Have you ever noticed a “veganic” label on a cannabis product in your local dispensary? This label has only recently appeared in the cannabis community, but it has been used in the agricultural industry for years. So what does it actually mean?
Veganic is a combination of two lifestyles―vegan and organic. Its philosophy is based on avoiding any chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. The main principle is to use only plant-based products that are 100%-free from any animal byproducts as well as synthetic or chemical-based additives. Instead, it is recommended to use plant-based materials to ensure environmental protection and natural nutrient uptake of your harvest.
The reason why growers choose to follow veganics is pretty much the same as why consumers may choose products with this label: this way, cannabis becomes absolutely clean from any possible toxic compounds, the quality of weed becomes higher, the flavor is more intense and does not have any additional chemical undertones.
Of course, the principles of veganics are not new. In fact, they have been used for thousand of years but became viral in the modern agriculture only in the middle of the 1900's. It was Maya Bruce who described the philosophy of veganics that based on the theory (that was later proven) that animal byproducts spoiled the soil state and damaged the healthy environment. She believed that chemical and animal byproducts could hurt not only the soil and plants but also the human health.
The person who introduced veganics to the cannabis industry was Kyle Kushman. In 2009, he used plant-based Bio Terra soil in his own facility. He has received 13 Medical Cannabis Cups awards, and all of the awards (including three for Best Flowers in the U.S. Cannabis Cups) were for the marijuana that was grown according to the veganics principles.
A cannabis cultivator with a lot of experience, Kushman was looking for the method to grow weed without using any products that can affect the soil's PH or damage the microorganisms in the soil. This was when he found out that chemical and animal byproducts were not a good idea for his purpose. At the same time, he wanted to find some alternative to known fertilizers that would increase nutrient availability and, as a result, improve the bud's flavor.
Today, Kushman uses a number of elements, such as microbial inoculants, enzymes, and humic acid, that successfully help growers in the U.S. cultivate healthy cannabis plants that provide them with abundant yields.
When we are talking about applying veganics to our cannabis gardens, the idea is to use only plant-based solutions that can fertilize your weed and help it build a cleaner and more distinct flavor. The good thing is that veganic products can be applied to any garden at any time. Whether you are growing your flower in a small growing box or the open ground in a large garden, you can apply veganic fertilizers, and they will not affect the pH level in the soil. The same reason makes it possible to apply veganic products as many times as you want and whenever you want―your plants will absorb everything they need leaving the rest for later. And you will never face the horrific situation of accidentally spoiling the soil or burning the plant's roots with fertilizers. All veganic products are absolutely safe for your garden.
So, what should you do? Basically, you need to get a special soil that already has all the necessary elements, such as microbial inoculants and plant-based additives. You can also get some plant-based fertilizers and add them later. For instance, during the vegetative stage, your plants will require nutrients rich in nitrogen, so you can add some alfalfa cottonseed or soya meal. For the flowering period, your plants will require supplements high in potassium. Instead of using bone meal, bat guano, or blood (or any products that contain these ingredients), you can add rock phosphate, potash, or wood ash. Some veganic companies can also suggest using essential oils or protozoa teas made from compost mixture. They all work great and make your plants happy.
Veganics is a relatively new concept to the cannabis industry, and it is not yet regulated by the system. Unfortunately, there are no organic or vegan standards, and sometimes, the label “veganic” or “organic” on cannabis products does not correspond to reality. You can ask the budtender to show you the documents that list all the ingredients used for cultivating weed for a specific product. However, as of now, it is possible to get such documents only in Colorado, where cannabis producers are obligated to pass lab tests.
The concept of veganics has a great potential. Once the regulations are set, and the lab tests become mandatory, it will be easier to choose the right products as the labels will be something you can trust. The demand for animal-free, plant-based products is growing, and this method of cultivating cannabis is already showing its amazing results. All of this gives us hope that we will soon see more innovations implemented in the cannabis industry.