Growing medical cannabis – also known as medicinal marijuana, or prescription weed if officially prescribed by a medic – takes a slightly different approach than recreational growing. The reason for this difference is quality. Of course, recreational growers can be be just as serious about their quality levels, but growing medicinal cannabis is subject to stricter standards. Non-medicinal weed is usually grown to enjoy. Regular growers aim to get a particular taste, specific effects, staggering harvests, or simply the most impressive cannabis plant. Medicinal marijuana growers, by contrast, usually grow for very specific goals. This blog explores the specifics of how to grow weed for medical purposes.
Why Grow Medical Cannabis?
There are many different reasons for using and growing medicinal cannabis. Scientists keep discovering new potential medical benefits in all sorts of compounds in cannabis, including THC and CBD. These days, countries including the Netherlands are officially growing medicinal cannabis for sale in pharmacies. Dutch prescription cannabis, however, is no longer covered by health insurance. In the US, by contrast, medical use of marijuana is being legalized in an increasing number of states.
Regulations in other countries vary, but getting prescription marijuana refunded can be tricky at best. This makes growing medical cannabis at home financially attractive for many patients around the world. Other reasons for medical home-growing include being dissatisfied with prescription marijuana, or a search for specific effects. All of these factors can make growing medicinal cannabis at home an interesting option.
The Many Medical Uses Of Weed
Cannabis has been used as medicine since time immemorial. The legendary Chinese ‘Red Emperor’ Shen Nung reportedly introduced cannabis (‘ma’ in China) over 4,000 years ago. Back then, the herb was used for a wide range of conditions, including gout, malaria, rheumatism, and constipation. Today, the medical uses of cannabis have been mapped more extensively by modern science, though much remains to be explored. Many different applications exist, but the most common medical uses of weed include the following at minimum:
THC, CBD, and terpenes can help calm down the mind and soothe the body, making weed a great natural option for stress and anxiety reduction.
While certain weed strains can make you feel drowsy and promote a good night’s sleep, other strains are uplifting, providing new energy to counter (chronic) fatigue.
Although excessive use of cannabis has been linked to increased likelihood of depression, many people actually use the plant to lift their mood. Sativa strains are a particularly popular choice here, although CBD cannabis seeds can help combat depression, too.
Various cannabinoids and other cannabis compounds can help counter headaches and migraines. A number of weed strains may help you control migraine symptoms in different ways.
If you’re looking to buy cannabis seeds for specific symptoms or conditions, check the dedicated blogs behind the links above for more info and our best strains for pain, depression, stress, and more!
Growing Medical Cannabis: Which Strain To Choose?
As mentioned, growing medicinal cannabis involves quite a bit of deliberation. The intentions of people using medicinal weed are usually very different from those of recreational cannabis consumers.
If, for instance, you want to grow weed to treat pain, your plant will need a cannabinoid profile to match. Whether you grow for personal use or for others, you want to be as effective against that pain as you possibly can. Some cannabis strains are more suited for this than others. You might end up at a high CBD strain, for instance. Our CBD cannabis seeds are developed especially for such grows. Still, finding the right medicinal cannabis involves more choices than just CBD or THC content.
All of our seeds come with a strain profile, which includes indications of the medicinal properties of that particular strain. Always choose a recommended and experienced specialist such as Amsterdam Genetics to get the best seeds. After all, growing medical cannabis starts with finding the very best seeds available.
Sativa Or Indica As Medicinal Weed?
Choosing between indica and sativa strains depends largely on the effect you intend to achieve. Both types of cannabis are available as feminized seeds. These will get you the best returns on your investment: only female cannabis plants will yield your medicinal weed. Another tip for rookie growers is choosing autoflower cannabis seeds. These are usually easier to grow and allow for more annual harvests, especially indoors. Apart from that, everything depends on the specific symptoms you wish to counter.
Medical Marijuana And Terpenes
Cannabis contains many cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. On top of that, they carry compounds called terpenes. These plant chemicals give strains their distinct flavour and scent, but they do more. They protect plants from pests, for example, but moreover, all 100+ known terpenes have an effect on your body or mind. They are used in aroma therapy settings, for instance. Through the entourage effect, they can also interact with cannabinoids and flavonoids to produce additional effects, including medicinal ones. Terpenes are definitely a point to consider when choosing your medical marijuana strain.
We have dedicated blogs highlighting some of the most commonly found cannabis terpenes, along with their potential medicinal benefits. Check our info on the following important terpenes here:
Three Important Aspects Of Growing Medical Cannabis
Users of medicinal weed are not necessarily interested in feeling high or stoned. Instead, they try to achieve certain physical or mental effects. This is why the following aspects are very important in deciding which medicinal weed strain to grow.
The weed has to be clean and hygienic (free from pesticides, additives, fungi and pests). This level of purity is easiest to achieve in indoor grow settings, where you’ll have greater control over environmental factors, air and water quality, and nutrition. On the other hand, outdoor setups have greater potential for organic cannabis, which can be a plus for medical marijuana in and of itself.
