PREFACE: This blog was written by a relatively new but dear friend of mine. I met Chuck by buying chickens for our organic egg farm from him and his partner Christine's small business High Valley Hatchery (yes! they mail chicks!). Chuck's story is meant to inspire others and help relieve the stigma placed upon cannabis and cannabis users. Battling Parkinsons Disease and Life in general, Chuck's story was uploaded here in completely raw form, absolutely no edits or censoring on our end, we felt it important to bring you Chuck's Story exactly as told. Please do enjoy!
- Jeremy Beebe, Owner of Hempvada
The Cannabis plant has been studied for thousands of years. This narrative is meant to chronicle what I have learned about Marijuana in the last seven years living in Colorado where I could freely grow without fear. It is also my personal dialogue about lessons along the way. I don’t have the desire to reinvent the wheel. There are so much info out there on this subject. I will stick to what I’ve learned to share with you.
My relationship began with Marijuana as many have…. Experimenting in High School. It is true many peoples first experience with Cannabis is varied and In no way is right for every single person. Having said that there are also many deficiencies in the human condition that can be soothed and helped with various applications of cannabis applied with sensible and informed decisions.
My initial contact with the medicine was uninformed and misguided by the rhetoric and misinformation held out in the public for so long. My father loved his whisky, but my herb was of the devil. Yes… so many have similar stories.
I recognized early on using the herb that the stress from my father’s abuse was eased with smoking Marijuana. The herb helped me create a buffer from the abuse and protect my mental state under stress of abuse.
There were so little real facts about marijuana in the first days of the internet. What was out there was so misguided and slanted in facts. So, then it was about being very careful who you told you smoked herb and always cautious. I knew it helped me deal with anxiety in 1990 before anxiety was a catch all word and still greatly misunderstood.
I am an educated man and had to watch people’s judgement of smokers and be quiet for fear of incarceration. The “stoners are idiots” is simply not true and just because someone in Hollywood made a funny movie with stoners it really sent the wrong message to the populace and gave all smokers the moniker of idiocy. I began smoking at 18 and I am 53 and smoke each day but over the years smoking less and taking more edibles and RSO for anxiety and muscle tremors. After all these years I still have no desire to rape and pillage the countryside… though that’s what the politicians use to say “weed” would do to you.
The number of times I road with my father to his favorite liquor store for his beloved Vodka or Whisky while bitching at me for smoking herb. He basically told me it’s better to be an alcoholic rather one of those damn hippies. He was never able to tell me exactly why his vodka was better. It just was.
Before legalization efforts bore real fruit, I experimented over The years with growing the herb. I was always screwing up the proper food and care. There were a few grow books out there if you could find them and then not get caught by my father was another issue entirely.
Starting from seed: These days it is fairly simple to procure quality genetics in a seed purchase. Once you have a healthy seed with stable genetics you need rock wool and proper nutrition for the seedling. Plant the rock wool with a min. of two seeds and keep damp and plain potting mix. Again, depending on your climate keep moist but don’t over do it.
The rock wool will provide much needed protection and moisture for the seedling. The ph balanced nutrition I use is made by advanced nutrients. They come in grow and bloom phase and are specifically designed to promote cannabis plant growth and health and created by awesome “Hippies”.
The nutrients are natural and sensitive to the plant. If you follow the directions it is impossible to overfeed the plants or burn them with too much. I have tried so many versions of nutrients and these guys at Advanced Nutrients have got it figured out. My plant stalks are so thick and strong I only have to brace up the plant at the end of the bloom phase in the last two weeks before harvest. Growers Choice……
It is very satisfying to see the deep emerald green in the leaves and know with continued love there will be medicine at the end of the process. Here is an irony for the reader about cannabis. I can type on this keyboard only because RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) is in my system and my tremors are so light I can hit almost every key I shoot for with my fingers. Before my disability I worked as a PC and network Tech. Typing on a keyboard was a required daily routine.
Having the use of my fingers is a blessing once you lose dexterity and know how depressing it can be to not be able to function as you once did.
In all my doctors’ visits to determine what ailment I have most of them when I spoke of Cannabis they would get that look. The look that says I’m just not going to say anything and smile at the patient because I don’t believe a plant derivative can help more than the pharmacy I can prescribe and get them addicted to.
There have been a couple doctors here in Colorado that have been supportive for using the herb for sleep and lessen anxiety. It is possible to see the changing persecutory attitude towards Cannabis. Even in legalized states you can still run into the old attitude of “useless devil weed”. In a short trip to the State of Idaho a few months back we were parked at a grocery store and a man walked out and looked at the tag on the truck and started mumbling about weed and spitting on the front of the truck. I sat there with my mouth hanging open in surprise then by the time the old dude drove back past me I started cussing as he was once again trying to spit on the grill of the truck.
Once acquiring the seed and rockwool planning for planting gets a little closer. Here in Colorado we have a safe planting day. That’s the day there is guaranteed no more frost that would kill a delicate plant. If you can start your new plants inside while waiting on the safe day you can jump start your grow and subsequent harvest.
