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Hydroponic Weed: Is it Healthier?

Hydroponic Weed: Is it Healthier?

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Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this article is medical advice and is just the opinion of the writer(s). Patients should speak to their doctors before considering cannabis use, and should ensure it’s legal in their jurisdiction. 

There’s a lot of hype around hydroponic weed these days, but not many articles have explored the relative health benefits compared with traditionally-grown weed.

In this article we’ll overview what hydroponic weed is, and analyze whether it’s healthier to use than weed grown via traditional methods.

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. 

You 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 plants with conventionally-grown plants, whether cannabis or produce.

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, since the pesticides are inhaled directly into the lungs.

Lower Levels of Heavy Metals: Most heavy metal exposure to plants comes from polluted soil. Metals like lead, mercury and cadmium are present in low levels in nearly all foods and are directly toxic, so minimizing their exposure is important for health.

Since hydroponic marijuana is grown in a soil-free environment, it’s much less likely to be contaminated with heavy metals

What Should I Ask My Grower?

If you’re a health-conscious consumer, you may want to directly ask your grower or dispensary whether the hydroponic weed they sell contains pesticides or heavy metals.

Just because hydroponic marijuana operations may be less likely to contain these contaminants doesn’t mean none do, so asking for proof is a good idea.

You may want to also ask for the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, since this is the psychoactive compound in cannabis and its potency may vary dramatically between different hydroponic growers. 

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


We believe that hydroponic weed is healthier on average than traditionally-grown weed, due to the likely lower incidence of pesticides and heavy metals. These are the most common botanical contaminants, and are harmful to human health.

As we mentioned in our weed and heart attacks review, it’s the inhaled toxins that are likely the cause of the slightly increased cardiovascular risk associated with cannabis use, rather than the cannabis itself.

Consumers should do their due diligence on the hydroponic weed they source from, and be sure to ask about pesticides and heavy metals levels before making a purchase.

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