A laymans grow lights conversation

Hey guys I believe light should be viewed like a nutrient. Not as a piece of equipment. before take the leap into the legal Cannabis market I was the director of the Advanced LED research center. light is one of the most important and misunderstood factors in producing the highest end cannabis we all crave. Most commercial lights on the market today are inadequate for excellent cannabis and produce “beautiful mids”. I currently operate 3000 sqft of flower using over 150 LED lights. I am currently expanding our operations to 20,000 sqft of flower and adding the ability to process our products. I have achieved 40%+ thc in my plants 3 times now mainly thru light manipulation while maintaining high terpene profiles.


What kinds of features do you look for when considering LEDs for a commercial application? What PPFD, or DLI, are you finding gives you the best results at harvest? What kinds of things are you manipulating in order to get the results you want?

Thanks for opening up the conversation. There is a lot of new and exciting research coming out about cannabis and hemp lighting. Are you up to date with the research Dr. Bruce Bugbee has been publishing over the last few months?


Hey sorry it has taken so long for me to reply. The plants can be demanding :slight_smile: I like my lights to be very basic. I want a light that can be dimmed. I find some times it is beneficial to be able to adjust the intensity of the light. I also want the ability to repair a light without shipping the unit back to the manufacture. My current lights are modular and plug and play. So when a portion of a light goes down. We simply replace the broken light with a spare: we then replace the part and put the light back into the spare inventory.

I use a quantum meter and set the par reading at 800 - 1000. I use light recipe and light intensity to manipulate the plants to do several things. I can increase anthocyanin production to the point your bong water turns purple. I also use light recipe to achieve a higher terpene profile. our last 40% THC strain had terpenes at a 29.7 mg/g.

I am familiar with Bruce’s studies he has been a great source of knowledge.
I do wish that more people in research and growers themselves would stop focusing so much on yields. Yields are extremely important but there are other factors that are as important if not more. I as a grower am looking more for a total cannabinoid production and terpene production (try a cultivar high in Ocimene and Guaiol with a high THC and CBG) of the plant. It cost me the same time, energy and attention to grow good cannabis as it does to grow Excellent Cannabis; But excellent cannabis sells for double that of good. So I try to get the highest yield after I have the highest quality I can produce.


With a 10 acre greenhouse for the medical market trend in Denmark, we were using the final yield of a specific Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) as a metric to compare inputs against. Biomass sold to processors and extractors is valued for its concentration of specific compounds. If we can change the light spectrum, fertilizer inputs, etc and measure an increase in what we’re targeting, that’s some great power over our process.

Are you targeting the yeild of specific compounds or qualities? Have you found one specific change in your lighting plan has had a great impact on something you were looking to alter?

Thanks for the reply! I always appreciate hearing the interesting things people are doing.


I focus on two things to increase the output of the plant. one was to remove portions of the light that causes a defense response. when this plant defends itself from light it will often produce more waxes fats and lipids to do so. If you remove the stress the plant is able to use that energy and those resources. the other is I supply the plant with a very specific light spectrum and intensity. I have several spectrum to effect the final product depending on our desires.

now when I am studying what to change or do with the lights I have to have a way of analyzing what is going on. so you have to take data. You have to have a good system to monitor what your plants are doing. we use two methods for this. one we lab test our water, medium and plant material. this is how we determine what elements to feed the root zone. we also incorporate multi-spectral imaging to see instantly the composition of the canopy ie NPK levels and micro levels in the photosynthesizing top canopy. One thing I do to increase the anthocyanin production of a plant is increase the level of blue I give them.


I’d love to hear more about what specific spectra or red:green:blue ratios you’re using to achieve the goals you set. At about 42:20 Dr. Bruce Bugbee is again stressing the importance of light quantities and efficiency over spectrum, but I’m always curious to get different accounts on what works for them and why.

In regards avoiding plant defense response, does that mean you’re avoiding the UV spectrum in your grow?

Are your water, medium and leaf tissue lab analysis helping to inform a custom hydroponic fertilizer for your facility?


