Growing Cannabis at Home
One of the perks of cannabis legalization is that you can now buy dried buds. Even better, you are also allowed to grow cannabis plants at home. Cost, of course, comes to mind as it entails some initial investment. Not to mention, there is a learning curve, too. So, why do many people choose growing cannabis over heading to a dispensary? Even as a beginner, you can and you should. As you are about to find out, the benefits are more than compelling enough.
Note: Before taking a plunge, you would also want to know the regulations on growing weed. Keep in mind that there may be other statutes or ordinances in your local area. Once you join the ranks of cannabis growers, do check from time to time to stay updated.
The Benefits of Growing Cannabis Plants
There are several reasons why you should grow cannabis yourself. As someone who has not grown plants in the past, it is only but natural to feel hesitant. Keep in mind that even the most renowned master growers were once clueless beginners. In more ways than one, it should be easier today as there are plenty of tutorials and resource materials – something the prior generations never had.
Growing cannabis plants is an exhilarating experience. Because you are doing it yourself, it can be empowering and rewarding. Imagine how it feels to turn those tiny seeds into thriving flowering cannabis plants. Feel the excitement as harvest time comes and you start cutting off the buds and begin post-harvest processing. Finally, when the buds are dry, they are ready for however you want to consume cannabis – smoking, vaping, or making edibles.
Why do you want to grow cannabis inside the house?
If you choose to grow cannabis indoors, that would require an initial investment – which can be cheap or expensive, depending on the choice of equipment and tools. Even so, the overall costs are dramatically lower than buying dried buds. For many growers, the return of investment comes after only growing a few batches of cannabis plants. Although it is true that you spend money – electricity, water, nutrients, and more – the price per gram of homegrown buds is far cheaper than buying the dried buds in a dispensary.
One growing technique that you could use is cloning. Once you find a female with characteristics that are a cut above the rest, you can keep it in a perpetual vegetative stage and use it as a source of cuts. No longer do you need to keep buying seeds. Instead, you can keep growing precise duplicates of the superior donor.
2. Continuous Supply
As a medical cannabis consumer, not all strains are suitable for your specific needs. Once you find one that works best for your condition, the next concern is a continuous supply. In Canada, you cannot buy excessive quantities. What happens if the dispensary runs out of stock?
Instead of relying on a dispensary, you can find a strain that you can grow at home. One strain you can grow, for example, is Chem Stallion. It is an example of high-THC medical cannabis that can relieve stress and pain. At the same time, the euphoric rush it provides also makes it attractive to recreational consumers.
3. Full Control
In the past, one of the top reasons why you should start growing weed yourself is to ensure that the buds are free of chemicals. Before the legalization of cannabis, there were no standards or restrictions on its cultivation. The dried buds you buy – no matter how they are supposed to be grown organically – may actually contain chemical residues.
Canada has strict laws followed by licensed cannabis growers. As long as you buy dried buds from a duly-licensed dispensary, the buds should be safe for consumption. However, if you want to have peace of mind, then growing marijuana yourself is the way to go. In this case, you have full control over the growing conditions. More importantly, you know exactly what nutrients are used, and have a choice of going 100% organic all the way.
4. Fun Hobby and Experiments
If you think about the things you do for fun, think about the learning curve. The same can be said of growing cannabis – you have to start somewhere. Once you get the hang of it, one of the things appreciated by many growers is that it is a fun activity.
It can even be more fun if you are the adventurous type. For example, try to use advanced growing techniques. Not only do you benefit by increasing the size of harvest but also better tasting and more potent buds. You can also try to mix and match hybrids by cross-breeding. Who knows what comes out of the union between X and Y strain?
Canadian Laws on Growing Cannabis at Home
Everyone can tell you how wonderful it is, how so much better it is to grow cannabis yourself at home. All that goes down the train if the government prohibits it. Not in this day and age for someone residing in Canada. You can, because it is legal. You do have to know what the law allows you to do.
Note: Although you are allowed to grow cannabis for personal use, you cannot sell them.
In terms of growing cannabis at home for recreational purposes, all Canadians must follow federal, provincial, and local regulations. You must be old enough to access cannabis in your province or territory to be permitted to grow it. Specific provinces have additional rules that further restrict federal cultivation laws. For example, British Columbia does not allow cannabis plants to be grown anywhere visible from a public place.
As of the time of publishing in 2021, Manitoba and Quebec do not allow any home growing of cannabis. In each other province and territory, each household can grow up to four cannabis plants. It does not matter how many adults are in residence. The household limit is four pants. Make sure you investigate your local regulations around cannabis cultivation to ensure you comply with all relevant laws.
Medical marijuana patients are also permitted to cultivate their medicine at home. In these cases, the allowable limit on cannabis plants will depend on your cannabis medical authorization. Growing limits are set based on how much cannabis you are medically authorized to use each month.
