Saturday, September 21, 2019

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how to tell sex marijuana plant male female

There’s a good reason to know the sex of marijuana plants. While growers may want to breed different strains, buds with seeds aren’t good smoke and the risk of pollination means getting male plants away from female ones before it occurs. Buds with seeds also means smaller buds overall, which is obviously not what you want if you’re growing for consuming. Home growers would want to propogate plants through clones or feminized seeds, unless they’re wanting to make a new strain or produce more seeds for growing. But how do you know which sex a plant is? Turns out it isn’t that hard to determine, but you might want to grab a magnifying glass.

One important consideration is the ability of cannabis to create hermaphrodite plants — that is, plants with both male and female organs. You’ll want to remove these plants if possible, as the development of a hermaphrodite plant means the plant is stressed. In fact, this process is called “herming out.” It means the plant is lacking nutrition, or is damaged, or environmental conditions are hurting it. Genetic strains prone to herming out are obviously not great either, unless you can give them the exact conditions needed to prevent it. The exception to this is if you’re deliberately trying to make feminized seeds, which is a rather specialized procedure that involves pollinating female plants with hermaphrodite pollen.

So back to determining gender, male sex organs on cannabis look like tiny bananas. Besides being adorable, they’re also bursting with pollen. Female organs look like what you find on most of the cannabis you consume: they have tendrils reaching out. Now, these are mature plants so by the time you see these easily the plants could be capable of germinating, or making seeds. What you want to do is find the male plants and isolate them away from the females before those “banana pods” open up.

male female marijuana plants

To figure out what gender the plant is, we’ll need to closely examine the young plants at what’s called the pre-flower formation. Logical, right? Well, this is where you’ll want a magnifying glass or even a jeweler’s loupe. The little area on the stem of a plant where more stems pop out is called a node. You’re going to look closely at these nodes to see if the tiny bumps growing there indicate male or female. Male plants will have little bumps that will become those pollen sacs. Females will have what’s called a stigma, basically a sticky little tendril that pops out to catch pollen. In the pre-flowering stage it’ll look a bit like a wisp of hair protruding from a very tiny wart at the node.

There are other ways of determining the sex of a cannabis plant, but this is the fastest and surest way. Female plants will have stigmas at the nodes, whereas males will just have a little bump that will become a pollen sac. The sooner you can spot these and separate any male plants, the better your yield will be, not to mention the quality of your smoke. Unless of course you’re just looking to propogate a new crop.

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greenhouse tech

Isn’t technology great? Today you can summon a car, food, weed, or just about anything with your index finger. Tech has played an important role in the cultivation of cannabis, too. Just as with regular farming, growing marijuana has gone high-tech (pun intended). In fact, technology isn’t just good for cannabis itself, it’s improving the environment and reducing the cost to producers. That means more effective cannabis-based treatments that more people can afford. How? Let’s take a look.

Greenhouses aren’t new, and in areas where marijuana has had a hard time being cultivated outdoors they’re practically required. Sure, cannabis is a hardy plant but there are lots of factors when growing outdoors. A greenhouse presents a completely controlled environment where growers can manipulate variables like light, heat, moisture, soil composition and more. Now that states are legalizing, cannabis cultivation is moving from the basement to sophisticated greenhouses that maximize yield and can better serve customers with perfectly-attuned strains for their needs.

Growers in places like Massachusetts can’t rely on the outdoors to grow due to low temperatures in the winter. Greenhouses provide a cost-effective way to grow while using grow lights and heaters to help plants thrive. Grow lights are obviously one answer to light issues, and modern LED-based lights are a dream compared to bulky, inefficient lights of yesterday. Back in the day you had to have essentially street lights, with complicated electrical setups that sucked up a ton of juice — which were sometimes used to tip off police to growing operations. Now, LED lights are far more efficient than bulbs with gas in them, and can adjust their spectrum based on the different stages of cannabis growth. Amazing, and a vital component to growing any plant. Plus, with full lighting controls, growers can now shut off lights and force flowering. This has enabled year-round growing for everyone.

