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Brix levels.....whats your thought?

Just wanting to hear everyone’s opinion on brix levels of cannabis flowers. We used to actively measure and monitor the sugar content of veggies as it was a direct link to flavor and sweetness of fruits/veggies. Ive heard some talk about it for cannabis, but not sure if its a metric that its important to measure or try and increase. Ive also heard that people add molasses to their feed schedule in hopes of making the flower sweeter. However, there is a slight misconception of what the molasses actually contributes. Yes, molasses is a sweetener with a high sugar content. But the crop does not increase in sugar content by assimilating the sugar provided by the molasses. But rather, it provides both potassium and phosporous which are important precursors in the synthesis of carbohydrates. For soil based growers, molasses can provide essential sugar as a food source for the soil microbes as well as provide amino acids and micronutrients, thus improving the overall health of the soil biome. Healthier soil = healthier plants = higher productivity.

I would like to hear your thoughts and learn from your experiences. Thanks in advance.

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It’s amazing how much I’ve learned writing for Growers Spotlight, and Brix is one of those things. I learned about it during my interview with Jason Stirling for my Compost Teas article. In Jason’s case, he thinks it’s a good indicator for overall health and nutrition of the cannabis plant, which feed indirectly into the flavor and potency of the cannabis.

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Cool. What are the desired brix ranges? Is it simply “as high as possible”? Is there a mininum that we should see?
Also, is it necessary to test the flower itself or will a vegetative leaf do the trick?

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He didn’t give a specific range, but it was implied that “as high as possible” was the way to go.

As for where to test, I didn’t get that information directly from him. My best guess is that testing the newest/youngest leaves should be a good place to test. The reason (in my mind. I’m no expert) is that new leaves are still depositing their immobile nutrients (the ones the plant doesn’t cycle), and you can get a more accurate read on those nutrients in young leaves.

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I used to use brix when growing sugarcane. As in vegetables, it is a direct indicator of plant maturity. In essence, sugar levels plateau for each plant species. I am very interested to hear about the use of a brix measure in cannabis. As for the molasses, it basically feeds your beneficial bacteria. The carbohydrate molecules are too large to be taken up by the plant.

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I measure brix using a leaf stem. Brix levels can be good indicators of certain deficiencies. For instance when cannabis is in a vegetative state it droops when the sun goes down or lights turn off. It is dropping because it is exuding up to 60% of it’s sugars it has produced through the day down to the root zone to feed the soil micro biota and break down nutrients. If you check brix after sundown or lights off and your brix Levels are still high it means your plants aren’t exuding like they should and could be caused by a possible boron deficiency.

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[quote=“lassencannabisco, post:6, topic:2921, full:true”] If you check brix after sundown or lights off and your brix Levels are still high it means your plants aren’t exuding like they should and could be caused by a possible boron deficiency.
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Huh, that’s interesting. Where did you learn that?

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From various agriculture studies regarding brix Levels. And then applying it and testing it on my plants I’ll post one of studies in a minute.

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My thoughts are that higher Brix levels in Cannabis results in the following:

  • Increased THC % (all cannabinoids for that matter)

  • Fewer plant diseases and insect problems

Generally speaking, insects prey on weak plants. Plants grown with URB Organic are much stronger than conventionally grown plants as evidenced by high Brix, Chlorophyll and protein levels. I am going to address the powdery mildew solution in another post but it also correlates to higher Brix levels

  • longer shelf life

  • better taste / aroma ( terpenes)

I think Brix levels are a key indicator of how healthy a plant is. Higher Brix levels (predominantly natural sugars) typically correspond to higher nutrient levels within the plant. An interesting correlation can be made with a farmer growing lets say,for an inside joke about having to talk about “dank” tomatoes at your grow store…

Tomatoes- A tomato with higher Brix content translates greater nutrient absorption in the body. Due to the combination of higher nutrients and greater absorption, a high Brix tomato has 5 times the nutrient value of a low Brix tomato. Meaning you would have to eat 5 tomatoes from Wal-Mart to get the same nutrient levels and benefits to your body as an Organic tomato from whole foods.

We have done studies that have shown significant increases in Brix levels on tons of crops. The question here is what about Cannabis?

We are going to have this studied, but I think it is easy to make the assumption that Higher Brix levels are going to increase all of the desirable traits of Cannabis flowers. Just as it does in the flowers of any other plant. Brix is an indicator of a happy healthy plant. The healthier a plant is the better it is able to serve its main purpose which is to flower. All of the benefits above are associated around the purpose of the flower, terpenes for example serve multiple functions… one of which is to repel predators and lure pollinators. This is important to the continuation of the species of the Cannabis plant, of course the more resources it has, the happier and healthier it is the more energy it is going to put into that key function which serves to help the continuation of its species.

That is my two cents on Brix.

As far as URB Organic and brix levels go… I have no data in relation to cannabis but here is a Michigan State University test on a few crops which measured chlorophyll changes (chlorophyll can be translated to quality…or higher brix levels) and yield increase using URB…

Michigan State University

Testing was performed by Michigan State University which measured the chlorophyll changes (as well as yield) in a variety of crops.

The testing compared 50% fertilizer with the addition of URB product (T1) to 50% fertilizer only (T2) and to URB product alone (T3).

F2 (see the key to the chart) is URB Organic product which, when used alone (T3), is the clear winner in chlorophyll content (and yield).

More importantly, T3 (URB product alone) obtained higher chlorophyll levels (and yields) than URB product with 50% fertilizer (T1), which did better than fertilizer only (T2); Please note, as the amount of fertilizer was reduced, the chlorophyll levels (quality) went up.

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