Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 10, 2023

Growing marijuana can be either the simplest process ever or it may get complicated with intricate systems and equipment that takes weeks to master. Either way, with so many different methods of cultivating cannabis nowadays, it’s important for growers to find the one that works best for them year-round.

The light deprivation technique is a nifty method for growing cannabis (some call it the “future of cannabis”), and the community is catching on to it quickly. The resulting weed is known as “light dep weed”, so let us share some knowledge on this technique and its results so you can have another ace in your sleeve when it comes to growing your weed.

About the Light Deprivation Technique

Simply put, the light deprivation technique is a technique for growing weed in which cultivators control the daily hours of light that the cannabis plants receive, tricking the plant into thinking that fall is near and it’s time for flowering. This speeds up the process allowing growers to achieve two or even three harvests per season.

What happens is that once the plants are tricked into thinking that October is around the corner, they begin to prepare to produce more seeds that will drop to the ground in order to keep the plant alive until next year. However, instead of seeds, growers get fragrant buds in half the time they usually take to flower.

The technique originated in Humboldt County, the starting point of homegrown cannabis, in the late 1980s, but it didn’t take off until the early 2000s. Basically, the growers realized that having control over the amount of light will induce flowering of the buds on demand.

How Is Light Dep Done?

This technique is quite similar to the lighting schedules that indoor growers use with previously set light and dark periods (using a supplemental light) that help to trick the plant into entering the flowering stage. In this case, cannabis growers place tarps over the greenhouse (or hoop house, the DIY version) to keep strict control of the exposure to light. There shouldn’t be any gaps in the material and it should be 100% light-proof, otherwise, the plants won’t flower.

With the light deprivation system, cannabis plants need consistent temperature and stable humidity levels that are very difficult to reproduce in nature, which is why this technique is suitable for greenhouse weed growers. Unlike conventional cannabis growing, it requires equally intermittent light and dark sessions (12hrs of light and 12hrs of dark) and this can only be achieved with environmental control.

Cannabis cultivation with the light dep technique is one of the most effective methods for getting a good yield, and in this case, getting it fast. It’s pretty rewarding harvest-wise, but it’s also labor-intensive if growers don’t automate the process. For example, every 12 hours someone will have to manually put up the torps and remove them when needed to keep up with the light schedule, not to mention that in climates where the weather is unpredictable, a heavier rainfall may damage the coverings and affect the process of growing.

Therefore, having the right equipment makes all the difference. Professional growers often use automated systems for shading their light dep greenhouses that saves them a lot of time and energy and makes the control over the photoperiods more manageable. The goal is to grow high-quality weed with a strong cannabinoid content and rich terpenes that will be virtually no different than conventionally grown outdoor cannabis.

The Perks and Drawbacks of Light Dep

It may sound too good to be true, but the reality is that there are far more upsides than downsides to this technique. For starters, the yield is double and sometimes even triple than normal, and it’s more bountiful.

In addition, growing weed in light deprivation greenhouses allows growers to plan their production process ahead. It gives them the stability to be consistent even when the weather conditions are not ideal, and produce high-quality marijuana. It also gives them better control of moisture build-up and pests which prevents them from ruining the crops.

Environmentally speaking, even with automated light deprivation, there is a lower electricity consumption and a low carbon footprint, even though the cannabis industry is known for the expenditure of large amounts of electricity needed to maintain the process.

One of the main drawbacks is that because of the highly controlled and demanding conditions for growing high-quality marijuana this way, there’s less room for error and all efforts could go south if the grower takes the wrong step.

Another possible drawback is that buds turn out darker than normal. This is expected as they aren’t exposed to light as much, but they may look less appealing, resulting in a lower price point because of aesthetics.

Is Light Dep Weed Good Quality?

This is a question that can’t be answered in a straightforward manner. Technically, if done right, light dep weed could be of great quality, but it also depends on the strain. Some strains do better in light dep conditions when it comes to CBD or THC quality content, while others do better when they’re cultivated conventionally.

Although, that’s not to say that light dep weed is bad, on the contrary. Because it’s grown in such a controlled environment, it has no choice but to be good. But mind you, that doesn’t make it superior to regularly grown weed. We would say that you need to try it for yourself and feel the difference.


Light dep weed is weed produced with the so-called light deprivation technique that involves controlling the amount of light the cannabis plant gets in order to trick it into entering the flowering stage sooner. In this way, weed-growers can get 2-3 harvests in a season, instead of just one.

Some of the upsides of this technique is that it allows growers to cultivate cannabis in controlled conditions and protect the plants from pests and unfavorable weather conditions, and it has a low carbon footprint. Some of the drawbacks include having very little room for error and the appearance of the buds being darker than usual.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.