Most people fail to recognize the ecological impact of growing weed. Unfortunately, the process of growing cannabis requires both a lot of water and electricity. Even with growing cannabis on a small scale, this is the case. For example, marijuana growers in California have significantly contributed to the state’s water crisis, with the average marijuana plant consuming around 6 gallons of water. In California, where a severe drought has been prevalent for many years, growing cannabis can take an extreme toll on the environment. Even more troublesome, a report conducted by Nature Sustainability cites that Colorado’s cannabis industry emits more CO2 than its coal industry.
However, this does not need to be the norm. Continue reading for the most environmentally friendly ways to grow cannabis.
Grow cannabis outdoors
Hands down, the most environmentally friendly place to grow cannabis is outdoors. By taking advantage of the sunshine outdoors, individuals growing cannabis can save on grow lighting and air conditioning, which reduces the electric impact of cannabis cultivation.
According to the same Nature Sustainability study above, the study estimated that shifting from indoor grows to outdoor could reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 96%. Although there will be many hurdles, making the switch to grow cannabis outdoors is one long term solution to reduce the environmental impact of the cannabis industry.
Grow companion plants and utilize predators
In the meantime, there are still some things that can be done to make growing cannabis more eco-friendly. One way to do this is by replacing potentially harmful pesticides with beneficial insects to help solve pest problems. Additionally, growing beneficial plants along with your cannabis can provide many benefits to your buds. For example, marigolds and chili peppers can be used to repel many nuisance bugs, while basil and rosemary work to keep slugs away.
Reduce water consumption
To grow cannabis sustainably, it is essential to try and reduce your water use. While many growers choose to water the plant with high volumes of liquid only a few times a week, this creates larges amounts of run off, therefore large amounts of water waste. Another option is to utilize a catch and store method to reduce wasted water. While expensive, investing in a dehumidifier can bring any water back down and significantly reduce your water intake.
As more and more states legalize cannabis, cannabis growers need to strive to bring a whole new meaning of “green” to the industry.