Indoor cannabis farming popular among pot smokers in Vietnam
It was past midnight when Bui Ta Tu, a cannabis seeds dealer from the northern province of Bac Ninh, phoned his ‘clients’ announcing the arrival of a new shipment.
“For this type of fast-growing seed, there’s only a two-month wait between sowing and reaping,” Tu assured his buyers.
Cannabis, also known as marijuana, ‘pot’ or ‘weed’ among other names, is a psychoactive drug that can create a general change in perception, heightened mood, and an increase in appetite in users, according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The drug can be used by smoking, vaporizing, within food, or as an extract, either for medical or recreational purposes.
Despite the production of cannabis being illegal in Vietnam, punishable by up to life imprisonment or death, many pot smokers in the country are risking their lives growing the banned drug inside their own homes.
|A cannabis farm. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Tu has become a household name among indoor marijuana growers in the northern provinces of Vietnam, being a major importer of cannabis seeds to supply to Hanoi, Hai Phong and Quang Ninh markets.
His prices range from VND350,000 (US$15) per seed to VND2.5 million ($107) per ten seeds for buck buyers.
Not only does Tu sell cannabis seeds, he also grows a little ‘weed farm’ of his own and sells the fully-grown drugs to buyers.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the go-to man for first-timers is Le Thanh Dat, who is known for providing useful tips on looking after indoor weed farms and finding outlets for one’s harvest.
According to Dat, his prices are one of the most affordable among local dealers, around VND200,000-300,000 ($8.57-13.85) per seed, as his clients are mostly undergraduate students.
“Premium seeds take only two months to become harvest-ready, while regular seeds take three,” he explained.
“Long-term pot smokers tend to grow their own drug, otherwise they’d go bankrupt affording the expensive hobby,” Dat said.
Those with more money to spend should invest on a fabric closet similar to a ‘greenhouse,’ in which they can grow cannabis safely without worrying about police detection, Dat advised.
“Better safe than sorry, as what you’re doing is basically produce narcotics,” he said.
|Harvested cannabis is dried and bottled before being sold to customers. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
On Facebook, many private and public groups have been created as a platform for marijuana growers to connect with buyers.
“One gram for VND2.2 million [$95], five grams for VND10 million [$430], always readily available,” an advertisement on one of those sites reads.
Tran Dinh Trung, a prominent marijuana dealer in Ho Chi Minh City, said most dealers are drug addicts themselves.
“Nobody gets involved in these things and manages to remain not addicted,” Trung said.
|A cannabis user demonstrates how to smoke the drug at a karaoke bar in Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
According to Chu Thi Hoa, head of drug investigation under Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem District Police, marijuana users tend to ‘upgrade’ to narcotics and ecstasy once they feel cannabis is no longer enough to satisfy their needs.
“Word should be spread on the terrible effects and consequences of this psychoactive drug on users,” Hoa said, adding that cannabis usage among Vietnamese youth has been on the rise recently.
“School students and undergraduates are most susceptible to the attraction of recreational drugs,” she added.
Cannabis and Hemp in Vietnam: Law, opportunities and challenges
In Vietnam, cannabis is still illegal. It is illegal to cultivate, possess, sell or use cannabis. However, with cannabis and hemp being legalized in many places over the world, Vietnam is being presented with big opportunities that can bring countless benefits. But before considering legalizing this plant, there are still many major problems that the country needs to solve.
Is cannabis legal in Vietnam?
As mentioned, cannabis is illegal. It belongs to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in Vietnam. It forbids the use of cannabis even as medicine or researching purposes, except when authorized by the Government.
Despite that, there isn’t any clear distinction between cannabis and hemp written in the law. Do đó, việc liệu Cannabidiol (CBD) và các sản phẩm của nó có hợp pháp hay không vẫn còn là một câu hỏi lớn.
Even though cannabis law remains confusing as such, you can still easily find many hemp fields grown by ethnic minorities in the mountain areas of Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An or Ha Tinh provinces. People here grow hemp mainly for textile fibers, seeds for animal and poultry feed, or used for medicine. Therefore, the hemp plant has become an inseparable part of the cultural life of the people here.
