Tag: Cannabis 101

Male vs. Female Cannabis: How to Determine the Sex of Your Plant

In the world of plants, reproduction can happen in a variety of ways. Hermaphrodite plants grow single flowers that have both male and female reproductive organs. Monoecious plants produce two different types of flowers on the same plant. And then there are dioecious plants like cannabis, which produce either male or female reproductive organs.

Because cannabis grows as either a male or female plant, we can isolate the benefits of growing females with or without male interference. Introducing both males and females will result in cross-pollination and thus seeds, which is how a breeder achieves new genetics. On the other hand, removing a male from the garden allows female plants to grow large, seedless buds (called sensimilla). The resinous buds that we consume all come from female plants.

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Seeded buds are generally regarded as lower-quality cannabis. When seeds are present, the smoke becomes harsh and unpleasant. However, growers may introduce male plants to pollinate females if breeding a new strain or collecting seeds for next year’s crop.

Female genetics can be guaranteed by obtaining clones and feminized seeds. If, however, you’re working with regular seeds or are unsure of your seed type, knowing how to determine the sex of your plant is vital to developing new genetics, gathering seeds, or growing sensimilla. Luckily, sexing cannabis plants is easier than one might think if you know when and where to start looking.

How to Determine the Sex of a Cannabis Plant

Female cannabis pre-flowers grow as tiny bracts with hair-like stigma peeking out. Male plants produce small, round balls at the nodes. (Amy Phung/Leafly)

Cannabis plants show their sex by what grows in between their nodes (where leaves and branches extend from the stalk). What starts as a pollen sac on a male plant or a stigma on a female will become what either spreads or catches pollen, respectively. Luckily, we can see these differences weeks before they actually start serving their purposes in the reproduction cycle. These are known as “pre-flowers.”

Pre-flowers begin to develop four weeks into growth, but they may take a little longer depending on how quickly the sprouting phase occurred. By the sixth week, you should be able to find the pre-flowers and confidently determine the sex of your plant.

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Pre-flowers can initially be extremely small and hard to identify with the naked eye, but you can use a small jeweler’s magnifying glass to get a better look. Examine the nodes of the plant and look for either the early growth of small sacs (male) or two bracts (female), which will eventually produce the hair-like stigma.

Though there are other methods to determine what sex the plant is, examining pre-flower formation is the most reliable. Removing males early on is important for two reasons: it frees up space in your garden so females grow bigger and stronger, and it prevents males from pollinating females.

What Are Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plants?

Hermaphrodite cannabis can express both sex organs and self-pollenate. (Amy Phung/Leafly)

When a female plant develops both male and female sex organs, it is considered hermaphrodite. This means your cannabis plant is now capable of producing pollen that can pollinate your entire garden. “Herming out,” as some call it, is something that generally happens when a plant becomes excessively stressed. Some plant stressors include:

  • Plant damage
  • Bad weather
  • Disease
  • Nutrient deficiencies

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There are two types of hermaphrodite plants:

  • A plant that develops both buds and pollen sacs
  • A plant that produces anthers, commonly referred to as “bananas” due to their appearance

While both result in pollen production, true hermaphrodites produce sacs that need to rupture, while anthers are exposed, pollen-producing stamen.

Because this occurs when cannabis is under stress, it’s important to monitor plants after they have been exposed to stressors. Indoors, high temperatures, or light leaks are often the cause. Outdoors, a snapped branch might be repaired and then turn into a hermaphrodite.

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The other primary cause of hermaphrodite plants lies in the plant’s genetics. A plant with poor genetics or a history of hermaphrodite development should be avoided to protect your garden. If you notice any pollen sacs or anthers at any point, remove the plant from your garden immediately to prevent pollination of female plants.

If you’re interested in pollinating portions of your crop, remember that pollen is extremely potent and very good at traveling. Keep your males intended for pollination far from your garden space and work carefully with that pollen.


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

How to Use Light Deprivation Greenhouses for Growing Cannabis

You may have heard the term “light deps” thrown around, especially in the spring or summer. The term is short for“light deprivation,” which is a method of growing cannabis where you limit the plant’s exposure to sunlight, thereby controlling when the plants begin to flower.

