by Nebula Haze
Would you like to grow your own cannabis? One of the most common questions we get from new growers is whether they should or shouldn’t start growing. The truth is that the process of growing marijuana has pluses and minuses and the answer is different for everyone. For some people, growing is a productive and enjoyable hobby that provides an unlimited supply of cheap, high-quality weed. For others, growing may be too time-consuming or involved. Plus, if you only enjoy weed occasionally, the process of growing may produce more buds than you could use.
Should you start growing your own weed?
I’ve compiled a quick list of factors to consider which should help you make the right decision!
Yes, you should grow weed if you…
1.) Want to pay $20/ounce for weed
The last decade has seen huge leaps in grow light technology and the quality of cannabis genetics available to the public. This means that the average home grower who uses good grow lights and quality genetics will consistently produce more and better weed than they did 10 years ago for the same amount of electricity, skill, and effort.
As a result, indoor growers can often produce better weed than the dispensary for a tiny fraction of the cost. Where I live in southern California, dispensary weed often goes for about $10/gram or ~$280/ounce for so-so weed. That’s absolutely insane.
Charging $280/ounce for weed is downright unethical when it costs so little to grow
Especially considering that a home grower can use a 300W grow light to produce 10 oz per harvest for as little as $7/ounce in electricity (using the US average electricity cost of $0.12/kwH), plus the cost of grow medium, nutrients, and genetics*. That easily lets you harvest weed for under $20/ounce. The more you grow, the better your bud yields. And that also doesn’t consider that you can turn all your extra leaves into goodies like hash oil, edibles, and more. The leaves (often referred to as “trim”) are like getting several free ounces of weed every grow.
*after you buy genetics one time, you can take clones or make seeds for essentially free plants thereafter
Home growing lets you grow exceptional weed for a fraction of the cost to buy
2.) Have access to cannabis plants or seeds
In order to start growing, you need to get your hands on some cannabis plants. There are three common ways to get plants: obtain cannabis clones from a fellow grower, find seeds in your buds, or buy seeds online from a seed bank. I highly recommend getting seeds from a seed bank or breeder if you are looking for specific effects. For example, some strains produce a strong body or mental “high”. With very high-THC/low-CBD strains, the results can even be psychedelic. Conversely, high-CBD/low-THC strains can be relaxing but won’t really affect your thoughts or make you feel intoxicated. For medical marijuana patients, you may be looking for a strain that can reduce the prevalence of seizures (high CBD, low THC), pain (high THC), or nausea (high THC). Each strain grows differently and buds can look or smell very different from each other. If you have any specific goals, it’s a good idea to do a little research so you grow what you actually want! Here are some tips to choose the best strain for your needs.
You found seeds, are they good to grow? Viable cannabis seeds appear either tan or brown with dark tiger stripes. The dark tiger stripes are a good sign because they indicate the seeds are fully mature and haven’t been handled a lot.
Cannabis seeds appear tan for two reasons: either they are underdeveloped or the brown tiger stripe coating has rubbed off (typically from lots of handling). That being said, I’ve had excellent plants grow out of small, pale, flimsy seeds. The best way to tell if a seed is good is to try growing it and see what happens. If the seed germinates and a healthy plant starts growing, it was a viable seed.
Cannabis seeds appear either tan (left) or brown with tiger stripes (right). The tiger stripe ones are considered “better” and more likely to germinate, but many tan ones germinate and have grown some of my favorite plants ever. The appearance of seeds says more about their ability to germinate than the quality of genetics inside.
3.) Have a place to grow
Indoor cannabis plants need a home, whether it’s a bedroom, bathroom, basement, or closet. At the very least, you should have access to water and your plants need fresh air. Learn more about what to consider when choosing a place to grow in your home. I’ve seen growers get really creative!
I grew my first plants in a closet (circa 2008) with mylar taped to the walls for extra reflection
Plants can produce enormous yields in a big closet
I eventually switched to a grow tent. These can still be kept in a closet but give a much better plant environment that’s waterproof, reflective, easy to clean, and helps control heat/smells. They also reduce the chance of dust, hair, and bugs getting on your plants.