Many hemp products are also being imported into Vietnam without any legal trouble. Hemp seeds from Canada or Europe are being preferred by people who are looking for a nutritious source of vegan food. Furthermore, cosmetics made from hemp are also selling fast.
On the other hand, even though CBD is still a new thing, its market holds a lot of potential due to many people wanting to improve their health by using natural products. Knowing this high demand of CBD products, HEMP SAPA was founded by a Vietnamese. The company is based in Czech, now using EU hemp ingredients to make very high quality products to sell in Vietnam. Beside HEMP SAPA, many other CBD companies are also trying to find a way into the country.
Headshop and Growshop
Headshop (selling paraphernalia) and Growshop (selling growing tools) are not illegal, and can be found in many places. These shops operate quite actively, mainly on Facebook.
In addition, many people are also starting to pay attention to vaporizers. Vaporization is the most discreet, economical and low-risk way to consume cannabis. Many brands of vaporizers are already on the market. The most popular ones are Arizer, Mighty, Dyna Vap, K-vape, PAX, DaVinci… In addition to vaporizers, E-liquid pens/vape are also widely used.
Smoking dry buds is currently the main form of cannabis use. However, different types of concentrates are slowly emerging. Just recently, HEMP SAPA has introduced its CBD distillate to the market, with a very total cannabinoid content (>70%) >
In addition to hemp and CBD products, a great deal of public interest is moving towards medical cannabis. News and knowledge about the effects of this plant is being spread more and more widely, mainly through social networks and even in some national news reports on TV. While the official legalization is still a long way to go, at least the stereotypes and misconceptions about cannabis are being removed gradually.
Moreover, with Thailand legalizing cannabis, medical tourism will be possible very soon as an option for Vietnamese people.
On the other hand, despite many opportunities, Vietnam also has some pressing problems.
Lack of cannabis knowledge
The number one concern is the lack of knowledge about cannabis in the community, especially among medical professionals. Although a lot of materials has been translated and is available online, such as on Vietgrowers.org website, cannabis education still needs to be promoted further. Doctors, pharmacists and researchers in Vietnam need to update their knowledge about this plant very soon to prepare for future legalization.
Indeed, given what is going on all over the world, legalization of medical cannabis will only be a matter of sooner or later. Medical professionals must be truly ready to be able to provide cannabis health care in the best possible way, for Vietnamese people.
In addition to the above problem, Vietnam is also facing the problem of synthetic cannabis flooding the market. With many cannabis/hemp/CBD products imported from abroad, many people also take advantage of that opportunity to find ways to sell synthetic cannabinoid-containing products.
Called various names such as aromatic tobacco, CBD (fake), american weed… and has many forms of disguise, these products are causing so much harm to young people. Addiction, strong hallucinations, and trauma to the nervous system are common consequences of synthetic cannabis usage. With it being so difficult to detect (doesn’t show up in a conventional drug test) and having such great harm, the authorities need to handle and address this issue more aggressively. Again, this is such a great danger that should not be underestimated.
Towards the Future
In short, the future of cannabis/hemp in Vietnam is very bright and promising. The hemp and CBD markets have already begun to grow day by day. Therefore, continuing in that direction, it is very likely that medical cannabis will be legal soon, probably in 5 to 10 years.
Hopefully, the government will soon make early changes to seize the opportunity and at the same time, solve the mentioned urgent issues. If the country is able to do that, once cannabis is legalized, it will certainly bring countless benefits.
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Growing marijuana and cannabis are both illegal, but not everywhere – Here is the cannabis growing guide
Most people may assume that growing marijuana and cannabis are both illegal. Well depending on who you ask the fact is that there are many benefits of growing cannabis which does not include becoming a drug dealer. Though you could become a legal drug dealer depending on where you reside and if cannabis is legal. You can click here to clear more about legality of cannabis on Wikipedia.
The great thing about growing weed (as it is commonly called) is the fact that it’s easy, does not require and for that reason does not need a lot of space and can be done indoors in a small pot. However, it will initially take some failure before you get that perfect yield. And, if you want to know more about how marijuana dispensaries are changing lives, consider to visit this article or you can click here if you are looking for smoking accessories.
