Should you really care about how the cannabis you consume is grown?
Some people might answer this question with a no.
Others might have no idea where their cannabis comes from.
But if you’re using cannabis for medical reasons, you need to know your cannabis source (plus a lot more than that).
Is it grown indoors or outdoors?
In a greenhouse, with hydroponics, or via aquaponics?
Are any fertilizers or pesticides used during the growing process?
If so, which ones?
Our goal is to encourage you to care a little bit more about what is actually in your cannabis and the process behind its creation.
Aquaponics is about more than just cannabis. It’s about helping Mother Nature, those less fortunate than you in Canada and hopefully, in time, many struggling third world nations globally.
Choosing aquaponics is not just about buying high-grade, ultra-consistent cannabis, but that part does help.
What is aquaponics?
Aquaponics is a sustainable crop-growing technique that marries hydroponics with aquaculture (raising fish) into one integrated system.
It can be traced back to nearly 900 years ago, where the Aztecs built artificial islands in swamps and raised fish alongside crops.
In this balanced ecosystem environment, waste (yes, poop) produced by the fish introduces key nutrients to the system that cannabis plants use to grow.
In conventional aquaculture, waste can accumulate over time and contaminate the water, but in an aquaponic system, plants purify the water naturally.
The purified water is then cycled back into the fish tanks, ensuring safe and excellent growing conditions for the fish.
This creates a never-ending closed loop, resulting in a self-sustaining system where both fish and plants flourish.
Ways you benefit from aquaponic cannabis
So why should this growing method matter and what’s in it for you by choosing aquaponic cannabis?
Why should you, as a consumer, even care if fish are used during the growing process?
To begin, let’s nail down the biggest reason this growing method should matter to you, the customer. In short, it’s all about the cannabis quality. Most people strive to obtain the best product out there — no matter the industry — so let’s explore why aquaponics cannabis rates so highly.
Faster growing, top-quality plants with the biggest yields
The life cycle of a cannabis plant is sped up significantly when grown in an aquaponic operation. Marijuana plants produced using this method are fully developed and fit for harvesting up to 10 days earlier than the closest growing competitor, hydroponics.
Since the process is natural, the quality of cannabis flowers increases and the bud yields tend to be larger. Seeing a 20-25 percent rise in yields is not uncommon when compared to soil-grown plants.
Completely natural means pesticide free
With an aquaponics system encouraging plant growth requires nothing at all. Nada, zip! Sounds crazy right? It’s not.
After a settling in period the ecosystem takes care of itself. Although the plants require nothing to grow the fish will need an easily affordable organic food source and the tanks an occasional water top up. There are no synthetic pesticides, no fertilizers, nothing. Naturally occurring bacteria establish themselves in the system alongside the fish and the rest is nature taking its course.
The only thing added is organic, food-grade chemicals that help keep the pH levels of the water consistent for the fish and plants.
Even if you wanted to cheat in an aquaponic system and add a fertilizer or pesticide to the mix, it would backfire. Any artificial additives would throw the whole ecosystem out of balance, which would then harm or potentially kill the fish.
The result of this pure environment is consistently high-quality natural cannabis. A completely untainted product.
The same cannot be said for greenhouse-grown and hydroponically-grown pot as both methods usually rely on both pesticides and/or fertilizers. Also hydroponic and greenhouse cannabis aren’t a good solution for cancer patients and other people who want to avoid chemicals.
Greenhouse cannabis is also negatively affected by bioaccumulation which is plants absorbing unwanted metals and toxins from the soil they grow in. This topic will be elaborated on below.
Importance of consistency in medical cannabis and its oils
When you buy a cannabis product to treat a medical condition or illness, consistency is key. You want to know the product will work the same every time so you can continue to live your life without interruption.
If you have a medicine with fluctuating quality it may put you in a tricky spot or worse cause you harm. Since aquaponics is a self-sustaining ecosystem, the same high-grade product will be churned out again and again.
This offers comforting piece of mind for those relying on medical cannabis to get them through each day or week. A cannabis or CBD oil grown using aquaponics will have unrivalled consistency and a very high quality. Also aquaponically-grown cannabis yields more CBD and THCV per plant in some strains than other growing methods.
Aside from these benefits aquaponics improves the flavour of the cannabis by upping the level of terpenes in the plant. While we are on the topic of flavour, aquaponic marijuana is healthier, smoother, more aromatic and better tasting than all the rest. Cannabis connoisseurs take note.
