what are the trends in modern home-grown cannabis, and what can be expected in coming the coming year?
There are more home growers than ever before. Even in countries and states where you can buy cannabis legally many people prefer to grow their own and when you ask people why they want to grow their own the answers are revealing. Most home growers believe that they can grow better quality from their own grow tent than they can buy from legal (or illegal) sources. Quality is a big issue for the modern home grower, so the serious growers don’t mind paying extra to pimp up their grow room/tent.
Cost is another big reason for people to grow their own cannabis. A simple 1m x 1m grow tent with a budget light, fan and filter combination will pay for itself on the first cannabis grow. A good quality local grow shop (or online equivalent) can put together a complete grow package for all budgets.
In countries where cannabis is illegal, many people grow their own medical or recreational cannabis simply because it’s the best way to get a reliable supply and guarantee good quality. Many medical growers have strain-specific needs, finding that particular varieties have proven especially effective for their condition, and those that love the unique effects of a CBD-rich variety also say that it’s easier to grow their own than hope to find it on the streets.
Many home growers simply enjoy the process of planting seeds and watching them grow into mature plants. It really is a satisfying and therapeutic pleasure to nurture cannabis from seed to harvest. For these growers, money spent on their grow room is genuinely, and correctly, regarded as a worthwhile investment which will return generous rewards of herbal pleasure in the future.
So, what are the trends in modern home-grown cannabis, and what can be expected in coming the coming year?
LED: The Ultimate Upgrade
LED grow lights are now one of the most desirable luxury grow room additions. More and more professional growers use LED to improve THC levels and terpene profiles. With less inherent heat, the cooler LED conditions with an optimized spectrum allow better tasting buds. Richer aromas and superior potency come as standard. These buds command premium prices and that’s why commercial growers don’t mind investing the extra cash in LED. Heat stress, electricity consumption and maximum temperatures are reduced while spectrum is improved. For some growers, LED is the only way to control heat during indoor summer grows. LED enables new techniques to become available, such as light spectrum control at different stages of plant growth. LED is expensive, but few who buy a good quality LED want to go back to HPS. If you are looking for a good quality LED please check out our sister company ‘LED By Passion’, who sell some of the best quality brands such as Fluence, California Lightworks, SAN Light, GN and others.
CMH, or Ceramic Metal Halide is another popular grow room upgrade. CMH lights are more expensive than HPS, but superior in terms of efficiency and gram per watt. CMH doesn’t have the spectrum control and dimmability options of LED but it is a good improvement over HPS. Costs of the best CMH lights are in the same region as the starting prices of the better-quality LED lights. UVB light supplementation is also becoming more popular, increasing THC and other cannabinoids. But UVB is dangerous, you can’t enter (or look inside) the grow room when the UVB is on. The most cost-effective way to use UVB is still with fluorescent (’reptile’) tubes.
The Silent Army of Bedroom Growers
Silent grow room air-extraction fans are also proving popular as the number of ‘bedroom growers’ increases. Many people live in shared houses with their own bedrooms. For these people, growing in a small tent such as a 60cm x 60cm or 80cm x 80cm tent is often the only realistic way to produce their own cannabis. Many local grow shops are happy to offer demonstrations of various extraction fans. This allows you to compare before you buy. Another option is to buy an adjustable speed control for your fan, this allows you to reduce the speed (and therefore noise) from your fan. Bedroom growers often use acoustic ducting which muffles the sound of rushing air and helps to keep their grow tent below the neighbor’s radar. Many sound-conscious growers also use a silencer to further reduce the sound of the extracted air from their grow tent. Growers that live in apartments or in terraced housing usually like to keep their grow room sound levels to a minimum so that the neighbours don’t get irritated by the noise.
Water filtration is now becoming very popular, especially for the serious home growers. Clever science called reverse osmosis removes 95%+ of heavy metals, salts and chlorine from the incoming water supply. Water filtration isn’t essential, but it does allow 100% control by the grower. Many people have local water supplies with a high EC straight out of the tap. The minerals in that tap water may be of no significant use to your plant, but they end up in your feed solutions unless you remove them. Many of the larger commercial cannabis growers in the USA routinely purify their incoming water with reverse osmosis (‘RO’) systems. The most precise way to use nutrients is to start with RO filtered water and then add accurate quantities of nutrients, measuring EC (electrical conductivity) throughout the grow with accurately calibrated devices. This way no rogue minerals or metals make it through to your plants.
Dehumidifiers are very useful, perhaps more so for the larger growers with several plants on the go. For many growers, the extraction fan removes plenty of moisture and does a good job of minimising humidity. But for some growers with large, full tents/rooms, humidity control can be a real challenge, especially in late bloom when bud rot can rear its ugly head. If humidity is too high the plants reduce their natural transpiration rates. This reduces root uptake/feeding and can eventually cause lower yields. A dehumidifier allows large quantities of moisture to be stripped rapidly from the air.
New Cannabinoids for 2019?
Behind the scenes, the breeders have been working to create new varieties rich in some of the minor cannabinoids. THC-V rich varieties have been under the spotlight for a possible 2019 release. So, at long last, growers may be able to start choosing their cannabis genetics based on the type of result they want. CBD rich, or THC rich. Or maybe even THC-V rich. Who knows what the options may be?
Carbon Dioxide and USA Genetics
Carbon dioxide (CO2) supplementation is particularly popular with larger growers who feel they have optimized all other areas of their grow rooms and want to take yields up further. The simplest CO2 generators use a simple bag of mushroom fungi which releases CO2 as it decomposes the sawdust material around it. Large industrial CO2 generators burn propane to release precisely controlled amounts of CO2 into larger grow rooms and greenhouses. These are very safe to operate, however few domestic home growers feel 100% comfortable with a lit flame inside their grow room, even with the safety cut-out features. One benefit of CO2 is that it allows the cannabis plants to perform much better at temperatures as high as 30oC. So if you struggle with summer grow room temperatures, and if LED is not possible, then CO2 supplementation could be an answer.
Finally, another trend with home growers is the ongoing popularity of cannabis genetics from the USA. Both autoflowering and feminized genetics are in high demand. The best of the USA breeders benefit from some great laws which allow them to grow large numbers of potential mother plants from seed. In some cases, hundreds or even thousands of plants are grown from seed in the hunt for a special mother plant. The best yielding ones with the strongest cannabinoid profile and most desirable terpenes can be exceptional. Over the last few years, Dutch Passion have been selecting the best of the USA genetics and bringing the best varieties out in seed form. It’s another grow room trend which should keep the home growers producing top quality cannabis.
Originally published in Weed World Magazine Issue 140