Cannabis FAQ: common questions answered

Published: February 13, 2020 · Updated: August 28, 2020

Cannabis FAQ Photo by Ramann/Shutterstock

Cannabis FAQ: The most common cannabis questions answered

We used to just smoke it for fun, but with legalization, cannabis got complicated. Health claims, concerns about how to grow it, and questions about the many different ways to consume cannabis—with these cannabis FAQ, it’s hard to keep it all straight. We’re here to help, with answers to some of the most-searched cannabis-related questions.

What do you need to grow cannabis?
Dirt, water, and time are the only requirements, but a green thumb doesn’t hurt. Compared to most vegetables, however, “cannabis is a little fussier about moisture, nutrients, and the pH of soil,” says Bill Hunt, the assistant manager at Progressive Growth Hydroponics in Courtenay, B.C. It’s easiest to control those variables when growing cannabis indoors, but indoor grows require special equipment and the right space preparation to prevent water damage and mildew growth. A better bet for newer growers is to plant seeds in a pot and get advice from a hydroponics store or a garden centre.

Want a big cannabis yield? Here’s how to reap more crop

Why do cannabis leaves turn yellow?
Yellowing leaves are not uncommon, or a disaster, when you are growing your own. Cannabis yellows for four main reasons.
1. Watering mistakes. This is the most common reason. Either too much or too little water can stress your cannabis plants. You probably know which, but the easiest way to tell is by lifting the pot. If it feels really heavy, it’s too much. If it feels light, it’s too little.
2. Not enough light. For outdoor growing, moving the pot to a sunnier spot is the only solution. Inside, try moving the plant closer to the light source. And check your source: switch out incandescent bulbs for more powerful LED or fluorescent ones.
3. The pH balance could be off. Cannabis prefers a neutral soil with a pH balance of between 6 and 7. Use a pH meter (available at most garden centres) to figure out where your soil is at, and then talk to your garden centre about what to add to get it into the right zone.
4. Nutrient deficiencies. Plants pull all kinds of minerals and nutrients out of the soil. If certain ones, particularly nitrogen, are missing, the plant will struggle, resulting in yellowing leaves. Your garden centre can recommend the right fertilizer to add.

What cannabis plants have seeds?
Cannabis plants are either male or female. Any female cannabis plant can produce seeds, but only if a male plant fertilizes it. Most of the time this won’t happen. Females produce the most bud, so most seeds are female, as are most clones and clippings. If you can find a male plant, place it in the same area as a female to create the best chance for seed production on the female. The key is to not harvest the buds to allow the plant to flower and then seed.

Are cannabis plants perennials?
Generally speaking, no. The cannabis plant is an annual, going through a full life cycle in a year. Each crop either requires starting from seed or from cuttings.

How is cannabis consumed?
The simplest and most common way is to smoke the dried bud, in a marijuana cigarette (a joint) or using a pipe or a vaporizer. Taking it orally is increasingly popular. This involves heating the bud to transfer the active ingredients, such as THC and CBD, to an oil. It’s then possible to vape, smoke, or ingest the cannabis oil on its own, or you can add it to food to create edibles. You can also add the oil to things like lotions and tinctures, which you can then apply directly to the skin.

Does cannabis oil help your skin?
The only conclusive answer is that it doesn’t seem to do any damage. Any cannabis oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamins and has hydrating properties. Some studies have shown that oils with the active molecules in cannabis—THC, CBD, and others—may be beneficial in the treatment of skin issues, such as acne and psoriasis, and can be helpful for pain management, including for arthritis. The research is still emerging, but has about as much evidence backing it up as many other game-changing skin care ingredients.

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