The harvest must be consistent in terms of quality and yields. You don’t want to run out of cannabis medicine once you start to notice its effectiveness. In theory, you could grow and harvest outdoors all year long in the right climate. Still, most growers find this easier to achieve using a grow tent or similar indoor grow room.
The health effects of each harvest must be stable and reliable. This is where ordering high quality weed seeds comes in. Trusted seed suppliers are your best guarantee for consistent quality, so only buy from acclaimed vendors that provide you with enough information on the seeds they sell. The above argument for consistency and indoor growing can be applied to reliable effects in equal measure.
Growing Medical Marijuana: Clones Or Seeds?
Some say that growing medicinal cannabis using clones is easier than ordering cannabis seeds online. Allegedly, cloned plants ought to yield more consistent results, because their genetic makeup is always the same. Still, the growth and development of a clone is a natural process too. All sorts of external influences affect your harvest. Moreover, growing from seeds is usually easier, especially for less experienced growers, and finding good clones is more difficult than finding great seeds. All things considered, we suggest choosing high-quality cannabis seeds of a suitable strain and from a serious, experienced seeds specialist.
Indoors Or Outdoors?
Just like with any grow, you’ll need to decide whether to grow your medicinal weed indoors or outdoors. Both options come with their own pros and cons.
The big plus for indoor growing is the extent of control you have over circumstances such as lighting, temperature, and air circulation. Another major benefit is the ability to grow in all seasons, no matter the weather. This can be very convenient if growing medicinal cannabis leaves you dependent on your own harvest yields.
On the other hand, there are indications that cannabis plants grown outdoors are more balanced in terms of their cannabinoid and terpene profiles. This could be due to the fact that plants grown in the open air produce more varied organic compounds. They do so because they have to cope with varying conditions that affect the growth process. In addition, outdoor growing allows you to grow medicinal cannabis in the most natural way possible. The main limitation is climate, though. As mentioned, medical cannabis users tend to rely on year-round availability of their plant medicine. That’s pretty hard to realise when you’re growing in, say, Norway or Alaska.
Growing Organic Medical Cannabis
Understandably, pesticides are a big no-go in growing weed for medical purposes. Growing organically, however, goes well beyond going easy on pesticides. The soil that you grow your plants in is a major factor to consider, for instance.
Organic soil is literally alive with compost and natural micro-organisms. All that organic activity provides a wealth of diverse and comprehensive nutrition for your cannabis plants. This promotes prolific growth without the need to add chemicals. When harvest time approaches, you won’t find traces of artificial fertilizer or chemical plant nutes in your crops. Flushing your plants before the harvest helps clean out chemicals, but organic growing is much safer in this regard. It’s healthier, but connoisseurs also say it improves flavour and development of the active ingredients you’re after.
Pests And Mould
Apart from toxins, pests and fungi are the main threats for anyone growing medicinal cannabis. This applies to outdoor grows, but you can’t rule out these factors when growing indoors, either. Whether you grow indoors or out, though, If someone with fragile health uses medical cannabis by inhaling, the last thing you want is contaminated buds carrying germs and fungi, with all the potential health risks involved!
Indoor growers should take great care to keep their grow rooms a clean as possible, with good air circulation and minimum outside influences. Outdoor growers need to take special care to prevent mould like bud rot or mildew, although these can ruin indoor grows too. Both environments offer their own set of challenges here. Try to avoid use of pesticides and fungicides if possible, or you’ll just be replacing one health hazard with another. In fact, outdoor organic growing can give you an advantage here. Aphids can be countered organically, for example, using liquid nettle manure or ladybugs. That’s yet another round of pesticides you don’t need for your weed!
Protecting your weed against fungus after harvesting revolves around allowing it to dry through and through before allowing it to cure in airtight jars or bags. Fungus usually arises when weed is stored in vacuum conditions too soon, i.e., when it’s still too damp. Allow the drying and curing process to occur organically, and let it take some time. To this end, hang the buds out to dry in a dark, dry, and well-ventilated space. Don’t put them in jars to cure before they are completely dry. For optimal effects, allow some air to flow in for a few minutes every day.
How To Order Medical Cannabis Seeds
Growing medicinal cannabis at home calls for a fair bit of care and planning. Still, it is far from impossible: any grower can do it. A lot of it comes down to buying high quality seeds, a good balance between natural and hygienic growing, and some extra care and attention for the plants. If these conditions are met, anyone can get growing to realise their own medical weed supply, or a stable source of herbal medicine for vulnerable friends and loved ones.
Disclaimer: Local laws and legislation on cannabis cultivation and germination of seeds vary between countries and states. Amsterdam Genetics products and information are exclusively intended for use in areas where such use is fully legal. Check your local rules; do not act in conflict with the law!