Episode 13: Trail Blazin

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GROWING EXPOSED EPISODE 13 Trail Blazin:

Growing Exposed is a new video series produced by Jeremy Deichen. Coined “the MTV Cribs of the marijuana industry” the show is led by host Amanda Mackay. Growing Exposed has found a unique way to open up the once underground world, revealing the secrets of industry leaders. In addition to garden tours, David Robinson, author of The Grower’s Handbook lends his expertise in a segment entitled Teachings of The Garden Sage. David has dedicated his life to dispelling the myths behind cannabis while educating people on how plants grow.

Season 1 Episode 13

In this episode 

Today we bring you on a tour of a pesticide free garden, reclaiming 98 percent of their water, and is the only indoor garden we’ve ever featured, that is growing cannabis plants under 100 percent LED lighting fixtures. This Washington state I-502 producer-processor is called Trail Blazin’. Understandably, they are proud of the fact that the cannabis they’re producing is sustainable; this facility is as green as “green” can get

Leading the tour today is Juddy of Trail Blazin’ Productions. Juddy takes you through a couple vegetative rooms, in addition to several of the six “all LED” flowering rooms.

Since we timed our visit perfectly to arrive on harvest day, we also get an introduction to the trim crew, in addition to learning about the procedures they use to process the pounds of dried bud.

Before entering the Trail Blazin’ facility, everyone is asked to put on scrubs. They do this for the same reason hospitals do it: cleanliness. Scrubs are designed to promote a clean environment since outside clothing can easily introduce unwanted pathogens. So, once suited up and sanitized, we begin our tour in the mother room, where they like to keep a stock of mothers that have a variety of terpene profiles. If you’re not sure what terpenes are, you’re not alone. It wasn’t that long ago that no one was even talking about them. However, as science carries us along to give us a better understanding of the biology of cannabis, we find there is a lot more to it than “cannabinoids”.

In the first veg room, “Veg Room 1”, is where all mother plant stock is kept. This room is the cleanest out of all the rooms in the facility; every two weeks they restock beneficial insects to keep everything pesticide free and keep the genetics as healthy as possible. Juddy makes sure to keep around three moms of every strain with different spectrums of terpenes. Terpenes are extremely important when it comes to cannabis–they are what drives the high. What you feel depends on the terpene profile. If you don’t like a certain strain, you can look at the strain’s terpene profile to see what other strains will also not be ideal for you. Clones are kept in the mother room until they develop roots, then they are brought out into into Veg Room where they are put into their first pots, then transplanted into 7 gallon pots. Once they have developed as much as possible, they move on to the next veg room.

Let’s take a break from the tour to speak with the author of the Grower’s Handbook, David Robinson, to go more in depth on the relationship between terpenes and cannabinoids:

“Terpenes are volatile aromatic oils that are present throughout nature, not exclusive to cannabis. However, cannabis has identified up to 140 different terpenes in its makeup. These terpenes are secreted by the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD. They give cannabis its variance in flavours and aroma. There are terpenes that will make you creative and active, terpenes that will make you tired, terpenes that will make your mouth dry. They have all different effects with its interaction with human physiology. These terpenes can also affect how our physiology processes THC and other cannabinoids. It’s truly amazing that nature wraps up these complex chemicals into one neat little package for human healing and enjoyment. “

An obvious benefit to using LED is they use less power than HID bulbs, but there is also the added benefit that they create significantly less heat. This allows Trail Blazin’ to use a lot less cooling power, therefore lowering their carbon footprint even more. Creating a sustainable product is clearly important to Juddy, and that is evident as he explains that any potential downside, like the white tip phenomenon that occurs with any LED grow, is completely outweighed by the benefits when it comes to growing with LED.

LEDs have many benefits, but also cause some interesting phenomenons that don’t occur with HID lights. One in particular Juddy terms “the white tip phenomenon”, where the tips of the cola turns white. You’ll notice the crystals on top are fully white and fully standing on end, though the bulbous heads of the trichomes are fully intact. Alive or dried, they are still fully intact. Juddy suspects this occurs from a magnesium deficiency, as magnesium is a huge player in the building of chlorophyll. One of the other things Juddy wants growers to know about LED vs HID is that it’s clearly possible to grow big buds using solely LED fixtures.

When they harvest, they harvest right in the flower room. First, they trim everything down, starting with the big fan leaves and water leaves. They leave the smaller water leaves to protect the bud as it dries, and then they do a dry trim. They take all the medium and racks out of the flower room, clean the floors and the walls, the racks and the top of the fixtures. They also go as far as changing the filters in the air conditioners and dehumidifiers, wash the tank out, clean the trays–essentially, everything is cleaned absolutely spotless. After everything has been thoroughly sanitized, they’ll load it back up and bring the plants back in.

