top of page
  • Writer's pictureReveal Cannabis

Busting Cannabis Grow Myths with Dr. Anna Schwabe

growing cannabis, cannabis grow myths, do you need to flush cannabis

*Note: I know many people would rather read a blog than listen to or watch a video. That's why I provide this rough transcript of our conversation, which is not meant to be a perfectly edited blog post. Thanks for your understanding (and not blasting me in the comments.)

What You’ll Learn
  • Why Growing Aquaponically (With Fish!) May be a Great Idea

  • What Are Some Grow Bro Myths that Need Challenging?

  • How Much of a Difference do Amazing Grow Practices Make?

  • THC Content is Ultimately Determined by Genetics

  • How Much Difference in THC is there Between the Top Bud and Lower Buds?

  • Do the Top and Bottom of the Cannabis Plant have Different Terpene Profiles?

  • If You're Growing Outside, Should You Harvest Your Plant in Stages to Get Better Cannabinoid Content?

  • Can You Grow Autoflower Cannabis in the House Like a Houseplant?

  • Why Two of the Same Seeds Can Be So Different in Your Garden

  • Do Cannabis Plants NEED Added Nutrients?

  • Do You Need To Flush Your Plants Before Harvest?

  • Can You Use Moldy Cannabis For Anything?

  • Andrea Reminds Everyone That She Hates Vape Pens - Does Dr. Schwabe Agree?

  • What Lights Up Dr. Schwabe?

  • Does Flushing Cannabis With Ice Water Help Produce More Cannabinoids?

  • What is Cannabis Fasciation?

  • Why It's Still So Hard to Get Great Data On Cannabis

Andrea Meharg: Welcome back to another video from Reveal Cannabis. My name is Andrea meharg. I'm a cannabis coach and educator, and I'm here on YouTube because I'm really excited and passionate to learn a whole bunch of things about cannabis and then have this opportunity to share it with you all. This is a series of interviews that I'm doing with professionals who work in the cannabis field, and I get to ask them all my questions.

So if you love this style of video, then make sure you check out the playlist down below. And this is actually my second time being able to interview Dr. Anna Schwabe. We talked last time a lot about whether a, it's okay to call different types of cannabis plants, strains, and she loves that word.

And also we talked about like what is the genetic actual variation between different plants, different strains of cannabis? So that was a fascinating interview. Make sure you check it out below. Today we are gonna do something different. We're gonna talk about cannabis growing, and we're gonna try to maybe bust some growing myth. Um, and a lot of these are like my own personal questions, so I'm really excited for this interview, , Dr. Anna Schwabe, welcome. Thanks so much for coming back. Can you please introduce yourself? Tell us about who the awesome Dr. Anna Schwabe is.

growing cannabis, cannabis grow myths, do you need to flush cannabis

Dr. Anna Schwabe: Wow, awesome. Um, Okay, so I am Anna Schwabe and, um, I I am a cannabis scientist and educator. I got my PhD in, um, I graduated in 2019. I started in 2015. and my thesis for my dissertation, for my dissertation and research was I wanted to look at variation within cannabis using genetic tools. So like my number one question was, uh, why do different strain or why does the same strain from different dispensaries, are, why aren't they the same? Why don't they have the same effects? And you know, these are plants, so obviously there's gonna be some level of variation. But what I wanted to know is, are they genetic? as genetically similar as we would expect if they're given the same name? And so that's where I started. And since um, graduation I worked for Mile High Labs for a little little bit, just doing science coordination kind of stuff. And then, um, just. About 18 months ago, I moved out to New Jersey to work with a company called Shore Organics. They use aquaponic methods to grow hemp right now, but we're also expanding into the, um, adult youth marijuana market. We put in our application for a micro uh, cultivator license. And so we'll be using aquaponics to grow, uh, high THC types.

And it's really cool because aquaponics, at least the way we do it, is a closed loop system. So the only thing that goes into the system is fish food. The fish eat the food. The fish produced fish waste, which is high in nitrogen Niro, it's a nitrogenous waste. And then it goes through a couple of bio filters and it gets transformed each of the kind of nutrients that the plants can use.

So then the plant stuck off the nutrients from the water and clean that water for the fish, which gets, and that water gets returned back to the fish. So really like it's a very low water, we don't use, we use hardly any water. Um, and it's, um, clean. So we're not adding any, uh, extra nutrients. We're not adding any pesticides. It's, uh, we, we are. Um, certified organic because of the way that we grow and it's just really cool to be, um, doing what we're doing, um, in such a low carbon footprint type operation. And, um, I also teach modern cannabis science at CU Boulder. We just finished our semester last Friday, and um, I've also been putting together some education. To put on the interwebs for anybody and everybody who wants to learn more about cannabis to take. So that's me and what I do, and I'm so happy to be here again.

