If a single, inorganically grown apple only had a single drop of pesticide on it — as it is by itself this is not ideal, but not catastrophically dangerous — it would literally take 500 of these pesticide-laced apples to cause a frightening reaction.
However, in the process of extractions (like those used in medicinal cannabis extraction), 1,000 apples are essentially smashed together and condensed down and put into a shot glass and made very easy to consume all at once. Now you have a circumstance where you can be exposed to a massive amount of a dangerous substance.
This is essentially the concern when it comes to patients using medical cannabis products not sourced from farms with organic growing methods.
As more people move away from the traditional consumption methods of cannabis, the extraction and refinement of these products warrant responsibility back to the growers.
The organic growing method movement is not a new idea. We’ve all heard of it, and most of us have looked at the apple that’s $1.25 more than the inorganic version and asked ourselves “what’s the difference?”
To those unaware of the truth and judging simply off physical appearance, there doesn’t appear to be a huge difference; however, at the cellular level, it’s apples and oranges. Organic growing methods for cannabis are even more important, and the reasons why are so significant that, to be honest, you should be afraid. The truth is fascinatingly terrifying.
Many chemicals used in traditional agriculture pose significant health risks to every person and animal that could even, potentially, come into contact with them.
In cannabis, these chemicals are applied throughout the plant and flower, and because the entire flower is processed, consumed or smoked, the patient would be exposed to every molecule of every substance that the plant has been treated or “laced” with.
Due to the chemical structure of the beneficial compounds in cannabis, these compounds must either be concentrated out, vaporized or burned.
Simply put: Some inorganic grow-method chemicals combined with the necessary consumption methods required to benefit from medicinal cannabis may put patients at a significant increased risk of developing other conditions while trying to treat their primary complaint. Justly, this is the reason that some medical professionals oppose medical cannabis, not because of its debunked, wives’ tale taboos.
The danger of these chemicals is no secret. Growers who use the chemicals are instructed by the companies who make the chemicals to wear a level of protective gear rated higher than what the Centers for Disease Control recommends for health care workers who are working with Ebola.
Full, impenetrable body suits, gloves, goggles, waterproof boots and carbon respirators are required just to be able to spray these chemicals onto plants, and this is just to prevent a microscopic droplet of it from touching the skin.
This begs the question, “Why are nonorganic method growers so afraid to get these chemicals on their skin or in their bodies?” The answer is disturbingly obvious. If the grower, the professional on the subject, avoids these chemicals getting onto or inside them at all costs, every patient should, too.
The most concerning issues with ingestion of nonorganic cannabis isn’t a factor that most have ever considered. Terminal patients, HIV/AIDS patients and cancer patients have compromised immune systems.
The common cold or even an infection from something as trivial as a paper cut can kill these patients; in fact, they do kill them by the thousands every day.
Many of these chemicals carry the warning of carcinogens and are known to cause cancer to begin with.
Patients need to be aware that they do have a choice for a safer, healthier and better-quality cannabis product.
One word to describe your cultivation style: Natural
Indoor, outdoor, greenhouse or a combination: Primarily indoor, with some outdoor cultivation
Can you share a bit of your background and how you and your company got to the present day?
Cannabis has been in my family since the 1920s. My great-grandpa supported our family supplementing his coal miners’ wages [by] cultivating cannabis. I have been cultivating cannabis since 2006. It was mostly for family medicine and enjoyment. Our company started in 2015 as primary caregivers for children with cancer. We very quickly became overwhelmed with patients in need of “clean medicine.” I started providing education on the non-common methods of ingestion and the benefits of acidic cannabinoids, [and] this opened up a whole new way to help patients. Meeting Bryan Wachsman [and] John and Cassie Stinchcomb in 2018, I was given the opportunity to expand and bring our products and knowledge to Green Prairie Farms.
What tool or software in your cultivation space can you not live without?
Green Prairie Farms’ space is extremely simple. Keep It Simple (KIS) is the motto! I would say that my 40x jewelers loupe is one of the tools I could not live without! An essential tool in a good integrated pest management (IPM) program. When consulting, I tell all of the growers this is their number one tool to use!
What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your business in the last six months?
Can’t get much in the cannabis industry for $100 or less. How about 20 pounds of salmon? It was used to make 1.5 gallons of fish amino acids (FAA). This Korean Natural Farming (KNF) input is being used at Green Prairie Farms’ grow in Tulsa, Okla. This batch of FAA will be enough for over 1,400 gallons—not bad for under $100!
What cultivation technique are you most interested in right now, and what are you actively studying (the most)?
KNF and JADAM Natural Farming have been my focus of cultivation and study for the last six years. I actively participate in local herb walks and do many collections of indigenous microorganisms (IMO) a year. I read a ton! Fermentation techniques are another topic of interest.
How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?
Everyone runs into problems when growing cannabis; it’s how you deal with them that makes you a better grower. I have learned to respond and prevent many of the common and difficult pests and diseases associated with cannabis cultivation. I came up with the saying, “An ounce of prevention yields pounds.”
My favorite failure has been going through my transition from the use of any commercial products to being 99-percent sustainable in my growing technique. I have killed a lot of plants learning! I now am able to cultivate beautiful, healthy plants that produce amazing, clean medicine. I make all of the nutrients and pest management amendments that are used with a high focus on organic inputs.
What advice would you give to a smart, driven grower about to enter the legal, regulated industry? What advice should they ignore?
No. 1: Educate yourself. That is my answer for both questions. Any person entering the industry usually finds out that it is not all it seems and the best thing you can do is not be ignorant to the law and compliance regulations. I mean, after all, it is up to us to up hold this legal privilege.
There are a lot of really good people in this industry—I mean, really good. They will help you learn valuable secrets to the game and get you involved in some amazing activities. But there are a lot of shady people that will do whatever it takes to make a dollar. That includes illegal activities that can stir up trouble for the individual, company and industry.
How do you deal with burnout?
I do my best to review the expectations. It is easy to get burned out if you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Setting checkpoints is another tool I like to use. It seems to give the little victories that make the big picture clear.
How do you motivate your employees/team?
I first and foremost believe in showing your appreciation for the work people do. A little gratitude goes a long way! The best manager I ever worked for told us, “I am only as good as the people that work for me. Please let me know if you need anything.” He told us that every week in staff meetings and always followed through.
I would never ask an employee to do a job I would not be willing to do myself. It is always a huge motivator when somebody gets in there and does the work with you.
What keeps you awake at night?
I have chronic refractory insomnia, so I usually don’t sleep much anyway. My brain doesn’t shut off so it can be hard to get a good night’s sleep. I miss our son; he passed away from a heroin overdose in 2018. He was 23.
What helps you sleep at night?
Reading and hash. I prefer heavy indica varieties; however, I usually just end up super high and not tired! I do not take any prescription medication for my insomnia, although it has been prescribed and recommended.
TULSA, Oklahoma – A new way of growing medical cannabis is making its way to Tulsa. Green Prairie Farms says instead of using chemicals, they’re using living soil to grow what they say is the highest quality medical cannabis in the state.
Bryan Wachsman says Green Prairie Farms is truly the first of its kind in Oklahoma.
“We are the only one in Oklahoma growing with a living soil system at this time. So, we are very unique in the fact that we are choosing to grow high-end cannabis,” said Wachsman.
With medical marijuana freshly legalized, Wachsman says there’s no law in place to regulate the product yet.