This flushing cannabis trial and event, conceived and executed by the Rx Green Technologies team, concluded years of speculation and months of planning.
Flushing, as referred to in this piece, is the tactic of feeding Cannabis plants only water for 3 to 14 days directly prior to harvest. No one really knows when Cannabis growers began flushing their plants. We do know why. Several sources state that, when Cannabis is flushed properly, plants rid themselves of excess minerals. Most growers now agree that this is not possible, but they continue flushing to rinse out excess minerals in the substrate. Shara Finch, our Lead Field Scientist, states “There may be some evidence to support the claims of improved taste and potency with flushing, since this stresses out the plant and essentially starves it, possibly leading to higher levels of sugars, terpenes, and cannabinoids in the plant.”
But when our scientists looked at the scant research available about this subject, they were skeptical. Stephanie Wedryk, Director of Research and Development, stated “The thought process surrounding flushing doesn’t fit within our understanding of soil science and nutrient dynamics. By applying plain water to a growth medium, the water will flush any stored nutrients from the medium in the soil solution. The plant will then end up taking in these nutrients or some will be lost to runoff. Once a nutrient gets into a plant, it stays there. It can’t be removed by applying water.”
We determined that the only way to learn the truth about flushing efficacy was through a taste test. On Friday November 8th, 2019, our clients and friends gathered at Space Gallery in Denver, CO to taste test cannabis. Space Gallery is a minimalist white landscape dappled with textural contemporary paintings. Abstract and vaguely celestial metal sculptures seem to sprout directly from the poured concrete floor. It is the perfect setting for discovery.
We commissioned our Denver, CO client to grow Cherry Diesel Cannabis with four different periods of flush: 14 days, 10 days, 7 days, and 0 days (or no flush). Our staff purchased the commissioned cannabis through a reputable Colorado dispensary. Cannabis was then weighed and packaged in food-safe glass containers keeping every flush group separate. We transported the samples to our venue where it and we anxiously awaited the upcoming evening.
The guests arrived with tentative smiles. Greeted by upbeat electro, fabulous hors d’oeuvres, local brews, and little jars of Cherry Diesel, those smiles started to solidify. Guests were supplied with a reusable glass chillum and lighter to smoke the four samples of differently flushed cannabis. Scorecards then asked guests to rate flavor, smoke quality, and ash color. And this was when we saw something amazing.
We knew our customers were deeply committed to their cannabis businesses. But we didn’t really know what to expect with a room full of headstrong cannabis growers and business owners. We saw a room full of experts in their field, deep in conversation with each other, dedicating their time and energy to the further understanding of cannabis. We overheard thoughtful conversations between direct competitors. And we saw guests, from different sides of the country, exchange thick business cards and promise to stay in touch.
The Flush Event united a cannabis industry ordinarily divided by state lines and intense competition. It might have been the local brews or the dank bud, but this was one of those moments that seemed to exist outside of reality. A moment when everyone agrees to have a good time, when you feel a profound sense of wholeness or warmth or glow or whatever you’d like to call it. Good vibes? Let’s go with that.
At the end of the night, we announced the results. Nobody could tell which sample was which. Our guests were a little surprised, but we weren’t. Most astonishingly though, guests preferred the flavor and smoke of the completely unflushed cannabis fed our nutrients until the day of harvest.
These results may not be replicable with cannabis grown in soil or with cannabis fed different nutrients. We hope that other companies and growers will attempt their own studies. Our young industry desperately needs more research. We are looking forward to new discoveries.
Read the trial report here.
Read the High Times magazine perspective here.