Andrea Meharg: thanks so much. I wanna circle back to the aquaponics thing.

Why Growing Aquaponically (With Fish!) May be a Great Idea

Andrea Meharg: Let's start right there. Why did the company choose aquaponics? Like was the whole point to go to a low carbon footprint, and if so, how do you account for the light? Because oftentimes the biggest environmental impact from growing cannabis is, besides the fertilizers, it's the amount of light that they need in order to grow well. So do you know what the impetus was then for choosing Aquaponics as a way to grow?

Dr. Anna Schwabe: Yeah. Yeah. So, um, Heather and Mike are my bosses, and they're a married couple and they have three kids, all of whom have various levels of allergies and immuno compromised disorders. Um, and they were finding that it was really hard to get organic produce that didn't have anything added to it.

Um, locally, you know, it was getting really expensive and so they just decided to start growing their own fruits and vegetables at home to eat cuz it was just safer for their children. And Mike decided to try aquaponics. Um, just because, you know, there's, with soil there can be some, um, contaminants that come from soil and stuff that he didn't want anything else like introduced into the food that might trigger their kids' allergies and such. And so he started getting aquaponics basically in their garage. And then, um, their friends who also had kids with allergies and things like that, they wanted to buy produce off of Mike and Heather. And so they kind of scaled up a little bit and it just got kind of out of control in their garage.

So they bought a plot of land and built a greenhouse and they started growing veggies. um, for customers and some restaurants and things like that. And when New Jersey, Well, when New Jersey decided that they were going to legalize, um, cannabis, Mike was like, Let's do that as well. Uh, it didn't work that way because the New Jersey application process for, or, you know, just in general, it kind of, um, was a big mess. So when they put in their application, so did everybody else and the system crashed. And so they said they put a halt on it and they said, Hold on, we are not ready for this. And everything kind of came to a grinding halt.. And then, you know, Covid happened. And so Mike was like, You know what, hemp is legal. Let's go ahead and grow some hemp. And so he's kind of been working and redesigning the system uh, cause we have two greenhouses, one's just for hemp and one is their produce business. Uh, the hemp side. He's been building and rebuilding and redesigning the, the setup so that it will work, so that it'll work for cannabis plants and hemp is cannabis, so, um, it'll transfer well when we switch over to the, uh, marijuana side.

So, That's how they got started. And they, what we have is, uh, hoop houses, so light dep houses. Um, and so we do have lights in there, but we only turn them on as we need them. So we don't have them on all the time. We only have them on when we need them. Um, and the idea is that we are going to, uh, put in solar panel at our facilities to capture the sunlight and use that for most of our energy needs. Um, hopefully it'll be enough to run the lights in our, you know, cause our marijuana facility is obviously gonna be more indoors. Um, but yeah, the, the lights is, is gonna be using up a lot of energy, but we're hoping to harness the power of the sun yeah. As you you would outside to, to grow our product.

Andrea Meharg: That's really cool. And it brings up just hearing you talk about this, like you need light deprivation, you need a light deprivation set up in order to grow cannabis well. And this is, this leads into my first question.

growing cannabis, cannabis grow myths, do you need to flush cannabis

What Are Some Grow Bro Myths that Need Challenging?

Andrea Meharg: When cannabis changed my life, And I started using it daily. It became really expensive and I live in Canada. It was legal to grow in canada. And so I do what I always do, which is spend a whole bunch of time researching like, you know, how should I do this properly? And it took me a really long time to actually start growing weed because I spent so much time online listening to what I affectionately call Grow Bros.

Cuz thank God for Grow bros cuz you know, they make it so that we have a lot of information, but a lot of the information that I was getting from these, you know, From these super head powered growers was conflicting and a little bit aggressive. Like you need exactly this nutrient cycle and this light cycle and you know, like all these rules that I had to follow.

Um, but I'm a really good vegetable grower. I have like great organic vegetable grow, um, gardens in my backyard. So I was like, how hard can this be? And my very first year I grew like fucking enormous plants in my backyard to the point where I I was. Why? Why did I do this? This is way too much trimming. Like, who has time for this? So my point is I had, you know, all this fear built up in me about growing this really hard to grow plant. And it turns out, for the most part, in my experience, it's a weed and it grows pretty well, kind of no matter what I do to it. So if we go back to some really common maybe myths that you hear in the industry about growing cannabis, like what are some things that you'd love for people to know based on actual science from a scientist who understands this?

Dr. Anna Schwabe: What I tell people is it's easy to grow weed. It's more difficult to grow good weed, right? So all of these grow bros um, that Come on and, and, and tell you that you need this kind of light and these kind of nutrients on this cycle. They're not wrong, but they're also geared towards producing the best weed.