Growing with light deprivation lets you harness the benefits of both indoor and outdoor growing, making it an ideal method for cultivating cannabis. Understanding the different light deprivation setups and the benefits that come with each is the first step to implementing this method in your cannabis garden.

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Light Dep Cannabis Growing Setups

High-end light deprivation setups can be costly, but low budget options are available as well. When deciding which route is right for you, it’s helpful to understand the cost-to-benefit ratio of each price point.

Low-Budget Light Deprivation Greenhouses

(Amy Phung/Leafly)

A low-budget light deprivation setup generally involves building hoop houses. With this setup, the garden is covered with clear plastic to help insulate the plants like a greenhouse, which will allow for longer seasons.

The cheapest way to create hoop houses is by using rebar, PVC, and 2x4s. The rebar anchors the PVC that is then used to build a hoop house over the desired garden space, while the 2x4s help stabilize the structure.

To control the light exposure in your hoop house, cover it using a light deprivation tarp. This tarp blocks sunlight, thereby controlling the light cycles for your plants. You can also moderate humidity and airflow in the hoop houses by including intake and outtake fans at either end of the hoop.

Low-budget systems such as this work well, but they do require more manual labor and are prone to malfunction. You need to pull the tarps on and off at the right time every day to keep the plants happy. High winds can also snap the PVC, which can then puncture your light deprivation tarps.

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Mid-Range Light Deprivation Greenhouses

(Amy Phung/Leafly)

A step above low-budget setups like hoop houses, a mid-range system will include a permanent greenhouse structure. This solid-standing greenhouse will withstand winds and allow for a light deprivation tarp to be operated on a pulley system or mechanical arm, which helps alleviate manual effort.

A greenhouse in this price bracket will have fans at either side that can pull fresh air into the space, and they can be set to run automatically to help control humidity. They may also include dehumidifiers and heaters to create longer seasons.

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High-End Light Deprivation Greenhouses

(Amy Phung/Leafly)

High-end systems combine the best aspects of both indoor and outdoor farming. Climate control is entirely automated by computers that increase or decrease temperature and humidity according to the plants’ needs. Reliable and sturdy shutters can run on timers and block light in place of tarps.

What’s more, high-end setups can also include grow lights. By having the ability to use both natural light and grow lights, cannabis can be produced year-round by using the sun when available and then relying on grow lights to supplement. Using natural light when available makes these systems highly profitable if you can afford the initial investment.

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Benefits of Growing Cannabis With Light Deprivation

When it comes to growing with a light deprivation system, there are many benefits that lighten the leg work and financial burden involved in growing quality cannabis. Here are a few things to consider as you determine if the investment will be worth it for you.

Higher Quality Cannabis at a Lower Price

Growing cannabis under the sun produces an incredible product, but there’s also a laundry list of things that can go wrong, especially if you aren’t growing in the perfect environment. By growing in a greenhouse, you can protect your plants from damaging weather that can decrease THC production, break down terpenes, and cause your buds to mold. Also, in a greenhouse you can control the climate when necessary by using fans, dehumidifiers, and heaters.

When you take away the hazards of growing outdoors and introduce the benefits of indoor climate control, you can create a product of superior quality while saving money on your electric bill.

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Multiple Harvests for a Higher Annual Yield

One benefit of growing cannabis indoors is the ability to produce cannabis year round regardless of the weather or natural sunlight. With light deprivation, you have the ability to harvest multiple times in a season, if not year round, depending on your setup. With several harvests in a year, you’ll increase profits from your garden and have the opportunity to run different strains in a given season.

Control of Cannabis Vegetative to Flowering Stage

Having control over when your plants switch from their vegetative to flowering stage offers many benefits:

  • If your plants are looking sick, you can take more time getting them healthy before you switch to flowering.
  • If you haven’t pruned your garden to your liking, you can hold off on flowering until you’ve caught up.
  • Finally, and most importantly, you get to decide when your garden has grown to your satisfaction before you switch to flowering.

