Cannabis Buyers' Clubs of Canada

The Cannabis Buyers' Clubs of Canada, Victoria BC, has been providing cannabis products to people with permanent, physical disabilities or diseases since 1996.

Growing Information
Growing, Cultivating and Harvesting Cannabis

Guide to Growing Cannabis: Indoors and Outdoors

Information will be added regularly, watch this page for more tips, suggestions and warnings.


This information is gathered from the UVSS Hempology 101 Club Lecture Series: Lesson 15

Cultivating cannabis for recreational and medical purposes has become a science over the past couple of decades.  Individuals, governments and drug companies around the world have developed different methods of growing cannabis that accommodate for the legal, economic and technological opportunities and disadvantages of each specific market.  In the US, the National Institute of Drug Abuse took control of the cannabis research project at the University of Mississippi in 1974 and has produced low-grade herb from there since. This is the only legal source of cannabis for research being done in the US. In 1978, as a result of a lawsuit, they began to distribute cannabis cigarettes with a maximum of 4% THC to individuals with medical problems.  Only 7 people were able to qualify for this program before it was cancelled in 1992. 

Most countries contract the growing of cannabis for research and medical purposes to pharmaceutical companies whose primary goal is the development of oral and topical cannabis products.  In Canada, Prairie Plant Systems has been growing cannabis in a mine near Flin Flon Manitoba for Health Canada since they signed a contract in Dec 2000.  While the 12.5% THC is higher than the cannabis grown by NIDA, it may be less healthy because of the polluted air and water.  Many individuals with access to compassion clubs or other suppliers are completely unsatisfied with the PPS products as it is not as potent or flavourful as most cannabis available on the black market. 

There are many important factors to consider when starting growing cannabis.  Before starting to grow seriously you should buy a good book on the subject so that you have a basic understanding of the different obstacles you must overcome to grow excellent herb.  There are many excellent forums on the net that growers use to discuss currents trends in technology, law and genetics.  Almost anyone can grow pot but it takes times, care, money and attention to detail to grow really good herb. Growing a few plants in a concealed backyard is the best way to supply yourself throughout the year with little legal risk, cost or effort.  Larger outdoor operations must be very well hidden with water accessible. 

Though police rarely charge anyone for growing outdoors because they are difficult to catch in the act, they do like to destroy crops and thieves are always on the prowl looking for gardens, so the fewer visits to your site the better.  The legal risks go up when growing indoors, but so does the profit ratio.  Having a smaller indoor garden with 2 to 4 lights minimizes the potential problems that come with a larger grow-op while still providing the grower with enough income to maintain a house.  To reduce the chance of being caught, a number of precautions should be taken.  These include, but are not limited to; making sure the equipment cannot be heard from the neighbouring properties in the middle of the night, eliminating the smell from the vents and keeping quiet about your activities, even from some of your best friends. 

Many fertilizer companies recommend using more of their product than necessary to maximize sales.  Over-fertilizing is the most common mistake made by growers who are often more concerned about the yield of the plant than whether or not it burns with a white ash.  Bugs, mold and lack of airflow are other common problems that growers must deal with.  Using clones is often the easiest way to grow, though finding a good source for clones is not always possible.  Seed banks generally consistently supply quality seeds, with thousands of stable indica and sativa strains available around the world.  Constant improvements in genetics allow growers to maximize yield and potency.  Curing is as important as growing.

A grower can often use animal and insect life to his advantage. Bees, tics, green flies and the like can discourage people from wandering through fields so areas having an abundant insect population are prime locations. The most important criteria for an excellent growing site are good soil, available water, sunlight, and suitable cover. Good soil is sometimes hard to find but without it you won't get much of a harvest. So, if you find a site that is perfect for all other factors but has poor soil, you may want to consider bringing soil to the site. Soil is often the richest in areas where grassland vegetation has existed for a series of years.

