How To Save Money By Growing Weed At Home
As marijuana legalization becomes the norm, regular users and new users are enthusiastically entering the cannabis space. Whether they want to have fun, relax, or relieve chronic pain, the weed market has a massive appeal.
There are several reasons why marijuana users new and old should consider growing weed at home instead of purchasing from a dispensary. The first reason is because growing weed at home can be a fun hobby. Home grown cannabis can also be the best option because of quality control. Yet another reason is because you can cut out the middle man and control your costs.
I’ll expand on each of these factors just below, and I’ll also show you how you can successfully grow weed at home on any budget and spend 60% less than you would at a dispensary.
Growing Cannabis At Home Doubles As A Hobby:
Among the other benefits to home growing, growing your plants at home can be a fulfilling hobby. Growing marijuana at home is a bit more complicated than home grown vegetables or flowers, but totally worth it in the long run.
There’s a large community of growers on internet forums like GrassCity or THCtalk. People share everything about their home grows from pictures, tips, and detailed journals. Even if you don’t get involved in forums, it’s a great way to improve your home growing experience.
Once you’re all set up, tending to your plants won’t even take much time until harvest. The low time investment is another great benefit to growing weed at home if you’re a busy person.
You have total control over whether you want to spend a lot of time experimenting with different growing mediums, nutrients, and grow lights, or keep things simple with a basic setup and grow method.
Quality Control Is A Major Reason To Grow Weed At Home:
Maybe one of the most important reasons to grow weed at home instead of purchasing it at a dispensary, or worse, from a street dealer, is quality control.
Time and time again the public witnesses instances of businesses being negligent. While a majority of legally grown marijuana is totally fine, you’ll never really witness how the plant is handled from seedling to packaging unless you grow at home. I’m talking about producers and dispensaries.
Two recent stories come to my mind but I know there are many more out there.
The first is the example of CannTrust growing cannabis in several unlicensed grow rooms at their facilities. Health Canada, Canada’s public health agency, came in and halted operations.²
Unlicensed grow operations are usually unlicensed because the producer can’t or doesn’t want to meet certain safety or health standards, like preventing mildew, mold, or insects in the grow operation.
The second example is Sundial Growers selling one half ton (1,000 pounds) of moldy marijuana containing bits of rubber glove and other non-cannabis material to Zenabis Global.³
Zenabis is a large marijuana products company in Canada, who presumably would’ve sold the cannabis to customers if the mold was not spotted.
These were problems at the producer level. In many cases your weed is then shipped to a dispensary, where it’s subject to further quality control issues.
Growing cannabis at home means you control the quality of your buds from seed to flower. Combine that with the satisfaction you get from harvesting your home grown weed after all of the care and effort you put into it, and home growing becomes a very attractive option.
Lower Your Expenses By Growing Marijuana At Home:
If the first two reasons for growing weed at home didn’t convince you enough, maybe the cost savings will. At first look you may find the initial cost of growing weed at home to be prohibitive.
Growing weed at home costs 60-80% less than regularly buying from a dispensary, according to my estimates.
The truth is, you can be a minimalist and still have your home grown weed pay for itself in a short period of time. Below I’ll lay out the details of how you can grow weed at home on a low or high budget.
The first step is determining how much it would cost to buy weed from a dispensary, and compare that to your cost of growing weed at home.
According to Budzu, the average cost of purchasing one ounce of marijuana from a dispensary in major US and Canadian cities (at the time of writing) is between $110 and $210, depending on quality.
How much weed can you get from one plant?
In comparison to the dispensary prices mentioned above, how much weed can you grow with one plant at home? Does it cost less to grow than buying at a dispensary?
The general rule of thumb is that you’ll be able to grow one gram of weed per true watt of light used, regardless of how many plants you have under the light.
So if you’re growing one plant under a true 400 watt grow light, you can reasonably expect 225 to 400 grams (~8oz – 14oz) of marijuana at harvest. Two plants under a true 400 watt grow light should also yield the same total of roughly 14oz.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t apply to autoflowering plants, which have smaller yields due to a shorter growth period.
Regardless of how your first harvest ends up, when you’re talking 60-80% less cost for growing weed at home, then it’s pretty easy to guarantee a lower expense compared to buying from a dispensary.
Light is the most important factor affecting home grown marijuana yields:
One point I need to stress is the direct correlation between the amount of light you provide and the amount of weed you’ll harvest. You don’t want to cheap out on a grow light.
Check out my home page for the best LED grow lights on the market, or if you’re interested in an HPS light, check out my article about the best double ended (DE) HPS grow lights. I guarantee the lights I researched for these articles won’t do you wrong.
Below I recommend grow lights pulling 400 watts from the outlet. Of course you can find a cheaper light, but you won’t get these same results. If you’re more interested in this topic, check out my article on the minimum amount of daily light your cannabis plant needs to maximize yield.
You can also check out my video explaining how to choose the best LED grow lights. I understand there are several factors that people aren’t expecting to encounter when shopping for a simple piece of equipment, so I try to take that complexity and simplify it all for you in my video:
How much it costs to grow weed at home:
Based on the prices for one ounce of weed in major US and Canadian cities, if you consume 1 ounce per month, you’d be spending $1320-$2520 per year on weed.