And not everybody wants to put in that kind of time and effort, effort, um, to, you know, Maybe bump up the quality of their product to the point where it's like the most amazing. Like some people just wanna grow it so that they have medicine in their, you know, in their cupboard, ready to go when they need it.

Um, and so I feel feel like. Most of the time, if you just throw a seed in some soil, it's gonna grow. If you want it to grow big, huge, frosty, like dense, um, flowers, yeah, you need to do some stuff to it.

How Much of a Difference do Amazing Grow Practices Make?

Andrea Meharg: And what's the, what's the advantage that I'm getting? Want my own testing lab in the house because am I getting a difference of if I grow it on my own in my garden, I'm getting 15% thc, for example. But if I you know, used the best nutes and grew it under the best lights and did all the right things, am I gonna get 20% or am I gonna get 17%? At which point I don't care the difference, You know, like it's not that big of a deal.

Dr. Anna Schwabe: I don't actually know the answer to that question. I've never done a side by side of having like a very simple, you know, leave it alone kind of set up versus a, you know, tricked out, like hyped up, you know, best of the best kind of setup that you can get. I've never done a side by side. Um, but I feel like, you know, the plant in and of itself, you know, the, the highest THC you're gonna get is that very top bud. And then you're gonna have variation in THC and, and terpenes throughout the plant. So, Even when you have the biggest best buds and you know, there's training techniques too, where you can make all of the buds apical buds. And so all of those will be pretty, um, uniform. But if you're just growing like a plant, you know you're gonna have variation throughout the same plant. Um, and you know, honestly, THC is not the, not the thing. You can great effects with lower thc. So I feel like, yeah, I mean, you might get higher thc, you might get more trichomes. Um, so overall a higher resin yield, so maybe you won't need to smoke as much when you do smoke or however you are gonna process it, if you're doing edibles or whatever. So you might get a higher yield on your resin. Um, but I don't think you're gonna see like a huge difference in. The content, if that makes sense.

Andrea Meharg: Yeah, that does.

Dr. Anna Schwabe: I haven't seen it side by side. Yeah, so I don't. I'm just, you know, guessing here

growing cannabis, cannabis grow myths, do you need to flush cannabis

THC Content is Ultimately Determined by Genetics

Andrea Meharg: And well for me as a home grower, again, like that 15 to 17%, I don't know if I care enough to want to go and like pour nutes on my plants and stuff like that, even if was 15 20%. But then won't it also be completely determined on the genetics of the plant? You're not gonna get a 15% THC versus a 30 of the same seeds because it's just not possible. Am I right?

Dr. Anna Schwabe: Right. Yeah. There's a limitation to each, you know, each individual's. Genetic makeup as to what they can express. If they don't have the tools to make 30% thd, you're not ever gonna get there no matter how you treat it.

So, you know, you can push it to get the best that you can get from the, from the genetic that you you have. Um, but you can't make it do something that it was never bred to do, that makes sense.

How Much Difference in THC is there Between the Top Bud and Lower Buds?

Andrea Meharg: And when you were talking about the, the highest THC or cannabinoid concentration is gonna be on the apical bud. Did I say that right? Yeah. On the top bud. And then all the other buds that are lower are gonna have lower concentrations of cannabinoids. Do you have any idea what the difference between the top and the bottom would be? Like, are we talking a 2% spread or a 10% spread?

Dr. Anna Schwabe: It can be pretty drastic. Um, there was a paper that came out, I think it was 20, I wanna say it was 2020, but it might be 2019 Richens at all. And they did tests over, um, uh, quite a few days. Top, middle and bottom flowers. And some of them were relatively close and they only did four different strains. Some of them were relatively close, but the difference was, was pretty drastic at, at least to me, like in terms of like, I think about testing, you know, when you in in your, um, representative sample for your, uh, harvest. um, like the top ones could be, you know, 17% and the bottom ones could be 9%. Mm-hmm. . And so you should in a, in a perfect world, you should end up between 17 and 9%. Um, but, uh, I, I feel like some of the testing is only sending in the apical buds. And then there's other issues as well. But, uh, yeah, you can, yeah, you can get quite a drastic difference from the top to the bottom.

Do the Top and Bottom of the Cannabis Plant have Different Terpene Profiles?

Dr. Anna Schwabe: And not only that, I heard yesterday I heard on the internet it was actually that, um, the top versus the bottom branches also produce different terpene profiles because, I'm gonna go off on a little tangent here. I haven't, I, I wanna see the results from this, but top and bottom have different predators, right? So the top branches are gonna have insect predators. The bottom branches are gonna have, you know, like little mandibles, and munching on them Um, the issue that I take with this is that cannabis has been cultivated and coddled and bred for human consumption for such a long time that I'm not sure that the plant anymore has that the adaptive ability to, you know, say, Oh, I need to fight off, you know, insect predators and herbivores and things like that because they just don't really have those predators anymore. Not like something would growing in the wild, because mostly we grow it inside. Um, and you know, the, you know, the cultivation that happens outdoors, it's still bred for us. We've pumped up this plant so much that it's the terpenes and the, and the cannabinoid profiles are no longer built to ward off insect predators. They're built up because it's what we like. So, um, I would love to see, you know, a top versus bottom terpene profile and, and actually be able to look at it in terms.

