In this 5th episode of Growing Exposed, we start out with a tour of a top-notch, federally licensed, 100 percent organic medical growing facility, followed by one man’s battle and how one remarkable plant literally saved his life.

Creator of the show, Jeremy Deichen, reminds us that many of the tours are so exclusive that you would never get an inside look except through the lens of Growing Exposed.

This is one of those facilities.

A 25+ year veteran in the hydroponic industry, Justin Cooper shows off a Canadian federally licensed facility, producing top-notch, 100 percent organic medicine. This facility has next level security measures and tight protocols in place; strict tabs are taken on who enters and exits the grow rooms. In order to enter these rooms, visitors and staff are quarantined and must wear the proper gear to prevent contamination: booties, hairnets, room-specific lab coats and latex gloves. Fob-controlled steel doors also ensure only authorized personnel have access to grow rooms at any given time. And for good reason—to protect their coveted organic crop from bugs, disease and other unwanted guests.

According to professional grower ‘the Garden Sage’ David Robinson, it’s worth it to garden organically.

Robinson explains there are greater benefits for your plants when you choose to harness the power of Mother Nature in your garden. Organics contain microorganisms that provide much more than the 16 essential nutrients that modern science recognizes in chemical fertilizers. Natural components are multifaceted, including enzymes, microorganisms and bacteria that stimulate root growth as well as facilitate nutrient uptake. These substances contribute to the pronounced aromas and flavors that may otherwise go undeveloped.

“The public definitely appreciates organically-grown material, and it is often fetching a higher price,” Robinson explained. “This motivates gardeners to engage in ecologically sound gardening practices.”

When done right, your organic buds should be big, beautiful, full of pristine aromas, flavors and covered in sugar-dusted trichomes. In this facility, that was certainly the case.

Cooper explained: “The Blueberry Kush smells like blueberries, the Tangerine Dream smells like oranges.”

This facility accomplishes this standard by brewing their own compost tea, utilizing top-notch air conditioning, providing perfect full-spectrum lighting and by following strict guidelines to grow the healthiest plants possible. With all these factors in play, they are able to get the best quality medicine out to patients and really raise the bar when it comes to organic growing.

Some people argue that organic growing won’t yield the same as synthetic, but this facility lives by the mantra “what little you lose in yield, you certainly make up for in quality.”

As cannabis becomes a more widely accepted form of medicine, more patients will demand high quality cannabis that is grown in pristine facilities such as this one. The importance of the growing method, air conditioning, HVAC, airflow, quality of nutrients, lighting and security system all impact the end product. Keeping these standards as high as possible verifies that the grower takes the needs of their medical patients seriously.

Whether you’re growing your own or obtaining your medicine from a federally licensed facility, cannabis is quickly becoming the medicine of choice for a wide variety of ailments and diseases. In the second segment of this episode we speak to one such patient.

As cannabis is plowing its way back into the realm of legitimate medicine, it remains a hot topic of social and political debate. Patients have shed blood, sweat and tears fighting valiantly for their right to grow this miracle plant and break the shackles that pharmaceutical drugs have on their lives.

And although the science still isn’t clear, the proof is in the (THC-infused) pudding. Cannabis is known to help a variety of ailments, including chronic pain. Painkiller addiction is a growing epidemic in North America and getting off of them is a challenge of its own, but it can be done, and cannabis is turning the tide.

“Cannabis saved my life.” explained John Berfelo, a medical cannabis grower, patient and activist. “It truly, truly saved my life.”

Berfelo’s story began in 2005, when he made a wrong move at work and tripped. He fell 28 feet onto concrete, obtained 18 major injuries–four in his neck alone–and had to undergo six major surgeries. The chronic pain he endured from his injuries had him on 33 pills a day and cost an obscene $1,488 a month. The slurry of heavy pharmaceuticals had him “chasing pain” on a daily basis and did little to help.

Eventually, Berfelo decided to take his life back and swap out buying pharmaceuticals for growing cannabis. Cannabis allowed him the power to curate the strength of his own medicine. He chose an organic fertilizer formula and designed his own strain with the perfect amount of THC and CBD to do for him what all of the drugs had failed to do—a single plant had eased Berfelo of his muscle spasms, anxiety and severe chronic pain. He calls his strain Medi Kush.

“Always using the organics. Medi-One.” Berfelo said about his growing method, showing off a bottle of Green Planet Nutrients Medi-One and revealing the Medi-One logo on his T-shirt. “It’s what I use, it’s what I love. It’s the organic medicine that really plays a key role in helping myself.”

After he started to learn and perfect how to grow his own medicine, Berfelo won awards for his Medi Kush. In 2011, he won 1st place at the Treating Yourself Medical Marijuana Cup, using only Medi-One from Green Planet Nutrients.  In 2012, he won 2nd place.

We expect both of these organic growing models to continue to gain popularity while cannabis moves towards full legalization across North America. Surely patients will continue to explore what works best for them, while eagerly awaiting the day science proves what these medicinal patients and growers already know.

Make sure to tune into Growing Exposed to learn more about the behind-the-scenes of growing cannabis exclusively on HIGHTIMES.com.

Missed an episode? Catch up on the entire Growing Exposed series, HERE!

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