Light deprivation is an excellent way to produce quality cannabis at a budget price. It’s also a fun way to explore growing earlier and/or later in the season than you normally could when growing outdoors. If you have any experience with light deps, leave a comment below and share your experience and tips!


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

The Cole Memo: What Is It and What Does It Mean?

“The Cole Memo” is a phrase that often comes up when discussing cannabis and politics, but many people, even more knowledgeable cannabis consumers, aren’t entirely sure what it is or what it means for the cannabis industry.

What Is the Cole Memo?

In 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington legalized cannabis for adult use. By August 2013, both states were deep in the process of drafting rules and regulations for the nascent industry. With the new state laws at odds with federal law in an entirely unprecedented way, state attorneys looked to the federal government for guidance.

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The Cole Memo was a document originally drafted by former US Attorney General James M. Cole in 2013. Cole issued a memorandum to all US attorneys that was published through the Department of Justice on August 29, 2013. The memo indicated that prosecutors and law enforcement should focus only on the following priorities related to state-legal cannabis operations:

  • Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors;
  • Preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels;
  • Preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states;
  • Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;
  • Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana;
  • Preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use;
  • Preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands; and
  • Preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.

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It was modeled after a similar memorandum issued by Deputy Attorney General David Ogden in 2009 that directing US attorneys to “not focus federal resources in your states on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.”

The Cole Memo represented a significant shift in the federal government to de-prioritize the use of funds to enforce cannabis prohibition under the Controlled Substances Act towards a more laissez-faire, hands-off approach.

After the memo was issued, most federal prosecutions were halted unless they met the listed criteria. A notable exception was the case of the Kettle Falls Five, a family that relied on cultivating medical cannabis as part of a collective garden in Washington state in 2015. The family was cultivating plants for five patients, but the plant number exceeded the 45-plant limit. After firearms were found on their property, the entire family faced five federal drug charges, of which four were dismissed.

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Since the issuance of the memo, federal cannabis prosecutions have petered off in legal states. In August 2017, the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety appointed by Jeff Sessions found no new policy suggestions, and its report stated that officials should continue to oppose rules that block the Justice Department from interfering with medical marijuana programs in states where it is allowed.


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

At the Trichome Institute, Students Learn to Predict Cannabis Effects by Aroma

Is Interpening Legit, or Just Difficult?

When students reach Level 2 of the interpening program, they must take a test in which they plot anonymous strains on the indica to sativa spectrum using only their nose–and only about 10 percent of exam takers will pass and achieve their interpening certification. But is the test really that difficult, or is there a problem with the method?

“If there are distinctions between available cannabis ‘strains,’ such phenomena are most likely related to relative terpenoid contents and ratios.”

Dr. Ethan Russo

“I’m super confident in basing strain classification on aroma. I’m 100% solid on that,” Montrose told Leafly. “What I also respect is how hybridized these flower types are.”

Cannabis can contain more than 200 different terpenes, some of which deliver more intense aromas than others.

“Let’s say 150 of them are more sedative terpenes, but you still pick out that strong citrus note because it’s sharp, it’s strong, and you’re familiar with it,” Montrose said. “But maybe there are many more terpenes that have a pharmacy of being more sedative.” In this way, interpening can sometimes be incredibly difficult for the initiate.

Arizona resident Kiley Kane uses a flashlight to observe a flower during a sommelier class at SOHI Art Gallery in Denver, CO. (Daniel Brenner for Leafly)

“Someone else besides me will need to design a test to prove this theory,” Montrose said, when asked how interpening will be fact checked in the future. He mentions using neurological studies someday to bring empirical evidence to the correlations.

Research on cannabis terpenes is already on the rise, thanks in large part to neurologist and psychopharmacologist, Ethan Russo. “If, as many consumers and experts maintain, there are biochemical, pharmacological, and phenomenological distinctions between available cannabis ‘strains,’ such phenomena are most likely related to relative terpenoid contents and ratios,” Russo stated in a paper titled “Taming THC.”

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THC and CBD cannot be solely responsible for all the nuanced effects of cannabis flower, and as educated consumers shift their thinking towards terpenes, it makes sense to teach and engage practices such as interpening.