Predators. And, and insects don't even have an endocannabinoid system, so you you know you're not affected in any way.

growing cannabis, cannabis grow myths, do you need to flush cannabis

If You're Growing Outside, Should You Harvest Your Plant in Stages to Get Better Cannabinoid Content?

Andrea Meharg: Okay. Lots to think about there. Can we go back to the top versus bottom with, um, different cannabinoid content? If I'm growing outside, would it make sense for me to harvest the top of my plant and then give the bottom branches a couple more weeks to develop and then harvest again and or am I making stuff up here because will all the trichomes ripen at the same time?

Dr. Anna Schwabe: I think this is, again, like a bro , a grow bro situation where I think you could, if it were me personally, I think that's a great way to go because, you have the potential too, to give yourself different, to give yourself different kinds of medicines. You, if you could harvest some early and have more of, you know, this is another grow bro thing where, you know, if you harvest early, you get more of sativa type effect. If you harvest late, you get more of a indica type effect. So potentially you could harvest some early harvest, some at maturity and leave some and push it and get some more of that, you know, uh, delta nine, potentially Delta eight as a degradation product of that delta nine, more CBN potentially. Um, and so you could actually get different medicine from the same plant if you wanted to harvest at different times.

Can You Grow Autoflower Cannabis in the House Like a Houseplant?

Andrea Meharg: Oh, that is really cool. I wanna move on to a different question, which is related to my own plant growing experiment that I did in the house. So this winter I grew two AutoFlower seeds just in my living room. I really wanna grow cannabis, like a house plant in here. I do not want the tent. I do not want the exhaust . I don't want all that stuff. Um, so. It was supposed to be a good experiment. I had really good seeds. I have a great grow light. I had good quality soil that I planned to add nothing to, like, no additional nutrients to. It turns out that like it was a busy winter for me and I completely did a terrible job of watching these plants and I burned the tops of them cuz my lights was too low. And then, although they came from the same, same seed company, and I expect that they should grow to the same you know that they should grow similarly, they were drastically different. Like one looked tall and lanky, and one was short and bushy. Um, so like I just like messed up a whole bunch on these puppies, but I want to know, should I try this again? Is this an experiment that if I gave them more love and attention, is this possible? Can I grow indoors like a house plant? And what am I missing?

Dr. Anna Schwabe: Sure you can. can. I mean, you know, all of the expensive equipment that people have and, and tents and exhaust are all, you know, geared towards not only growing the best they can, but also to, you know, make sure that that light isn't getting into a tent that it's clean so you're not getting like dog hair and all kinds of stuff. Also, to mitigate the smell that's coming from it, you know, like some of the exhaust systems is to, to deal with that. Um, filtering out, you know, know particles in the air, things like that. Of course you can grow it as a health plant. You can have a good grow light, um, in terms of growing the same seed and getting to phenotypes, that totally doesn't surprise me because, A lot of, um, a lot of seeds that you can buy are not in bred lines, so you're gonna get, basically they're siblings, right? Mm-hmm. . So the difference between me and my my brother, we are not even close to being the same. So you're gonna see the same thing. Um, and even if they inbreed it little bit, you're still gonna see a lot of variation in the phenotype at the end. So that probably wasn't your fault.

Andrea Meharg: I wanna, I wanna interrupt you for a sec. So I understand that they're siblings. I said in my video, I was like, They're supposed to be twinsies. And some guy like, really meanly, wrote me on YouTube. He's like, You're so stupid. That's not how it works. And I was like, But, from a good quality seed company, and I assume when you're saying that they're inbred, you mean that They've bred this seed for multiple generations so that they know what it's supposed to look like when it comes out. This is a good seed company. It was like Dutch Organics or something. Mm-hmm Shouldn't I expect from a $30 seed that I'm gonna get this, or am I way off?

growing cannabis, cannabis grow myths, do you need to flush cannabis

Why Two of the Same Seeds Can Be So Different in Your Garden

Dr. Anna Schwabe: I am. I mean, that's the expectation, but the reality is that even, um, in, there's no way to check. So first of all, uh, you know, it could have just been like a, a random seed that made it into, happened to make it into your seed pack, and it wasn't the right one. You know, there's no way to check. For them or for you. So, um, unless, and, and maybe they did the breeding, but you know, basically whatever you buy is, um, sort of put down to trust. You know, you trust that it's gonna be all the same phenotype, that it's been inbred. But you know, there's also seed companies that just sell, Hey, this is a cross between this and this. There's your and it's an F1. Like you are gonna get a whole lot of weird stuff. Um, and then, and then you get to do the pheno hunt. Like you get to grow them. Oh, that one's a male so get rid of that one. Um, and then see how they grow up and, you know, you get, Oh, I like this one and all this one, not so much, but you know, you kind of get that grab bag of goodies that, um, isn't a, you know, consistent phenotype. But, uh, I'm not surprised that you got, Different pheno types. And even when you do you do have an inbred line, every now and then you just get one that's a weirdo, you know? So that could have been that case as well.

