Do you use cannabis for stress relief? Good on you! But did you know that your cannabis plants can suffer from stress, too? If they do, you need to intervene and help your grow through stressful times. You can recognise cannabis stress from various symptoms and signals, including dry and yellow leaves or poor root development. This blog explains how to detect stress in cannabis plants as well as how to prevent or treat it.
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How To Detect Cannabis Stress
Stress equals tension and the feeling of being under pressure. People as well as other animals are known to be susceptible to stress, but plants such as cannabis can suffer from it as well. Stress occurs when grow conditions are not ideal. Long-term stress can slow the growth of cannabis plants, or even damage them permanently.
Signs Of Stress In Cannabis Plants
- Dry, wilted leaves;
- Yellow or brown leaf edges and tips;
- Bud mould or rot;
- Curling leaves;
- Brown, slimy, stinking roots;
- Hermaphrodite plants;
- Tall, thin stems (‘stretching’).
Many different factors can cause stress in cannabis plants. As soon as you spot the first signs, you need to find out what caused them. If you manage to take away the cause, your plants are likely to recover quickly, putting you back on track towards good harvest results.
Causes Of Cannabis Stress And How To Tackle Them
Do you see indications of stress on your plants? Below, you’ll find a list of potential causes along with tried techniques to solve the issues.
Air Humidity And Temperature
Cannabis is a hardy plant that can take quite a beating. The species can thrive in a range of different climates, with an innate ability to tolerate less-than-optimal conditions. Still, growers aiming for maximum growth and flowering results need to keep temperatures and air humidity well within tolerable limits. Cannabis loves a bit of warmth, but if temperatures rise above 26°, it needs to cool down to prevent heat stress from occurring.
Indoor cannabis growers can opt for installing an air conditioning unit, although this is a costly investment. Adequate ventilation supplying cool outside air, paired wit exhaust fans to carry of warm air, can also go a long way towards keeping temperatures within acceptable limits. Do make sure to install high-capacity filters to stop the scent from spreading. Outdoor growers have their own set of interventions to prevent heat stress, such as building a shelter for their cannabis crops.
High air humidity can also cause serious stress in cannabis plants. This is more of an indoor grower’s issue. Air dehumidifiers can be a good solution for keeping indoor climate in check. High temperatures and high humidity can stunt plant growth and produce buds with an undesirably open structure.
The soil in which cannabis grows can also be a cause of plant stress. Growers use all sorts of grow mediums for their projects, each with their own pros and cons. Clay soils, for instance, have insufficient drainage capacity that make it easy to add too much water. Sandy soils, by contrast, drain water too easily, carrying off essential nutrients with it. It can be worthwhile to reconsider your preferred soil type. Most soil problems can be solved by mixing different types of soil together.
Remember that good soil is always more than ‘just dirt’. Facilitating healthy soil life can help any strain feel more at ease.
Bugs And Diseases
Another cause of stress comes from bugs and diseases that target cannabis plants. If plants notice they are under attack from pests or get sick, they will initiate a stress response at the expense of further growth and flowering. Be sure to arm yourself with knowledge on how to keep bug like slugs, aphids, and more at bay. Our tip for outdoor growers: use companion planting and give your crops some neighbours that help protect them against threats and stress.
Light And Dark
Cannabis plants are very sensitive to changes in the amount of light they receive. Fluctuations in the amount and intensity of light have an impact on growth. Plants that grow outdoors get all the light they need as the seasons take their course. Inside, however, growers are responsible for providing enough light and darkness.
Lighting issues can cause excessive stretching as well as turn plants into hermaphrodites with both male and female traits, and ruin your harvest in the process. Pay attention to good circadian rhythms and use the appropriate light spectrum. Make sure all plants and leaves receive just enough light to prevent stress from affecting their growth.
Cannabis Stress Due To Bad Weather
Indoor growers have extensive control over grow conditions, but outside, we have to rely on the weather. Weather can be an unpredictable factor to work with. These days, dry spells in spring and heatwaves or downpours in summer are becoming increasingly common. Obviously, such weather affects cannabis plants, causing stress if its impact becomes too great.
Cold weather during the vegetative phase can arrest the growth of your plants. If these conditions persist, plants could even die. If you find your plants suffer from cold stress, the best thing to do is taking them inside for a bit. Obviously, this works better if you’re growing in pots rather than in open soil.
Excessive moisture can also stress out cannabis plants. If plants are left out in damp weather for too long, they become vulnerable to mould and rot. Of course, storms can also cause damage that your plants may not be able to overcome. Sadly, there’s not much you can do beyond prevention: try to take wind direction into account when picking a spot, and provide as much cover as you can.
Water And Nutrients
Watering plants seems a walk in the park – until you try to get it right. Giving too much or too little water can be a cause of cannabis stress, too. This becomes apparent in abnormal growth patterns, discoloured leaves, and stunted root development. Also keep in mind that your plant will have different needs in different phases of its life cycle.
Adding too much or too little water and nutrients can disrupt the balance of key minerals and other nutrients such as nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Nutrient stress usually becomes apparent in the leaves: they can turn yellow at the tips or appear burned (‘nutrient burn’) and fall off. Too much water can deprive roots of oxygen and cause them to rot. Of course, water shortages are harmful too. If you want to learn more about watering cannabis correctly, check out this blog.
Stress From Cannabis Training
There is one last cause of cannabis stress we need to mention: training techniques. Our Grow Blogs contain various methods aiming to improve the efficiency of a grow and increase harvest results. Awesome as this may sound, these interventions usually come with specific cannabis stress hazards.
‘High stress training’ techniques like topping, fimming, or mainlining are particularly risky undertakings. Always act with caution, and if possible, apply techniques to a few plants only. That way, you’ll still have part of your cannabis grow left if stress problems occur.
Stress Free Cannabis Growing
Stress can have disastrous consequences for humans, from sleepless nights to full-blown panic attacks and heart conditions, but is can harm cannabis, too. Luckily, any grower can try to prevent stress, or help their beautiful cannabis plants cope with any stress they do experience. Generally speaking, overcoming stress tends to be easier for plants than for people. As long as basic conditions are met (water, light, nutrients, fresh air), cannabis crops will flourish with minimal stress.
That makes for a beautiful cycle. If you manage to keep your plants free from stress, your cannabis may help you lose your own stress in return!