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Is It Better To Do Light Deprivation Without A Greenhouse For THCA Flower?

While indoor cultivation remains in the spotlight as far as cannabis is concerned, more and more methods are always being developed to give farmers as many options as possible.  If indoor growing just isn’t an option, or isn’t what a cultivator prefers, there’s a method that works for both outdoor and greenhouse THCA flower growing, which is known as light deprivation. 

We are going to touch upon what light deprivation is, but mostly focus on one specific aspect: whether it’s a better practice to do outdoors or in a warehouse.

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A Brief Recap on THCA Hemp Flower

“THCA hemp flower” refers to the raw cannabis buds that have not been decarboxylated.  These buds will contain a high concentration of THCA and lower levels of THC.  Basically, THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in raw and live cannabis plants.  As the cannabis plant matures, THCA slowly converts to THC, the primary psychoactive compound responsible for thar famous “high”.  However, before the plant is exposed to heat, most of its THC content exists in the form of THCA.

What is Light Deprivation?

One of the newest growing techniques to become mainstream in the world of cannabis farming is light deprivation – aka “light dep.”  This method is only used for outdoor and greenhouse growing, and thus, revolves around strategically reducing the sunlight to which plants are exposed while growing.  Usually, light deprivation is ideal for those who want to control the actual light cycle of the plants, but otherwise want to grow THCA flower either outdoors or in a greenhouse.

Cannabis plants start to flower at the beginning of fall, as the reduced hours of sunlight trigger the blooming stage.  But, many people live in climates where fall gets quite cold, and that can interfere with the plants’ ability to yield healthy THCA flower buds.  

Light deprivation is a great and simple solution because it offers the ability to artificially reduce light gradually, before autumn actually begins.  It requires covering your plants with a light-blocking tarp earlier and earlier each night, to mimic the way in which the sun sets earlier and earlier as we move into the autumn season.  This tricks the plants into flowering early, so you can harvest those THCA buds pretty much whenever you want.

Besides that, by going with the natural light cycle of the seasons, you get one chance to harvest your crops each year.  With light deprivation, you can enjoy multiple harvests during the warmer seasons.

Benefits of Light Dep:

  • Perfect for outdoor or greenhouse cultivators.
  • Offers a quicker harvest time.
  • Ideal for those who live in areas where autumn brings weather that’s incompatible with cannabis growing.
  • Requires no complicated equipment – a light-blocking tarp does just fine.

What is Greenhouse Grown THCA Hemp Flower

Growing cannabis in a greenhouse is nothing new, and it originally existed to take care of a lot of problems that outdoor cultivators were plagued with.  A greenhouse is a climate-controlled environment that harnesses the sun’s power to naturally provide the greenhouse with the ideal conditions for growing the plant.  

The concept is simple.  Sunlight penetrates through the transparent walls of a greenhouse, and this keeps the greenhouse warm year-round, so that the plants inside are never exposed to cold temperatures that would inhibit growth.  The heat is trapped inside, and this maintains a climate that mimics the warm season, so that plants that ordinarily grow only in warm weather can thrive throughout the year.

Greenhouse vs. Outdoor Light Deprivation

Once upon a time, it made the most sense to do light deprivation exclusively outdoors.  Light-blocking tarps are relatively low in cost, and one potential downside of covering plants is trapping heat and humidity, which can harm the plants as much as cold exposure.  Since greenhouse typically trap more heat and humidity than outdoor climates then, it made sense to prefer the latter over the former.

But, greenhouse technology has evolved a lot in recent years, and now we have automation that never existed before.  Again, this can automate the temp, humidity, and light exposure inside of the greenhouse, and more specifically, automated light deprivation has become a new form of cultivation technology that does most of the work for the cultivator.  Once an expensive luxury, it’s now becoming more accessible.

With automated greenhouse THCA flower light deprivation, the greenhouse is outfitted with curtains and shades that adjust the light and darkness cycles and levels automatically, to mimic the change into the autumn season.  This eliminates the need for tarps entirely and also can only be done inside of a greenhouse structure.

While most companies still use indoor cultivation, as you can control a lot more than light exposure, greenhouse technology is starting to catch up, while still using the power of natural sunlight to do a lot of the heavy lifting.  With automated light dep greenhouse technology, greenhouse cultivation just got a whole new competitive edge.

Typically, greenhouse light dep is more expensive than outdoor cultivation (with or without light dep techniques), but less expensive than indoor cultivation.  Naturally, outfitting a greenhouse with such tech is more expensive than draping tarps over outdoor crops.  But, indoor artificial light is much more costly to maintain than the natural sunlight that comes through a greenhouse.  It’s controlled with automated shades and curtains.

Is Greenhouse Light Deprivation the Future of THCA Flower Cultivation?

Greenhouse growing is just one of several ways to grow THCA flower, and with high-tech light deprivation becoming the new norm for greenhouses, it’s going to become more and more popular, particularly among mid-level and high-level cultivators.  Still, there are other options that are equally worthwhile if a cultivator has the ideal resources at their disposal.  Overall, these new developments and innovations show us that the THCA flower industry is only going to offer higher and higher-quality flower moving forward.

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