Even total black-thumbs who can't keep a cactus alive have probably toyed with growing their own cannabis. After all, the benefits are pretty obvious: cost savings, no hassle with dealers or dispensaries, minimal pesticides, and ultimate control over the finished product. And, given the changing legal landscape surrounding home growing in North America, it's likely that you'll soon be able to do so legally (if you aren't already.)
But as Mason Levy, founder of the app weeGrow, points out, "The barrier to entry is knowledge. When you Google 'how to grow marijuana,' you get a lot of really bad, black and grey market sites," which can make the process seem like more trouble than it's worth.
That's the impression that Levy, 27, wants to dispel. Having worked for 3 years in a healthcare tech startup, he became interested in growing cannabis after seeing medical marijuana change patient's lives.
"I was seeing patients go from taking 15 medications every day, to just 3 or 4, because they started using cannabis as an alternative or supplementary medicine," Levy tells Civilized. "There are millions of Americans who live in non-metropolitan counties, and access to cannabis, pesticide-free or not, will never be easy."
He envisions a way to educate novice and experienced growers alike and reduce the misinformation that can arise from attempting to cobble together information online.
"Instead of presenting users with every growing option under the sun, we offer a Good, Better, and Best option in terms of the hydro setup, then provide info as you need it with each phase in the grow cycle - information that's relevant and timely to the grower," says Mason. Using the app, growers record five essential factors: light, CO2, nutrients, water, and temperature. The app tracks these, as well as the number of plants you have in your garden, and provides information on how to optimize the growth of particular strains, and draft your own grow recipes.
"The goal is to make it easy," says Levy, "like having a personal grower in your pocket."
The app also links users with a community, meaning "you can connect with other people in the same part of the grow process, interact and compare notes," says Levy.
weeGrow has been in the app store by invitation code only since November: a new version of the app will be available next week, although developers are currently looking for more experienced/intermediate growers to help build their database and provide feedback.
"I would describe weeGrow as an education and teaching platform," says Levy. "It's all about community and education."