Is Climate Change Affecting Cannabis Growth?

Is Climate Change is Affecting Cannabis Growth?

Is Climate Change is Affecting Cannabis Growth?



Before we get started, for anyone out there who believes climate change is a hoax. It was 40 degrees in the UK this year which didn’t happen often even when I lived in one of the hottest parts of Australia, so I’m going with it being real for the purposes of this article. If you disagree then that is your right but…anyway. 

This year we saw increased temperatures all over the world which is starting to negatively affect various parts of the Earth’s various ecosystems. Bees can’t handle the heat, birds don’t have to migrate and are decimating insect populations, sea levels are rising, pasty British people are literally melting into puddles, it’s a whole mess. Of course, since this ever-rising temperature is hiking itself up at quite a speed, we need to have a look at how our plants are doing. For this particular look, we will, of course, be focusing on cannabis plants but honestly, most vegetation is being negatively impacted in some way or another. Now, before we look at how cannabis is being affected by the planet we should have a quick peek at how the planet is being affected by cannabis. 


Is Weed Farming Bad For The Planet?


Unfortunately, we know that the answer to this at the moment is yes. The way in which cannabis is now being farmed by companies due to legislation has a pretty hefty carbon footprint. A lot of people are working on ways to make cannabis growing green again, but now that corporations are interested in cannabis growth it’s going the way of most other major industries. Mass production means the use of huge indoor grow spaces that use massive amounts of electricity to ensure the plants are happy and healthy. Colorado legalised cannabis quite a while ago and currently, the weed industry makes up about 1.3% of their total annual carbon emissions. That may not seem that hefty but for growing plants that’s a pretty serious number. This comes down to the total lack of regulations on cannabis growing. Here we can definitely blame the growers and not the plant, there are more eco-friendly ways to grow mass amounts of weed. 


How Will Climate Change Affect Weed Growth?


Let’s move on to looking at how our constantly changing weather systems and temperatures will alter how we can grow cannabis. As I’ve already pointed out, the weather is changing so rapidly that it won’t be long until we are in an actual global crisis. Though cannabis is often a warm weather plant this doesn’t mean it won’t be badly affected both in the wild and when commercially grown. 


Positive Impact


Interestingly enough we aren’t sure that climate change will be entirely terrible for cannabis. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that a change in climate will encourage stronger buds. We often talk about the resin on weed which is where most of the THC is stored. These are actually there to help protect the plant from problems in the plant’s ecosystem. This means that the plant suddenly experiencing increased temperatures and changes in the environment could create a larger resin harvest. 


It’s also true that more parts of the world will be able to grow outdoors which interestingly means less energy-consuming indoor growing. Cannabis tends to be a warm weather plant and with summers all over the world getting hotter it will be able to thrive in more parts of the world in its natural habitat. 


We may also need to consider which strains can be grown outside. In some parts of the world it is not only getting hotter but dryer in the summer which is bound to negatively affect some strains. Of course, strains with different genetics will enjoy different growing environments. So growers may need to start changing strains if they want to keep growing in their part of the world as things start to heat up. 


In some places, the dryness being brought on by climate change is more akin to drought than a dry spell. This is going to be a huge issue for most plants, but luckily weed can survive a lot of things that other plants can’t. Weed doesn’t need that much water and with the rising CO2 levels they will need even less water to survive. 


Negative Impact


With intense change in an ecosystem comes a change in plants and animal species. Many animals and birds migrate when their home becomes hard for them to live in which could see new predators coming to outdoor cannabis farms. This could also include new species of plants that could mess with the weed ecosystem as well as new strange insects with a taste of pot leaves. 


Climate change doesn’t just mean places getting hotter, it can mess with the weather in a number of ways. Severe summer storms and intense sudden heat waves are a great way to kill a cannabis plant. Especially the sudden downpours and intense wind if they are being grown outside. Weed may like heat but it is famously hard to grow in places with inclement weather. This will only be worse when said inclement weather includes intense and unpredictable weather events. 


Cannabis plant growth could also be stunted. More light and heat exposure can mess with the plant’s natural growth cycle and potentially your plants could end up smaller and with less of a yield. 




So yes, climate change is affecting cannabis growth but strangely more for the positive than the negative. When it comes to outdoor growing those who are planting seeds need to be as adaptive as the plants themselves. Pay attention to the new weather trends in your area and consider which strains would be best for outdoor growth. Or you may have to create new growing systems to ensure your plants are getting enough water and are protected in case of a sudden storm or heat wave. If you can keep growing in a changing climate you may experience stronger and more impressive plants. 


Written by Tasha Porritt


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