Pros and Cons To Growing your Own Cannabis

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10 years ago most Canadians would have laughed at the idea of growing their own cannabis. Even for many regular cannabis users, the idea of growing their favourite strains was nothing more than a pipe dream. However, now that cannabis is legal across the country, the dream of growing your own cannabis can become a reality. 

There are tons of benefits to being able to grow your own weed, but it does not come without its drawbacks, otherwise, everybody would grow their own!

Here are the Pros and Cons of growing your own cannabis.

Pros:

  • Savings You Can Smoke – While growing always requires an initial investment, the amount you can save once you have your setup running makes it definitely worth it (as long as you make it to harvest!) The yield always varies but you can produce up to 1000 grams per plant if you have the right lights. 
  • Like A Bonsai Tree That Gets You High – Remember Tamagotchi’s? The little digital pet you could keep in your pocket. You had to feed it daily and make sure it was happy. Thinking back on it now, it seems a little weird, but at the time they were all the rage. While the technology may have aged, the idea behind the toy remains appealing. It can be incredibly satisfying to take care of something, especially if you’ve grown it from seed. You begin to understand signs of stress in your plant, similar to how you would a pet, and you find what works best through trial and error. Maintaining your own plant and keeping it alive and thriving gives is incredibly satisfying. 

Choice

  • You Call The Shots – Many people likely had the experience pre-legalization of trying a mystery bud, coughing for 10 minutes and wondering what evil curse had been put upon your flower. When you grow your own cannabis, you decide everything that goes into it. From the type of soil to nutrients to pesticides or lack thereof.  Many people growing outdoors choose to grow organic as the soil provides all that your plants need except for water. Others use mediums such as coco or even straight hydroponics allow you to choose the method best for what you’re after.
  • Your Garden, Your Choice – Remember that one strain that your friend of a friend showed you and you haven’t been able to find since? When you grow your own cannabis you can choose your favourite strain, right down to your preferred phenotype often. 

Cons

Location

  • Legal To Grow…  Sort Of – While cannabis is legal to possess; provincial and municipal governments were left with deciding on their citizen’s right to grow their own cannabis. Many anti-cannabis governments saw this as a chance to limit the amount of cannabis in their community and set strict rules, with some provinces such as Quebec, outright banning home growing altogether. Manitoba only allows its residents to grow with a medical license.  
  • Wait, What? – Other provinces, not wanting to miss out on the hypocrisy, such as British Columbia, allow four plants to be grown (as long as their not viewable by the public). However, you are only allowed to store 1000 grams at home. I’m not sure what kind of mids they are growing in BC parliament, but a decent grow with a decent light should produce around 400-500 grams. Now I’m not a mathematician but if my calculations are correct that means almost double the allowed limit when you harvest your plants.  Many feel that rather than limit the number of plants, the government should limit the amount of space the plants can take up. One well-grown plant can take up an entire room. The 4 plant rule gets convoluted when you ask the question of what qualifies as a plant. Many growers will sprout seeds or keep clones at the ready for their next run. Do the clones and sprouted seeds count as plants even though they are not flowering and producing buds?
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    One very large cannabis plant can go a long way.

Risks 

  • In Sickness and in Health – If you have ever tried to grow a plant from seed before than you know how hard it can be to keep it alive. Now imagine that the plant could be valued at over $1000 easily when flowering and you get to smoke it for months after if it goes right. Farmers that grow produce run the risks of losing their crop every year, and it is no exception for cannabis cultivators either. When you grow your own cannabis you run the risk of your plants getting sick. If not treated and quarantined correctly, it can spread quickly to your other plants costing you the entire yield. I have seen several friends lose their entire work over months of growing because of a virus.
  • Attack of the… Spider Mites? – Some people love bugs. Some people hate bugs. Wherever you stand on the issue, nobody like pests that ruin your crop. There is no shortage of pests from Thrips (not rival gang to the Crips, it turns out) to spider mites to freakin’ grasshoppers. They each bring their own unique gifts to the cannabis ruining party and are responsible for the loss of so much weed they should be tried for crimes against humanity.  – 
  • I’m Getting too Mold for This – mold…sucks. To put it simply. It…there is no… mold just sucks. When you’re weed starts to rot or get moldy, that’s a wrap and there is no shortage of ways your crop can rot. While mold can happen with inside grows it is far more common with outdoor plants. Whether it’s a matter of temperature, humidity, rain or a combination of the three, mold can grow like…mold. This year’s bizarre summer in the Pacific Northwest has meant that many outdoor growers were forced to harvest early. I was hoping to keep my plants going until late October but the cold temperatures and immense amounts of rain will force me to harvest as soon as this weekend as the roots have begun to rot. I have already lost over an ounce to mold. Those who wait, risk losing their entire crop, however, if it works out, they’re plants will be all the more potent.
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A harvest is stricken with bud rot.
  • Lights Cost Money– The sun is free. Which is pretty chill of it. When it’s willing to shine, it makes an incredible grow light. So the sun is good for at least one thing, that’s for sure. Grow lights, on the other hand, can cost an arm and a leg. It all depends on your setup. If you’re willing to invest a lot in high-quality lights, tents and nutrients than you will see the quality reciprocated in the yield…hopefully. The same unfortunately applies when it comes to using cheap lights. You get what you’re willing to put in.

Theft

  • Get Off My Lawn! – Again, more of a problem for outdoor growers but as if the world was not evil enough, people steal other people’s weed. It’s been happening since people started growing. The legalization of cannabis both worked to solve the problem while also indirectly exacerbating it. This year was the first summer where people were legally allowed to grow in most provinces. This has meant more and more cannabis plants growing in people’s gardens. It is no secret that weed has a distinct odor and it is all the ripe when it is still growing on the plant. Like cartoon characters following the scent of a fresh pie with their nose, thieves have been sniffing out people’s plants and stealing them in the night. That said, now that cannabis is legal, you can call the police to help you get your plants back. 
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A Facebook post shared by a Canadian who had the police return their stolen cannabis plants.

Final Thoughts

While it may seem like there are more cons than pros, it is a question of what risks you’re willing to take. For many, the pros outweigh the cons. A lot of people like the challenge of growing your own plants from seed to flower. There is some debate amongst growers in regards to what makes a good outdoor strain. Ultimately most people say it comes down to good genetics. If you are starting with a solid clone and you treat it well, there is no reason you can’t have high-quality buds. Obviously when you grow inside you can dial in your environmental factors to whatever specificity you want, meaning higher quality buds than if you are left to the elements. 

Growing can be a great hobby. If you are relying on it for your supply of cannabis, be prepared that something may go wrong and disease can spread quickly in plants. However, when you make it to harvest and you see, smell, taste and eventually feel the product of all your hard work, it is really hard to beat. 

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