How Much Does It Cost to Grow Cannabis?

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Added 24 February 2023

One of the biggest hurdles people face while getting into cannabis cultivation is the cost — sometimes, it can get a little expensive. 

You may have already come across a ton of online guides on growing cannabis that suggests you get high-quality equipment, which is often expensive. Even on online forums, it is easy to get swayed by experienced growers that use expensive equipment.

This is something that can scare a new grower, financially, but it doesn’t have to be like this. Depending on the approach you take, you can grow cannabis for a fraction of the cost and still expect high-quality results. 

Of course, there is no denying that a more elaborate setup makes your job easier and yields better, but if you simply want to grow cannabis for personal use, you cannot go wrong with a more basic setup. 

The question still remains — how much does it cost to grow cannabis? If only the answer was simple… but it is not. It depends on a lot of factors. In this article, we take a look at these factors and understand where you will be spending your money and how much. Read on to know how much it would cost you to grow cannabis.

Common Factors that Affect the Cost of Growing Cannabis

Common Factors that Affect the Cost of Growing Cannabis

The process of growing cannabis is as diverse as the process of consuming it, and many factors come into play, affecting its cost. The biggest factor is the location of your plants, but other factors like the type of strain you grow and the medium you use also come into play. 

Here are some common factors that affect the cost of growing cannabis.

1. Indoor vs Outdoor Costs of Cannabis

Many factors dictate how the expense of cannabis cultivation, but it all boils down to one primary component — the location. Growing outdoors is the cheapest way to grow cannabis.

But if you want to grow indoors, you need to spend some money, depending on your setup. This is where things get a little tricky because indoor setups can range from a basic bucket setup to an elaborate grow room with an aeroponic setup — the price can go from a hundred dollars to multiple thousands of dollars.

So the first thing you need to figure out is where you should grow cannabis, and it depends on a variety of factors. For example, if you live in a country where cultivation is legal and you don’t have to worry about societal stigma (or your neighbors stealing your buds), you can safely grow outdoors. 

An outdoor setup is easy and cheap. 

The downside with the outdoor setup is the lack of control since you have to rely on the environment for a healthy plant. On the other hand, you can grow indoors and be the master of your cultivation.

An indoor setup for cannabis allows you to control every aspect of your plant, which can lead to a much better result compared to outdoor plants if you do it right. So, even if you live in Siberia, you can grow cannabis indoors and not worry about the climate affecting your plant.

Another benefit of an indoor setup is stealth — with the right techniques, you can grow cannabis indoors even if you live in a country where cultivating cannabis can put you on the wrong side of the law. 

But this control and safety come at a cost since you will have to invest in a lot of equipment like lights, air vents, exhausts, scrubbers, grow tents, pots, etc. Depending on your preferences, goals, and local laws, you need to choose between indoors and outdoors. We’ll take a deeper look into these costs in the next sections.

2. The Seeds You Purchase

The second factor that affects the cost of growing cannabis is the type of seeds you purchase (or the strain you want to grow). Make no mistake, the choice of seeds is as important as the foundation of your cultivation.

If you choose subpar seeds with poor genetics, your plant won’t give return great results, let alone win awards. Poor genetics can affect how the plant grows, its resistance to pests, diseases, harsh environments, and a lot more. 

On the flip side, high-quality genetics can make your job as a grower more manageable since it makes the plant develop better and resist common nuisances more easily. 

Like anything else, high-quality genetics are expensive. Expect to pay somewhere around $20 for a small pack of seeds from a reputable supplier. On the other hand, cheap seeds are often subpar but you can get away with it if you are only growing cannabis for fun and this is your first time. 

The cost of the seeds also depends on the strain you choose. Some exclusive or popular strains are expensive whereas others are dirt cheap. So, if you’re new, it’s best to choose a strain that is cheap and suits your local environment and growth conditions. 

3. Grow Medium

For an outdoor plant, you don’t necessarily need any special growing medium as long as the soil in your lawn is healthy. If not, you can get some cheap fabric pots and high-quality soil.

On the other hand, for an indoor setup, you most definitely need to invest in a medium, which can range from soil to hydroponic mediums like coco coir, perlite, or vermiculite. These can be more expensive than soil. 

4. Nutrients and Other Supplements

Whichever method you choose to grow cannabis, you will have to feed it specific nutrients and supplements during its life cycle. Fortunately, nutrients are relatively affordable, and if you go the organic route or prepare your own formulas, the cost can drive down even further.

On average, basic nutrients should cost you anywhere between $20 to $50, but expect them to go up as you get better at growing cannabis and give it more nutrients and supplements to boost its yield.

5. Regulatory Compliance and Licensing Fees

The next factor is regulatory compliance and licensing fees — in some regions or countries, you need to get a license even if you’re cultivating cannabis for personal use. In other countries, you can grow up to a specific number of plants without going through legal red tape.

In some countries, you also need to follow other regulations for growing and storing cannabis, which may require you to invest in specific pieces of equipment, which can further drive up your cost.

For this, you need to check your local laws to check the licensing fees and compliance regulations to get an estimate of how much it would cost you. It can range from $25 to a lot more, depending on your local laws. 

6. Other Factors

Many other factors come into play, like grow lights, air circulation, grow tents, etc., but these fall either into indoor or outdoor realms of cultivation. So, we will take a look at these factors in the following sections. 

The Cost of Growing Cannabis Indoors

The Cost of Growing Cannabis Indoors

Let’s take a look at the cost of growing cannabis indoors — be warned, this can get expensive, but there are cheaper ways to do it. Below are some of the factors that affect the cost of growing cannabis indoors.