Why Would You Grow Cannabis?
According to an article on Royal Seed Bank, one of the reasons you’d want to know how to grow cannabis is because it allows you to control the outcome. It gives you autonomy over almost every part of the cultivation process. That being said there are so many ways to become a successful cannabis grower and it happens to be an extremely rewarding process. Once you have a bit of experience, it is possible to then come up with a system that works well for you based on the environment you’re living in. Whether you want to cultivate weed organically, use soil containers or hydroponically or perhaps even raised beds, there is a system that will work best for you while making the process fun and rewarding.
Being able to control the growing process also gives people the opportunity to ensure excellent safety from the time they embed seeds into the ground to the final product. Growing marijuana yourself means that you can choose to avoid using fungicides, pesticides, fertilizers, miticides and various other stuff which is deemed harmful to the product and can compromise your immune system in one way or the other.
As far as growing for personal medicinal purposes goes there is little transparency regarding growing technique in some states which can make the product unsafe for medicinal purposes. When you grow it at home, it is possible to take control of the medicine and how it works for you. Plus, you never have to worry about running out of a prescription!
Cannabis Growing Tools of the Trade
Get a Growing Tent: Now the commonsense thing that you should first consider is space. You need a space, and it should be enough for the amount of weed that you intend on growing. I’d personally recommend that you invest in a decent size and quality tent. Tents are generally cheap, and they can be put up as well as taken down by a single person.
There are also some tents that come with all types of hydroponic equipment. However, you’d only want to purchase the size and type needed, so there is no need to go all out on the most expensive tent to grow weed. You’d want to consider a tent that has separate chambers for cloning, vegetable growth, etc. especially if you are living in a one bed and are still learning how to grow cannabis.
Best Grow Lights For Cannabis aka A Glowlight: You’d also want to invest in a HID glow light or an MH system with reflectors, bulbs, and ballasts or an HPS light. If you don’t want the lights to generate too much heat because you’re already living in Texas or some other desert on the North American continent then use LED lights. Ideally, the light you invest in should cover the entirety of the tent and should be hooked up to a timer which controls turning them on and off.
Exhaust Fan as Well as an Activated Carbon Filter: The exhaust fan will help to dissipate the heat while the activated carbon filter will help to remove odors. However, for both items make sure to get ones that are large enough for a tent or room. Remember the fan is meant to circulate air which is essential because stagnant air is bad for growing weed or any other similar plant. Additionally, you’d also want to get a hygrometer or thermometer which helps to track humidity and temperature.
Cannabis Seeds: How to grow cannabis without cannabis seeds? Unfortunately, you can’t, which means that if you don’t have easy access to clones or seeds from any dispensary or perhaps a like-minded friend, then it is possible to get it via mail. If you are not growing legally (something we advise against) make sure it isn’t delivered to the same address where you intend on growing weed. Always grow weed lawfully or the consequences depending on where you live can be dire.
A Lot of Loose Soil: Get 3-5 gallons worth of organic, airy and loose soil which is great for any hydroponic growing system. If you’re going to use buckets cut holes in the bottom and add a saucer underneath them which catches any overflow. Additionally, it will be worth buying growing nutrients which all living things need to grow. Try to get the best quality nutrients by a popular brand.
The Simple Cannabis Grow Guide – Finally!
Once you have all the stuff mentioned above now comes the fun part if growing stuff is fun for you! After you have planted the seeds or perhaps rooted the clones (whichever may be the case), you need to get them to grow.
Growing will require giving the seeds or the rooted clones some light. The light will come when you turn it on, lower the reflector, so it is close to the plants so that they don’t have to stretch for the light. The light system can then be raised slowly as the plant starts to grow. The light should be set on an 18-hour timer each day which means that it is off for just 6 hours a day. During the vegetative state, your marijuana plant will start growing lots of branches and leaves but no flowers yet unless it is an auto-flowering variety.