Hey man I have been so busy again. :slight_smile: I hope you are doing well. Bruce is doing studies that help his company sell meters. It is the reason for his lab to exist. to me that is a handicap. When I was doing research my labs only focus was to make a light that grew the best of the best with honors. because of that I looked for what helps the plant produce more terpenes and cannabanoids. He is right about quantity but he is completely wrong in regards to quality. if i am growing lettuce, cabbage or tomatoes; the size and quantity of produce is the only thing that matters (he sells light meters to general ag farmers). The farmer is paid according to how much he grows in weight. This is simply not true with cannabis. Yes quality matters in lettuce, cabbage and tomatoes but not like it does with cannabis. so yes he is correct for weight. There is a reason people are willing to pay $20-$25 per gram for my cannabis when they can buy an ounce that is on the self next to mine for $40-$50. I like a spectrum that focuses on the Photosynthesis a and b pillars with white light added to fill in the spectrum and I use

In regards avoiding plant defense response, does that mean you’re avoiding the UV spectrum in your grow? not really, my primary focus is on the positive not the negative.
600%20watt%20spectrum I want to avoid fats lipids and waxes so you get a more enjoyable experience.

Are your water, medium and leaf tissue lab analysis helping to inform a custom hydroponic fertilizer for your facility? very much so. We have been able to reduce our nutrient cost to 10% of what it was. while increasing the quality and quantity of our harvest.

what are you guys doing for lighting?


I’m going to have to disagree with you @bradahhaole about the motivation behind the information Bruce is presenting. The talks linked in the YouTube videos I have posted have him presenting information from studies paid for by the USDA and NASA in order to optimize food production and plant growth in order to feed people and do well for the Earth. The purpose of science and research is to help share ideas and information in order improve the quality of life for all.

Below are a few more videos discussing the conversion of light into plant mass, and the different effects that quality and quantity can have on the end result.

I’d love to some specifics or hard numbers about what you’ve found to be successful in your own grows. The cannabis world still has a lot of “secret sauce” when compared to traditional ag that can slow down progress and the sharing of ideas.

Are you growing with lights that exclude the green spectrum that might be provided by white diodes?

The lighting for the projects I consult on varies based on a number of things, but I look for a few common features that I believe add a lot of value when considering lighting as a capital expense.

Efficacy - What percentage of the energy I am paying for is being turned into plant usable energy, and what percentage is being lost as heat that I may have to pay additional money to cool down?

Output - If one lighting fixture can produce 20% more light than another with the same current draw, I will need 20% fewer fixtures to cover the same area. That means simpler installation, controls, and points of failure.

Construction - No moving parts. Cooling fans become the place that a lot of nasty spores and dust collect and are very difficult to clean defectively. Fans are also a lot more likely to fail before a diode or a solid state driver. Glass lenses and a wet-location rating. Cleaning fixture lenses of dust and other contaminants is the simplest way to improve your light output - fixtures without lenses cannot be cleaned for long periods of time without damaging the diodes. To be able to clean an entire room with a hot water pressure washer or ozone generator, lighting included, is a huge labour savings too.

Which lights get used where depends on the facility design, production goals and many other factors. A multi-tier indoor is a very different cultivation plan from a hybrid-greenhouse.


Hey @devjyarn let me know more about your company. You will get to learn a lot more about me and my company very soon. I will be featured on Canna Cribs Deep Roots I believe I am next :slight_smile:
I went back and looked at what I said about Bruce and it doesn’t read like I meant it to. I respect Bruce and did not mean to sound condescending. I too worked for a company when doing research and the companies goals often directed or maybe guided is a better word, my research. Thats a good thing not a bad one.

oh no you have to have white. my lights use the Cree XML v2 chip for the whites. I view light as a nutrient for the plant. not using white in your light would be like growing with no micros in your nutrients.

you couldnt have said that any better :slight_smile: my lights are more of a first generation design. Its just where the technology was when I started. I am working with someone to update my lights currently.

Do you know Jennifer Martin?


It’s all good! I understand tone can be tough to communicate. I’m doing independent consulting at the moment; just a one man show.

Where might I know Jennifer Martin from? I think the only Jennifer I know is Lytle from Bios Lighting.


I know Jennifer from Bios!! she is a very sweet person.

Jennifer Martin is a consultant in the business. She was the Canabis cup winner in 1998 I believe in San Fran or San Jose? I cant remember it was a California city. She is an extremely accomplished and well respected member of the grow biz community.