Growing medical or even consumption grade cannabis (even being a consumer) in the age of big agriculture can be a difficult or even dangerous task when there are products being used that are intended for ornamental and none food grade crops.
We will be breaking some of the most popular pest and fungus control products into categories based on safety!
With the correct degree of care and attention to detail, it should be possible to maintain a grow without resorting to pesticide use at all—keeping plants tidy and well-maintained, keeping the grow room or surrounding environment clean and tidy, and ensuring optimum conditions to promote healthy plants will all go a long way towards keeping an organic garden free from infestations.
Neem Oil (leaf shine): A great preventative measure, neem oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of the neem (Azadirachta indica), an evergreen tree which is endemic to the Indian subcontinent and has been introduced to many other areas in the tropics. It is the most important of the commercially available products of neem for organic farming and medicines. (see Azatrol EC)
Diatomaceous Earth: Diatomaceous earth particles are very sharp looking. These particles stick to an insect and get stuck between its exoskeleton joints. As the insect moves, it gets physically cut up.
Azatrol EC: Azatrol is an azadirachtin insecticide formulated to provide broad spectrum insect control with very low environmental impact. NON-TOXIC to honeybees and many other beneficial insects. OMRI Listed for use in organic production. A popular botanical insecticide/ miticide with multiple modes of action, Azatrol acts as an anti-feedant, insect growth regulator and as a repellent and ovipositioning deterrent.
Spinosad (Captain Jacks Dead Bug): Spinosad has high efficacy, a broad insect pest spectrum, low mammalian toxicity, and a good environmental profile, a unique feature of the insecticide compared to others that are currently used for the protection of grain products. Spinosad is regarded as natural products-based, and approved for use in organic agriculture by numerous national and international certifications.
Bacillus Subtilis (Serenade): Bacillus Subtilis is a naturally occurring anti-fungal bacterium found in soils. It has proven to fight blight, gray mold and several strains of mildew, yet has no adverse affects on the environment or humans. For this reason, it has been approved as a fungicide and bactericide for use in organic farming. Bacillus Subtilis compounds prevents pathogens from colonizing crops. This biological fungicide can be procured online under several brand names. Two strains are available; one for foliage applications (QST 713) and one to be used as a soil amendment at the time of planting (GB03 or MBI600)
Potassium Bicarbonate (Green Cure): Potassium bicarbonate (also known as potassium hydrogen carbonate or potassium acid carbonate) is a crystalline salt found in baking powder and antacids. Food grade potassium bicarb can mixed at 1tsp-1gallon fresh water (add coco wet or similar wetting agent if needed) this spray will raise the PH of the leaf surface and make it impossible for mold and mildew to spread and thrive.
Neem Oil: Our old friend neem oil! It can also keep mildew at bay, so it really does make a great safe alternative to toxic fungicides!
Anything that is labeled “For Ornamental plants ONLY” should never be used on consumption or medical grade cannabis this includes Avid, Distance, Orthene and Pylon. If you Absolutely need to spray something labeled for ornamentals that is systemic (which means it stays in the plant tissue for an extended amount of time) you should only spray in early veg and double the recommended clearing time before switching to flower!
Products containing myclobutinol which is used commonly in the grape industry but becomes toxic when combusted should be avoided at all costs, also as stated above, NEVER use a product that reads “for ornamental plants and turf” instead use one of the safer options listed above including Serenade and potassium bicarb, these can also be rotated with preferably one nutrient foliar spray in between (due to the bicarb makeing it difficult for the bacteria present in the Serenade to live on the leaf surface)