I love cannabis, and I love being around cannabis plants, but it only takes a few to make me happy. If I only have a few, I enjoy every minute I spend with them. Farming, even cannabis farming, amounts to a lot of tedious, backbreaking work in the hot sun. That I don’t need, but a little patch of my own suits me nicely. When you love plants, and spend time around them, they communicate with you and you build a relationship with them. I think this is especially true of cannabis. I know that a lot of people around here understand this and have cultivated a deep spiritual relationship with the cannabis plant, so this will not be news to them.

When you spend time around cannabis plants, they communicate with you. When they pop out of their shells they crawl around like babies and grab onto everything. Once they get a good grip, they stand up and become little seed-leaf toddlers, and then before long, Kapow! Cannabis plants explode with growth in their vegetative stage. You can feel that energy and vitality if you spend time around them then, and I think that amazing vibrancy and biodynamic growth inspires a lot of young growers to make a career of cannabis.

I’ve seen a lot of disaffected young people who previously showed very little interest in anything, become very excited about their cannabis crop. They build a relationship with the plant and feel the power it exudes. They see its rapid, exponential growth, feel that vigor in the air, and pretty soon they start to believe that they can “make it big” with cannabis. That’s just one way that cannabis communicates with people in general, but cannabis plants also have individual personalities, and right now I want to tell you about a cannabis plant that broke my heart.

She’s all grown up.

She began as the only viable seed from the previous year’s harvest. As a seedling, she grew more vigorously all of the other store bought seeds I planted. By the time I transferred them to 6” pots, I had a few seeds I had started, a few clones, and her. She was still ahead of the rest of the class. When it came time to transplant them to big pots to grow full-term in the sunshine, she had peers, but she still stood out, so she got the largest pot in the best location.

She loved the sun and immediately got huge. By August, she had grown to about 6 feet tall, but her girth swelled to 8 feet across. She was enormous and beautiful and just beginning to flower. As the summer wore on, she matured spectacularly. Flowering cannabis plants are sexy. They get all sparkly, so they have a twinkle in their eye, and that sweet seductive aroma just calls out to you, and before long, it becomes overwhelming and you start to fear it will attract unwanted attention. By September she was covered with huge, heavy, stinky, sticky buds. As fall wore on, the buds added highlights of purple and the crystals became so thick that the whole plant looked glazed, the way trees get when the rain freezes on them.

The question of when to harvest is always tricky. It is tempting to harvest early, just because it smells and looks so good, but buds get a lot heavier in those final days. However, as the buds get heavier, denser and fatter, they also get more and more likely to attract mold, so you watch your plants carefully as you countdown to harvest, and you pay close attention to the weather. An early rainstorm or the first sign of mold usually motivates me to harvest, but that year the weather cooperated, and while some other plants developed mold, she showed no sign of it. She just kept getting stickier, stinkier and heavier.

I don’t think I ever let a plant mature that completely before, but one morning, late in October I approached her and I was not at all prepared for what I saw and felt. She was crestfallen. She had given up, and the defeat destroyed her. I could see it; I could feel it. She had done everything that she could to snare some pollen. She had grown big, fast. She made millions of sparkly sticky flowers, and when that didn’t work she made millions more.

She was her mother’s only daughter. She should have had thousands of sisters, but she was the only one, and all she wanted from life was to produce millions of sons and daughters of her own. She knew she had not produced a single seed, and she was exhausted. She had done everything she could do, and she had failed. I could feel her anguish and it broke my heart. I felt awful. I cut her down, dismembered her and hung her up to dry.

She was my best plant, and her flowers grew bountiful and huge, but I felt ashamed of what I had done to her. I felt ashamed of having tortured her in that way, and it seemed an unnecessary cruelty. I felt ashamed that a relationship that I found so gleefully delightful, was so deeply unsatisfying for her. It didn’t stop me from smoking her, and she produced some of the finest cannabis flower I have ever smoked, but the taste was bittersweet. I’ve never felt quite the same about sinsemilla since then.

Since then, I like finding seeds in my weed, and I’d like to find more of them. Seeds tell you that your pot comes from happy plants, and each of those beans is a little bundle of cannabis happiness for you to spread around. Seedy weed is happy weed, and happy weed makes people happy. It may not make you rich, but it will make you happy.


John Hardin writes at Like You’ve Got Something Better to Do.