Can You Use Heat Lamps When Growing Marijuana?

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Wading through the waters of building your own homegrown marijuana can oftentimes be a creative, but ultimately confusing process. Deciding on which strain you would like to grow, where to build your grow room, how many plants you would like, and many other factors should be considered before even attempting to piece together your setup. 

In addition, knowing the ins and outs of which equipment and products will provide your plant with the optimal conditions for growth will also play an important part in producing a potent and high yielding crop of plants. 

One of the most important aspects of any setup, your grow lights, will determine how efficiently your plants absorb and produce energy. Along with proper watering, lighting is the key variable in determining the health of any plant. 

Because the variation in the quality of buds is heavily scrutinized by avid cannabis consumers, locking down the proper lighting conditions will prove to differentiate below average weed from top-shelf bud.

The Basics of Lighting

As you may well be aware, the process of photosynthesis dictates the energy production and “food” source for cannabis plants throughout the vegetative and flowering stages.  Utilizing the chlorophyll to absorb sunlight and subsequently converting that into glucose provides the plant the base nutrition to develop and grow. 

While sunlight was the defacto method of growing cannabis throughout most of history, with modern technology we are able to replicate and perfect the delivery of light with specialized grow lamps and lighting systems. 

While many may assume that “light is light”, the intensity, efficiency, and heat output will play a part in the effectiveness of a cannabis lamp.

Marijuana plant creative blue background in a grow box

Below are the three most popular forms of lighting systems utilized in grow rooms:

  • HID Lighting Systems: High-intensity discharge, or HID, these are powerful lights but run the risk of overheating your plants due to their strength.
  • CFL Light Systems: Commonly known as fluorescent bulbs, these are similar to your common house lights. Relatively inexpensive compare to the alternatives, these are a great starter option for new growers. However, these may lack the power and punch of other options.
  • LED Lighting Systems: Coming close to the power of HID lights, without the downside of massive power consumption and heat output, LED lighting systems have become one of the most popular options for adequate power at a reasonable price.

Because cannabis lighting changes throughout the course of the growth process, with differing levels of exposure throughout the different stages, having the ability to easily adjust and customize your lighting schedule is imperative for potent and large plants. 

Additionally, high quality LED systems will also cover the full light spectrum, allowing for more efficient growth throughout the various stages of growth. This can be seen in specialty LED lighting systems such as the ViparSpectra series of lights, which are specifically designed to maximize exposure while being cost efficient and low on heat output.

Can You Use A Heat Lamp To Grow Cannabis?

While in theory you would assume any light source will be sufficient in growing your own cannabis, certain lamps may prove to be more harmful to your plants than beneficial. This is true when considering light sources such as heat lamps. 

While these may seem powerful on the surface, they fall short when attempting to accommodate a healthy environment for plant life. Frequently used as a heat and light source for reptiles and similar pets, heat lamps offer much of what you are looking to avoid as a cannabis grower.

Because cannabis plants are extremely sensitive to excessive heat, naturally a heat lamp will only act to harm the growth of your plants. This can “burn” or dry out the cannabis, ruining the end result when it is time to harvest.

Marijuana plant creative blue background in a grow box

Additionally, because heat lamps put out immense power, these will quickly prove inefficient when trying to limit electric costs. 

Due to the fact cannabis requires lengthy sessions of direct light exposure, the main goal should be to have the most light exposure with the least power output. Heat lamps obviously fall short in this regard, making them a poor choice when it comes to growing cannabis.

Because of the above mentioned inefficiency with light sources that create massive heat with relatively tame light output, this has influenced the production of high output LED and CFL bulbs, which will have low electric needs. In addition, these will also have a smaller footprint in terms of heat output, which make them a far superior option when growing your own cannabis.

Final Thoughts

When considering how you plan on exposing your cannabis plants to light, there should be a few key factors to keep in mind:

  • Always attempt to maximize the amount of light output per lamp. This will lower the initial setup cost of your grow room, while also providing adequate light for your plants.
  • Always attempt to minimize the amount of heat output of your lamps. While you don’t necessarily want a cold environment for your plants, attempting to minimize excessive heat will avoid “burn” and damage to your plants.
  • Always attempt to minimize the electrical costs of running your lamps. This includes high-efficiency bulbs and fewer lamps, allowing you an affordable monthly cost of running your grow room. The whole point of growing your own cannabis is to have your own source of inexpensive weed, so minimizing your overhead costs should be the main priority.

Keeping the above-mentioned factors in mind, while also maintaining the optimal lighting schedule, your cannabis plants will thrive throughout their growing stages and provide you a potent and healthy yield.