Looking for the basics of how to grow marijuana? Here are the tools and information on how to grow weed affordably and effectively. All you need is a small discreet space and a little bit of a budget to get started on your indoor pot production.
The first thing you’ll need is a place to grow. I recommend getting yourself a decent grow tent. They’re cheap, made to grow inside of and can be put up and taken down quickly by one person. Some tents come with packages that include all kind of complicated hydroponic equipment. Your best bet is to purchase only what you need inside the tent and to learn how to grow weed without the expensive plastic. Some even have separate chambers for vegetative growth and cloning, making them perfect for people living in one-bedroom apartments or studios with limited room to grow.
First, you’ll need a growlight. I like HID (High-Intensity Discharge) lighting – HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) or MH (Metal Halide) systems with ballasts, bulbs and reflectors. If heat from these lights will be an issue, there are also LED (Light-Emitting Diode) and CFL (Compact Fluorescent) systems you can employ. Be sure to get a light that covers your tent’s footprint and invest in a decent timer to control when your light turns on and off.
You’ll also need an exhaust fan and activated carbon filter to reduce heat and eliminate odors. Be sure to get one that’s rated for your tent’s size with the proper ducting size. A clip-on circulating fan will keep air moving and stop it from being stagnant. A thermometer/hygrometer is also a must for keeping track of temperature and humidity.
If you don’t have access to marijuana seeds or clones from a dispensary or friend, you’ll need to get some cannabis seeds mailed to you. Don’t have them mailed to the same place you plan to grow if you’re not growing legally. Don’t just learn how to grow weed, learn how to be discreet and not brag or bring attention to yourself.
A simple loose and airy soil mix in 3-5 gallon buckets are great for beginners and much more forgiving than any hydroponic system. Be sure to cut holes in the bottom of the buckets and use saucers under them to catch any overflow. You’ll need to purchase nutrients to feed to your plants as they grow and a watering can as well.
How To Grow Weed
After you’ve planted your seeds or rooted your clones, it’s time to get them growing. Lower your reflector so that it’s closer to the plants rather than making them stretch to reach for light. Raise the lighting system as your plants grow. Set your light timer to be on for 18 hours per day and off for 6 hours. During this vegetative stage, the plant will grow leaves and branches but no flowers (unless it’s an auto-flowering plant).
Avoid overfeeding and overwatering your plants at all costs. Err on the side of caution as it’s always easier to add more nutrients or water than it is to take them away. Marijuana roots prefer a wet/dry cycle so lift up your buckets and you’ll get a better idea for if they need watering or not by the weight. The first sign of overfed plants is burnt leaf tips. The first rule of how to grow weed is to learn to stay off of its way sometimes.
Anytime space is limited for growing, some basic rules apply: Since square footage is at a premium, plans must take full advantage of each available inch. This means choosing between growing indica-dominant strains such as Hashplant, Afghani #1 or planning on using drastic trellising and training techniques if growing out sativas such as Super Silver Haze, Jack Herer or Kali Mist.
Pruning For Higher Yield
When pruning, start early and often. Cut or pinch branches just above the node where two new shoots will emerge. If you stay on top of this process, you’ll have plants that look like bonsai bushes, with plenty of bud sites but not a lot of stretching out and big gaps between nodes. This is the efficient way to get bigger yields out of small spaces but your vegetating time will increase so factor that into your schedule.
Don’t prune or pinch plants at all once they’ve begun flowering – you’ll only be decreasing your harvest at that point. If the branches are threatening to reach the light, bend them or tie them down to keep them from burning. A trellis system constructed from chicken wire at canopy level (aka the ScrOG or Screen of Green system), will further spread out bud sites and increase your yields considerably. Simply train growing shoots to grow horizontally along the bottom of the screen to fill empty spots.
Indoors, The decision of when to induce flowering in your plants is entirely up to you. If you want to learn how to grow weed, it’s important to determine how much space you have and to factor in the fact that your plants will stretch for at least a few weeks after flowering is induced. I usually recommend one week per gallon of container, so a plant in a five-gallon bucket should get approximately five weeks of vegetative time.
When you’re ready to begin the flowering stage, switch your timer to a 12 hour on/12 hour off light cycle. Be sure never to interrupt the 12-hour dark period with any light. This confuses your plant and can cause serious problems.
Change your feeding regimen to one suited for flowering. Plant nutrients generally come in vegetative or flowering formulations so switch over to a “blooming” solution. Depending on the flowering time of your strain, determine when you have two weeks or so left and begin the flushing process. If you’re growing a 60-day flowering strain, start to flush your grow medium with only plain water around day 46.
Harvesting, Drying and Curing
Knowing when and how to harvest your buds is as important as knowing how to grow weed.
