Case study medical cannabis in greenhouses

As a result of the legalisation of the growth of medical cannabis, the industry is growing rapidly. Where the Netherlands for a long time the most progressive country in legalising the use of cannabis, now many other countries have overtaken this role and some of these countries already legalised the controlled growth

Lemnis Oreon is an innovative developer and manu facturer of high-tech LED grow lights. LED lighting by Lemnis Oreon is widely deployed in the horticulture industry (lettuce, tomatoes, cresses and strawberries). Together with Wageningen UR, one of the world’s leading horticultural universities and research institutes, Lemnis Oreon has successfully executed a project in growing medical cannabis under different lighting recipes. 

Case study medical cannabis in greenhouses


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Growing cannabis in a greenhouse is fairly new. Many growers build on their experience from either indoor facilities, or from growing other crops in a greenhouse. When growers started using artificial lighting, HPS fixtures were the common technology. Up until today HPS lamps are most commonly used in greenhouses. LED technology is in many ways a proven step forward. In comparison to HPS lamps, LED lighting has many advantages: 
-    Energy consumption 
-    Longer life span 
-    Heat radiation 
-    Used spectrum (wavelength) 

Research objective 
What are the effects on the growth, development and relevant substance of medical cannabis in a greenhouse when you compare LED-lighting, measured at different light levels, with HPS-lighting?

In a 144 m2glass greenhouse growth area at Wageningen UR, 3 equal set-ups have been used to compare 3 dif ferent lighting regimes: 
- 100% HPS at 250 μmol•s-1•m-2 
- 100% LED at 250 μmol•s-1•m-2 
- 100% LED at 400 μmol•s-1•m-2 

The test has been executed during late spring (testing period from 06.04.2016 – 21.06.2016), therefore ‘autumn’ conditions have been artificially created with screens (LS 16 and blinds) to allow maximum 100 micromol sunlight to enter the greenhouse. 

Two different varieties (cultivars) of cannabis have been tested. Both plants were THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) dominant varieties, but also CBD (cannabidiol) has been measured. In order to optimally test the influence of the different lighting recipes and levels, all other conditions like temperature, irrigation, humidity and nutrition were set equally. 

Cannabis can grow perfectly under LED lighting. Compared with HPS the THC levels in plants grown under the Oreon Grow Light have been significantly higher. In 5 out of 6 treatments, the total weight (g) of THC and CBD were also highest under LED’s. In one treatment, that felt behind in total weight of THC and CBD, it was obvious that the plants grew too vegetative. The total fresh weight of the leave mass in that treatment was much higher compared to any other treatment. This evidently has been at the cost of the production of flowers. This treatment should have a more generative steering and the expectation is that the total weight of THC and CBD will be higher then as well.

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