At Cryo Cure, we’re redefining what’s possible for the cannabis industry. In this video and podcast series from Cryo Cure founders Tracee McAfee and Greg Baughman, cannabis industry myths are explored, debunked, and retold to help the world understand the ever-changing cannabis landscape and explore the beauty and magic of the plant.
On the special 4/20 edition of The Cold Truth, Cryo Cure President Greg Baughman sat down with Daniel Vinkovetsky (formerly known as Danny Danko of High Times magazine), Editor of Northeast Leaf Magazine, co-host of Grow Bud Yourself podcast, and the author of Cannabis: A Beginners Guide to Marijuana. Vinkovetsky is known as one of the most accredited writers in the cannabis industry who has been a respected authority in the space for more than 18 years.
On the podcast, Greg talked with Daniel about some of the most common misconceptions and questions in cannabis cultivation. Read a quick summary of that conversation below, watch the full interview on YouTube, or download this episode of the podcast from platforms like Spotify and Google Podcasts.
Indica vs. sativa: Does it make a difference?
When it comes to cultivars, Vinkovetsky says the differentiation between indica and sativa is much more complex than most consumers tend to presume. Although indica and sativa cultivars have been associated with certain effects in popular lore, that’s nowhere near enough information to fully understand how a specific cultivar may affect the consumer. Different factors, such as location, soil, grow time, and climate, all play a role in developing the phytocannabinoid and terpene profile that has the effect on a consumer.
“While the plant first originated in central Asia, it was spread across the world by human beings and adapted to the places where it went,” noted Vinkovetsky. “Altitude, latitude, up in the mountains, how much sun it gets – all these things affect the plant in all these different places,” he continued.
In general, the differences between cultivars are much more in-depth than the umbrella that sativa vs. indica tends to place them. Still, however, these identities are a simple way to introduce beginners to a complex topic.
Does more THC always mean stronger effects?
One common misconception among consumers is that products with higher Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content will result in a stronger high. In reality, however, cannabis products are made effective by what is known as the entourage effect – or the idea that cannabis compounds act synergistically to achieve maximum results.
While there is a baseline amount of THC, “somewhere around 10-15%,” Vinkovetsky says, “it’s how it interplays with the other cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids that is going to give you the effective, different qualities.”
Even in products with the highest percentage of THC, the effects can be quite nuanced and influenced by other cannabinoids and terpenes. “We give a little too much credit to THC levels,” noted Vinkovetsky. “You need THC, but you also need all these other cannabinoids in different amounts and ratios to have those interesting effects; uplifting, lethargic, insightful, cerebral.”
While consumers are becoming more aware of the varying effects of different cannabis products, the public must become more educated on how the interaction of cannabinoids plays a role in that. Budtenders and dispensaries, in particular, Vinkovetsky noted, should be knowledgeable enough to prevent new consumers from being off-put by a first experience.
The finer points of cultivation: Is flushing a necessary step?
Flushing is a common practice among cannabis growers in which plants are fed nothing but water for the last week or two weeks of growth. According to Vinkovetsky, the need for flushing comes only from overfeeding and can be eliminated entirely.
“If you fed properly, to the amount the plant can use without overdoing it, there is no reason to flush,” he explained. Moreover, “if you have overfed your plants for 10, 12, 15 weeks,” he continued, “it’s not going to make much of a difference to flush for a week with plain water.”
Still, however, there are some instances when flushing can be beneficial, such as when a plant is overfed. And for those looking to better maintain their plant without overfeeding, Vinkovetsky recommends living soil, a growing method centered on the microbial life inside the soil.
“If you can have a medium that feeds itself and [then you] add organic material on top, you can improve your soil year after year,” he noted, adding that living soil has benefits relating to cost, the environment, and the overall healthy development of the plant.
To cure or not to cure
In the podcast, Baughman and Vinkovetsky discussed the definition of curing and the hot debate among growers about this important step.
“I know that when I first started growing, people told me it’s best if you seal it for a year, that’s how you really get it rich. And, and as I grow, I’m like, ah, no, I don’t think that is, I feel like that’s not the best way. I’ve always found like personally that it’s best when it’s fresh when that moisture level is completely, even all across the board.
“To me, curing is [the second] part of the drying process,” explained Vinkovetsky. “I do think there is something to be said for a proper, slow cure because it does bring out subtleties and nuisances, but there are things that can go wrong over time. It’s something you need a lot of time and commitment for… but it is a chemical process that is helpful to the process, and certainly better than just drying the branch and bagging it up and putting it out into the marketplace.”
Notably, Cryo Cure’s patented process drastically truncates the time and space required in the traditional hang dry and curing process. Cryo Cure machines not only cut curing time down to as little as 12 hours, but they also eliminate the risk of human error.
“A lot of places just don’t… really see that the drying process takes up as much space as it does,” noted Baughman. “We’re taking out the guesswork. [With Cryo Cure] you just walk right up to the plant and say, it’s ready, and you know exactly what you’re getting.”
What does a judge look for in a cannabis competition?
The culmination of all the hard work in the grow room is, of course, quality cannabis flower. As a longtime and seasoned cannabis flower competition judge, Vinkovetsky shared his first-hand insight into what makes for award-winning flower, including:
- Appearance: In addition to inspecting the full buds, Vinkovetsky breaks up the cannabis to gain a full grasp of its constitution. “I’ll use a microscope to get in and see maturity level, actual glandular trichomes; make sure they are not broken off or clear or all amber, so I know that it was properly timed and picked when ripe,” Vinkovetsky said.
- Aroma: After inspecting the appearance of the bud, Vinkovetsky then grinds up the flower to smell its essence. “I think many of the subtleties and nuisances come out then,” he noted. “I roll it up into a rolling paper and take a dry hit to see what that tastes like without lighting it.”
- How the cannabis burns: Vinkovetsky also checks flower for “burnability.,” or the way it burns once lit. “I do like it to burn cleanly, not have to re-light,” he explained. “[A] nice wispy ash is good and a sign of proper, light feeding.”
- Flavor: Flavor, of course, is essential. Does it taste good at the beginning? Does it lose flavor over time, or does that flavor remain consistent for the whole session? Vinkovetsky said he checks for this as well while assessing flower.
- Effects: Lastly, Vinkovetsky says, he sits back and absorbs how it makes him feel. How long-lasting is the effect? Does it come on super strong early and fade quickly, or does it creep up and linger for some time?
While all of these factors go into judging, Vinkovetsky said the overall experience is what matters.
“The aroma, the burnability, the effect – Is this something I’d be happy to pay for?” he said.
Listen to the whole interview with Daniel Vinkovetsky
Overall, Vinkovetsky says it’s important to remember that there is no perfect way to grow.
“We are still just scratching the surface of what this plant is capable of and what we can learn from it,” he noted. “I’m sure there is way more I will continue to learn from, but it is important to understand myths and why certain things are done in certain ways.”
You can listen to the full episode with Daniel Vinkovetsy by clicking here. Future episodes will be released across podcast platforms.