Earlier we learned about terpenes and the important role they play, but we didn’t talk about how individual strains can demonstrate dramatically different terpenoid profiles based on different growing techniques. Here to talk about a product that enhances flavour and aroma is expert of the hydroponics world Justin as he introduces you to GreenPlanet Nutrient’s latest product “Rezin”.

“This is a very unique product exclusive to GreenPlanet Nutrients.” Explained Justin, co-owner of GreenPlanet Nutrients. “Over the last ten years, we’ve really seen a dynamic shift in the industry; growers are now pheno-hunting, or finding the specific traits that really accentuate the aromas and the flavours in the plant.”

Now, as more studies are done with cannabis–either by scientists or by experienced growers–we’re fully aware we’re growing trichomes. Trichomes are the small heads or “crystals” when you look at a flower, and are really what determines a low quality to a high quality product. When you have a very sticky, resinous frost-covered flower, that is the quality most people are after as cannabis science develops.

High levels of trichomes also ensure that you’re getting a higher cannabinoid profile. This means higher THC, CBN, CBD; all these different cannabinoids that work together to create something called the entourage effect.The entourage effect is the mechanism by which compounds in the cannabis plant, such as terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids that are largely non-psychoactive by themselves, contribute to the overall psychoactive effect of cannabis.

The entourage effect gives a full cannabis experience by utilizing the whole plant instead of individual cannabinoids, and this gives the consumer a more well-rounded flower.

Rezin is going to be the sole driver that naturally pushes the terpenoid profile. There are approximately 150 different terpenes that we find in cannabis, and if we can accentuate these along with increasing the overall cannabinoids, we’ve got a winner.

Rezin does this all-naturally using no PGRs, or Plant Growth Regulators and does not contain any PPMS. Rezin can be used directly as an add-on to any base so that you, the end consumer, can really push the overall size, aroma and flavour, and really bring the best of what cannabis brings to the table.

Now let’s get back to our tour of Trail Blazin’ as we get a lesson on how to properly dry trim a bud, right off the stem, as we introduce you to the trim crew:

marijuana grow opp

Buds are dried on wire coat hangers. While the bud is still wet, the large fan leaves and water leaves are removed and the small water leaves are left intact to protect the buds as they dry to retain as many trichomes as possible. Air conditioners and dehumidifiers keep the room at the appropriate humidity and temperature for drying to elongate the drying process as much as possible; 7-10 days is preferred.

Once the product is dried and ready for hand-trimming, it is taken to the trimming room. Trail Blazin’ uses two buckers that buck the flowers off the stems and then distribute the flowers to the trimmers. Trimmers dump the flowers into their Trim Bin for trimming. Trim Bins have different layers to collect the trimmings and the kief, which they collect for testing.

Trimmers and buckers must wear scrubs and bandanas to keep hair and other debris off the product, like in the rest of their line of production. Trail Blazin’ keeps a “Department of Health and FoodSafe” level of cleanliness to ensure the product, once it gets to the consumer, is as clean as possible.

After growing the plant for months, harvesting them, and then waiting for them to dry… the product is still weeks away from making it to the shelves even after doing a dry trim here at Trail Blazin’. You see they take a time consuming but important step of curing the product before moving it along to the packaging area. Lets watch how the hand-trimmed product goes from bins to bags in this final segment.

Before packaging, product is stored in 5 lb airtight and light-free plastic bins and are stored with a 62 gram Boveda pack to maintain the humidity at 62%, the preferred humidity for cannabis to cure at. They take some product out into a more manageable bin and weigh the product on a scale, then package the product in the appropriate size bag with a sticker indicating the strain (in the case “9 Lbs Hammer” in a ⅛ ounce or 3.5 gram bag), and put it through a sealing machine to seal the product.

Juddy leaves us with a message: “So now that you’ve seen how clean Trail Blazin’ Productions is, from veg, to flower, to trim. Everybody in scrubs, everybody in head gear, everybody in gloves. We do that so we can bring you the best, cleanest flower you can get on the market today. That’s how you do pesticide free, LED grown, hand trimmed flower. Thanks for coming by, have a great day.”

In this episode of Growing Exposed, we looked at a facility that puts growing clean and green far ahead of anything else. We also learned the importance of terpenes when it comes to flavour and how they guide your high. Trail Blazin’ is as serious as they are clean about the integrity and responsibility of their medical grade cannabis. For more Growing Exposed, and for behind-the-scenes, tune in at GrowingExposed.com and make sure to follow Growing Exposed on Facebook and Instagram.

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