Do Cannabis Plants NEED Added Nutrients?

Andrea Meharg: And should I have added nutrients? Was it like noobish of me to assume that my good soil was gonna provide everything this plant needed for 12, 14 weeks?

Dr. Anna Schwabe: I mean, I would suggest just like with any plant, you know, adding nutrients is gonna help it thrive better if you don't have the time, money, patience, whatever the case may be. It's going to flower and it's gonna be okay. Uh, but you'll do better if you do feed your plant. And I'm terrible at growing everything. Like you said, you have a vegetable garden. I have tried to grow this and I just, I can't do it. Like I end up killing the, I don't know, I'm just a really bad. Gardener, grower, whatever. Uh, I, I have mint everywhere,

Andrea Meharg: Ha

Dr. Anna Schwabe: but, but i, I am good at growing cannabis and I'm good at growing orchids. So, but the cannabis, you know, I put them in, you know, I do a seed start thing, and then we transfer them when they get to be about, , you know, probably six inches high, put them into their forever home. And I use a big enough pot that we don't have to transfer them again, because not only I'm lazy and I don't want to, but also I feel like jostling them around, you know, moving their houses every, uh, you know, two or three times is kind of shocking to the plant. So I like to let get, get them into their forever home. Uh, when i. And then I just put them on a drip system to make it, you know, hands off for me. I don't have to remember to water them because if I have to remember to water them, I will probably kill them. And then every now and then, when I remember, I will get like a, a couple gallon jugs. One of them I'll put like fish emulsion in the other one I'll put in like um, the big bud nutrients and some vital humic from hydro Bio, which has like lots of good stuff in it. Um, some beneficial bacteria like, um, molasses, things like that. And I just give all the plants like a little bit of each and then that's good enough to let them go until I remember to do it again. And my plants always, you know, they thrive.

Andrea Meharg: Okay, perfect. Yeah. Okay, so I'm gonna try again. I'll try again. I think I'm just gonna try with one seed to see what happens so I can give it some more love. Um, and then I wanna, that leads perfectly to my next question. So if I feed my plant nutrients, um, and you can get a whole bunch, you know, she just talked about fish emulsion and molasses, but you can also buy you know, really technical made in a lab, um, nutrients.

Do You Need To Flush Your Plants Before Harvest?

Andrea Meharg: And then people suggest that you flush your plants up to a couple of weeks before harvest And flushing your plants means that you feed it only water, um, so that you can get rid of all those nutrients so that you're not consuming them when you smoke the plant. Is this a thing, Is flushing your plants a thing?

Dr. Anna Schwabe: I mean, mean, flushing the, your plants is a thing. People do do it. Do they need to do it? No.

Andrea Meharg: okay. Say more.

Dr. Anna Schwabe: So if they're thinking that flushing the, the flushing using just water for a couple of weeks is going to pull nutrients out of the plant, that's not gonna happen. Once the plant has taken in nutrients, it's there to stay. So just by giving it water, Um, what you're doing is you're flushing the soil if you're in soil, so you're getting rid of any excess nutrients in the soil, um, so that the roots won't take up any more nutrients. So basically you're starving your plant in the last couple of weeks when you're hoping that the buds are going to keep developing and getting bigger and, and, um, things like that. So I recommend not flushing. Some people swear by it, but there's also, uh, A few trials now, a few different experiments that have shown Flushing doesn't change the composition of the flower in any way.

So in terms of, you know, finding nitrogen or phosphorus in the flowers, no difference. Um, and even a little bit less, you know, like even a little bit less, I think in the plants that weren't flushed. Potentially because they were kept growing. And so the ratio, you know, is diluted out a little bit because of the, the higher mass. But, um, you know, uh, you know, the other thing is people say it smokes cleaner, you know, the white ash, uh, versus the black ash. Um, it doesn't seem to hold up to scientific scrutiny when, when we actually do it. But the other thing is, is no harm, no foul, right? So if you like flushing, go for it. You'll save a couple of weeks worth of money on your nutrients.

