by Chet Tucker
Let there be light! Just like all of the elements needed to grow virtually anything, without light there is no flower. Besides our natural sun, there are many ways to “replicate” its rays and grow cannabis. These variants of light are typically analyzed and then chosen based on the environment that cultivators will be growing within. And while most would prefer the natural ecosystems and sunlight, there are certainly superior and inferior geographies for growing outdoors. From the risk of damaging wind, rain, drought, pests, and pollination, it proves to be a more difficult task to grow quality ladies without them producing seeds. Regardless, it can be done and typically better done under smaller and more controlled outdoor areas.
While sun grown cannabis provides the most natural way, the closest alternative is growing in greenhouses, most equipped with supplemental lighting and controlled deprivation of light to mimic a condensed season. The choice of providing mostly sunlight while supplementing with alternative lighting, which also can help provide additional warmth, is certainly a strong way to reduce the outside elements that can ruin cannabis crops. Light “dep” greenhouses are typically more cost effective to purchase and operate because of the limited amount of electrical energy needed but the overall environment can still be difficult to control without more expensive equipment to regulate humidity, temperatures, and CO2 production.
The most controlled environment for lighting (amongst other required elements) is using indoor growing facilities to produce cannabis. The cost is typically much higher but so too the quality potential, which results in a premium priced end product. So, the questions is, what type of lighting is best to produce quality cannabis? The answers have been debated by growers for as long as supplemental lighting has been introduced. From High-Intensity Discharge (HID) options like high pressure sodium lights (HPS) and metal halide (MH), to light emitting ceramics like CMH and CDMS, to light emitting diodes (LED’s), the options are nearly limitless. So, what makes sense/cents for your environment? The higher energy options that may produce more volume but require tighter controls and more space between the plant and lighting or lights that keep the cost of your electricity down while producing an equally premium bud. It depends on your growing facility and how much it can sustain the outer weather elements that can have a direct impact on your interior grow environments.
There are so many variables to producing quality cannabis and lighting can certainly impact your end product. Whether it be volume, cannabinoids, terpenes, the energy emitted from light impacts the photosynthesis; the conversion of carbon dioxide, water, and minerals into oxygen and the ultimate compound of the flower. Research what works best for your environment, pocketbook, and the overall quality of cannabis you wish to produce.
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