Montrose gives the example of Banana Kush and Golden Goat, two strains he found with identical cannabinoid profiles. “They were both 22% THC, 1.5% CBD, and 0.5% CBN,” he said. “So why does one flower make you feel like you can clean your whole house while the other makes you feel like you can’t lift a pinky? What’s the difference if their cannabinoids are identical? It’s terpenes. And terpenes are complex.”

Interpening in a Rapidly Changing Industry

Trichome Institute sales and operations manager Rollie Hermoso points out different aspects of a flower during a sommelier class at SOHI Art Gallery in Denver, CO. (Daniel Brenner for Leafly)

While appreciating the nuances of cannabis aroma could be as much of a hobby as coffee, beer, or wine tasting, interpening serves purposes beyond enjoyment or bragging rights. It allows patients and consumers to be more confident in their selection of a product–a product whose label often lacks the real information they need.

“Interpening is important for people today because it helps them select what they are getting in a time period where that’s a challenge in our industry,” Montrose said.

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Even in legal, regulated states where lab testing is mandated, consumers typically only know:

  • The strain’s name, according to the grower
  • Its indica, sativa, or hybrid classification, according to the grower
  • The cannabinoid content (THC, CBD, etc.)

It’s become commonplace to rely on just a single facet of a product, such as THC percentage or strain name. For many consumers, that’s enough, especially if they aren’t insistent on a particular experience or therapeutic benefit.

But Montrose thinks we can do better for the wide variety of consumers that exist, like the insomniacs who need to know they’ll be able to sleep at night. The novice consumer looking for a relaxed first time experience. The person treating depression who requires a stimulating strain to stay up and out of bed. We can do better for anyone who just wants more out of their experience, because the world of cannabis is an ever-expanding playground if we take the time to learn more about it.

“Even if you’ve smoked cannabis for 10 years, it still isn’t anywhere close to what you think it is,” Montrose said. “There’s so much more to know about it.”


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

Can Medical Marijuana Patients Legally Own Guns?

Is it legal to own a firearm as a legally registered medical marijuana patient? The simple answer is no, but how strictly is this law enforced?

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Cannabis and Gun Control Policy

Christopher Morales, a California criminal defense attorney, provided some legal insight into this complex matter. “The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits anyone from possessing guns if they use or are addicted to cannabis,” Morales explained.

“The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits anyone from possessing guns if they use or are addicted to cannabis.”

Christopher Morales, San Francisco criminal defense attorney

The exact wording of the federal law prohibits any “unlawful user” or addict of cannabis (or any other federally restricted substance) from purchasing guns, even if that individual resides in a state with legal medical or adult-use cannabis laws.

A Nevada medical marijuana patient named S. Rowan Wilson challenged the ruling after she attempted to purchase a firearm for self-defense in 2011. When the gun store refused to sell to her, she filed a lawsuit challenging the federal statute against gun ownership by a lawful marijuana patient.

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The case went all the way to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, where, on August 31, 2016, Chief District Judge Gloria Navarro ruled that a federal government ban of gun sales to abiding state-legal medical marijuana patients does not violate the Second Amendment.

The Background Check Loophole

Although the ruling makes this policy seem pretty definitive, that’s not always the case, according to Morales.

“The fact is that for gun purchases, every state is different. Some states require a background check, and are required to call in to check their criminal record, but they’ll get put on hold or can’t get through and just hang up,” he said. “Some states, like Georgia, are the easiest to buy a gun in. You can walk into a flea market and purchase a gun, no problem.”

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US federal law clearly states that all licensed firearm dealers must perform background checks on those seeking to purchase a gun. However, unlicensed firearms dealers, such as those at gun shows, are not required to perform background checks. Approximately 22% of all firearm sales take place between unlicensed sellers who do not perform background checks. This conundrum is often referred to as the “gun show loophole.”

Eleven states (and one district) have closed the loophole by requiring background checks at the point of sale for firearms:

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Eight states require not only a background check, but also a permit for private purchasers:

It’s worth noting that none of these states specifically ban gun ownership by medical marijuana patients or adult cannabis consumers. However, if a gun owner ends up facing a large-scale cannabis cultivation charge or a possession with intent to sell charge, they may face additional aggravating factors for the connection of a firearm, in addition to a perjury charge.