Grasslands recycle nutrients in the soil and form a thick layer of organic matter. Grassland biospheres require very little preparation to start growing, while other soil conditions require more work. Sandy soils often need potting soil or top soil along with a small amount of lime to make them more fertile. Soils with high amounts of clay need material, like peat moss, added to break up the clay and make the soil more porous. I'm a naturalist and disagree with some herb growing professionals who believe that planting along road sides can be productive. The lead and other toxic chemicals found in some of these soils is enough to discourage many vegetable growers from producing consumable or smokable plant material. If you live in a city, and lack your own means of transportation then use roadsides as your last resort.

 A close water source is also very important. A site close to the water table would be ideal since bringing water into the site can get tiresome and also dangerous. It can get very tiresome if you have many sites or even a few big sites. If you choose a site much higher than the water table or grow in buckets, you will quickly find that the amount of water needed during a dry summer will be enormous and will give you great incentive to find a site closer to the water table. The dangers in having to bring water to the sites are numerous. The greatest of these would be the chance of someone spotting you, possibly a cop.

The second greatest would be the destruction of the foliage you have to walk through to get from the water source to the site. If you have to make more than one trip you run a big risk that a trail will become noticeable. Finding a stable water source in the summer can be another obstacle since small streams often dry up at this time. How often you will need to water is determined by the weather and that could require you to make unexpected trips to the sites.

hermal Infrared Imaging solutions can detect very subtle differences in temperature as low as .1 degree. This technology can reveal unusual heat patterns in a residential or commercial structure that may be indicative of an illicit Marijuana manufacturing facility. This equipment is available to the general public but is priced beyond the reach of your average "Pot Head" making it difficult for them to verify weather or not they are exhibiting excessive heat. This makes the system very effective for police because most of the bad guys are constructing their clandestine operations based on myth, rumor, and plain ignorance. The general public gets very confused about the technology. They are busy constructing all kinds of copper framed, pyramid structure, lead lined kryptonite enclosures thinking that they can defeat the IR technology. In truth much of what they do makes the IR system work better! This technology is completely passive. There are no rays or energy of any kind being emitted from the system. The units only read the IR energy that is emitted from all objects naturally.

You cannot see through walls into people’s homes or vehicles but you can gather a lot of information about what is going on behind a wall based on the pattern that radiates out through the wall or roof. The high power lights that the dopers use to grow the drugs generate a large amount of heat. The criminal farmer must vent this heat or the plants will get to hot. We can find the unusually hot exhaust pipe in the roof or the hot room in a house that seems to be hot and cold on a regular cycle (hot when the lights are on cold when they are off).

Plants use light as energy to fuel photosynthesis, a process in which water and carbon dioxide (CO2) are the raw materials used to make sugar. Sugar is the basic building block of all plants. By twisting the sugar molecule, plants form carbohydrates, which are more complex molecules. Plants use carbohydrates to build tissue. When nitrogen atoms are integrated into the molecules, amino acids are formed. These are eventually grouped together to form proteins.

Light is also used to regulate many varieties of cannabis' reproductive cycle. Scientists speculate that the plant produces a hormone during the dark period (night in nature) which induces the start of the reproductive (flowering) cycle. When the hormone builds up to a critical level, flower growth commences. The number of hours of darkness required to induce flowering differs for each variety.  Gardeners have a choice of lamps to illuminate their garden. Incandescents, tungsten-halogen lamps and screw in "grow bulbs" are inefficient sources of light.


Cervantes, Jorge, MARIJUANA OUTDOORS GUERILLA GROWING, Van Patten Publishing, 2000
Clarke, R.C. & Rosenthal, Ed, DELUX EDITION: MARIJUANA GROWERS GUIDE, And/Or Press, 1978
Clarke, Robert C., MARIJUANA BOTANY, Ronin Publishing, 1991
Drake, Bill, MARIJUANA; THE CULTIVATORS HANDBOOK, Ronin Publishing, 1979
Edwards, Logan, GROW GREAT MARIJUANA: AN UNCOMPLICATED GUIDE, Sweetleaf Publishing, 2006
Short, DJ, CULTIVATING EXCELLENT CANNABIS, Quick American Archives, 2004
Storm, Daniel, MARIJUANA HYDROPONICS, Ronin Publishing, 1987
Wright, Hans, SEA OF GREEN: THE PERPETUAL HARVEST, High Times Productions, 1998

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