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Cannabis Column | July 8, 2022

What is autoflower marijuana?

Autoflowering marijuana is a type of cannabis that doesn't rely on the change in light cycles to start flowering. Instead, it flowers automatically after a certain time has passed since it's been germinated. Pretty nifty, right? For growers, this means that you can get two crops in one year—making autoflower marijuana a big business opportunity. For consumers, it means you can get high-quality cannabis with less waiting time. 

But that's not all autoflowers are good for as some strains are resistant to pests and mold, making them an ideal choice for growers who live in humid climates. Keep reading to learn more about autoflowering cannabis. 

What does autoflowering mean?

As a result of its harsh environment and limited sunlight, a type of cannabis often called Cannabis ruderalis emerged centuries ago in very cold northern areas. We say “often called” as there is genetic evidence that suggests these taxonomic classifications are inaccurate. (Want to know more? Check out Cannabis sativa Vs. “Sativa”) Cannabis in this region began flowering after a period of time, thus acquiring the name "autoflower."

So, what does the autoflowering feature actually do?

Essentially, this type of cannabis automatically flowers under virtually any light condition, which means they don't need to follow the 12 hour/12 hour day/night cycle in order to bloom, as they can thrive in 24 hours of light from seedling to harvest. In contrast, this process is not the same in traditional strains, which rely on a consistent pattern of darkness alternating with light.

Cannabis plants reach the flowering stage when fully mature. 

In outdoor cultivation, marijuana plants from traditional seeds begin flowering or growing buds as fall approaches and the sun sets earlier and earlier. As a result of this light reduction, cannabis plants trigger their flowering phase and produce buds. When plants are grown indoors, the flowering cycle can be controlled by reducing the amount of light they receive from 18 hours a day to 12 hours. 

The evolution of autoflowering cannabis plants

The autoflowers that initially hit the marketplace at the beginning of the 2000s weren't that impressive. They lacked potency, the aroma was weak, and yield was disappointing. 

While wild cannabis plants tend to have a low level of THC, breeders worldwide have created some spectacular autoflower strains by crossing them with popular commercial strains. Those breeders perfected the process, resulting in an explosion in the number of autoflowering seeds. These strains are ready to harvest within 60 days from seed, stay between 30 and 100 cm high, and produce between 20 to 30% THC.

What are autoflower pros and cons?

Autoflowers have a number of distinctive features:

●    Flowering occurs naturally between two and four weeks after planting.

●    Typically, it takes ten weeks from planting to harvest.

●    Autoflowering seeds are usually feminized. This means there are typically few male plants.

●    Plants remain short (30–100cm). 

Many popular strains are available in autoflower form. For example, "Blue Dream Auto" combines features of Blue Dream and autoflowering strains, so the plant retains a lot of Blue Dream attributes but makes grows faster. 

The main advantage of autoflowers is that you don't have to worry about the changing seasons, which is excellent for beginner growers. Additionally, autoflowers grow rapidly, so you can usually get two harvests in the same period of time it would take you to get one harvest. 

What are autoflower seeds?

For beginners, autoflowering cannabis seeds are the most suitable seeds because of their small size and ability to grow in small areas. They are also very resilient and strong, so beginner mistakes won't damage them.

Growing autoflower seeds

Choose an environment indoors or outdoors for growing autoflower seeds. Providing seeds have at least 18 hours of direct sunlight per day in an indoor environment, you can cultivate the seeds any time of the year. However, the ideal time to grow seeds outdoors is in the spring, when daylight hours are plentiful.

In any growing environment, autoflowering seeds don't require a high level of nutrients as they work independently. Autoflower seeds also have the advantage of being able to survive in extreme weather conditions, including freezing temperatures. 

Plants grown in pots indoors must have drainage holes to ensure adequate oxygen flow. In addition, it's a good idea to allow your seeds plenty of room for flowering because some autoflowering strains can grow up to four feet tall.

Where to buy autoflower seeds

Autoflower seeds are available for purchase online from cannabis seed retailers.  

Get started on your cannabis wellness journey

Have you started your cannabis wellness journey? Jointly is a new cannabis wellness app that helps you discover purposeful cannabis consumption so you can achieve your wellness goals with cannabis and CBD. On the Jointly app, you can find new cannabis products, rate products based on how well they helped you achieve your goals, and track and optimize 15 factors that can impact your cannabis experience. These 15 factors include your dose, the environment in which you consume cannabis, who you are with when you ingest, how hydrated you are, the quality of your diet, how much sleep you got last night, and more. Download the Jointly app on the App Store or the Google Play Store to get started on your cannabis wellness journey.

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