At the Enlightenings business on County Street in Somerset on Saturday, consultant Butch Roderick made a presentation to a small audience about how cannabis is grown and the benefits of the plant to people.
He stressed at the beginning of his discussion that it’s been a long time since cannabis was just thought of as a plant that could be used to get stoned.
“This is really a medicine,” Roderick said.
Roderick’s presentation was entitled “The Ying and Yang of the Cannabis Plant.”
Roderick asked the people in the audience what they think of when they hear the word cannabis, which is also known as marijuana. One woman said “happiness.” Another person said health.
Roderick said most people think of the part of cannabis that can get them high, but said that a lot of people don’t realize that the plant has compounds in it that can be used as anti-bacterials, to help their neurological system, to reduce inflammations, for pain relief and to help people sleep.
“It’s amazing what this plant can do,” Roderick said.
Roderick said that cannabis has been found to help those problems already while in-depth study of the plant really did not start that long ago. He said the compounds from the plant get into a person’s cells and help protect the body, whether it is inhaled, smoked or eaten. He said a study on NFL players who passed away found that players who were smoking cannabis were less likely to have concussion problems.
“That’s huge,” Roderick said.
Roderick talked about a man who took cannabis oil to treat Parkinson’s disease and cited another man who made an oil from cannabis that cured his own cancer.
“It’s important that we really stop thinking of it as reefer madness,” Roderick said of cannabis.
Roderick went over the three types of cannabis plants with the audience. He said they include sativa, which has an uplifting effect, infica, which has a relaxing effect and ruderalis, which can have either of those effects. He said sativa is good for people who are depressed or hyperactive because it can calm them down. He said it can affect people differently. He said people with a lot of anxiety should stay away from sativa. Roderick said infica can help people who have high anxiety. He said it can also help people who are nauseous. Roderick said infica has a little heavier smoke than sativa that might cause people to cough a little.
Roderick discussed the grow cycle for marijuana with the audience. He said the germination, seedling, vegetative and flowering parts of that cycle can take about 16 weeks and then it can be cured for anywhere from a month to six months, depending on preference, before it can be smoked or used in other ways. He said sativa and infica plants can be crossed to grow them faster. If the plants are grown from clones, he said it can take 12 weeks. He said infica plants take seven to nine weeks to flower. Roderick said sativa plants can grow to 15 feet high and have long arms, but when crossed with infica, they are shorter.
“You need to have big, tall ceilings for sativa,” Roderick said.
Roderick said the cannabis plants eat a lot of food but they don’t need a lot of nutrients, because they grow on photosynthesis. He said the plants need a little bit of nutrients to survive, but said they are fed by soil, like trees that nobody are feeding. He said cannabis plants should be watered a lot.
“They are self feeders,” Roderick said.
Lights are used to grow cannabis plants inside. Roderick said that people who use LED lights for growing the plants have a high failure rate because they are too bright. He said people should have three lights for growing cannabis, one for rooting, another for vegetative and another for flowering. He said the plants should be given 12 hours of light per day during the flowering part of the cycle, 18 hours of light per day during the vegetative part of the cycle and 24 hours of light during the rooting phase. He said hydroponics can be used for growing cannabis, but said that is more work. Under the laws, if cannabis is grown outside, Roderick said neighbors can’t be able to view it with their naked eyes.
Roderick said once the plants flower, they need to be trimmed down. He said the cannabis is put in a container that keeps the moisture at 62 percent, so that the buds do not get too dry.
Roderick said the biggest mistakes in growing cannabis come from over watering, too much light and too many nutrients.
Roderick said Massachusetts law allows for up to six cannabis plants to be grown on a residential property if one adult lives there and up to 12 plants if two adults live there.
Roderick said cannabis can be smoked in joints, pipes, vapes, dabs and oils. He displayed a bong that dabs can be inhaled from. He said people who smoke dabs in them will be very strongly medicated. He said the dabs can have close to 100 percent tetrahydracannabino.
He said the most popular type of pipes are glass pipes that can cost as much as $300.
Roderick said cannabis can also be used in baked goods, candy, oils and tinctures.
“They have gummi bears, gummi worms, they have something like a caramel and a Tootsie Roll,” Roderick said.
Roderick also displayed a Magical Butter machine in which butter is put in along with trim or buds from cannabis. Tinctures can be made in the machine that can be put in the mouth, coffee or food.
The type of recreational marijuana business where those types of products could be sold will be addressed at a Special Town Meeting in Somerset on March 19, starting at 6 p.m. in the performing arts center at Somerset Berkley Regional High School. Massachusetts will allow recreational marijuana businesses to open on July 1. Somerset voters will be asked to approve of an amendment to a zoning bylaw on March 19 which will specify where the recreational marijuana businesses can go and other requirements on them. The businesses would be allowed in industrial and light industrial zones under the bylaw.
Cannabis can also be used with topicals that are sold at Enlightenings, which is located at 1078 County St. in Somerset. Roderick said topicals are good for the skin and helps to get cannabidiol from the roots of the plant into the body by essential oils. Roderick’s wife, Holly, and his sister Kathy Ponte, own 16:20, a business that distributes its topicals to Enlightenings where they are sold. Their products include Smile Lotion, which is a hand or body lotion that Holly said is good for dry skin, massage oil that Holly said is good for dry skin and is also used as a personal lubricant, and Roller Ball, to put on pressure points on the body and which Holly said is good to relieve anxiety and depression. All of the 16:20 products have cannabidiol in them. Holly said all of the products are hand made in small batches. She said a muscle recovery salve that helps with cramping muscles, spasms and tightness is also sold by 16:20.
Holly said the name of the business comes from the military time of the time when people in the cannabis culture like to partake of cannabis.
John Belche, who owns Enlightenings with his wife, Lori Belche, said they have received very positive feedback on the 16:20 products. Enlightenings also offers psychic medium readings, quantum healings, classes, a Himalayan salt cave theater and retail products that include Himalayan salt lamps, essential oils, incense, smudge, essential oil bracelets, hand crafted natural soaps and others.
Roderick is a consultant who teaches people how to grow cannabis. He has worked as a paramedic and also used to work in the restaurant business. As a consultant on growing cannabis, he said he teaches people the proper equipment to use and how not to get taken advantage of by shops that are selling related products.
“I enjoy teaching people to grow it,” Roderick said. “It’s fun. It’s a good hobby.”
Roderick said some people think cannabis is an alternative to opiates. He said military veterans with post traumatic stress syndrome use cannabis to relieve the effects of that syndrome.
Roderick said people would have to eat a lot of edible marijuana to overdose. A man in the audience said he can tell when he has had enough cannabis, as opposed to drinking alcohol which he said he used to keep doing until he got drunk.
“I’ve seen more problems with drinking than I have with marijuana,” Roderick said.
Roderick said different strains of cannabis can help people with different problems and said other drugs can be more addictive than cannabis. He said if people smoke too much infica, they will fall asleep while if they have too much sativa, they will not be able to sleep. Roderick said a lot of people also don’t know what is in tobacco, while if they grow cannabis themselves, they know what they are putting in their bodies. He said people also may not know what is in cannabis that they are buying on the streets. Roderick said there is organic cannabis and synthetic cannabis. He said synthetic cannabis can be very clean and the people who sell it will even share their lab results.