Beware of Overfeeding and Overwatering
Whether you are growing cannabis outdoors or indoors, there is such a thing as overwatering and overfeeding. Its easier to add more nutrients a little later on or more water for that matter than to take it out if it’s too much. Marijuana roots as a whole prefer dry and wet cycles. To find out lift up the pot or bucket in which the plant is growing and check the roots. Signs of a plant with too many nutrients is burnt leaf tips. The rule of thumb is to stay off the water and nutrients when in doubt.
If you have limited space for cannabis growing make sure to adhere to a few basic rules: Since your space is limited, you need to make sure that the plants take full advantage of each inch you have. The choice may be down to growing Hashplant, or Afghani #1, or perhaps using training techniques if you are trying to grow Super Silver Haze, Kali Mist or Jack Herer.
Pruning Cannabis for a Higher Yield
One of the things that will help to improve the yield is pruning. It is essential to start early and do it often. Cut branches slightly above the node where you might see a couple of shoots emerge. If you prune on time, your marijuana plant will take the appearance of a bonsai bush which means lots of buds on the site but without the plant having to stretch out too much. Now this is the best way to get the most yield out of a very small space though the only drawback is an increase in vegetating time.
The big mistake many newbie growers make is pruning the plant once it has started flowering. If you do that it will decrease the harvest. If the branches look as though they are growing to reach the light; they can just as easily be bent and tied which keeps them from burning up. Alternatively, you could use chicken wire to construct a trellis system which should help to further spread out the buds on site and increase the yield too. Take the time to train all the growing shoots so that they grow along the bottom of your screen to fill all the empty spots.
One of the most important cannabis growing stages is flowering. So, deciding when you should introduce flowering in the plant is a personal one. As mentioned above the key to growing weed successfully is knowing how much space you have to dedicate and then figure things out accordingly. Once flowering is induced, the plants will stretch for a couple of weeks. Generally, they stretch at one week per gallon size container, so a five-gallon bucket will give you around five to six weeks of vegetative space.
The lighting during the flowering stage should be set at just 12 hours for on and off. The 12-hour dark period shouldn’t be interrupted at any cost because it can cause many issues.
The other thing you’ll want to do is change the feeding regimen. Your plant’s nutrient needs will increase during the flowering phase and so it would be worth using a blooming solution. If you are currently growing a flower strain for 60 days, it is vital to flush down the growth medium with plain water at day 46-47 the latest.
Curing, Drying and Eventually Harvesting your Marijuana
When to harvest the buds is as essential as knowing how to grow cannabis. The easiest way to verify the right time to harvest is to use a large magnifying glass to look at the trichomes, which are the small glandular looking stalk sometimes called “crystals.” They resemble small glass mushrooms that have a stem with a round top. Inside this gland is the psychoactive compound that we all want, i.e. CBD and THC etc. When the glands become cloudy white in color just prior to turning amber, it is time to harvest them.
Once the buds are harvested they have to be trimmed and hung up to dry. It can take around a week for the these to dry mainly depending on the time of year and the humidity. Though you wouldn’t want to rush the process any sooner than 4 days because if you do, then be prepared to deal with a strange chlorophyll type taste.
You can further improve the drying process by using a humidifier in the drying room if you think the nuggets are drying too soon. A word of caution for those who use fans is never to allow it to blow directly on the buds but instead, the air should circulate adequately to avoid mold and also rot.
Once it has been established that the buds are dry enough, they can be put in a jar. One way to tell is that the stems will still have a bit of bend in them, but the flowers will be paper dry. However, even at this point, there is still water in the bud, but that will come out during the curing process.
Store the buds in an opaque jar and leave them in a cool, dry and dark place. You can later open up the jars and leave them open if you see condensation forming on the inside. Opening the closing the jars twice a day will help to replenish the air inside. It takes around a month for the curing process to complete at this point the buds will taste perfectly and burn readily.
Generally speaking growing cannabis outdoors as well as indoors is about the same. All you need to be careful of outdoors is the elements like birds, rats, worms, etc. Plus, it is also important to always use the right tools. Take detailed notes and don’t let initial failures turn you off, it is part of the learning process. Plus, it could also lead to you coming up with the right method of growing marijuana which works best where you live and what you want to achieve regarding the final yield.