Sensors used to be finicky and complicated to set up, but today there are all sorts of solutions. Why do you need sensors? A high-tech greenhouse is likely to monitor things like humidity and CO2 levels, and can then adjust accordingly. Using a set of connected humidifiers, dehumidifiers, vents, heaters and more, growers can largely just “set it and forget it.” Although to be fair, set up does require knowing what your plants need and what your greenhouse can accommodate. The practicality of these systems is obvious: fully automated climate control takes the worry out of growing no matter what outside conditions are. Throw in some properly insulated walls and you might even be able to grow marijuana in Antarctica!

Anyone who has let a houseplant die knows they need one thing to be happy: water. Too much water, however, can cause rot and fungus to set in, ruining a crop. Again, sensors play a role in monitoring, but also there are automated watering systems that provide exactly what plants need and when they need it. This will maximize yields without burning out the plants or threatening to create rot.

All of these technologies combined make it possible for modern growers to automate more of their growing operations than ever before. That means growing operations, once set up, can reduce labor costs over time. It also means more consistency and better yields overall with every element delivered with scientific accuracy. If you have a strain that needs more humidity, no problem! Want to force flowering? Do it from an app! What a time to be alive.

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drying curing weed

Growing weed is one thing, but preparing it for consumption is another. If you’re clipping buds and dropping them straight into your bowl, you’re missing out on the potency and full spectrum of benefits found in marijuana flowers. That’s why growers, after months of waiting, wait just a bit more to ensure their crops are properly dried and cured before storing or partaking. Here’s what you need to know.


Drying is simply that: removing the water content from the plant. It’s not unlike having a dryer for fruits and veggies to turn them into chips or portable snacks. Drying is an important component for preparing marijuana, especially for growers, because that moisture can turn to mold pretty quickly otherwise. Some large growers may hang up entire plants to dry, but the best method is to clip just the buds and trim them down so they dry faster. The trimmings can be used for edibles or hash if you like.

Air drying is safe and effective, and leaving buds on the branches makes it easy to just hang them on a line of string — like drying clothes before drying machines were made. Keep in mind that airflow is key, so hang them a little apart from one another. The buds shouldn’t be touching each other to allow for even drying.

If you’ve ever air-dried a sweater, you may know there’s a screen raised off the table you place the sweater on so air can flow through it, drying it completely. You can also do this with your buds, again placing them so they’re not touching. It may cause a little flat spot on the bud, but it won’t affect the potency or anything else. Be careful to put them in a place where they won’t be disturbed (hello, pets!) because if they’re jostled the trichomes could break off, reducing potency.

Also, keep the relative humidity low to prevent mold from growing on them. Keep the air flowing and relative humidity around 50% and you should be fine. Depending on the humidity and relative moistness of the buds, this process could take a few days or a couple of weeks.


While drying, the curing process is also going on. That’s why it’s a good idea not to try and accelerate drying with heat. Yes, they’ll dry faster, but you’ll be left with a harsher smoke, lower potency or a less enjoyable profile of compounds (terpenes, cannabinoids, etc.). If you allow nature to take its course, the carbohydrates and chlorophyll in the plants will break down into simpler compounds and provide a better smoke. The biggest reason to spend time curing properly is that your smoke will be more potent as non-psychoactive compounds will convert to THC.

What you need to know about curing is that this is sort of the “magic time” for terpenes, which give your buds their distinct aroma. As the Beastie Boys say, “slow and low” is the tempo for curing. That is, terpenes can degrade quickly in warm temperature, so cool drying is key to aromatic buds. This also helps eliminate the minerals and sugars that are byproducts of chlorophyll breaking down. Those compounds can cause smoke to be harsher, so if you’re wanting bigger pulls from your smoke the smoothness will be enhanced by giving the time needed to cure this stuff out properly.  

So how do you cure buds versus just drying? If you haven’t already trimmed them down, now’s the time (just after drying). Separate them from the branches, but be careful not to break off the trichomes. Place them in airtight containers — typically non-reactive ones like glass or ceramic as plastic can sometimes interact with the terpenes — and put them in a cool, dark spot. If you didn’t over-dry the cannabis they’ll rehydrate just a little bit and won’t be as brittle as just after drying.

