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Growing Cannabis at Home | Seedlings Pots | Photo by A7nubis via Wikimedia

Growing Cannabis at Home: From Seed to Smoke

Growing cannabis at home is an enriching and rewarding experience. With the right knowledge and tools, you can cultivate your own high-quality cannabis. This guide will walk you through the process from seed to smoke, ensuring you enjoy every step.

Growing Cannabis at Home Legal Guidelines Photo by Nick Youngson via Pix4Free
Photo by Nick Youngson via Pix4Free

Understanding Legal Considerations

First, check your local laws. Growing cannabis at home might be illegal or restricted in some areas. Research thoroughly. Ensure you comply with all regulations to avoid legal issues.

Oregon’s Current Cannabis Laws

Oregon, as with other states, has specific laws regarding the cultivation and use of cannabis. Here’s a brief outline of the current regulations, as of the time of this writing:

  1. Legal Age: You must be 21 years or older to grow cannabis at home.
  2. Plant Limits: Each household can grow up to four cannabis plants. This limit applies regardless of the number of adults living in the residence. Registered medical marijuana patients can grow up to six mature plants and 12 immature plants.
  3. Location Restrictions: Plants must be grown on private property and out of public view. Ensure your grow area is not visible from public spaces.
  4. Sale Restrictions: It is illegal to sell home-grown cannabis. Personal use is permitted, but distribution for profit is prohibited.
  5. Possession Limits: Adults 21 and older can possess up to eight ounces of usable cannabis in their home and one ounce in public.
  6. Compliance: Ensure compliance with all local ordinances, which may impose additional restrictions or requirements on home cultivation.

Staying informed about current laws is crucial. Laws can change, so regularly check for updates from official sources. Understanding and following Oregon’s cannabis laws will ensure a legal and enjoyable growing experience.

Growing Cannabis at Home | LED Lights | Photo by Washarapol D BinYo Jundang via Pexels
Photo by Washarapol D BinYo Jundang via Pexels

Preparing to Grow

When growing cannabis at home, you must start by selecting the right seeds. Consider strain type, desired effects, and growth difficulty. Popular strains for beginners include White Widow and Northern Lights. These strains are known for their resilience and ease of growth.

Next, set up your grow space. You can use a spare room, closet, or even a grow tent. Ensure the area is clean and secure. Adequate ventilation is crucial for healthy plants. Good air circulation prevents mold and pests.

Invest in essential equipment. You will need grow lights, pots, soil, and nutrients. Use quality soil to provide your plants with the best start. When choosing grow lights, consider options like LED, HID, and fluorescent. LEDs are popular due to their energy efficiency and low heat output. For pots, fabric pots are excellent as they allow better airflow to the roots. Nutrients specifically formulated for cannabis are ideal, ensuring your plants get all the essential elements they need.

Humidity and temperature control are also vitally important when growing cannabis at home. Consider using a hygrometer to monitor these levels. A good exhaust fan can help manage heat and humidity, creating an optimal environment for growth.

By carefully selecting seeds, setting up your grow space, and gathering the necessary equipment, you set the foundation for a successful cannabis cultivation journey. Each decision plays a crucial role in the health and yield of your plants when growing cannabis at home.

Germinating Seeds

To begin, germinate your seeds. Germination is the process where seeds sprout and begin their journey to becoming healthy cannabis plants. There are several methods to germinate seeds, but the paper towel method is perhaps most popular and effective. Alternatively, you may choose to plant seeds directly into a light, well-draining soil mix.