Use a loupe or a strong magnifying scope to take a very close look at the trichomes; the tiny glandular stalk and head sometimes referred to as “crystals”. Up close, they resemble little glass mushrooms with a stem that forms a bulbous round clear top. Inside that gland head resides the psychoactive compounds (THC, CBD etc). Harvest when the majority of the gland heads begin to go cloudy white and before they’ve gone completely amber. Harvest when they’re mostly amber if you desire a more lethargic stone.
Post-harvest, you will trim and hang up your buds to dry. This process should take about a week or two depending on the humidity and heat in your area. It’s always best to keep this process slower than 3-4 days in order to ensure you aren’t locking in that “green” chlorophyll taste. Add a humidifier to your drying room if you think your nuggets are drying out too quickly. Never leave a fan blowing directly onto your drying colas but make sure air is circulating to avoid mold and bud-rot.
After you’ve determined that your buds are sufficiently dried you’re ready to jar them up for the cure. The stems should snap instead of bending and the outside of the flowers should feel bone dry to the touch. The truth is there is still plenty of water stuck in the bud and the curing process will slowly “sweat” out the remaining liquid.
Always use opaque jars (ones you can’t see inside) and place them in a cool dark place. Open up the jars to determine the level of moisture and leave them open if there’s any condensation forming on the inside of the glass. Slowly but surely, if you open and close the jars once or twice a day, the moist air will be replenished by dry air and the water that’s stuck in the middle of your bud will work its way to the outside and then out into the air altogether. After three weeks to a month or so curing, your buds should burn and taste perfectly.
Many cannabis consumers are not aware of the significant differences between indica and sativa varieties of the herb. They look different, have very different medical effects and high types, and — for cultivators — grow in very different ways. This makes sense when one realizes that indica and sativa are actually two different species of cannabis.
Use this easy-to-understand infographic to learn the typical characteristics of each:
Know the Difference
Let’s examine the differences between indica and sativa point-by-point.
Morphology: The morphology of a plant or organism refers to its form and structure, including its outward appearance and traits such as shape, size, color, and patterns. The morphology of indica plants is short and stocky, while sativa varieties are tall and lanky. The leaves of indica plants are broad and chunky, whereas sativa strains exhibit thin and pointy leaves. It takes little practice to quickly identify the different species by their appearance.
Cultivation: Sativa strains tend to be the best for growing outdoors, sometimes achieving a height of 10 or 12 feet. Sativas enjoy natural sun and the ability to stretch as tall as possible (impossible in many indoor gardens). Indica doms are great for indoor growers. Their relatively short, bushy shape make them perfect for basement and closet grows. While indica dom strains can take as little as eight or nine weeks to flower and mature, some sativa strains require 12 to 14 weeks or longer. This is one reason gardeners prefer hybrids, so they can achieve a shorter grow cycle from the indica genetics while also incorporating some sativa traits.
Odor: Most people have heard of skunk varieties of cannabis. These indica strains are characterized by strong odors, many of which are similar in smell to a skunk. Sativa types, however, have sweet and spicy odors and flavors (odors in both species are generated by terpenes in the plant).
Efficacy: The efficacy, or effect, of indica and sativa strains is very different. A pure sativa has a powerful energizing effect. It can result in one’s mind racing and make one very chatty. Sativas can also promote focus and productivity. However, strong sativas sometimes cause anxiety or paranoia in users. Those predisposed to such reactions should seek out a hybrid or indica dom strain (again, difficult or impossible in states with no legal medical marijuana program that provides dispensaries and retail shops).
Indicas have the stereotypical effect of relaxation and calming. Strong indicas can easily give users something called couchlock, meaning they became so relaxed that they can barely get out of their seat. A strong indica might be a bad choice for a patient medicating in the morning and wanting to stay productive. Likewise, smoking or vaping a sativa in the evening isn’t necessarily recommended. Appetite stimulation (the “munchies”) is another effect of indica dominant strains. Some sativa strains actually kill appetite.
Availability: As mentioned, the vast majority of cannabis available on the black market are hybrids that tend to be indica dominant. Those wanting to experiment with sativa strains — especially patients in prohibitionist states — will be hard pressed to find samples. Those in states with legal medical programs can easily request a sativa or indica from their local dispensary or retail outlet.
Generally, the default recommendation for patients and recreational users is to consume sativa doms in the morning or mid-day and indica doms in the evening or at night. Patients who must seek relief when struck by nausea or pain, regardless of the time of day, obviously benefit by having both indica dom and sativa dom varieties in their medicine cabinet.
Hybrids Most Common
However, the two species are so closely related that they are commonly cross bred to create what are called hybrids (like how a female horse and a male donkey are bred to create a mule). Hybrids are simply a mix of sativa and indica, providing the pros and cons of each species. Hybrid strains that are more indica than sativa are called indica dom, or indica dominant.