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The ‘Full Disclosure’ Catch-22

After the Ninth Circuit Court ruling, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives added a warning to the Firearms Transaction Record, or Form 4473, amending the question regarding whether or not the prospective firearm owner uses or is addicted to marijuana:

“Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”

“Just say the four magic words: ‘I want my attorney.’”

Christopher Morales

Saying “yes” means that even otherwise law-abiding medical marijuana patients or adults using cannabis in a legal state are not considered eligible to own a gun under federal law. Saying “no” is considered perjury and is punishable as a felony under federal laws. However, this law only applies if the gun sellers do their due diligence in completing the background check process to legally own a gun, and the regulations on gun purchases are lax and rarely enforced.

If you’re trying to cooperate with law enforcement, should you disclose that you’re carrying a firearm if you’re a lawful medical marijuana patient? We asked Morales outright whether people should disclose if they’re carrying a legally registered weapon or if they have cannabis in the car for medical purposes.

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“I recommend never confessing to police if you have drugs or guns in your vehicle,” he insisted. “You are under no obligation to disclose that information.”

Instead, he made a different recommendation. “Just say the four magic words: ‘I want my attorney.’”


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

What’s a ‘Grinder Coin’, and How Does It Affect Your Kief Collection?

As an avid cannabis consumer, I’m always looking for opportunities to get more out of my buds. One of the easiest, low-cost ways to extend the life of your cannabis and the tasty trichomes covering it is to get a quality two-chamber grinder. These grinders are usually denoted by their four-piece construction: lid (top grinder), grinder tray (bottom grinder), bud receptacle, and kief catcher. While many cannabis consumers prefer to break up their bud with their hands, I choose to grind my herb because it improves airflow (in a bowl or in a joint) while saving broken trichomes for later use.

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The addition of a kief catcher allows for the passive harvest of potent, delicious trichomes that can be pressed into hash, added to cannabutter or cannabis-infused coconut oil, or simply sprinkled into a joint or on top of a bowl. In an attempt to gather as much of this unrefined cannabis concentrate as possible, I added one additional (albeit optional) piece to my grinder set-up: a clean coin.

(Leafly)

A “grinder coin” can improve the amount of kief you gather from your ground cannabis without reducing the overall potency of your cannabis-consuming experience too much. People who already utilize a grinder coin go at harvesting their kief in a few different ways. The newest method to me is placing your grinder (containing your freshly ground herb) into the freezer for 5 – 10 minutes before shaking vigorously. I understand the motivation to freeze the trichomes (possibly making them more brittle), but I believe the grinding motion alone should be enough agitation to gather kief without postponing your access to your freshly ground cannabis.

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You might be wondering, “Is there a special type of coin I should use in my grinder?” No, but I would note that the size of the coin should be relative to the size of your grinder. If you have a small micro-grinder, a sterilized dime or nickel could work well. Conversely, if you grind a bit more than the Average Joe and have a grinder of considerable size, I would recommend a clean quarter, Loonie, pound, or, for those with a penchant for Feng Shui and lucky numbers, the eight-sided Singapore $1 coin.

These are just a few example, but there are tons of options out there. One that has gotten some recognition in the r/trees subreddit is the 1969 Bahama Islands pineapple five-cent piece. The pineapple, or “highnapple,” is one of the newer symbols in cannabis culture, and this piece of history synthesizes the old world with the new. Check out this Etsy page for the pineapple coin and more cool old coins to add to your grinder.

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Obviously, before you drop a piece of loose change you found in your pocket or couch cushions into your grinder, wash and sterile it. This will just take a few moments with some hot water, soap, a sponge, and elbow grease to remove any particulates or patina from the coin. Afterwards, give it a quick shine with 70%+ isopropyl alcohol, pat and air dry, then deposit.

A grinder coin is one more layer of personalization cannabis consumers can add to their setup, and without too much effort. But whether or not you add some change to your cannabis, keep your kief, make something special, and stay on your grind.