Based on the cost of the products listed below, I estimated the bare minimum cost of growing one weed plant at home under a 400 watt grow light would cost about $444:
- One Seed: $6-25
- 400 watt HPS grow light
- Potting Soil: $30
- 5 gallon grow bag (multi-pack)
- Electricity: $90-150 (depends on electricity cost, length of vegetative and flowering phases, and wattage of grow light. See here for my grow light cost calculator)
Total estimated cost to grow one weed plant at home: Up to $444
Well, $444 to grow 14 ounces at home is definitely better than spending $1,320-$2,520 at a dispensary for 14 ounces. This is the bare minimum cost. If you have a flexible budget, you may want to consider a grow tent which will help you control the growing environment better.
What might the total cost look like under a more flexible budget scenario where you want to grow an additional cannabis plant?
Let’s take a look:
The Cheapest Way To Grow Multiple Weed Plants At Home – Hydroponics:
If you want to grow multiple plants, but using a grow tent and the additional equipment seems like too much for you, consider growing hydroponically, with a deep water culture / bubbleponic setup.
As described in my Ultimate Hydroponic Weed Resource Guide, to grow two weed plants at home via deep water culture, I estimate you’d need the following:
- 3 seeds: $15-$75
- Two DWC bucket systems: $135 each (total $270)
- 2 x 400 watt HPS grow lights
- Electricity: $180-300 (depends on electricity cost, length of vegetative and flowering phases, and wattage of grow light. See here for my grow light cost calculator)
Total estimated cost to grow two weed plants at home: Up to $1,025 for a ~28 ounce yield that would otherwise cost you $3,080-5,880 at a dispensary!
For the first two cost estimates above, keep in mind you’ll need to maintain humidity at 50%. Since you’re growing without a grow tent, you may want to grow in a closed room where you can keep humidity levels around 50%.
Grow weed at home using a grow tent:
If you don’t want to go the hydroponic route, you can get a grow tent. Using a grow tent is a bit more costly, but allows you to better control the environment, reducing risks of losing your plants in the middle of your grow. A grow tent also gives you the benefit of increased light exposure since the mylar interior will reflect light back onto your plants.
- 3 seeds: $15-75
- 4x4ft Grow Tent
- Grow tent fan, carbon filter & ducting
- 2 x 1000w CREE COB LED Grow Lights
- Soil: $60
- 5 gallon grow bag (multi-pack)
- Electricity: $200-340 (depends on electricity cost, length of vegetative and flowering phases, and wattage of grow light. See here for my grow light cost calculator)
Total estimated cost to grow two weed plants at home: Up to $1,460 for a ~28 ounce yield that would otherwise cost you $3,080-5,880 at a dispensary!
Why did I choose to use LED grow lights in this example compared to an HPS grow light in the earlier example? HPS lights run hot. When you consider the goal of getting 1 gram per watt, if you’re growing two plants like in the example above, you’d need two 400 watt HPS lights which can really ruin the environment.
LED grow lights run cooler and are better suited for enclosed growing environments like grow tents. The downside is they cost a bit more but that’s the cost of doing business.
You’ll also need a humidifier for the grow tent in order to keep humidity at the right levels, about 50%.
Growing weed at home costs 60-80% less than buying from a dispensary!
First of all, these are just estimates! I know people will claim they’ll spend a bit less or more for a similar result. The point is that growing weed at home costs a fraction of the price of regularly going to a dispensary.
The upfront costs estimated above may be considerable, but the weed you grow will pay for itself after the first harvest.
I would say growing one weed plant at home is highly attainable for most people, and would definitely cover most people’s consumption habits. No matter which method or number of plants you choose to grow, the end result is always a fraction of the dispensary cost!
Other factors that affect home grown cannabis yields:
Your exact yield can vary widely. If you follow provide enough light and nutrients you’re well on your way. But there are other factors affecting the yield of home grown cannabis.
Other factors include strain type, plant size, duration of vegetative and flowering growth phases, proper humidity, and whether you use a trellis and train the branches, or just let them fall all over the place.
A skilled grower with a few harvests under their belt should be able to reach the higher end of the 14oz per plant range. If it’s your first time around you could see closer to 8oz using a 400 watt grow light. If you use a different light wattage you’ll also see a different yield.
- Business, Cannabis. “Canntrust Shares Plunge After Health Canada Finds Violations At Second Cannabis Facility”. Financial Post, 2019, https://business.financialpost.com/cannabis/cannabis-business/canntrusts-vaughan-cannabis-facility-found-non-compliant-by-health-canada.
- Cherney, Max. “Wall Street’S Latest Billion-Dollar Pot Company Had A Half-Ton Of Bad Weed Returned As It Was Going Public”. Marketwatch, 2019, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/wall-streets-latest-billion-dollar-pot-company-had-a-half-ton-of-bad-weed-returned-as-it-was-going-public-2019-08-16?siteid=yhoof2&yptr=yahoo.