When discussing the topic of cannabis growing, too often we focus on the hardware and the process of growing – seeking out the perfect formula for best results. But of course each grower’s situation is different, and how they grow (and their success) is a combination of many factors; environment, knowledge, equipment etc. For medical cannabis home growers, there is another factor which often influences how they grow. We hear about marijuana treatments for certain conditions, but how often do we consider how those conditions influence the way medical cannabis home growers actually grow?
The story of Moses, who has recently joined the Paradise Seeds Ambassagrower’s program, is the kind of story which really inspires, because it is a great illustration of medical cannabis home growers not just overcoming adversity but thriving in the face of it. Moses, who is a visually impaired grower, lives in Canada and is the author of Munchies & Potions: The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Cookery With Cannabis. Two years ago he went blind due to optic nerve neuropathy, which took 93-95% of his visual field. However that hasn’t stopped him from growing cannabis, and as his Crickets & Cannabis Instagram proves, it doesn’t stop him from growing great weed!
Moses says, “My condition is optic nerve neuropathy, which neuro-opthamologists have said is likely Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. Basically the eyes work, the brain works, but the nerves sending signals are short circuiting. So the affected portion of my vision is a swirling mess of colour and light, sometimes like looking at a broken mirror. 24/7 random light and colour flashes, and a headache behind my eyes that doesn’t go away.”
How Does a Blind Grower Grow Cannabis?
So the big question we have to ask is how does the grow process work for a blind cannabis grower? “Every blind person’s visual level is different, and only an estimated 5-8% of blind people have zero perception of anything visual. With mine I’ve had to relearn watering, plant maintenance, and with organic farming, relying on smell, feel, and in some cases, taste. But growing once you’ve got your method down, is only 25% of the process. Harvesting, drying, trimming, and curing, are all huge factors in the end result.
As to practical function, due to my photophobia, 98% of my work is done in the complete darkness. I turn off the lights, feel my way around, trim and check for pests and such. Then turn on the lights and leave. I’m not blackout blind. I also use security cameras (I’m not ‘blackout blind’ and I view the cameras while the lights are on, via my phone or computer, so I can plan my steps. I circle areas that need attention, go into the room, shut off the lights ( for my photophobia) and use my memory and sense of touch to do the work necessary.”
Visually Impaired Cannabis Growing and the Other Senses
He explains that his other senses naturally contribute to the process. “Smelling buds allows me to know which strains I’m “looking” at. Feel works too. And in vegetative state, rubbing the stems gives another scent that allows for identification. I haven’t had many issues with bad bugs, because my IPM (Integrated Pest Management) is substantial, but I’m mostly checking for leaf damage or the squish of an aphid between my fingers. Feeling the soil, smelling the compost teas and ferments also help.”
A good ‘nose’ for weed is a plus for any cannabis aficionado keen on appreciating cannabis strains with an impressive terpene profile. For Moses however, an accentuated sense of smell takes things to the next level. As he explains, “I can smell/taste if someone grows using hydroponics and salts, or grows outdoors vs indoors. It also means I can smell someone’s garbage weed from half a block away!”
How Do You Use Medical Cannabis?
While cannabis helps this condition, it doesn’t negate it, although Moses has used cannabis medicinally for chronic pain and anxiety for the past decade, which is why he continues to grow. Like the majority of cannabis medicating growers he grows organically; “I grow using KNF and living soil methods. This way I know the medicine I am using contains nothing I wouldn’t want in my body. From this I make oils, tinctures, salves, and edibles.
I prefer hybrids – at night I like ones where the trichomes have matured to a lovely amber colour. During the day less amber trichomes, more milky white for less sedation. I use a digital dry herb vaporizer to be able to precisely access certain terpenes and cannabinoids. With precision I can get anxiety relief without the high, or pain relief, or the whole entourage effect by using a much higher temperature (428F).”
If you have an interesting medical cannabis story you would like to share we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via [email protected]