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

Tips for Growing Critical Kush Cannabis

Ever wanted to grow your favorite strain? Leafly and General Hydroponics are teaming up on a series of grow guides that will equip you with all the tips and tricks you need to grow different strains successfully.


Strain Overview: Produced by Barney’s Farm, Critical Kush was bred by crossing Critical Mass with OG Kush. Known for its spicy, earthy flavor and overwhelming yield, this strain remains popular among growers and consumers alike.

Grow Techniques: Provide plenty of space for these plants when you grow them. Prune aggressively and trellis the branches so that the buds have room to fill in. Maintain low humidity while flowering and keep airflow up to prevent bud rot. Grow either hydroponically or in soil and keep the buds out of the rain if growing outside. Critical Kush is a great option for growing in greenhouses if you’re looking for a large harvest.

Flowering Time: 8 weeks 

Yield: High

Grow Difficulty: Moderate

Climate: Prefers a temperate to hot climate between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Indoor/Outdoor: Suitable for either indoor or outdoor gardens. Works well in greenhouses where humidity can be managed effectively.

Feeding: Feed heavily while flowering to keep the buds swelling. If using liquid nutrients, also top dress the soil to allow the plants to take in a diversity of flowering nutrients at their desired rate.


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

How to Roll a Better Crutch for Your Joint or Spliff

A crutch—also called a filter or a tip—is one of the easiest improvements to make to the standard joint. It’s effectively a mouthpiece, and it serves a number of purposes: It keeps the end of your joint open (even when sharing with your wet-lipped friends), blocks bits of plant matter from getting in your mouth, and ensures you don’t burn your kisser as you puff your way down to the roach.

Some people, including a few of my best friends, insist on rolling joints without crutches. I think those people are silly. Others include a crutch but treat it as an afterthought. While I respect that everyone has their own methods, I thought I’d share my preferred way of building a crutch. It’s quick, easy, and has earned the seal of approval from co-workers here at Leafly.

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What to Use

Unless you opt for a reusable glass tip, the best material for a crutch is stiff paper. You’re looking for something thicker than printer paper (which is too flimsy) but thinner than a cereal box (too bulky). Some of my favorite options include:

  • An index card
  • A manila file folder
  • The back flap of a checkbook
  • A magazine subscription card
  • Some business cards (not the thick ones)

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There is also a bunch of pre-cut crutches on the market these days. My favorites are RAW’s standard tips, which use long-fiber paper made on a special mill. They’re designed specifically to roll up smoothly and have enough rigidity to hold their shape in your mouth. (I initially thought these were dubious marketing claims, but after two years of using ‘em, I’m convinced.)

I’m partial to use these RAW tips, which is what I’ll be using to demonstrate. (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

The Easy (but Flawed) Way

Most people I’ve smoked with tend to roll a crutch by literally rolling it into a cylinder. When viewed head-on, it looks like a spiral.

One of the most common methods to make a crutch or filter tip is to roll it into a cylinder. (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

This is an easy technique, but it has some drawbacks. The main weakness is that the opening in the center of the crutch is big enough to let through small pieces of plant matter, which can end up getting in your mouth. Another problem is that it’s not particularly sturdy and can sometimes pinch closed. Does it work? Sure. But there’s a better way.

The Better Way

You can make a much better crutch simply by adding a few accordion-style folds before rolling it up. It takes a tiny bit of practice to master, but the end product will keep those pesky flecks of cannabis out of your mouth and ensure a smooth draw.

To start, make a few folds at the end of your crutch material. Make the folds about as wide as you want the final crutch to be. Be sure not to crease the paper when you’re folding it; otherwise the final crutch will be too tight.

Start by putting a few accordion-style folds in your crutch material. Keep in mind, the space between your folds will determine the crutch’s width. Don’t crease! (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

How many folds to use is up to you. Some people talk about making an M shape inside the crutch, while others opt for a simple V. I tend to toss in a few more. Experiment to find out what you like best.

Once you’ve made those first few folds, roll the remaining crutch material around the folded part. Make sure you have enough unfolded paper to wrap completely around the crutch—you want the final product to roll easily between your fingers.