Each day, open the containers a couple of times to let fresh oxygen in (this helps chemical conversions to occur). If you smell ammonia then you didn’t properly dry them out and you could wind up with moldy buds! If this happens, go back to drying them in the air for a bit and hope for the best. You’ll only need to open the containers a few times a day for about a week. After that, you can open them once every 2-3 days for the next month. Some say you can cure in as little as two weeks, but the longer you practice this regimen the more chemical conversions to all the “good stuff” you want in your buds will occur. Some strains even peak around 6 months, but 1-2 months is typical. Yes, that’s a while to wait on your goodies, but it’s very much worth the effort.

Proper curing makes your final product last longer in storage, too. Once the process is done, you should store buds in an airtight container. Sealing the containers tight prevents important terpenes from evaporating out, which can change the profile of the strain you spent so much effort growing. Jars are ideal, making sure to “burp” the jar lid when you seal it to create the best possible airtight situation. It can be hard waiting this last little bit to enjoy your harvest, but it is absolutely worth it. Why do you think people pay so much for aged alcohol? Not that you should toss these in a whiskey barrel, but the idea is the same: Curing takes time and imparts flavor and increases potency. Now that you know, you’ll enjoy better smoke longer by just taking a little extra time to finish the process properly.

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How to Grow Autoflower Marijuana Plants

There are many types of seed used to grow cannabis. Some create male plants, some female, some hermaphrodite, and each has its role in the breeding process.

And then there are autoflowering marijuana plants. But what are they, how are they grown, and what exactly is the point?

Autoflowering strains are designed to grow indoors during seasons when a normal outdoor garden can’t produce a quality harvest. When marijuana is cultivated outdoors, its growth depends on the quality and quantity of daylight. Plants do better in the tropics because sunlight there is intense and consistent year-round.

Autoflower cannabis

In cooler zones, outdoor farmers are constrained to summer; by autumn there is no longer enough light in the day. This is what makes indoor autoflower grows so popular in the United States and other northern climes.

Instead of blooming mid-summer, when outdoor sunlight is ideal, autoflowering plants bloom automatically, usually two to four weeks after sprouting. This allows greater control over the cultivation process and makes it possible to grow more weed.

But how to grow autoflowering seeds? Here’s a brief explainer.

First, here’s what you’ll need: “feminized” autoflowering seeds; a germinating kit; a bucket or pail that holds 5-15 gallons (with holes in the bottom); enough cannabis-friendly soil to fill your bucket to 3/4; and lights adequate for a standard indoor grow.

How to grow autoflower marijuana plants

Once you have your supplies, follow these steps to cultivate your seeds:

1. Germinate your autoflowering seeds using a germination kit. This is an easy process that requires only a cheap plastic kit and rockwool cubes. Germinate until a sprout starts to grow.

2. Put soil in the bucket until it’s 75 percent full. Even more soil is better, up to about 95 percent full. Of course, your choice of bucket will determine how much pot you’ll be able to grow.

3. “Flush” the soil by pouring a large amount of water onto it. This ensures the soil is damp throughout. Dry spots could block the growth of healthy roots.

4. Dig a shallow hole in the middle of the bucket, deep enough to cover the seed and its sprout, and then carefully place the seed in the hole and cover it with soil. Make sure the head of the sprout pokes up from under the dirt.

5. Next, set up your lights. Place them above the plants, leaving 6 to 10 inches between the hot bulbs and the plant tops. Raise the lights as the cannabis plant grows taller.

6. Follow a set lighting schedule during your autoflower grow. This is usually 18 straight hours of light each day and six hours of darkness, or 12 hours of each.

7. Follow recommended steps for a standard marijuana grow. Water the soil as needed (check every day and add water if the soil feels dry). Keep the light consistent throughout the entire cultivation period.

8. The final step in producing an autoflowering strain is to harvest the resulting bud after flowering is complete. Once bud start to blossom, you’ll have another 10 to 14 weeks before it’s ready to pick and process. You’ll know the time has come when you see a fine layer of white crystals on the bud.

And that’s how you grow an autoflowering marijuana plant. It’s no harder than growing any other type of cannabis seed, and it could leave you with an even better supply of dope. Give it a try!

Let us know: Have you ever grown a pot plant? What about an autoflowering plant? How did it go? Leave a comment.

October is peak season for marijuana growers’ expos, and there’s a big one coming to Colorado at the end of the month.