Grow tents are not just convenient, they typically produce higher quality weed and better yields than plants grown in an open room or closet.
This grower made a secret grow room entrance out of a bookcase
4.) No big trips in next four months
If you have a trip planned in the near future, it may not be the best time to start growing. That’s because the average indoor grow takes about 4 months from seed to harvest and it’s difficult to leave plants alone for more than a few days at a time. Before you germinate your seeds, consider whether you have any upcoming family visits or vacations that may interrupt your grow.
The total amount of time needed is heavily dependent on the strain/genetics. Some strains might need longer than 4 months, while auto-flowering strains are usually ready to harvest around 3 months from germination.
Make sure to give yourself enough time to harvest your beautiful buds
5.) Able to check on plants most days
Daily care is optimal. You can probably get away with tending to your plants every two or maybe even three days, but the more time between visits, the more likely your plants will run into trouble while you’re away. You don’t want several days to go by without realizing your plants are sick, or that your grow light hasn’t been turning on. Nearly any growing problem can be fixed by simply noticing and reacting to what’s happening, but you need to see your plants to do that. Note: We have tons of resources and an active grow forum to help new growers who are experiencing problems.
After you’ve gained some experience with your growing setup, you won’t need to pay such close attention, but especially during your first grow, your plants are most likely to thrive if you can check on them every day.
Check on plants daily (at least for your first grow)
6.) Aware of possible security concerns
Here is a list of legal states in the U.S. as well as more general info about cannabis legality in the U.S. Here’s info about Canada’s legalization status which allows adults to grow up to 4 cannabis plants per residence for personal use. Here is a list of countries with relaxed weed laws. Unfortunately, many growers live in a place with draconian grow laws. For those growers…
Stealth cannabis grower’s mantra: “No tell, no sell, no smell”
There’s a phrase that basically sums up the most important aspects of growing security. It applies whether growing is legal in your state or not, because it also helps prevent thieves or nosy neighbors from knowing about your grow. The phrase goes: “No smell, no sell, no tell.” Not selling or telling anyone about your grow is self-explanatory. Of all activities related to growing cannabis, selling is most likely to get you in legal trouble. Remember, if you can’t trust yourself not to tell people, how can you trust them not to tell anyone else? Learn more about security in the grow room.
Hiding smells is crucial to hiding a grow because cannabis plants typically start to smell ultra skunky once buds start forming. The smell of a single flowering cannabis plant is enough to alert neighbors for hundreds of feet (or any wannabe thieves passing by).
Weed is beautiful but smelly
There are low(er) odor strains that don’t smell quite as much as typical strains, and products that help cover up the smell in your living areas, but anyone who enters a home with budding cannabis plants is likely to smell what’s up unless you take steps to remove smells from the air.
Luckily, controlling smell is easy if you have a grow tent with a carbon filter and fan. A tent can fit almost anywhere with at least 2’x4′ of space and 5′ or more of height. A grow tent contains the smell, then the air is pulled through a carbon filter to remove all the odors before the air leaves the tent. Learn more about how to get rid of smells from your plants.
7.) Want unlimited weed of your chosen strain(s)
This is why we grow. Growing your own supply gives you unlimited buds in whatever strain you choose. Once you get the hang of growing, your cupboards will be overflowing with jars of weed and you’ll have to find something to do with it all. On top of the quantity, home growing gives you much greater strain choice than a dispensary or the black market. Growers are also able to choose the growing methods that produce the type of bud effects desired (speedy, creative, couchlock, narcotic, psychedelic, etc.). If you enjoy weed on a regular basis, growing opens up a new world of possibilities for you. Learn about getting access to the latest American-bred genetics.
Choose the strain YOU want. This Mimosa EVO is insane!
If you have read through this list and feel like you are ready to grow weed, there’s never been a better time than today.
Is it time to germinate your own seeds?
Read the Simplest Grow Guide Ever for a quick overview of the growing process, or check out our new grower shopping list to learn what equipment you need to start growing right away. Growing cannabis is actually pretty easy when you have good information and the right tools.
Not ready to invest a lot of space or money? Grow a few ounces in a low-effort mini tent