If you are lazy and you don't wanna change up your, you know, nutrients, uh, timing cycle, whatever you're used to doing, keep doing it. Like, just keep feeding your plant. Um, but yeah, it's, it doesn't, it's not gonna change the composition of your plant per se. Um, and in the long run, you know, basically you're starving your plant in the last couple of weeks of growing.

So, I don't know. I would say don't do it. But you know, I'm sure there's gonna be a ton of people out there watching that are gonna disagree with me. But one of the flushing, one of the flushing trials I found interesting interesting was done by a nutrient company, and it would behoove them to show that the plant needs nutrients in the last, you know, like they, they're gonna wanna sell nutrients. So they, they would, it would be better if they found, Oh yes, you need to keep giving the plants nutrients.

Um, but that's not what they found. They found that, you know, not giving nutrients is the same thing. So, uh, yeah. So I say, you know, whatever you wanna do, it's fine.

growing cannabis, cannabis grow myths, do you need to flush cannabis

Can You Use Moldy Cannabis For Anything?

Andrea Meharg: I love it. Take that grow bros. Okay. Um, so we've kind of talked about like growing cannabis and getting to the end towards harvest. One question I get asked all the time, and I also wonder. you've developed mold, actual mold, not powdery and mildew, maybe we can talk about after, but if you've developed mold on the plant in the drying or the curing, specifically in the drying phase, could you snip off actually for any plant disease? Could you just snip off the part that has powdery mildew or mold or I don't know, all the other things, and then the rest of the plant's gonna be okay? Or is it everywhere and we don't see it?

Dr. Anna Schwabe: So the thing about. Is that when you see it, that means it's everywhere. So the part of the fungus that we can see is the fruiting body. Um, if we can see that it's everywhere,

Andrea Meharg: Even in my whole 10 foot plant, I have one moldy bud or one moldy branch or something. The whole plant's got. it.

Dr. Anna Schwabe: I would te have a tendency to say, yes. I don't, I, I can't. I can't, I mean maybe I could read some studies, but I can't back that up necessarily from my own knowledge, but from a safety standpoint and a health standpoint, um, if there's mold in your flower, I would just get rid of all of it.

Andrea Meharg: And get rid of it, not make it into a salve?. Is there anything that you can do with multi cannabis?

Dr. Anna Schwabe: nothing nothing for consumption. So nothing, I mean, eating. Uh, you know, we eat mold all the time. to us, you know, you got that moldy loaf for bread and you throw away the couple of moldy bits or moldy cheese off the moldy. Yeah. that, that, that mold is all over that bread or that cheese. So we eat mold all the time and you have protections in your gut to make sure that you're not gonna, you know, start growing mold from the inside out. that would be gross. Um, but in terms of inhaling it, you know, yeah. Just getting spores into your lungs, like you can grow stuff in your lungs and get really sick. Um, in terms of topicals, like we get mold on our skin all the time. The skin is a barrier, you know, to stop things getting into our body. So if you're doing a topical yes, or you could do that, but in terms of, um, you know, inhaling, I would strongly recommend against doing that. And then also, if you're making concentrates that you're going to inhale, uh, making it it concentrate concentrates everything, right? So if you've got moldy product and you're making a concentrate out of it, you're concentrating whatever. That mold is, and there are mycotoxins, um, so you know, toxins that are produced by the, the fungi and bacteria, and you're concentrating those toxins too. So even if you aren't able to get rid of it, those toxins are gonna still be there. And yeah, we don't, we, we don't really know the implications of that. And most of the research in terms of like, fun, fungus and molds in terms of consumption is food. We're eating it. So we can't really translate that over to what happens when you inhale it. So there really isn't a whole lot of research, um, not enough research to say, You know what, just snip it off. It'll be fine. You know,

Andrea Meharg: it being just snipped off in cannabis production?

Dr. Anna Schwabe: I don't know. Um, we would never do that. It's a part of the cost of business. And as far as I'm concerned, you know, every now and then you get a crop that just, you gotta suck it up, right?

So, um, I, I don't know, but potentially, yes, I know that it happens in, on the hemp side a lot, um, that, you know, cuz because, um, hemp growers are less likely to treat their products like, uh, the marijuana growers treat their product, um, in terms of, you know, like large scale outside letting it, you know, dry in large, uh, warehouses, things like that, that aren't necessarily clean. And I have, I, I do know of, of companies that are just like, well, we'll just make it into a concentrate or we'll just do this or that. And I find that to be horrifying really. Mm-hmm. Uh, yeah. So, you know, getting rid of. Um, stuff that you can see, like if you can see it, get rid of it, but then keep everything else. I, I don't, I don't like that, but, you know.

Andrea Reminds Everyone That She Hates Vape Pens - Does Dr. Schwabe Agree?