CannaGrow ExpoThe CannaGrow Expo, hosted in Denver from Oct. 29-30, is a gathering for cannabis cultivators who want to learn about the “art and science of growing,” organizers say. The two-day educational event will provide professional insight into the growing business and the agricultural techniques behind it.

The Expo is open to all adults 18 and older, but it’s targeted toward cultivators, grow managers, pot shop owners, and cannabis enthusiasts who want to learn how to grow and harvest the plant. Topics include cultivation technology, tools, and techniques, organizers say on their website.

CannaGrow Expo 2015
Images from the CannaGrow Expo 2015

The event will feature 25 classes focused on cultivation, each taught by “world-class growers.” Networking and an open expo hall with vendor displays will also be included.

Educational sessions will include a lecture on “Cultivation 101,” a beginner’s class offered once each day of the expo. The 85 vendors sponsoring the event include major cannabis-themed companies such as Leafly, as well as dozens of cultivation companies, pot shops, marijuana processors, and laboratories.

“If you care about cultivating world-class cannabis, you need to be at the CannaGrow Expo,” the website says.

Sadly, however, no toking will be allowed at the CannaGrow Expo. Marijuana is legal in Denver, as it is in the rest of Colorado, but the expo is not licensed for pot consumption, and the venue also wouldn’t allow it.

CannaGrow Expo 2015
Photos from the 2015 event

But that means adults between the ages of 18 and 21 are welcome to attend, with or without a medical marijuana card. The event is open to the public, but organizers stress that it’s a professional gathering designed to spread information about effective grow methods.

Organizers have reserved a block of rooms for visitors at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Hotel & Convention Center, at a discounted rate of $129 per night. The hotel is also the site of the expo and is located 10 minutes from Denver International Airport. It’s 20 minutes from downtown Denver.

Costs for attending the CannaGrow Expo itself vary. A full two-day pass runs $499 per person, while a single-day pass (either Saturday, Oct. 29 or Sunday, Oct. 30) costs $229 per adult. Interested growers may also purchase the full set of slides and other educational materials presented at the expo for $1,195. That cost does not cover attendance at the event itself.

Cannabis Cultuvation Expo
If you live in Colorado, head down to the CannaGrow Expo 2015 to learn about all the latest tips and techniques in the world of cannabis cutivation.

Check-in starts 9 a.m. Saturday in the lobby of the hotel. Two 50-minute lectures are scheduled between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., with three choices offered during each session. Lunch runs from noon to 1 p.m., followed by three classes at 1 p.m., two classes at 2 p.m., and an ice cream break at 3 p.m. Saturday’s events will finish with a networking round table and a cocktail hour starting at 5 p.m.

Sunday’s events starts at 9 a.m. with registration and coffee. Classes begin at 10 a.m., following the same schedule as Saturday until 3 p.m., followed by a tea hour and two final panel discussions. The expo closes at 5 p.m.

Leave a comment: Have you ever attended a marijuana cultivation convention? Did it help you grow pot?

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Anyone who has tried to grow pot plants at home is familiar with the many problems that can arise between seed and harvest. But one of the most important is stress, especially for cultivation using high-powered indoor grow lights.

These stresses can wilt leaves, limit potency, and stunt plant growth. The end product simply isn’t as good when a plant is stressed throughout the grow cycle.

There are multiple methods of reducing stress in a marijuana plant, but so-called “Low Stress Training” (LST) is one of the most effective. Used properly, low stress training can boost yields and improve the health of any garden.

LST works by creating an ideal lighting setup above each cannabis plant. Unhealthy stress most often results from improper lighting, which can expose plants to too much or too little heat than they need to produce good weed.

Optimizing your setup for light exposure

A traditional marijuana grow site would use an intense light source suspended above the plants. This is usually done with High Pressure Sodium (HSP) bulbs or LED cultivation lights. Light is centered directly above the center of the plant, meaning the top branches get the most light while the bottom branches get the least.

This can be a problem, since an ideal grow will encourage bud development on all parts of a plant. With too little light, the bottom can’t grow well, and with too much, the top is likely to wilt or even burn.

