From the moment a cannabis seed or clone is planted in soil — or any growing medium, for that matter — its every need is taken into consideration. Temperature, CO2, light cycles, timing the water and compost — nothing is left to chance. Then, the minute those plants are harvested, each bud is handled with care and thoughtful timing on its way from the drying rack to the trimming station and eventually a curing jar. Because this doesn’t require much heavy lifting yet does involve a lot of sitting at a trim table for long periods of time, zero percent of that detail-oriented attention is paid to the physical toll cannabis cultivation has on the bodies of trimmigrants and harvesters.
A reliable, productive staff of trimmers you can count on annually (or monthly, if you practice light deprivation cultivation techniques) is the key to a successful, timely harvest that gets buds market ready as soon as possible. Taking the precautions to keep your crew and yourself healthy is a vital part of a good business plan; no one wins if they sprain their scissor wrist and deadlines are not met as a consequence.
So, let’s start there: scissors. That gripping motion with our thumb and forefingers engages all the muscles in our arms, up to the bicep and shoulder as well. Since this is repetitive work, you rarely get a chance to recover and are in danger of causing yourself a repetitive strain injury.
The best way to keep your body in motion without overworking any joints or tendons is to take advantage of any downtime you get. Besides hand and wrist stretches, remember that this is an opportunity to put any topical salves and lotions you have lying around to good use — and if these topicals are infused with CBD, all the better. Slather a load on your hands and forearms before bed to help muscles loosen and recuperate while you sleep.
Here are some suggestions for maintaining the health and wellbeing of your farm crew while at work, plus a quick, do-anywhere yoga routine to stretch out cramped muscles at the end of a long day spent harvesting and trimming.
For every hour of labor, give your body a moment to catch its breath.
- Stretch arms back, looking up at the sky to open up your chest and give your neck a break.
- Make prayer hands, spreading your fingers and pressing them against each other until you feel a stretch in your forearms.
- Turn hands so that fingers point to the floor, pressing palms against each other again until you feel the muscles in your forearm stretch.
15-Minute After-Hours Yoga Routine
- Start seated on your mat (or a soft patch of grass), legs bent under you in thunderbolt pose. Close your eyes and shake off the day with a few deep breaths.
- Move to all fours, with your hands shoulder-width apart, knees hip-width apart, your back flat and your spine in neutral. Engage your abs and pull your belly button toward your spine and round your back to the ceiling for a cat stretch. Allow your head and neck to gently fall forward between your arms. Return your spine and back to neutral position.
- Take another deep breath. Inhale as you drop your belly toward the mat, broadening your shoulders away from your ears as you lift your chin and chest to gaze up at the ceiling in a cow pose.
- Return your spine and back to neutral, take a deep breath and repeat the cat-cow pose as many times as you like.
- Next, proceed to thread the needle. Back on your hands and knees with your spine in neutral, slide your right hand along the ground, through the space between your left hand and left knee. Slide your right arm all the way out to the left so that the right shoulder and right side of the head rest comfortably on the floor. Inhale and reach your left hand slowly straight up toward the ceiling. Breathe deeply and hold for up to six exhalations, really relaxing and letting that one hold for as long as it feels good. Exhale the palm back to the floor and slowly return to neutral spine pose. Repeat on the other side.
- Once you’ve threaded both arms, return to your hands and knees for downward dog. Start with your spine in neutral, your wrists and arms aligned with your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips. Spread your fingers wide on your mat, pressing firmly through your palms and knuckles. Try not to lock your elbows. Exhale deeply while tucking your toes under and lifting your knees off the floor, your sit bones and pelvis stretching out behind you, straightening your legs while being careful not to lock your knees. This should cause your body to make the shape of a triangle.
- Visualize your hips pulling back from the tops of your thighs. Keep your head relaxed but do not allow it to dangle as you stretch your neck, aligning it with your shoulders. Allow yourself to feel the stretch in your hamstrings and calves as you try to press your heels down. Press the floor away from you with your hands as you keep your hips and pelvis lifted, lengthening the base of your spine toward the ceiling. As you keep your gaze between your legs and your belly button, hold this pose for several breaths, before releasing on an exhale and gently coming to your knees. Repeat as many times as you like to unwind the tension.
- Repeat all the steps as necessary, or add onto another yoga routine. Consider online classes like Barre3 for more routines you can do anywhere, anytime. And remember, this routine works just as well, if not better, after enjoying the fruits of your labor.