Craft cannabis is a lot like craft beer. Craft beer is artisanal beer made in small batches by small breweries with a higher attention to detail and more freedom to experiment with different brewing methods and flavors. But what exactly is craft cannabis? Is it any good, and how is it different from the commercial cannabis found at the big corporate dispensaries? Here’s everything you need to know.
What is craft cannabis?
Craft cannabis is also known as small-batch cannabis or artisanal cannabis. It’s grown small-scale with an emphasis on quality over quantity, and is produced by growers who can put every minute of their time into providing the plants with everything they need every day to bring forth the best scents, flavors and effects of their class-A genetics.
Craft cannabis is grown with love. Between a hands-on approach and quality genetics, craft growers are able to grow some of the best weed in the world. It’s a cultivation-oriented, cultivation-first approach to growing the green stuff that combines a love and passion for the plant with the science behind the care it needs to produce the best harvest possible.
Craft cannabis is grown on smaller family farms, primarily in Northern California where the environment is perfect for sustainably grown full-term sun-grown cannabis. These farms produce small-batch cannabis by using natural and regenerative farming techniques. However, craft cannabis can be grown anywhere. While some people argue that small-batch cannabis grown indoors or outside of soil isn’t truly craft cannabis, it all boils down to the love and intention of meticulously caring for a small harvest until it’s perfect.
How is craft cannabis different from ordinary cannabis?
The biggest differences between craft cannabis and commercial cannabis boils down to the size of the grow, the attention paid to the plant’s individual needs, and the quality of the plants at the end of their lifecycle.
Craft cannabis cultivation is more of a hands-on approach that focuses on the technique, the grow medium, the genetics, and the atmosphere you’re growing in much more than an automated process for max production and time constraints. Commercial cannabis treats cannabis like a commodity to sell to the masses.
However, for craft growers, selling to the masses isn’t equitable and leads to an inferior product. Each individual strain has different needs throughout its lifecycle, and when these needs are met through different growing techniques, the plants display their best traits. Larger cannabis grows grow for scale over genetic expression and don’t change their technique regardless of the strains they run. In most cases, they grow a variety of different strains under the same lighting and watering cycles and rush the curing process to get their products into the market as fast as they can. This always earns a big harvest, but the quality is lacking.
Veteran cannabis connoisseurs and aficionados alike want better flavors, aromas, and effects. Bigger companies that produce large amounts of weed for the lowest prices on the market simply can’t deliver. But that’s where craft cannabis companies come in. Craft companies are extremely attentive with their small-batch harvests. They take the time to cater to each individual strain’s unique needs throughout its life and tend to only run one strain at a time to give the plants the best possible conditions that help them display the very best expression of their genetics.
Craft cannabis companies don’t rush their harvests, either. Some strains are ready to harvest earlier and some are ready to harvest later, and they take the time to ensure the strains they choose are ready before they cut them down. They also take their time to slow-cure their cannabis as it dries to maintain the flavors and aromas and optimal moisture levels required of a top-shelf strain.
Lastly, bud integrity is very important to craft growers. In a rush to flood the market with product, larger companies will use machines to trim their plants which aggressively separates trichomes from the plant. Trichomes house cannabinoids and terpenes which are vital to the flavor and effects that cannabis provides, and without them, you’re left with an inferior product. Craft growers meticulously hand-trim their flowers to preserve their integrity before they’re sold.
Ultimately, craft cannabis focuses more on the quality of the plant. While craft cannabis has successfully been grown in massive warehouses, it boils down to attention to detail at the end of the day. Craft growers are master growers with natural green thumbs who are capable of caring for a plant’s individual needs and giving it everything it needs to be the best version of itself. Commercial growers are looking to grow as much weed as they can and bring it to the masses with little regard to quality.