Low Stress Training

LST, by contrast, works by pulling the stalk of the plant down toward the ground. This puts most of the plant in a lateral position, parallel to the ground, so that the lowest branches are exposed to ample light. At the same time, the more evenly distributed light decreases stress throughout the plant and improves yields at harvest time.

Optional: Top the plant first

Here are the basics. First, top the plant; this is optional with LST, but if done should be done first. Topping involves trimming the apex nodes at the top of the stalk, a process that allows the plant to grow more nodes, which in turn produces more bud.

Low Stress Training

Topping should take place about a month after the start of the vegetative phase and should be repeated as needed until flowering. But caution is advised: Excessive topping can itself cause stress. It’s rarely a good idea to top more than three times.

Tie the stalks downwards

After topping, pull the plant downward and tie it down. Use string, wires, retractable lanyards, pipe cleaners, or any other items that effectively keep the stalk level with the ground or floor. First pull the branches back, then down, and lastly pull them outward so the lowest branches receive direct light.

LST should never be rushed. Plants should be bent and manipulated gently and tied down loosely. This can be done with two strings, each wrapped in padding and tied to one end of a cut rubber band. Attach the other end of the rubber band to the ground and hook the string around the stalk to pull it down. Increase tension as the plant grows. Do this at several points along the stalk.

The idea behind LST is to get as much light as possible to each part of the plant so it can produce more healthy marijuana flower. It also encourages the growth of new branches, which get more light and in turn generate more bud.

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Have you considered implementing a hydroponics system for growing marijuana? Such systems can be very effective for growing high-quality plants and ensuring bountiful harvests. Even if you have always achieved spectacular results by growing your marijuana plants in soil, there are many reasons why it might be in your best interests to adopt a hydroponics system.

hydroponics systemsHydroponics essentially involves growing plants without soil. The system typically involves the use of interconnected pipes or tubing, in which the plants are placed, with the roots of the plants immersed in a flowing solution in which the require nutrients are passed through. These systems are especially useful in cold climates, where growing plants in soil is impractical and/or impossible.

Among the benefits of hydroponics systems are:

  • Better control over the nutrients
  • Freedom from climate and location-based restrictions
  • More effective pest control
  • Lower cost due to a self-sustaining system
  • Higher yields
  • Better overall quality of your plants

Because your plants are placed in a carefully monitored system, you have much more control over nutrient intake. With soil-based systems, there is always a risk of under-nourishing or over-nourishing your plants, both of which can be detrimental to the yield and quality of your harvest. With hydroponics systems, you will be better able to identify nutrient deficiencies or over-nourishment, and therefore make the appropriate changes as necessary.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to opt for a hydroponics system is to be able to cultivate plants whenever and wherever you wish. Hydroponics systems can be installed indoors in a temperature-controlled environment, which means that you can grow marijuana all year ’round.

More effective pest control

Hydroponics systems give you much more control over pests. Because such systems are typically installed indoors, you automatically avoid the majority of pests that typically plague soil-based systems. Any instances of pest infestations are also more easily detected, allowing you to take action quickly before too much damage can be done to your plants.

Lower cost due to a self-sustaining system

Hydroponics systems can be set up to be entirely self-sustaining, which will go a long way in reducing your operational costs. Some growers have even set up their system with fish tanks that produce the necessary nutrients for the plants, with the discarded plant material then being brewed into a ‘tea’ that serves as fish food. With such a system, you can reduce operational costs considerably.

Higher yields

Better control over the nutrients and environmental factors help ensure higher overall yields. When you add to that the possibility of growing plants all year ’round, you can realize much higher yields in general. Lower incidences of pest infestations will also help you get more product per harvest.

Better overall quality of your plants

Finally, hydroponics systems help ensure the much higher quality of your product. Because you can more closely monitor the nutrition and growing environment, you can grow plants that are hardier, and much more potent and more flavorful than that which you could get from a soil-based system.

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Growing weed is as much an art as it is a science, and no method better typifies this concept than hydroponics. Although there is something to be said about growing marijuana in soil and outdoors – a method that has undoubtedly resulted in some prime bud – growing via a hydroponic system has a number of notable advantages of its own.

hydroponic marijuana grow

The Basic Concept of Hydroponics

One of the most notable characteristics of hydroponic cultivation is the use of an inert medium instead of soil. The system also relies on the introduction of nutrients that help encourage growth and increase yield, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. In many systems, nutrients such as calcium, chlorine, copper, manganese, zinc, boron, and iron are also introduced into the mix.

