Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to cannabis use, and follow the laws of their local jurisdiction(s).
There are an increasing number of hydroponic cannabis brands, but not much research comparing the health effects of hydroponically-grown weed to conventionally-grown weed.
In this article we’ll overview what hydroponic weed is, and give our take on whether we consider it to be healthier than regular weed. We'll also share an animated video comparing the relative benefits of hydroponic versus soil-grown weed.
What Is Hydroponic Weed?
Hydroponics is a type of technology that allows for growing plants without soil. Cannabis is a plant grown traditionally in soil, so this system can make growing weed more efficient and resistant to climate.
Many grow operations prefer hydroponic weed to traditional methods because it’s possible to automate the process to a level of precision not possible with regular farming.
A cannabis grower can set nutrient inputs, optimize light exposure, and generally set every parameter of the grow process for maximal efficiency with hydroponics. When growing weed outdoors, growers have to simply let nature take its course.
Hydroponic weed is different from greenhouse weed, although both are typically grown indoors. A greenhouse allows growers to manage certain external conditions like sunlight and water, but most greenhouse grow operations still use soil and are still considered traditional agriculture.
Is Hydroponic Weed Healthier?
There is unfortunately little research directly comparing the health benefits of hydroponically-grown weed with conventionally-grown weed.
We believe that hydroponic weed is likely to be healthier for two reasons:
No Pesticides: Many hydroponic cannabis operations are pesticide-free. Since the environment is totally controlled, the risk of pests destroying crops is much lower.
We know from years of medical research that pesticide ingestion is harmful for human health. This risk is even greater for plants which are smoked like cannabis, since the pesticides are inhaled directly into the lungs.
Lower Levels of Heavy Metals: Plants can absorb heavy metals like lead, mercury and cadmium from polluted soil. These metals are toxic to humans, and are unfortunately present in many foods and supplements due to their pervasive nature in our environment, so minimizing their exposure is important for health.
Since hydroponic weed is grown in a soil-free environment, we consider it less likely to be contaminated with heavy metals.
What Should I Ask My Grower?
Health conscious weed users may want to directly ask their grower or dispensary whether there is a hydroponic weed option, and ask whether the hydroponic weed is free of pesticides and heavy metals.
Just because hydroponic cannabis operations may be less likely to contain these contaminants doesn’t mean none do, so asking for proof seems like a good idea.
It may also be beneficial to ask about the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, since this is the psychoactive compound in cannabis and its potency may vary dramatically between different hydroponic growers.
Animated Video on Hydroponic Weed
One of the most popular YouTube videos on hydroponically-grown weed is published by a channel called "The Cannabis Experts" and shares the relative benefits of hydroponically-grown weed versus soil-grown weed: