Cannabis grown in a greenhouse using light deprivation
Cannabis grown in a greenhouse using light deprivation

Some seasons I’ve done a light deprivation project and some I haven’t. Each year is different depending on my workload and stress. It’s incredible to have killer fresh medicine right at the driest time of year, but it’s also a tremendous amount of work. Because it’s a short run, the plants are less forgiving and need consistent, vigorous attention. I find that if I get behind I stay there.

We’re early morning deppers, meaning we put tarps on at 5 a.m. and take them off at 10 a.m.  This lessens the amount of time that the plants spend in a sheltered, humid environment and means that they are covered when it’s cool out.  They warm slightly by the time we pull at 10, but they don’t experience the residual heat/mold issues from evening covered hoops. It’s a sacrifice that requires a great deal of the farmer and so must be balanced against competing factors.

It has been incredible to see the increases in the quality of sun-grown medicine over the last 10 years.  The hybridization that occurred as the culture applied the benefits of lamp farming has been fascinating to watch: From clones started indoors to light deprivation techniques and on into light supplementation.

How Do You Dep?

We’re off-grid, low-power folks but I’ve worked on farms that used extension techniques and the principles become more sound as the wattages required continues to drop through technological advances. That said, I’m not trying to debate about using fluorescent and such to support outdoor cultivation, just noting that it exists and that I have tried it in the past.

Greenhouses and hoop frames are similar subjects that I think are site specific and pertain to climate, slope and farmer proclivities more than anything else.

Effort Makes the Distinction in Quality

Cannabis users need to understand just how much work it takes to produce a quality product. Realizing the effort that creates quality shines light on the shortcuts that produce inferior results. Cannabis flowers demonstrate the way in which they were handled. Cannabis treated with love shows in the way it presents.

The beauty of moving forward into a regulated system is that we’re all able to represent our practices and the love we show for the land and our plants. Being conscious of this love and the need to honor it is what drives our culture. Our ideal is a triple bottomline reality that values ecology, community and economy. If we focus on the love and on trying to do right by ourselves, our land, our future, we will stand for something more and different than any corporate cannabis will ever be able to.

Improve Practices to Prep for Legit Market

In an illicit economy, there are no market incentives for good practice and few disincentives for bad. Moving into a legitimate cannabis world allows us to share our practices, to learn from each other and build our skill together. I love going to farms because I always learn a new way to do something. There are as many types of farmers as there are farms; collaboration and sharing yield results.

Applying boutique strains, standards of hang-dry curing and hand processing leveraged the comparative gains of indoor cannabis for the outdoor farmer. I used to smoke a lot of indoor; now I’ll hit it, but I don’t seek it out. It’s not a value statement, it’s a reality for me that as a heavy cannabis user my choice for strong medicine is sun-grown.

We come to a fundamental opportunity to honor our heritage as the holders of this sacramental plant.  We do so by claiming and representing our farms and ourselves as farmers; to stand in truth and honesty. We must respect all parts of the process in order to hold our heads high to the world and claim our place as true connoisseurs in an open market. Creating and following the highest standards of stewardship and quality will backstop success in our marketing and branding for the future.

Photo by TC Johnny Apple Weed


  1. Kinda got off topics about why light dep is viable to those who use it. I believe that it’s just another tool in the growers bag that can be utilized given the right circumstance. But it’s just not called for or beneficial for certain growers at certain times of the year. Now if you’re doing a few outdoor crops over a season then it’s really got a great role it can play. my 2 cents to those interested.

Leave your thoughts