Do Cannabis Growing Need UV Light ?
The effects of UV light on the growth of cannabis is a topic that has been debated time and again. The topic is controversial yet interesting in matters of growing light spectrum. While UV has many upsides and effects on cannabis growth, many claims remain unproven scientifically or in other research. This article will shed light on the critical aspects of UV in cannabis growth and deconstruct the falsehoods. We will conclude on whether investing in UV is worth the while.
UV Light and Cannabis Relation
Does UV light affect cannabis growth? While this isn’t the most heated argument about cannabis growth, it is something worth digging deep into to find the best possible answers. For some growers, UV and the growth of quality cannabis go hand in hand. They claim the fact is undeniable, at least according to them.
There is very minimal data to back the assertion that UV light is crucial in the growth of quality cannabis. However, this does not imply that studies have not been conducted to establish the relation. The current studies are simply inconclusive and unreliable.
It begs the question,” Why are many growers heel-bent that quality cannabis with that ‘fire bud’ results from UV light?” Plants produce protection mechanisms like stress responses when exposed to UV. Consequently, the cannabis plant will produce anythrocynine, a secondary compound to protect itself from damaging UV wavelengths.
Many growers will find the plant’s response to UV exposure intriguing and alluring, to say the least. To the eye, the sight of more purples and the effects of secondary compounds produced, such as anythrocynine, creates the impression of an enhanced cannabinoid suite and terpene in the final product.
However, research indicates the effect of UV on cannabis is dismal at best. The plant will produce more vibrant colors and possible improved trichome head production. Amusingly, a full LED spectrum can achieve the same results. It is worth noting that scientific conclusions are lacking, and we are therefore only relying on inconclusive research.
The Claims of UV and Cannabis Relation
There are many claims about UV and cannabis relations, some of which are widespread. Let us explore some of these claims.
One of the widespread claims is that UV – A and UV – B leads to increased THC in the plant. Scientifically, this has not yet been proven to be the case. Cannabis strains typically grown in high UV zones have indicated bumps in secondary cannabinoid and THC production.
On the other hand, Hemp CBD growers have seen an increase in secondary compound production. Present-day exotic, indoor, multiple cross growers have shown no significance by introducing UV as a minor stressor. On the contrary, the introduction of UV to indoor plants can result in negative results, since the plants have never experienced the kind of stressors.
The second widespread claim is that UV – A and UV – B produce increased trichomes and heads that are complete. The assertion is that this results in a flower that is frostier. There are current studies that are still ongoing to establish whether this claim is valid. The study has covered hemp so far.
Many growers believe it is essential to wash the hash when introducing UV – A and UV – B during the growth cycle, resulting in better returns. Once more, there is little evidence to ascertain the claim’s validity. The observations could indicate a better structure of the trichomes than many of them.
Studies On the Relation between UV Light and Cannabis Growth
Other continuing research is being conducted into UV light’s possible relation and effects on cannabis growth. There is hope that more data will provide conclusive observations into the effects and relation of UV and cannabis.
One of the researchers, Bruce Bugbee, is examining cannabis’ reaction to UV –A and UV – B. The study also aims to establish the relationship between cannabis growth and UV. His work includes exposure of the plants to 400-450 nm wavelengths, which is slightly shorter than UV –A wavelength. He has suggested that the results are more or less the same.
Another challenging question is why LED light makers continually add UV to the fixtures. This is despite UV-A – Being fifty to one hundred times the cost of a deep red or full-spectrum white LED. This cost seems to be prohibitive.
For producers of LED light to include UV light, one may wonder if the value is worth the while. For instance, commercial facilities may be required to buy many of these lights. Is there enough evidence that there is increased value, hence increasing investment? Currently, the evidence is not enough.
Some studies suggest that UV – A (356nm) and UV – B in small cycles are potentially the reason for photomorphogenesis within cannabis. If the studies prove accurate, then it will not be advisable to add UV light into LED fixtures unless there is control over the light through channel control and spectrum tuning.
Interestingly, most of the fixtures on sale today have UV-A – A (395 nm) inbuilt. The fixtures are yet to prove they are more effective than 400 – 450 nm LEDs. It is also almost impossible to add UV – B and UV – C to grow lights due to the possible danger they pose to human beings.
What Has Been Proven?
On the spectrum, the far-red light has been proven to impact cannabis growth. However, the far-red light is not included in the PAR range at the moment. The PAR range includes lights with 400-700 nm wavelengths which can be used during photosynthesis.
The far-red light has been proven to be used by the plant but not for purposes of photosynthesis. It enters deep into the canopies of the plant because plants have a hard time absorbing the light. As a result, it affects the morphology of the cannabis and also increases the leaf sizes.
Researchers have theorized the concept since, in nature, smaller plants under giant trees are exposed to more red light as the enormous tree absorbs the other spectrums. The result is that the small plant increases its leaf size to get more light that reaches it. Increasing the far-red light in the spectrum will, therefore, be significant to cannabis growth and yields.
So, what do we conclude about the relation between UV and cannabis growth? Well, that depends. First, it is yet to be established scientifically that UV – A adds increased value to cannabis than deep blue. If you are a hydroponic grower in harsh or terpene production, you can experiment with UV – A, UV – B or blue (430 nm) to see what works and if you have enhanced results.
If you grow organically, the upsides and downsides of introducing UV may not be worth introducing the light. On the other hand, the use of UV – C should be limited to cleaning devices and left out of growing environments. This is because there are hazards related to UV –C that could adversely impact both humans and crops.
We can say there is no magic bullet in the relation between UV and cannabis growth. All the three categories of UV have their upside, but they come at a cost. To maximize your results, you should use a holistic approach to cultivation with a well-defined goal in mind. Do not get UV with high hopes of changing your yields or expecting a significant change in quality. That will save you duress if results are not achieved.
You might also keep using the strategy you are currently using because trying to pivot into using UV may be a distraction you might dread. Above all, get to know your stuff. The devil is in the details, especially in the relationship between cannabis growth and UV light. Let’s hope science will shed more light on the matter soon.