October 20, 2020

Growing Forward: Pulling back the leaves

The fifth episode of Growing Forward, the collaborative cannabis podcast between New Mexico PBS and NM Political Report, was released on Tuesday. 

In the episode, we take a look at the cannabis plant itself and hear about how complex it really is. 

Wylie Atherton with New Mexico cannabis producer Seven Point Farms, told Growing Forward that growing experts like him have devoted much of their time to really understanding the intricacies of cannabis. 

“Discerning cannabis is an art form that’s been relegated to small cloistered groups of people who really, really loved the plant,” Atherton said. 

To the novice cannabis user, terms like sativa and indica may not mean much. Others may know the two terms as a way to tell if a cannabis strain is uplifting or relaxing. But Atherton said flavor or aroma profiles play a significant part in how a strain may affect the user. 

Terpenes are compounds found in many plants that produce aromas and flavors. Atherton used driving a car as an analogy for how terpenes and cannabinoids work together. He said the terpenes are like the driver of the car and the cannabinoids are the horsepower or engine of the car. 

“Say you’re smoking a cannabis extract like a distillate that has upwards of 80 percent THC, but there’s no terpene present. You’re just going to get a ton of energy, a ton of horsepower and no direction,” Atherton said. “You take that same distillate and that same high THC product and you introduce Myrcene and Caryophyllene, you’re generally, for most people, going to get a relaxing kind of mellow effect to it.”

We also talked with Rachael Speegle, the CEO of the Verdes Foundation, about the plant’s complexities. 

We also hear from Jeffrey Holland who, along with his business partner, runs a company that produces a natural treatment for one of the most common molds that impact cannabis plants. 

Lastly we talked with Ryan Stoa, who has written extensively about the relationship between public water systems and large cannabis growing operations. 

“I think there is a promising role for cannabis producers, even in the west,” Stoa said. 

But Stoa also said things can get tricky if local governments don’t get ahead of water regulation before they legalize recreational-use cannabis. 

“Here’s an industry that is one of the fastest growing in the world and in the country, and if thoughtfully regulated, can really provide some pretty enormous economic benefits, particularly for rural areas,” Stoa said.

You can check out the latest episode of Growing forward below or find it wherever you normally find your podcasts.