Andrea Meharg: It's another reason why choosing, especially your CBD product in the States is extremely important. I hate vape pens. I think they're super scary for a whole bunch of reasons, and honestly, it feels like the more I find out about the s industry, it's like anything bad that happens to people's plants, they just turn it into a concentrate and then sell it to you in a vape. I'm like, but we don't even know if vape pens themselves are safe.

Dr. Anna Schwabe: There, there is testing, right? So, and especially in the cannabis industry, in the in, on the marijuana side, like there are are testing protocols, requirements stand, you know, some standards, but like they do microbial counts and things like that. So, um, you know, unless you're failing tests, you know, it's probably okay. But again we don't have a lot of research and,

Andrea Meharg: and we don't even know like Let's say it's totally clean cannabis product. Do we have long term studies of what happens when we put that into a concentrated oil and maybe thin it or, I don't think we thicken it, but like add stuff to it and then vape it into our lungs. Like we've been eating this plant for forever and smoking is even relatively new. But in the past, what, 10 years, all of a sudden we have a completely new delivery method. We're just putting all the pot into it and hoping for the best it seems.

Dr. Anna Schwabe: Yeah, so I mean, obviously inhaling anything into your lungs is not ideal. The American Lung Association says, you know, like inhaling particulates into your your lungs is, is, is harmful for your health. It's harmful for your lung health. So whether you're smoking vaping, um, you know, you're inhaling something that that's not supposed to go into your lungs, into your lungs. Um, for me and, and my brain, the way my brain works is I, it's an oil, right? So, you know, in your kitchen, um, you get that like tacky like residue over everything. When you haven't cleaned in oil, like up on top of your fridge and stuff, that's what I imagine is happening to your lungs when you're smoking oil.

Um, you're creating this sticky residue on the inside of your lungs. But it get, like you said, it hasn't been around long enough to know the long term effects of vaping um, in terms of what happens to your lung tissue over a period of time, but that's what I imagine is happening

Andrea Meharg: Again, this, I know that you're a cannabis scientist and one of the only cannabis scientists who studied like THC plants, as opposed to, you know, lots of cannabis scientists have only had access to study low THC or, you know, hemp type plants. So, You've been in this for a long time, but I'm just figuring out that it's actually the size of the molecule that might impact your lung health.

Like the longer chain molecules are gonna be stickier in your lungs and that's gonna be a problem. So, um, this is another reason why I think having people like you out there who are cannabis science educators, Just talking to us about what do we we know? What don't we know? What, what might, what might happen based on your extensive knowledge in this particular field.

So, um, yeah, I'm so glad to be able to talk to you about this kind of thing.

What Lights Up Dr. Schwabe?

Andrea Meharg: What about something that's really exciting for you? Like is there something that's coming down the line? That you're really curious about or wanna spend more time learning about, or, I don't know, just lights you up.

Dr. Anna Schwabe: No, no. Like I really miss research. Uh, I saw on LinkedIn, uh, yesterday, um, there's a terpene company that's doing field tests and they have this like apparatus that they're placing over the top of buds that are growing on the plant still to capture what the plant is producing while it's still on the plant as opposed to after it's cut and dried. Um, because those two, the fresh plant versus dried and cured bud kind of completely different aromas and so they wanna capture what's going on with the plant as it's growing as opposed to afterwards. I thought that was pretty cool and it made me realize that I really do miss research and there are so many questions like some of these ones that you asked today that we just don't know, like we don't know so much basic stuff that we should know about an economically important crop. Like, you know, does harvesting at night versus harvesting in the middle of the day, does that make a difference?

Does Flushing Cannabis With Ice Water Help Produce More Cannabinoids?

Dr. Anna Schwabe: Does flushing with, you know, giving ice water for the last few days, does that matter? I think there's something to that. And the reason that I say that is because a cold snap is going to indicate to the plant that the season is coming to an end. And if, and and all a plant ever wants to do is make a seed, right? They wanna reproduce, they wanna pass on their genes. And so if the end of this growing season is coming to an end and you're tricking it by giving it ice water, that plant can respond. by throwing out some more trichomes by getting stickier and stickier to try and capture just one pollen grain, just one pollen grain . Um, so I think it would be really interesting to see if, if, and that's just, you know, me thinking logical sense, why that might work, why people do it. And that's kind of my thought process.

Some people swear by it, some people say, Oh, it's bullshit. A plant can't respond in that kind of time period. And I'm like, well, I think they. . You know, plants are incredibly adaptive. They're plastic. They can respond very quickly to their environment because they can't get up and walk. So that's the only thing in their toolbox is to adapt very quickly to a situation. So, yeah, I think like, you know, putting ice water, but there's no studies that that are doing like this basic stuff, indoor versus outdoor. Um, doing a side by side run with the same strain and multiple strains to see if indoor actually does produce more than outdoor or what's the difference in the chemical profile in something grown indoor versus outdoor?