Likewise, sativa doms have mostly sativa traits, but are buffered by some indica influence. Each hybrid strain of cannabis is obviously a different mix of indica and sativa characteristics. Patients should experiment with different strains to find the right efficacy and high type for their particular disease or ailment.
Indica is by far the most common species of marijuana. Why? Because it grows faster and yields more bud per plant than sativa varieties. Thus, cultivators are more motivated to grow indica and hybrid strains, that will yield large crops and mature quickly, than they are to grow sativa and sativa dom types.
Black Market Woes
The greatest shortcoming of the black market — other than high prices, illegality, and potential exposure to criminal elements — is the inability of patients to select the species or strain that is best for their particular ailment. Legal dispensaries in states like California and Colorado allow consumers to get exactly what they want and need, with no guesswork or uncertainly.
Regardless of price or safe access, having an indica dominant in one’s medicine cabinet when what is needed is a sativa or sativa dominant is the natural result of the black market. Patients who can’t choose are always playing a guessing game.
This post was originally published on June 15, 2015, it was updated on October 5, 2017.
If you’re a first-time smoker, beginner, or just haven’t smoked in a while (weed has changed since the 70s) you may not be sure exactly how much weed you need to get high. Truth is, each person is different so it’s hard to give a really concrete answer that works for everyone. I’m going to break down the question as best as possible, but I need your help. If you’ve smoked before let everyone in the comments know how much it takes you to get high. As always, I encourage using fake names and email address for comments.
For the purpose of this article, I am going to refer to amounts for only one person. If you are consuming cannabis in a group these numbers will obviously change.
Before we start talking actual number I want to go over the 3 main factors that are going to influence the amount of weed you’re going to need. Once we get that out of the way I’ll give you some real numbers to work with.
Factors that Influence How Much it Takes to Get High
Potency – The potency of the weed is going to have a huge impact. High-grade cannabis could be 30% or more THC while lower grade could have less than 10%. Of course, most the weed on the market will fall between these two numbers. Unless it has been tested in a lab there is no way to know the true amount of THC.
Physiological Traits – Weight and overall size usually come into play when determining how much weed you need. Other biological influencers include metabolism, cannabinoid receptor development, and respiratory system health – among others.
Tolerance – The more weed you smoke the more your body gets used to it and it takes more weed to get high. I would imagine tolerance level wouldn’t play much of a factor for people reading this article. If you’ve smoked enough to build up a tolerance then you are probably already aware of the amount you need to smoke.
How Much Herb Should You Smoke?
If you’re smoking good old-fashioned herb then you’re probably only going to need a few hits if it’s your first time. The effects of weed can be felt anywhere from instantly to up to several minutes. If it’s your first time then just take 1 or 2 hits, and wait for a few minutes. If you’re still not high you can take another hit. Usually, beginners would not need to smoke an entire bowl or joint by themselves to get high. If the quality is decent then 3 or 4 hits total should get the job done. If you’re new to this I highly recommend checking out two of my other articles: How to Smoke Weed Properly: A First-Timer’s Guide and 7 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting High From Weed.
Remember, the more you smoke the higher your tolerance is going to get. Individuals with high tolerances may need multiple bowls or joints to feel effects. Some people report smoking so much they can’t get high anymore. If this is the case I highly recommend taking a tolerance break.
How Many Edibles Do You Need To Eat?
Knowing how much weed to use is about finding your own personal boundaries. With smoking, the effects are felt very quickly so you usually know when you’ve had enough. Edibles are a different story which is why you have to be very careful with them. The effects from edibles are typically felt 45 minutes – 2 hours after it’s eaten. This means you could take too much and not even know it until the rush hits you.
So, how much edibles is good then? The state of Colorado recommends a 10mg dosage for first-time users, and I agree. Edibles hit everyone differently. I personally don’t feel anything on 10mg, but I have a friend who can get lit off the same amount. This is why you have to find your own personal boundary. Make sure to wait at least 2 hours before eating more edibles, but ideally wait until the next day to up the dosage.
If you’re eating homemade edibles you may run into some problems since there really isn’t any way to know the potency of the edible. Have someone experienced try them first to find out their strength. Also, take a very small amount (think one bite or less) if you are unsure about the potency.
As a regular user, I typically take between 50-100mg at a time depending on how high I want to get. Let us know how much you normally eat, smoke, or vape in the comments.
How Much Concentrates for a First-Time Dabber?
Finally, we come to concentrates. The answer to how much you should dab is built right into the name – you only need a small dab. If it’s your first time then take the smallest amount you think you need and cut it in half. We’re talking about a small booger-sized amount. There is no need to try and show off as a beginner and you’re just going to look silly when you take too big of a dab and spend the next half hour coughing up a lung.
Extra tip: Don’t worry about holding in the smoke. It’s not going to get you any higher. It’ll just make you cough more.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this article then here are a few of my other articles you may like: