Crafting craft cannabis. It’s not the kind of thing that any old stoner can do. It takes years of hard work and experience before you can come up with something truly special. Like fine wines, or spirits, there’s a huge market for this stuff, and a variety of people willing to pay for it: the tastes, the smells, the effects, the medical attributes … so why wouldn’t we want to write a blog article about this amazing phenomenon?
Well, we would. That’s why we’re doing it.
In order to produce something that is truly considered to be craft cannabis, you really need to know your stuff. It takes a lot of time, a lot of skill, and a lot of dedication. And I’m sure none of us would want it any other way. I mean, let’s put it like this: If you were about to give birth, would you want the baby delivered by an experienced mid-wife, or some woman who’s watched a few episodes of “Call the Midwife”? Would you want your child educated by a qualified, experienced teacher, or someone who’s just recently looked up the word “Math” on Wikipedia? I think you get my drift.
Like any respected craft, it’s a long, carefully thought out process. For example, before you even start growing, you need to find the perfect strain, or more likely create your own strain, combining the positive elements of other strains, while avoiding the negative ones. (Have I written the word “strain” enough yet?)
And then you’ve got to create several different phenotypes of your new strain, so you can judge which has the best taste, or the best effect. Not only that, but you’ve also got to consider which will give you the highest yield, which is essential if you’re an independent grower. After all, as much as we hate to admit it, this is a business, folks.
After independent laboratory testing, you end up with the perfect phenotype. Basically, this phenotype needs to be “the one”. In fact, if the growing process was an 80s sitcom, then this phenotype would be the unattainable unrequited love that you yearn for all through the series, and finally get together with during the final episode. Got it? Good.
At this point, the other phenotypes are cast aside like an old used tissue. You may even want to reassure these phenotypes by saying something like “It’s not you, it’s me” … because the one thing we don’t want to do it hurt the phenotype’s feelings. By the way, that little number that you sometimes see after the name of the strain? That usually indicates the number of the phenotype they’ve chosen … but before we move on, perhaps we could have a moment’s silence for all those phenotypes that were never used.
Craft Cannabis growers all have their own tricks of the trade, methods of preservation, and growing techniques. Hydroponics, for instance, seem to be frowned upon. In the world of “Craft”, growers tend to favour drip irrigation, dry farming, and hand-watering. A lot of them claim that it’s important to have a “living soil”, such as a compost with an active microbiology and biodiversity, and that in order for cannabis to be truly “Craft”, it should be hand-trimmed. Trimming machines are believed to damage the trichomes, you see, and if you don’t know what trichomes are then I pity you. (Note to self: Find out what trichomes are before next blog post).
Lighting is another issue that needs to be thought about until a grower’s brain starts to ache. There’s an unwritten rule which states that only cannabis grown under the sun can be called “Craft”, but what if you’re working in a state which doesn’t allow outdoor marijuana cultivation? What if you don’t have the outdoor space? Some growers have actually found that light deprivation systems tend to produce high quality flowers and plants at a more manageable size, and some slightly more “new-age” growers have found it beneficial to play music to their crops. We don’t know what kind of music, but it’s a fair bet that Bob Marley’s Greatest Hits and “Dark Side” probably get a lot of airtime.
And that’s just the beginning. Once a crop is harvested, a whole new set of considerations suddenly emerge. How you decide to dry and cure your plants, for instance, is something that varies quite a bit from grower to grower. And it’s reflected in the quality. Some growers used rigid bins that can be sterilized between harvests, others prefer hand curing and hand picking, others advocate wood-fire curing where the fire acts as a natural dehumidifier.
It’s all very complicated. Unless you live in a place with absolutely perfect conditions, of course, in which case it can be a little bit easier. But is there such a place?
Well, yes. The “Garden of Eden” for craft cannabis is the small Spanish village of Guadalest. You know how Champagne isn’t really Champagne unless it’s from the Champagne region of France? Well, it’s kind of the same with Guadalest. The village is famous for growing its own strain of craft cannabis, with farming methods that have been passed down through the generations. They use ladybugs as biological pest control, water is collected from natural waterfalls, plants are surrounded by bells on a string to warn of wild animals, and recycled bottles are used to create a drip irrigation system. It just seems to have the perfect climate. In fact, the well-known strain “Critical” has become so acclimatized to the area, that it almost grows freely, and still flourishes every single summer.
But when you consider that cannabis grows so well in one small village, with a very specific climate, and an equally specific set of age-old techniques, doesn’t that make our American craft cannabis creators even more amazing? And don’t they deserve our support, our custom, and our admiration?
Yes. The answer is yes.