With all the discussion of federal interference with states allowing medical marijuana, lets turn to one upside of more cannabis availability– better cannabis. One “Master Grower” profiled in the Los Angeles Times is identified as “Big Wes,” who has spent more than half his life calibrating his system of growing high-grade marijuana to its utmost efficiency. At 50 years old, he harvests a crop of dozens of plants every week from five rented warehouses scattered along the rutted streets and alleys around the docks of Oakland.
His “problem” is that OG Kush, the ultra-popular strain he specializes in, produces notoriously low yields of bud per plant. For this reason the scientist Wes is consulting with has come with a nutrient solution made from deep-sea algae, which he promises will boost the output. Big Wes is new breed of cultivator, a “master grower” who produces marijuana that is potent and mold-free, tastes smooth and has a pleasing aroma — the kind of product now expected by ever-more discriminating consumers who frequent medical cannabis dispensaries. He and others like him have revolutionized weed in recent years, growing sophisticated new varietals with scientific precision and assembly-line efficiency. Their expanding role in the burgeoning industry is shifting cultivation from clandestine rural plots to highly controlled indoor grows in urban centers.
Pot connoisseurs can talk about the complexity of cannabis like vintners do wine. They detect sweet flavors, and musky ones, and hints of berries, sandalwood, citrus, mint, pine and almond. An array of more than a hundred chemicals called terpenes brings out the taste and aroma. According to George Van Patten, a.k.a. Jorge Cervantes, a renowned grower and author of the 484-page “Marijuana Horticulture: The Indoor/Outdoor Medical Grower’s Bible,” the many combinations of these chemicals produce a complex range of sensations. “This explains why certain medical patients find more relief with specific varieties,” he said. “The THC molecule is the same in all cannabis plants. It is the mixture of other elements that play a vital role in changing the psychoactive effect.”
“Consumers have quickly developed a sophisticated palate,” said Andrew McBeth, publisher at the marijuana niche Green Candy Press. “Like fine wine, the marijuana must look amazing, have a distinctive bouquet and have the cachet of being a well-known and popular strain.”
It’s an exciting story accompanied with lots of photos and can be found at the Los Angles Times. Enjoy.
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