  1. Paper Towel Method:
    • Start by moistening a paper towel with distilled water. It should be damp but not soaking wet.
    • Place the seeds on the paper towel, spacing them apart to avoid touching.
    • Fold the paper towel over the seeds and place it in a plastic bag or between two plates to maintain moisture.
    • Keep the paper towel in a warm, dark place. Aim for a temperature around 70-85°F (21-29°C).
    • Check the seeds daily to ensure the paper towel remains moist, but not overly wet. In 3-7 days, the seeds should sprout small taproots.
  2. Direct Soil Method:
    • Plant seeds directly in the soil about 1/4 inch deep. Keep the soil moist and warm, around 70-85°F (21-29°C).
    • This method is more natural and reduces the risk of damaging the delicate taproots during transplanting.
Growing Cannabis at Home | Seedlings | Photo by Daniel Öberg on Unsplash
Photo by Daniel Öberg on Unsplash

Caring for Seedlings

Once sprouted, transfer seedlings carefully to small pots with light soil, ensuring the delicate roots aren’t disturbed. Provide seedlings with 18 hours of light daily using fluorescent or LED lights positioned 2-3 inches above them to prevent stretching. Maintain a temperature of 70-80°F (21-27°C) and humidity around 65-70% with a dome or cover to retain moisture. Remove the cover gradually as the seedlings grow stronger.

Water seedlings gently, avoiding waterlogging, and monitor soil moisture closely to avoid root rot. A good rule of thumb is to water seedlings when the top inch of soil feels dry. Adequate air circulation is crucial; a gentle fan can help to prevent mold as well as strengthen the plant’s stems. Adjust care as seedlings grow, maintaining optimal conditions for robust growth without over-fertilizing. Regularly check seedlings for signs of stress, such as yellowing leaves or stretching. Adjust light, water, and nutrient levels as needed.

This attentive care during germination and seedling stages sets the stage for healthy cannabis plants ready to thrive through subsequent growth stages.

Vegetative Stage

After successfully nurturing your seedlings through the early stages of development, your cannabis plants will enter the vegetative stage. During this phase, plants focus on developing strong roots, stems, and leaves. Provide 18-24 hours of light daily using LED or fluorescent grow lights to encourage robust growth. Keep the temperature between 70-85°F (21-29°C) and maintain humidity levels around 50-60%. This encourages strong root and stem growth, preparing the plants for flowering.

As your plants grow, consider techniques like topping (removing the top growth tip) to encourage bushier growth, or low-stress training (LST) to bend and manipulate branches. These methods help maximize light exposure and promote an even canopy, which is essential for later stages of growth.

Growing Cannabis at Home | Flowering Plant | Photo by Diyahna Lewis on Unsplash
Photo by Diyahna Lewis on Unsplash

Transitioning to Flowering Stage

After several weeks in the vegetative stage, it’s time to transition your plants to the flowering stage. This phase is triggered by changing the light cycle to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. Mimicking autumn conditions prompts the plants to shift focus from vegetative growth to flower production.

Flowering Stage

During the flowering stage, continue to monitor your plants closely. They will start developing buds, and their nutrient needs will change. Adjust nutrient levels as needed to reduce nitrogen and increase phosphorus and potassium, supporting robust bud formation. Maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level (around 65-75°F and 40-50% humidity) to prevent stress and potential issues like mold.

Proper airflow is essential during flowering to ensure even bud development and prevent mold or mildew. Prune away any yellowing leaves to redirect energy to bud production. As the flowers mature, harvest when the trichomes (resin glands) are milky white with some amber tones, indicating peak potency.

Throughout both the vegetative and flowering stages, continue to observe your plants for any signs of nutrient deficiencies, pests, or diseases. Adjust watering, nutrient levels, and environmental conditions as needed to support healthy growth. With careful attention and proper care, you’ll soon be harvesting high-quality cannabis buds from your homegrown plants.

Growing Cannabis at Home | Harvesting & Drying | Photo by Terre di Cannabis on Unsplash
Photo by Terre di Cannabis on Unsplash

Harvesting, Drying, and Curing

Harvesting your cannabis plants is a culmination of your hard work and careful cultivation. When the buds are mature and the trichomes (resin glands) have reached their peak potency, it’s time to harvest. Use a sharp, clean pair of scissors or pruning shears to carefully cut the plants at the base. Handle the buds gently to avoid damaging the delicate trichomes, which contain cannabinoids and terpenes responsible for the plant’s effects and aroma.