If you are lucky to be using feminized seeds, then your guaranteed females when they pop and no male plants to have to deal with unless you are seeking a seed harvest.
Drainage is vital for the health of the plant and her roots. I take standard potting soil in bulk and add extra perlite before planting to ensure health of the plant’s roots. A consistent feeding regium is so important. I feed in the cool of the morning and feed each day. With proper drainage in the grow matter you can feed without worries of overfeeding. Getting the plant on a steady growth schedule cannot be overstated. Just like feeding any baby… consistent care is vital. Feeding at regular times also guarantees you will be checking on the plants growth and condition each day and dealing immediately with possible pest problems.
When I water my plants, it is a very set routine. I start on one side of the plant at the base and count to five as I make a circle of water around the plant. I water at the base to ensure no possible mold issues. Encircling in a steady pour will also ensure all roots get equal food. The time count will change as your plants grow and require more water enhanced nutrients. When I reach harvest, I have a watering schedule that lasts for five minutes for the last few weeks of bloom. If you watch the ground around the plant, you can see saturation occur and know when to stop and adjust accordingly.
This will vary per grow as the depth and width of your grow area will play a direct part in the size of the plant you will harvest. With my small greenhouse I have found my ten plants need grow holes that are two feet wide and two to three feet deep and each hole is separated by at least three feet. This will allow for branch growth without restriction from the next plant providing a happy and healthy yield of premium flower.
So…there is a mix of rules that must be followed and your own personal fails that you will learn from. It is so important to see failures as learning experiences and not reasons to quit trying to produce your own personal grow and enjoy the rewards of “doing it yourself”.
Just like building a strong house. You get your foundation down first and in this case it’s the basic growing rules you follow to ensure a proper basis for healthy plants. From the basics you can build your house the way you choose, and it may be in this case growing mediums or natural light or artificial. Once the basics are down you will tailor your grow for your personal needs of medicine. I personally grow to use the flower to make Phoenix Tears or others call it RSO. Mr. Simpson prefers calling the medicine “phoenix Tears”. The RSO pill I take at bedtime makes it possible to hold a fork for breakfast that otherwise would be eggs flying off my fork from tremors before I could get the fork to my mouth.
Okay…now let’s discuss what the older generations would call Hippy nonsense. It is vitally important to love your plants and your grow. Is it not true things we love in this life we tend to take better care of? Of course, we do. Each day you feed your plants you check them for healthy leaves and so on. So …love your plants…. they will love you back. That investment of love will pay you back with meds for the year. Pretty awesome. No Walgreens pharmacy required.
So… lets put it out there / what chuck has screwed up and learned
- Stable genetics you know where they actually came from.
- Popping seeds require protection for the fragile seedling and I have found that in rock wool cubes. Many options to consider out there in the market.
- Proper grow medium free of pests that promote drainage with larger perlite mixed in. No need for extra nutrients in the medium. Everything you need is found in varied mixes of Sensi Grow and Bloom. They have a wide range of products which include boost proteins to give you super frosty buds at harvest. Again. Growers choice.
- Contained area to protect your grow and in some states, you are required to fence in your grow. My greenhouse is compliant with Colorado. My grow is fenced and the greenhouse can be locked. Your greenhouse should always have fresh air flow.
- This is best a few days after the safe day and open the screens for the fresh air. Keep a thermostat in the greenhouse and it will help you monitor the highs and lows for 24 hour period.
- Here in Southern Colorado using greenhouse plastic with built in shade makes it bearable during the summer to work in 90 plus degrees.
- Keep in mind as you begin your grow that environmental factors differ in areas of the country so adjust the basic formula accordingly. For instance, I reside in a dry climate so over watering is not a major worry.
- You may live in a humid climate and thereby need to watch the nutrient water you give your plant and be extra cautious of saturation.
- Okay…lets touch on a potentially confusing process. Processing your herb from the day you cut buds to proper storage in curing bags. It can be simplified by following certain rules just like the grow and bloom process. Cut buds when the trichomes are somewhere between diamond shaped and bright to the murky colors you get as the buds age. Using a lighted magnifying glass will allow you to monitor the changes.
- Personally, I like the trichomes about middle phase. Seems to be a good balance for me …but again… growers and smokers’ choice. I like to run the buds through a trimming machine before going into the drying racks. The trimmings from the bud then are used to make my oil for my capsules. Drying can vary again based on what your climate is where you live. It is a dry climate where I live so three days max in the drying racks does it. This included checking the drying bud in the morning and evening and acting accordingly. There will be no chance of mold if you are consistently aware of the environmental effects on your grow. I like to place the dried bud in nylon cure bags with oxygen absorbers to ensure no mold or contaminants with proper cleaning of your bud. It is also important to open the nylon bags and let them breath each day for several hours then close them up. Repeat this process for about two weeks but…may vary by region and individual grow.