Because, you know, there's people who swear indoor is better. There's people who swear the outdoor is better.

What is Cannabis Fasciation?

Dr. Anna Schwabe: Um, you know, things like what causes fasciation in cannabis,

Andrea Meharg: What's that?.

Dr. Anna Schwabe: So you've probably seen on the internet a picture of a plant that you know has a really weird, fluffy flower, um, that's sort of in this crested growth pattern. Um, and people are like Oh, it's a polypoid. That's not a polypoid. It's called fasciation. Um, but we don't know really what causes it.

It can be, it can be hereditary, but it can also be induced by, um, you know, pesticides and herbivore, a virus, like any kind, some kind of external, um, influence can cause it. So it's just an abnormal growth pattern and it is a mutation, but we didn't really know, um, much about it. And that, and, and it's not just cannabis that does this, all kinds of plants show fasciation, asparagus, lots of things in the sunflower Family, cacti. So, um, I mean, that would be really cool. Like, there's so many different experiments and things that I would just love to look at. So that's, that's what, you know, really gets me going is like research what people are doing.

Um, if anyone's doing some of these basic experiments, The side by side thing. I think there isn't enough of that, um, to answer some of these questions. Does this do this? You know, and trying to back up some of these. Grow, grow, grow, grow uh, ideas. Try to give them them, them some scientific validity.


Mm-hmm Or, you know, debunk it and say, Well, it doesn't really do the thing that you think it does. But you know, also most of the time it's no harm, no foul, um, in terms of growing so,

Andrea Meharg: Yeah, a hundred percent. And like I say, like thank goodness for a whole bunch of people who are willing to do their own experiments and make their own conclusions about growing and then share it with people on the internet. Like I'm, I'm not ungrateful to it, is just a lot of the advice seems particularly like aggressive

Dr. Anna Schwabe: with a, a home grow too, like you don't don't have the, the space, the money. To do the kind of replication and controlled study that you would need to do to give scientific validity. Like you can flush something and say, You know, my flowers were awesome. Like, they're so much bigger than last year's. And it's like, But we don't know why. We don't know if what you did to it is the reason why you, your flowers, were they gonna be just as big and badass if you didn't do those things? Or like, we just don't know.

growing cannabis, cannabis grow myths, do you need to flush cannabis

Why It's Still So Hard to Get Great Data On Cannabis

Dr. Anna Schwabe: So, uh so experiments at home are fine and everything, but if you don't have the control and you don't have the replication, it's not really an experiment at that point. It's kind of an observation or a theory that then warrants some more investigation,

Andrea Meharg: I should definitely start calling my experiments at home observations, like they should be more like observations of things andrea does particularly poorly while growing weed inside

Dr. Anna Schwabe: with Your sample size of one.

Andrea Meharg: Yeah. I've cracked the code internet

Dr. Anna Schwabe: and that, I mean, that's okay. You know, we gotta start somewhere. And some of these questions are great because they keep me employed, you know,

Andrea Meharg: don't you think you're gonna be employed for a very long time that we're just at like at a super nascent point in this industry. We have so many questions and so many people using it,

Dr. Anna Schwabe: and there's no money for research. I mean, unless it's like an, you know, internal, uh, research and development. Like, you know, you can't get a grant to study cannabis from NIH or nsf. Um, you know, I, I wish there was more money for research. Um, but right now most of that money is coming from private companies. And whether or not they wanna do some of this basic research, it's generally it's not, you know, they're doing research to create products that will help the company make money and, and that's what people get into business for.

People don't get into business to go broke, um, , but, you know, at the industry as a whole, I feel like it would be good if, you know, you could. A certain amount or a certain percentage of your profits into a research fund so that some of this basic research could get done. Because you know, usually it's up to universities and still there's a lot of universities that don't even wanna touch cannabis because of here in the US it being federally illegal.

Now, I believe the situation is a little different in Canada now with universities being able to do some of this research. The more, the more hands on deck, the better I feel because every time I read an article or every time I did an experiment, Five more questions pop up up.

Andrea Meharg: Yeah. That's how I feel when I talk to you. Well thank you so much for coming on again and sharing what you do know and what you don't know. I think it's all as important. Um, and and we'll link down to Dr. Schwabe's, um, contact information. You can reach out to her and pick her brain on questions as well. Um, and yeah, I hope that you will agree to come back on here so that we can delve into some more stuff and I can ask questions.

Dr. Anna Schwabe: Yeah anytime.

Andrea Meharg: Thank you so much. All right. Um, please make sure that you like and subscribe to this video because another problem that cannabis businesses face is that we can't advertise on any traditional platform.

So it really does help when you click the like and subscribe button and when you share it with your friends, and we all appreciate it. So thanks so much. We'll see on the next video.


bottom of page