After harvesting, it’s crucial to dry the buds properly to preserve their quality. One method is to hang the trimmed buds upside down in a dark, well-ventilated room with moderate humidity (around 50-55%). Ensure there’s good airflow to prevent mold or mildew from developing. Drying typically takes 7-10 days, depending on humidity levels and bud size. Buds are ready when the stems snap instead of bending.


Once dried, it’s time to cure your cannabis buds. Place them in glass jars, filling each jar about 3/4 full to leave room for air circulation. Store the jars in a cool, dark place with a consistent temperature (around 60-70°F). Open the jars daily for the first week to release excess moisture and prevent mold. Over the next few weeks, gradually decrease the frequency of jar openings to once every few days.

Curing improves the flavor, smoothness, and potency of your cannabis buds by allowing cannabinoids and terpenes to develop fully. Properly cured cannabis has a more balanced and enjoyable smoke or vaporization experience. After 4-8 weeks of curing, your cannabis buds are ready for consumption. Store them in airtight containers in a cool, dark place to maintain freshness and potency for long-term enjoyment.


Finally, enjoy the fruits of your labor. Roll a joint, pack a bowl, or use a vaporizer to experience the flavors and effects of your homegrown cannabis. The quality and satisfaction of growing your own cannabis from seed to smoke are unmatched.

This guide provides you with most of what you need to start growing cannabis at home. Follow these steps, and soon you’ll be enjoying your own home-grown cannabis, from seed to smoke.

Growing Cannabis at Home | Rolling Joints | Photo by Wesley Gibbs on Unsplash
Photo by Wesley Gibbs on Unsplash

Tips for Success

Growing cannabis at home requires patience and attention to detail. Follow these tips for success:

  • Monitor pH Levels: Keep soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0 for optimal nutrient absorption.
  • Avoid Overwatering: Let the soil dry out between watering to prevent root rot.
  • Pest Control: Use natural pest control methods to protect your plants.
  • Regular Pruning: Prune lower leaves to improve airflow and light penetration.
  • Stay Informed: Continuously educate yourself about cannabis cultivation techniques.

Common Challenges and Possible Solutions

  • Pest Infestations: Inspect plants regularly for pests. Use neem oil or insecticidal soap to treat infestations.
  • Nutrient Deficiencies: Yellowing leaves can indicate nutrient deficiencies. Adjust your feeding schedule and ensure the correct nutrient mix.
  • Mold and Mildew: Control humidity and improve airflow to prevent mold and mildew.
  • Light Burn: Ensure lights are at the correct distance from plants to prevent light burn.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long does it take to grow cannabis at home?
    • It typically takes 3-5 months from seed to harvest, depending on the strain and growing conditions.
  2. What is the best lighting for growing cannabis at home?
    • LED grow lights are popular due to their energy efficiency and effectiveness.
  3. How can I maximize my cannabis yield?
    • Use training techniques like topping and LST, provide adequate nutrients, and ensure optimal light and airflow.
  4. Can I grow cannabis indoors all year round?
    • Yes, with a controlled indoor environment, you can grow cannabis year-round.
  5. What is the best temperature for growing cannabis at home?
    • Keep temperatures between 70-85°F during the day and 60-70°F at night.

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Additionally, you can find more information on the vendors we work with here.

Substance offers online ordering and curbside pickup for flower, dabs, and other fine products at all dispensary locations. We have 6 convenient Oregon locations throughout Bend, Cottage Grove, Springfield, and now at our newest dispensary located in Medford.

More Reading:

Cannabis Cultivation Grow Styles: Indoor, Outdoor or Greenhouse?

Cannabis Genetics: Exploring the Past and Shaping the Future

Make Your Own Cannabis Edibles: Cooking Tips and Recipe Ideas

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