Biodynamic Cannabis: Trend or Necessity?
It’s a word fairly unknown to many marijuana consumers but industry workers can’t escape it. Fads exist in all industries, but biodynamic cannabis seems to be gaining some lasting traction. Biodynamic farming has been used in the wine industry for a few years. It first popped up in the cannabis industry in the mid-2000s.
Many users would prefer for their cannabis to be organic like their food. Since there isn’t a federal government organic certification program for cannabis, biodynamic farming is the only way to ensure marijuana plants are pesticide free. Oregon and California have biodynamic marijuana strains in dispensaries from known biodynamic grow farms. Official biodynamically farmed crops must be certified by the Demeter system.
The history behind the concept and invention of biodynamic farming is interesting. It doesn’t appear to be any more intensive than regular organic farming, but it does require a bit of spiritual openness.
Biodynamic Farming History
Even though biodynamic farming has grown popular in modern times, it has actually been around since the 1920s. The idea came from Austrian philosopher, esotericist, social activist and architect Rudolf Steiner. He began his career as a philosophical author and literary critic before creating his own esoteric spiritual movement called anthroposophy. This movement helped lay the groundwork for Steiner’s development of biodynamic farming, which is rooted in the idea that an ecosystem is one whole living organism.
As the first known organic agricultural movement, biodynamic farming considers fertile soil, plant growth and the wellbeing of livestock as being ecologically connected. A strong significance is placed on incorporating spiritual and mystical factors into the practice.
Biodynamic farming is similar to other organic ways of farming. It stresses the use of composts and manures on soil and plants instead of harsh chemicals. What sets it apart from other organic farming methods is its incorporation of unconventional factors. Natural herbal and mineral additives are used in place of pesticides. For example, one of the preparations requires stuffing a cow horn with a ground quartz and rainwater paste and burying it with the crop. It’s said to give the soil cosmic power and increase the flowering growth of the plant. Some biodynamic farmers even follow an astrological sowing and planting calendar.
Whether a marijuana grower is producing indoor or outdoor crop, there are a few biodynamic methods that can be used. Applicable techniques for marijuana crops include making use of a celestial calendar and composting. Those with strong stomachs can even try their hand at the nine biodynamic preps.
Following a celestial calendar requires knowing when exactly how to use the moon’s gravitational pull. The moon affects ocean tides so the premise is that it will affect plants the same way since plants are about 90 percent water.
A waxing or growing moon has the strongest gravitational pull, giving energy to making foliage grow. Flowering plants absorb the most nutrients during the Gibbous phase of a waxing moon. This moon is the most ideal time for germinating seeds (during the full moon), giving a compost tea, transplanting and starting the flowering process.
The waning or decreasing moon guides energy down and inward towards a plant’s roots, expanding them. This means a waning moon is the best time for trimming buds, planting seeds and harvesting.
Starting a compost pile is easy and many have done it for regular gardens. It’s the same process as usual composting, but is also where some of the biodynamic preparations come into play. Preparations BD 502 through BD 508 enrich the quality of the compost and have the following positive effects on plants:
- Yarrow (BD 502) helps with the absorption of trace minerals
- Chamomile (BD 503) stabilizes nitrogen
- Stinging Nettle (BD 504) promotes healthy soil
- Oak Bark (BD 505) is high in calcium and is said to bring balance to compost and soil
- Dandelion (BD 506) increases absorption of sunlight through photosynthesis
- Valerian (BD 507) helps increase phosphorus levels
- Equisetum/Horsetail (BD 508) fights fungus on plants when used as a foliar spray
It’s important to keep in mind when considering biodynamic composting is that some of the preparations require the use of animal parts, like skulls and organs.
Does Biodynamic Farming Make Better Cannabis?
When considering that many marijuana plants have tested to contain high levels of pesticides, biodynamic farming does improve cannabis. Heating marijuana has the same effects on pesticides as it does on the plant’s non-psychoactive properties. Heat turns these compounds into active THC but also makes pesticides more dangerous. A fungicide frequently used on cannabis called Myclobutanil turns into hydrogen cyanide when heated, which has dangerous effects on the body.
Some farmers and consumers swear by biodynamic cannabis and the agricultural method in general. Whether a patient will immediately feel the positive effects of biodynamic weed isn’t guaranteed, but protecting the lungs and bloodstream from harmful pesticides is.