Growing marijuana can be energy-intensive. Here’s why

Photo by Richard T of The CBD on Unsplash.

At Colorado State University, researchers studied the energy consumption of indoor weed cultivation in one thousand sites across the U.S. They found that this method of growing weeds is a major greenhouse gas emitter and that its environmental impacts vary per state. 

Photo by Richard T of The CBD on Unsplash.

Hailey Summers, the lead author of the study, said that indoor agriculture emits higher greenhouse gas due to the artificial lights and environmental controls that it entails for plants to thrive in an artificial environment. 

Summers said that this is also because cannabis growers add or increase carbon dioxide for better vegetation and flowering. They perform this by putting in bottled carbon dioxide or by burning natural gas in the room. While pot growers use this method to improve plant growth, growers of other crops don’t because it is costly, the author added. 

The researchers pointed out that some indoor marijuana grow facilities consume more energy than others, and one of the main causes of this is the power source. When generating electricity, sites that use solar power have fewer emissions than those that use coal and natural gas. 

Summers said that if we remove the grow lights, and the climate control for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, it can cause an 80 percent drop in total emissions from growing cannabis indoors.

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