After a few folds, start to wind the remaining paper around the folded part. Make sure to leave enough left over to wrap all the way around the crutch. (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

Wrap up all the excess paper—you can rip some off if you have too much—and roll the finished crutch between your fingers. You might find that it wants to unroll or expand on its own. That’s OK. Once you roll the crutch into your joint, that springiness will help keep the crutch from falling out of the end of your joint.

Your finished crutch should look something like this. Just keep winding that excess paper. (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

Put the crutch at the end of your rolling paper and roll it into your joint. I like to leave a little of the crutch exposed, then push it flush with the edge of the rolling paper once I’m finished rolling.

Here’s what it looks like when I’m done:

The accordion-style crutch helps keep bits of plant material out of your mouth while still allowing for a smooth draw. (Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

The More Expensive Way

Can’t be bothered to practice tiny origami? That’s fine. Either buy a reusable tip, skip the crutch altogether, or opt for a pre-rolled crutch. There are all sorts of pre-rolled options these days, including choices by RAW, Elements, and a handful of others.

The tips work just fine, but they’ll cost you a bit more. RAW’s standard tips, which I used above, cost around $0.75 for 50. The company’s pre-rolled tips go for about $1.75 for 20—or more than twice as much.

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What’s in a Pre-Roll?

What are your tips and tricks for rolling the perfect joint? Share them in the comments below or give me a shout on Twitter.


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

Tips for Growing Sensi Star Cannabis

Ever wanted to grow your favorite strain? Leafly and General Hydroponics are teaming up on a series of grow guides that will equip you with all the tips and tricks you need to grow different strains successfully.


Strain Overview: A classic indica bred by Paradise Seeds, Sensi Star has been around for decades and continues to hold its own amongst today’s many popular strains. Sensi Star is known for its powerful high as well as also being a heavy yielder that consistently produces buds blanketed in resin.

Grow Techniques: Paradise Seeds celebrates this strain’s ability to be grown indoors or outdoors successfully. They also note that growing hydroponically or in soil works well. Indoors, you can maximize the yield by using SOG (sea of green) or SCROG (screen of green) methods. Promote bushy growth by topping the plants while they are in vegetative growth. The buds produced are very dense, so keep them away from excess moisture to prevent mold.

Flowering Time: 8 to 9 weeks

Yield: High

Grow Difficulty: Moderate

Climate: Sensi Star likes a controlled, drier climate with temperatures between 68 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Indoor/Outdoor: Grows well indoors or outdoors.

Feeding: Feed this strain with a normal feeding regimen to achieve quality results.


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.

Tips for Growing Pineapple Kush Cannabis

Ever wanted to grow your favorite strain? Leafly and General Hydroponics are teaming up on a series of grow guides that will equip you with all the tips and tricks you need to grow different strains successfully.


Strain Overview: Pineapple Kush was first produced by crossing Pineapple with Master Kush. Kush strains are generally known for their pungent, piney aroma, and this cross sweetens the flavor with tropical notes. This popular Kush variety offers a quality cerebral high with uplifting effects that allow the consumer to stay active and engaged.

Grow Techniques: Overall, Pineapple Kush is an easy strain for novice growers. Keep it indoors to provide an ideal climate, and try growing in soil or hydroponically. Consider using the SOG (sea of green) method while keeping the plants tightly pruned to direct growth to the top colas. To keep plants from falling over, trellis for support as the buds put on density.

Flowering Time: 8 weeks

Yield: Moderate to high

Grow Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Climate: Unlike some Kush strains, Pineapple Kush can handle higher humidity levels without having issues with mold. It prefers a temperature between 68 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Indoor/Outdoor: Pineapple Kush does best indoors in a controlled climate.

Feeding: Like all OG varieties, feed on the heavier side. Go heavy on the CalMag and top dress the soils with phosphorus-rich nutrients when going into flowering.


Thanks you for visiting FLMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Florida. Currently, there is a Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2016 Ballot to legalize High-THC Medical Marijuana in the State of Florida. The FLMMCC Florida State Licensed Doctors are ready to review your medical records for a “FREE Pre-Qualification”. This will be the first step in becoming a legal Florida Medical Marijuana patient when the law passes.