’ll want to set an endpoint somewhere between 2-8 weeks. A week will help reduce weaker tolerances but if you’re a heavy dabber, you’ll want to take more time especially if you plan on passing a drug test (it usually takes about a month for metabolites to leave your system). It generally takes most people 2-3 weeks before all withdrawal symptoms are completely gone which is why we recommend a 2-week minimum break. You’ll also want to plan for feeling under the weather for the first couple days after taking a break— it might be a good idea to schedule important dates before or a few weeks after you start your break if you have such a luxury.

    2. Taper Down Use

You can severely reduce the most disruptive side effects of withdrawal by tapering down your use before stopping completely. Heavy dabbers would be wise to continue smoking moderate amounts of bud after abstaining from dabbing and then taper down on bud before taking a full T-break— the withdrawals from heavy concentrate use can be very unpleasant when stopping cold turkey.

    3. Clean Your Rig and Put It Away

cleanrigOut of sight, out of mind— after you’ve binged your stash away, it’s time to clean the rig and put it somewhere inconvenient to reduce temptation (it’s usually easier to do this immediately after you’ve finished your stash while you still feel good about your decision, lol). If you have a trustworthy friend who you can leave your rig with, there’s no better way to hide your rig than to get it out of your possession. 

    4.Distract Yourself

Acoustic guitar with notesYour brain generally doesn’t like changes to the usual routine and you might find yourself facing unusual boredom, driving your thoughts back towards marijuana use— the key is to keep yourself busy so you don’t have time for these thoughts! This is your opportunity to be productive. Plan some activities for yourself that you’ve always wanted to do, meet new people who don’t necessarily smoke weed. Getting out and involved with people in the world outside cannabis can be incredibly rewarding and you may find yourself so consumed that you’re barely at home facing temptation.

    5. Focus on Health

The first week, in particular, is usually most difficult when it comes to insomnia, lack of appetite and nausea but despite feeling bad, it’s important to stay focused on good health for the most rapid recovery. You need to treat your T-break recovery the same way athletes treat their recovery— professionally. Eat light, high-quality, nutrient-dense rich meals like chicken and rice with steamed vegetables; if you can only stomach a few bites at a time eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day and try to keep your calories up so your body can do its work to readjust. Drink lots of water and avoid sugary foods that can make you feel bad. Boiling fresh peeled ginger root makes an excellent tea that fights nausea and settles the stomach.

It’s also incredibly important to exercise. Exercise will help release natural endorphins and release stored THC in fat which will naturally help you taper the cannabinoids in your system while simultaneously detoxing. The calorie burn both helps drive appetite and releases chemicals that help with sleep at night. You don’t need to stick to running but generally, aerobic exercise will be more effective than something like weightlifting (though both are good!). Don’t forget to treat yourself either!

You Can Do It

massageNobody is saying it’s easy but if you can rid yourself of temptation and stick to these guidelines, you’re guaranteed to drop that tolerance and have as pain-free a detox as humanly possible. Remember that taking a T-break isn’t a break from happiness, just weed! Be sure to take care of your mental health and treat yourself to some rewards. With all the money you save not buying bud/concentrates, you might get yourself to a massage, start that hobby you’ve always been interested in, buy yourself something nice that will keep you busy… You deserve it! After a few weeks, you won’t even be thinking about weed.

At that point, you’re done! You’ll have a whole new perspective with which to appreciate weed and you’ll get higher than you can remember off your first hit. Get ready for flashbacks of your first time smoking— you’ll probably even wait to lay off the concentrates until you’ve built up some tolerance. And if you find yourself too tempted before you reach your planned end-date don’t fret too much; you can do better next time! It gets easier with practice.

Stay lifted friends.