Necessary Materials and Procedure

In terms of materials and methods, hydroponic systems vary considerably depending on the goals of the grower and the space available. PVC pipes are commonly used to transport fluids and nutrients to the roots of the plants, which are usually suspended through holes in the pipes.

Lighting Systems

Most hydroponic systems also utilize artificial lighting for better control and more consistent illumination. This is especially useful during the vegetative stage of plant growth, when the goal is to increase foliage as much as possible. This will help increase yield when it comes time to harvest the plant, and will also ensure that the plant grows strong enough to support the heavy buds when the time comes to flower them.

In order to get the best results from the lighting system, it is important to ensure that no light enters the grow room from the outside. This isn’t as much of an issue during the vegetative phase of growth as it is during the flowering stage, when light leaks may confuse the plant. In extreme cases, light leaks may cause the plant to revert back into the vegetative stage when it should be flowering. It may also result in hermaphrodite plants that have much less potency and lower yields than female plants.

Hydroponics equipment and SuppliesVentilation Concerns

Ventilation is an important concern in any growing system, but it is especially crucial in a hydroponic system. For optimal growth and the health of your plants, you should make sure that carbon dioxide and humidity levels are kept at optimal levels at all times. You should also make every attempt to control heat by running a fan over your plants.

Cost of a Hydroponic System

One thing that you will realize is that growing via a hydroponic system will involve a higher initial startup cost compared to growing your plants in soil. You will also need considerably more knowledge to get your system up and running efficiently.

That being said, a hydroponic system will require much less space than a soil-based system. It is also a much more hygienic method of growing with no risk of pest infestation or root rot, which will result in healthier plants. More importantly, a hydroponic system will also get you a higher yield in much less time.

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Growing marijuana indoors might be a more favorable option if you don’t have space outdoors or if the climate is not suitable for outdoor growing. While many types of cannabis can be grown equally well indoors or outdoors, some strains are better suited to indoor growing.

Why would you want to grow weed indoors? For one thing, you will have a lot more control over the environment and growing factors than if you planted your seeds outdoors. It is also much easier to conceal your crop if secrecy and/or security is an issue.indoor grow marijuana plant

Below we present a selection of seeds that are ideally suited to indoor growing. Keep in mind that there are many more strains out there that will provide similarly satisfactory results, so ask your supplier for more suggestions.

One of the strains that you should try is Afghan. The result of the crossbreeding of different varieties of Kush, Afghan is almost entirely Indica. These plants are characterized by round leaves and big buds. Afghans don’t have as many crystals as other strains, but the smoke that it emits is very rich and smooth. It is also quite flavorful, with a potent fruity flavor. Afghans are high in cannibidiol content, which makes it one of the most suitable strains for pain-relief purposes.

Aurora Indica is another type of Indica that is ideally suited for indoor growing. It has actually the result of been around for many years and is derived from Northern Lights and Afghan strains. This lineage produces a strain of exceptionally high quality bud thanks to the individual qualities of Northern Light and Afghan, which are known for their high yield and robustness respectively.

The Aurora Indica strain is characterized by a heavy and stony high. The plant material itself is very dark – almost black, in fact – and the aroma is definitely on the pungent side. A very potent strain, Aurora Indica produces a very relaxing sensation that makes it ideally suited for those who are looking for a strain that can be used to provide a considerable degree of pain-relief. Because of its potency, Aurora Indica is best taken in small doses.

Haze is another great option for those looking for a strain to plant indoors. This particular variety of weed is derived from Jamaican sativa and Skunk. The resulting plant is characterized by long tall stems and golden-hued buds. The leaves are also noticeably narrow towards the end, and the buds themselves pack a very respectable 15% to 20% THC content despite their comparatively small size.

Haze plants can grow as high as 250 cm, and even taller plants are possible if they are given even more space. Because of its size, Haze is often the strain of choice for growers that are interested in maximum yield. That being said, Haze can be very challenging to grow, and is best suited to growers that have considerable experience with other strains. The high that users get from Haze is commonly described as strong and “uplifting”.