- You are looking for the buds to freely bounce around in the mylar bag. This helps ensure the buds are not sticking together and air is getting to all the buds equally.
- We have covered popping the seeds and stable genetics. So lets cover the subject of clones. A healthy clone from a mother plant has several benefits over popping a seed. To begin with you already have your plant with a guarantee of female. You can see what you are going to grow and know if it will be healthy and stable genetics. A clone gives you a valuable peak at your harvest. There is no worry about getting a male and potentially losing your plant. So…to begin with a healthy clone free of pests is a leg up and great start for your coming grow.
The reason I decided to write down what I could to help a current grower or future is because it helps me pay respect to a plant that helped me gain weight back after an opioid addiction and the abuse from a parent. The herb also helped me kick the opioid habit. Now the herb helps steady my Parkinson’s tremors and sleep issues. It also gives me a buffer against stress and anxiety of daily life as I’m diagnosed with chronic anxiety. As a young man growing up the bastard son of a con man means that dealing with psychological distress is imperative to survival. Always moving and trying to fit in. Cannabis helped me deal with all the instability.
Sadly, using cannabis also brought a great deal of cruel comments from my father and others over the years.
Those folks that rather get cirrhosis of the liver are the ones telling me to find answers to life questions at the local liquor store on the second shelf.
This narrative was intended to put all the knowledge I have out there to help others. The hope is that maybe one more person will read my account and change a prejudicial philosophy that has endured for decades. Cannabis was not crapped out by Satan while Charlie Daniels was fighting with the devil on the hickory stump. The Cannabis plant deserves our respect and not prejudicial B.S. that is uninformed and destructive. Tens of thousands of folks telling others about how the herb helped them in their lives should be recognized and not made fun of with one more stupid hippy joke. Don’t get me wrong… I love the Cheech and Chong movies and have Tommy Chong’s signature framed on my fireplace mantle. The fact still needs to be acknowledged that those movies portrayed all DOPE smokers were completely irresponsible idiots and belonged in jail. They really didn’t help attempts to legalize at that time period.
As I would be repairing a network at the clinics, I serviced I would hear jokes about idiot stoners. I just kept my mouth shut as I fixed a network that an idiot could not have repaired.
Even better, the little lady busy bodies would have had no clue how to repair an I.P. based network. The irony was always funny to me.
The jokes cease to be funny when it’s not a joke but a judgement about those “brainless hippies”. Before I was a PC and Network Tech, I worked in Insurance Offices and I have met so many Lawyers and businessmen that used cannabis but had to trust you to tell you they had a bag in their briefcase.
No dedicated professional wants to put their reputation and career on the line over plant prejudice.
No one who has experienced medicinal help from Cannabis wants to lose the herb, so our culture has been lie…lie…lie. Weed? that’s evil stuff …. then at home roll one up. There have been so many for so long that have suffered from prejudice against the herb. Well, the herb has finally started to get respect and I am thankful I lived to see it. I have wanted so many times to call my father who if he’s still alive would be 87ish and tell him that I still use that “devil weed” and am still better for it. I would like to ask him if he understood that when he was beating my mother if I had been drinking like I him I would have killed him versus walking away and waiting on the cops to show up as they did when my parents went to war with each other. I walked away and smoked a joint and cried and screamed by myself. Safe.
That one joint saved me from the police dealing with a confused and angry 16-year-old who had watched his mother get beat. I still had to be interviewed that night my mother went to the hospital for a broken rib, but I was just an observer and not physically involved. She never pressed charges against my father, so it was dropped. Just a sample of what it was like growing up with Charles Coburn the con man. Don’t misunderstand my meaning. I do not seek any pity of any sort. I want what happened in my life to be chronicled along with the hundreds of thousands out there with their own story.
I am an old man now and while it’s gratifying to now live in a state where I can grow my own “devil Weed” it doesn’t block out all the prejudicial bull shit about ganja that all cannabis users have gone through…at least the older ones. I still meet folks older than me that obviously don’t agree with it being legal will smile and keep their mouth shut. I am a College educated man with no rap sheet and worked white collar until I was disabled, and I can actually put in writing that I have sought out all aspects of the herb since my introduction as a young teen with no fear of repercussions. So thankful.
So sad for the families not hurt directly by the plant but subsequent lack of education about the plant that caused hurt to someone or their family.
This narrative has had many purposes. To reach out with my story of cannabis and maybe change someone’s dated views on cannabis. This is also healing justification for all the hours of listening to people tell me how bad and evil marijuana is. To be sitting here this evening with RSO so I can type and about to take an ice bong hit.
Thank you to all those who have tried to educate people about Marijuana and suffered for it. Thank you for enduring and continuing to get the truth out. There is still work and educating to do. The day legalization occurred in Colorado divorces occurred and families were split over hate and love of the plant. So… the fight to educate…. continues. This has been my cannabis story…. thank you for taking the time to read about my journey.
If you agree or see my point, then please when you have a chance to educate one more person please take the time.
An Old Justified ‘Hippie’