Nothing fishy about feeding the less fortunate
A completely free and organic protein source is the added benefit of a large or small scale aquaponics operation. Fully grown they make the ecosystem tick but they all start out as fry. When they reach maturity they can be removed from the tanks for consumption and replaced.
You can choose to eat the fish yourself or donate them to a good cause.
Many homeless people here in Canada are very grateful that we choose to do the latter.
Water conservation in a worrying time for the world
Interesting fact: the water used an aquaponic system will more or less be the same water that’s in the same tanks 20 years from now, it is never dumped. Additional water is only required when it evaporates from the surface under lights or when the process of transpiration occurs in the plant leaves.
That original loop of life-giving, nutrient-rich liquid is pretty much there forever and research suggests that 90 per cent less water is used in aquaponics when compared with traditional agriculture. This statistic alone could greatly benefit arid third world countries suffering due to chronic water shortages.
Conserving water is more important than ever when you consider things like global warming, climate change and Earth’s ever-widening wealth divide. A well-maintained aquaponic growing system using minimal amounts of water is very good news for parched, poverty-stricken countries.
If implemented properly with the help of charity organizations, this system could transform the agriculture industries in these starving countries. Thankfully, we aren’t the only ones who feel this way as this study shows. Also, this 2018 article is one of many online recommending the introduction of aquaponics into developing countries.
One giant leap for mankind?
Unsurprisingly, NASA is using the aquaponics model to feed humankind once Mars is colonized. This choice of agriculture method makes total sense too as water only really exists on the Red Planet as ice on its north and south poles.
The beauty of aquaponics is the complete lack of input required once the process is put into motion. So year after year and crop after crop it just keeps humming along and repeating its patterns.
Additionally aquaponics can deliver vegetables on top of the protein (fish) used to create it. So aquaponics could be feeding our great great great grandchildren in space. Now that’s pretty cool.
Aquaponics vs hydroponics
While both methods are arguably better than soil-based greenhouse cannabis aquaponics is still superior to hydroponics when it comes to marijuana quality. First off aquaponics is pesticide and fertilizer free, making it completely natural.
Hydroponics meanwhile does require chemicals to grow and if these aren’t flushed out properly the end product may be tainted. From an environmental standpoint aquaponic cannabis is also better. With far less water used to create it than hydroponic marijuana requires.
Additionally — unlike a hydroponic system — there is no harmful checmical run-off left over after growing that needs to carefully and consciously dumped.
Explore In-Depth: Aquaponics vs hydroponics
The consistency of aquaponics is unrivaled when it comes to continuous delivery of high-quality cannabis. Once hydro growers establish the proper fert dosages it kind of becomes a recipe so it is pretty consistent, just consistent in synthetically derived chemical fertilizers as opposed to poop.
Also for the growers out there the yields are bigger and harvesting day arrives a lot quicker with aquaponic cannabis, although the setup costs are larger than that of a hydroponic operation. And lastly let’s not forget about the free source of fish for you or someone less fortunate.
Dangers of buying black market bud
If you still purchase cannabis from your friend or dealer on the black market then so be it. We just advise that you quiz your source on their growing techniques to make sure what you are buying isn’t going to be tainted with harmful chemicals.
If your black market source is growing conventionally in soil and using cheap sub-standard fertilizer then consider buying your cannabis elsewhere. These low-grade fertilizers are often full of dangerous metals which accumulate in the plant as the roots absorb them from the soil.
Again, all these chemicals can be bypassed by choosing cannabis produced in a soilless environment like aquaponics where there is reduced risk of harmful metals or toxins getting into your marijuana.
Aquaponics cannabis vs greenhouse cannabis?
Straight off the bat there is an obvious problem with greenhouse-grown bud. The clue is in the name. Anything — whether it be vegetables or cannabis — grown in a glasshouse will have its quality and consistency dictated by the weather. If you are a home grower the summer and even spring work fine but what about trying to grow in winter or late autumn?
Aquaponics doesn’t have that problem. Once the ecosystem is created and the lighting put in place it’s growing season all year long with unparalleled consistency, in a facility where we have full environmental control of temperature, humidity, etc.
For a quick and simple overview of which one is better here are the facts. Greenhouse cannabis has lower yields, longer harvesting times, quality inconsistencies and an end product that is not always fully natural. Aquaponics cannabis is chemical free, fully organic, has unerring consistency in quality and is ready to harvest it larger yields in the fastest possible time.
On top of that, it takes care of the environment and could help feed the world someday. The choice is yours.