For medical patients who require large doses of cannabis, growing at home can become a viable option to control your annual costs. On the flip side, the condition or disease that warranted your cannabis authorization in the first place may itself be a limiting factor for your ability to cultivate cannabis.
Things You Need to Grow Cannabis at Home
You can go cheap by keeping the initial investment to a minimum. However, the yield may not be sufficient enough to justify the effort thrown into cultivation. Furthermore, the quality of the buds – potency, for one – may leave plenty to desire.
A decent setup you could consider should include a dedicated grow room or grow tent, grow lights, and ventilation. When it comes to buying supplies, you should purchase the best quality lights you can afford. While it does require some investment to get started, these costs will pay dividends long into the future.
You’ll also need to purchase seeds and other potting supplies. Buying seeds is one of the most fun parts of the entire process, as you have to decide what sort of strain you want to grow. The primary decision you’ll have to make is between buying photoperiod seeds or auto-flowering seeds.
Photoperiods are the most common type. They rely on a light cycle to determine when it should revert from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage. From seedling to vegging, these plants are exposed to 18 hours of light, 6 hours of darkness. Once they are ready, you merely change the light schedule to 12 hours on, 12 hours off. The combination of shortened daytime and prolonged nighttime makes the plants think that winter is around the corner, and they respond by developing their reproductive systems – flowers.
Auto-flowering strains are a new class of seeds that take away the reliance on light cycles. Around two to three weeks from the time they germinate, these plants automatically transition to the flowering stage. Take Northern Lights Auto, for example. It is one of the most influential strains in the world, having been used by master breeders to create new hybrids. For decades, it is deemed as one of the best strains to relieve stress and pain. A highly relaxing physical buzz makes it ideal for use in the evening. Once the seeds sprout, it takes only nine to ten weeks to be ready for harvest.
Ongoing costs include plant nutrients, water and electric bills. You can expect a noticeable increase in your monthly energy costs, especially when using HID grow lights. That said, including these costs still leads to cheaper buds than you can buy on the market. Remember to factor in energy costs when determining your budget for growing cannabis.
Growing outside requires much lower starting costs, but there are several essential considerations. There is only one growing season in Canada, and the results will depend on your local climate. You’ll see better-growing conditions in southern Ontario than you will in northern Alberta, for example. Security is another concern, as cannabis plant thefts occur must more frequently than many people realize. Lastly, keep in mind that your plants should not be seen by the public, to conform to the law.
Cultivating cannabis requires considerable time investments, but the rewards are immense. You will need to water plants daily unless you use an automated set-up. You can set your lights on a schedule so that they do their job without any effort from you. Caring for and trimming your plants requires additional time, along with pest prevention and monitoring. Whether you have a green thumb or not, you can find this process incredibly rewarding.
Finally, when you harvest the buds, there is one more thing to do – post-harvest processing. Essentially, this process begins as you cut off the buds. The usual procedure is to cut the sugar leaves and hang them to dry. For this, you need sharp scissors and a drying rack. For sanitation purposes, you should wear proper gloves, too.
Once the buds are dry enough, they need to be cured. At the barest minimum, they need to be placed in a glass jar and tightly sealed. You then place the containers in a dry, cool, dark place for weeks to months.
Properly dried and cured buds are free of excess chlorophyll and nutrients that contribute to harsh taste. If you do it properly – and it is quite easy – you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Should You Grow Cannabis Yourself at Home?
Provided that you are 19 years old or older, there are not many reasons why you should not. Canada is one of the few places on earth where you can do so – legally. Sure, there are certain conditions that you need to follow. For that, you would have to do your due diligence in knowing such restrictions in your locality. One that most, if not all provinces and territories follow, is that you can only grow up to four cannabis plants. And, you can only do that in one residence only. Additionally, you would need to consult the landlord or property owner if you are renting.
Licensed producers in Canada need to uphold high standards in cannabis cultivation. and subsequent processes to get dried buds into the shelves of dispensaries. If your only reason to grow cannabis plants is to ensure product safety, that may not be practical. However, there are other compelling reasons why you should definitely try.
First, it is cost-effective. After only a few batches of four cannabis plants, you are more than likely to recover the initial investment. From that point forward, your dried buds are going to be significantly cheaper than buying from stores.
Second, it is one way to ensure a continuous supply. Advanced techniques, which you can learn, include producing seeds or cloning. Either of these methods guarantees that you will never run out of the much-needed source of comfort and relief.
Finally, you can have fun while growing cannabis plants. It is a fun activity that you can do – and comes with benefits. In time, you could even consider experimenting and creating hybrids.
To answer the question of whether or not you can and should grow cannabis plants, the answer is a resounding yes.