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Blog Size Grow Lighting ImageOregon recently became the third U.S. state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. It joins Colorado and Washington, and precedes a growing list of states promoting similar legislation. In addition to recreational marijuana, 23 states and the District of Columbia have voted to allow marijuana in some degree or another for medical purposes. With the trend firmly in the legalization camp, have you ever wondered “What’s the best way to grow the stuff?” Now, we at Stouch don’t claim to be experts about this particular plant, but we are LED lighting experts. So let’s take a look at the intersection of lighting and lighting up!

Choosing Grow Lights

The two most important things to consider when trying to choose the right lighting for growing plants indoors (whether it be marijuana or a simple household plant) are:

  1. The light requirements of the particular plant you are trying to grow,
  2. The amount of white light emitted by the particular light you are using to grow it.

Here’s a little background on why the particular type of light matters so much:

Photosynthesis Doesn’t Work With All Electromagnetic Radiation: Similar to the human eye, plants are only sensitive to certain types of electromagnetic radiation. Only visible light and UV radiation are useful to plants for photosynthesis (the process in which “light” energy is converted into chemical energy that is stored and later released as part of the plant’s normal metabolic processes).

Light Spectrum

Visible and UV radiation are the sweet spot as far as electromagnetic wavelengths go. Other electromagnetic radiation (like Gamma and X-rays) tends to destroy the chemical structure within plants due to their high intensity. On the other side of the spectrum, infrared, microwave, and radio waves tend not to have a high enough energy state to affect the photosynthetic process.

Human Eye Sensitivity and Photosynthesis

What are the best and worst types of lights to use for growing plants indoors?

The worst grow lights:

  1. Incandescent lights: In general, your standard light-bulb is a terrible choice to grow indoor plants because a large amount of the energy output is thermal (heat) as opposed to visual light. They’re useful for certain plants that don’t require much light but they’re terrible for high light-requirement plants. Unless you’re trying to barbecue your houseplants, you’re better off with another option.

  2. Halogen lights: This is a subset of incandescent lighting that also throws off a lot of heat. Inert gas is used in the lamp - you might recognize some of these gasses from chemistry class (bromine, chlorine, fluorine, iodine, or astatine)! Halogen lights are often used as flood lights in vehicles and in medical applications, but they’re not necessarily great for growing Cannabis.

The best grow lights:

  1. LED lights: According to this article, LED lights are great for growing marijuana because they “are so energy efficient, are easy to use and set up, and can be used for the full life cycle of your cannabis plants. LEDs produce much more light per watt than fluorescent lighting...This also means that they run cooler, reducing the need for fans and the risk of fire in your grow room. Most LED grow lights come with small fans built in, and do not require additional cooling except in special circumstances. Another bonus is that they do not require ballasts. Overall, they return much higher yields for lower levels of electricity consumed.”

So there you have it - multiple compelling reasons that LED lighting might be the future of the marijuana industry. Of course, LEDs could very well be the lighting future for anyone interested in energy efficient lighting solutions, like municipalities, real estate organizations, building and facility owners, and more. To learn more, contact Stouch Lighting today!

Ebook: 7 Different Lights LEDs Are Putting Out of Business