Everything you need to know about light dep weed

Published Sep 30, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Kimberly Delaney

Growing marijuana can be easy or it can be super complicated with a high-tech hydroponics system that takes skill to keep running, and a multitude of different techniques that require a combination of luck and knowledge to pull off. There are so many different ways to grow cannabis that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with them all, but there is one technique that is catching on, and it results in what many refer to as light dep weed.

What is light dep weed?

If you’ve been browsing the California market lately you might have noticed a brand-new product added to the menu, light dep weed, but what is this strange new thing really? Well, light dep cannabis is just as it sounds, a bud that has been produced by putting plants through what is called light deprivation during the right stages of life.

What is light deprivation?

Light deprivation is very similar to some of the strict lighting schedules that certain growers use on indoor crops, with scheduled light and dark periods that will work to trick the plant into entering the flowering stage on demand. In practice, light deprivation for cannabis plants usually involves large greenhouses that use tarps to keep strict control over the amount of light exposure, as well as grow lights to supplement whenever necessary because you can’t always rely on the sun to provide what this type of crop will need.

How it’s done

Light deprivation is a technique that was designed with greenhouse growers in mind because cannabis plants require an uninterrupted temperature and humidity level that is nearly impossible to reproduce in nature. Rather than an even 12-12 or any other simple division, light deprivation requires intermittent light and dark sessions, which is why greenhouse growers will typically use blackout tarps to help them to achieve total darkness.

The benefits of growing light dep weed

The benefits of light dep weed are lost on consumers, as they do not see any advantage aside from having access to a slightly cheaper product, but the producers of cannabis who utilize this arduous technique say that they see such excellent yields that the reduction in the overall value of the raw product itself is more than worth it. Using light deprivation also makes large scale grow operations more energy-efficient, requiring less power and water in the long run, which means that it’s good for the environment too.

Is light deprivation a new growing technique?


Growing marijuana using light deprivation is not a new idea, and today there are many different variations of this technique out there, but it wasn’t until recently that the trend began to really catch on because the benefits can be reaped most by larger-scale operations that simply did not exist before. Now that we have a bustling legal market and companies are doing their best to bring forward competitive pricing, it’s becoming much more common to find light dep weed at any legal dispensary.

The popularity of light deprivation

On the Pacific Coast in places like California, the significant increase in the popularity of this growing technique is impossible to ignore, with a sudden influx of light dep weed in nearly every corner of the legal market areas. Unfortunately, rigorous and strict regulations in Canada and other countries have made it impossible for most cultivators to put this option into practice, but it’s likely only a matter of time before they too accept the benefits of this way of doing things.

Risks vs. rewards

Light deprivation is no easy feat, and it doesn’t take much to ruin an entire crop with one small misstep, but it’s up to each grower to look at and consider the benefits versus the risks of trying such a thing.


  • Cost savings (for growers)
  • Energy efficiency
  • Larger yields (leading to lower cost for consumers)
  • Faster harvest


  • Less room for error
  • Darker and less appealing buds
  • Lower worth due to the poor aesthetics

Light dep weed will never be able to compete with or replace indoor cannabis, but it does offer a unique solution that can help growers, consumers, and the environment, so it isn’t a technique that should be dismissed because it can do a whole lot of good. Consumers can buy cheaper buds, and growers can harvest more frequently throughout the year. It doesn’t get much better than that.

The pros and cons of growing marijuana in a greenhouse through the winter


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