How OGEN cannabis keeps you and your standards high with innovative craft cannabis products.
Craft cannabis is more than genetics and growing in small rooms. It’s innovation at every step of the process.
I haven’t written about a craft brand in a while. Shit, there was a while where I didn’t write at all. But hey, bygones, right? Anyway, I’m dying to tell you about an innovative craft brand taking their processes seriously. I picked up something of theirs a while back and I’ve been itching to tell you about it. The company is called OGEN and they’re based in Calgary, Alberta. I’ll tell you; this brand has been a stand out for me.
Here’s why I think you need to know about OGEN. The minds at OGEN sat down and looked at every stage of their cannabis growing process and have found ways to improve those processes. They’re looking to develop the best product possible and they realize that how they grow, harvest, process and package the bud is the key to everything.
In the next section, I’m going to walk you through the cannabis manufacturing process and also explore where OGEN innovates those processes.
So, we know plants need water, nutrients (Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosporus), and sunlight. The environment for a plant is incredibly important. Meaning climate, temperature, humidity. The changing season and how it effects the plant’s lifecycle needs to be taken into account.
Plants have it in their genetics to react with the sun and grow based on different levels and intervals of sunlight. Remember as the seasons change, the intensity and amount of sun we get in a day changes. It also varies based on where on earth you are and how close your location is to the sun. Each of these elements can be controlled when growing cannabis.
We start with Seeds and Genetics
Most plants start with seeds. When OGEN selects a cultivar or strain, they don’t use every seed they start for their mother plants. They will pop a lot of seeds and track the plants’ growth. They have to be incredibly selective with their genetic selection in order to reap the best quality product. Not everything seed they start with makes it.
They call it Pheno-Hunting. They will assess a series of pre-determined characteristics of the seeds and then the plants, and only those they deem the best make it through. Based off of pre-determined physical characteristics of the seeds, they will remove seeds at a number of steps in the process. Once they’ve determined which seeds make it through their Pheno-Hunting phase, those plants have cuttings made in order to grow those cuttings into clones.
Cutting and growing clones is an effective way to ensure consistency. Clones thrive in controlled environments and are essentially extensions of the mother plant. As they grow into full-sized cannabis plants themselves, they will become identical to the mother.
Of course, in an environment with extensive exclusion for the purpose of quality, not all clones make it to the vegetation stage. Before the vegetation stage, they are monitored closely in a dome where the environment is manually controlled. The plants that don’t make it to the vegetation stage usually haven’t met consistency standards that have been set by the people at OGEN.
Small-bath hydroponics are pretty standard nowadays. There can still be customization and innovation in a standardized format. Innovation would come from using the best technology available, the best tools available, and the best methods and techniques in order to grow high-quality craft bud.
Standardization for OGEN comes from ensuring these factors are properly in line:
• Optimal air circulation
• Even temperatures (customized per seed)
• Light distribution (customized per seed
• Hepa-Filtered clean-air
• Rockwool growing medium
Of course, temperatures and lighting vary based on the genetics of the plant, but having a standardized system for tackling the growth process is important for constancy.
For a hydroponic medium, they use rockwool because its great at trapping moisture into the soil for the roots. When placed in the rockwool, the intention is for the plant to spread a deep root system. Moisture is important for healthy root development.
Light orientations can affect the duration of a plant’s growth stages. Meaning, how much light and what kind of artificial light you use affects how long your plant takes to grow. OGEN doesn’t state on their website how long their process takes but the range for cannabis is somewhere between 12 and 24 weeks. They also do not state what their light cycle is. One can only speculate.
Hang Drying the plants
After the 12 to 24 weeks, the plant has finally reached maturity and is ready for consumption. Here, the process continues for OGEN. When they dry their cannabis, they’re careful not to remove all of the moisture from the flower.
The way they do this is to hang the entire plant together. The leaves shield the bud and it protects the moisture of the plant. This protects the plants density, potency and overall smoking experience. They’re convinced it leads to a smoother smoke, which also reduces coughing. Once dried, it’s ready to be trimmed and broken down into nugs.
Hand-trimming is also pretty standard in craft cannabis environment. For some, cannabis can’t be considered craft without a hang-dried and hand-trimmed approach to the flower. With hand-trimming, a trimmer can pay attention to the shape, size, density, and trichomes on the flower. It allows for someone to pay intimate detail to the bud as its being processed to eventually get to the consumer.
Trimming is for licensed producers who care about selling pretty pot. Which some people care about considerably. OGEN is a company who takes appearance into consideration when they talk about quality. They’re produce a total package. And no I’m not talking about Lex Luger.
A slow cure
There’s one last step before the product is tested and packaged. The curing phase. Not all licensed producers cure their product. Curing is a choice and even those who cure, don’t always cure their cannabis well. Curing is the weeks-long process of controlling the environment of cannabis as it ages. It’s the process of sealing cannabis and exposing it to air for small periods of time in order to age properly.
Any moisture in the inner core of the plant should now be gone. They seal the cannabis in plastic bags and expose the bud to air periodically. This controlled exposure is called burping. They store the cannabis this way for several weeks. Once the curing process is completed, the bud is almost ready for packaging.
After the product has been cured, it gets tested and is ready to be packaged. A third party tests their product to ensure safe consumption and compliance to Health Canada regulations. There’s no point in me commenting on the testing.
Meanwhile their packaging is original, inciteful and creative. It uses the least amount of material possible to limit airflow. Excess air in your packaging will lead to your cannabis deteriorating. These packages also seal with an airlock to keep your product fresh, OGEN claims they have been designed to reseal and lock in humidity the proper every time. These plastic containers are ideal for reuse.
I love reusable cannabis containers. Being able to reduce waste and create packaging that will not only protect your customer’s current product but their future products is a great add-on. I know I’m not the only re-user of packaging. It goes to show you innovation can create value in many forms for a company.
Obviously, craft cannabis comes with craft pricing. I will admit, OGEN’s craft pricing is relatively more affordable than some other craft brands. At $8.03 per gram, OGEN is pretty fair in comparison to craft brands with product north of $10 - $12 per gram.
I’ve even seen craft brands with 3.5 gram packs for $20 per gram. I can’t imagine paying $70 plus tax for 3.5 grams of any kind of cannabis. OGEN also had an ounce for roughly $220 before tax. I don’t know If its coming back. I hope so. Either way, craft doesn’t necessarily have to mean expensive. Although I do believe if more people bought craft cannabis, the product would get cheaper over time.
I’ve enjoyed the Lemon Z. It is quite smooth and the bud has been large and appealing. I don’t know about the not-coughing thing though. Sometimes. I cough and sometimes I don’t. The buds are large, large and covered in trichomes. The packaging is black, and the bud has left a layer of trichomes on the inside. When I eventually finish what I have of it, I intend on scraping the trichomes out and keeping the packaging to stick something else in it.
Craft can’t just be about hang-drying and hand-trimming your bud. I like the idea of using the craft model and then innovating it at every step of the process to add value to the final product. OGEN has my attention and I’m going to keep watching to see what they put out. They’ve got lots of limited drops and plans for the rest of 2021. Maybe a pre-roll of some kind in the future? Either way, keep on toking and know:
I want to hear from you:
Did you smoke an OGEN product?
Tell me what you smoked and tell me what you think!
And email me at: [email protected]