1. Grow Lights

One of the most important things in an indoor garden is the grow lights, which have the biggest impact on your cannabis plant. Your use of light influences how well your plant grows, the buds' development, and yield. 

The three most common types of grow lights you can use are as follows.

a. Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent lights are your cheapest option and they are available in every corner of the world. For a beginner grower, this is the most recommended type of grow light because it does its job well when used to grow a couple of plants.

b. High-Intensity Discharge Lights 

Also known as HIDs, these lights can substantially boost your plant’s yield but are expensive to run. They consume a lot of energy but only up to 30% of it is used to produce light; the rest is emitted as heat. This also requires you to invest in fans to keep the temperatures in check.

c. LED Lights

A relatively new segment, LED lights have quickly become a favorite among the growing community. These lights consume very little energy while producing intense light in various spectrums (which can often be controlled), and they are a one-time investment as they can last up to 11 years.

The only downside with LED lights is that they are expensive, so they are not always the best choice for a novice grower. 

2. Air Circulation

Since grow rooms are isolated gardens, you need to replicate the natural environment for your plant to ensure it grows well. At the same time, you also need to keep the air fresh and cool to prevent mold or fungi problems. This is where air circulation comes into play.

Depending on your indoor setup, your air circulation may either contain only an oscillating fan or multiple fans along with vents, exhausts, air conditioners, humidifiers, etc. 

A fan is relatively cheap and should cost you somewhere between $25 to $50, depending on the kind of fan you choose. Apart from that, other peripherals will only drive up the cost, with the most expensive ones being an air conditioner or a humidifier. 

3. Room Refurbishments

Depending on the kind of growth setup you use, you may also need to refurbish your room. It’s a little tricky to calculate the costs because there are a ton of things you can change in your room and the prices also vary based on the region. 

Common room refurbishments include painting your room white or installing a grow film all around, installing ventilation and exhaust systems, rewiring the room for all the peripheral accessories, and installing attachments for your grow lights. 

4. Grow Tent

If you don’t want to refurbish your entire room for a cannabis plant, you can invest in a grow tent. They are relatively affordable and help you create an ideal microclimate for your cannabis plant. And since they come in various sizes, you can use them to grow one or multiple plants in a single tent. 

The tent you choose is up to your goals, but ideally, it is recommended to start with a tent between 1 to 3 meter square in size, depending on the space you have available in your room. 

You can even make grow tents cheaper by going the DIY route and building your own grow tent. They are easy to make and can be made at a fraction of the cost. 

5. Electricity Costs

Lastly, you have to worry about the electricity cost of your grow room. Running multiple lights, fans, and other devices is going to take a toll on your energy bills, and depending on your local energy rates, this can either be a minor difference or a major expense.

Cost Breakdown of an Indoor Grow Room

Considering all the factors mentioned above, you can easily get a ballpark estimate of how much your grow room will cost you to prepare and run. Here is an example of the breakdown:

  1. Cannabis seeds: $20
  2. A basic grow light: $50 to $200
  3. A basic grow tent: $100 to $200
  4. Grow medium: $10 to $50, depending on what you choose
  5. Air circulation, including a fan, exhaust, thermometer, etc.: $50 to $150
  6. Electricity rates, depending on your setup and location: $50 to $200
  7. Nutrients and supplements: $100
  8. pH meter: $15

So, a quick math of this breakdown brings the price of a basic indoor grow room to around $400 to $950 (round figure), depending on your setup.

Remember, the actual cost of an indoor garden varies a lot and this is just a rough ballpark figure. The actual cost depends on the equipment you use and it can either go down or up, according to how you want to grow your cannabis. Depending on your goals, you can prepare a similar breakdown for your indoor garden and calculate the costs. 

The Cost of Growing Cannabis Outdoors

The Cost of Growing Cannabis Outdoors

Did the figures for the indoor grow room scare you? Don’t worry, an outdoor setup is a fraction of the cost of an indoor setup. Regardless of how rudimentary your indoor setup is, an outdoor setup will always be cheaper, unless you start investing in a greenhouse or a polytunnel.

In an outdoor environment, you don’t need a lot of things to grow cannabis. For most growers, the soil in their garden is more than adequate to support a few cannabis plants, and you also don’t need to invest in lights, fans, or vents — mother nature takes care of all that for you. 

However, it may not always be easy to grow cannabis outdoors since you can’t control environmental factors like humidity, temperature, pests, light exposure, etc. But the internet is filled with MacGyver solutions to manage an outdoor cannabis plant with everyday items. 

For example, if it’s going to rain one particular night, you can simply place a tarp on your plant to protect it from the rain. Or if the temperature drops too low, you can again place the same tarp to trap heat. 

The only things you may need to invest in for an outdoor cannabis plant are the soil and container (optional), nutrients, and some basic supplies as mentioned in the first section of the article.

The Cost Breakdown of Growing Cannabis Outdoors

Here is an example of a cost breakdown for a basic outdoor cannabis setup, which requires very few things, to begin with:

  1. Cannabis seeds: $20
  2. Fabric pots: $10
  3. Cannabis-specific soil: $80 for three to four bags 
  4. Nutrients and supplements: $100
  5. pH meter: $15

A quick calculation tells us that a basic outdoor garden should cost you around $225, but if you have healthy soil in your garden, subtract $90 from the calculation. It can be as low as $135 (sometimes, even lower if you are smart about it).

Tips on Reducing the Costs of Your Cannabis Cultivation

Tips on Reducing the Costs of Your Cannabis Cultivation

A basic setup is already cheap enough, even if you plan to grow cannabis indoors. But there are many ways you can further reduce the costs. Here are some tips to help you.

1. Use Low Maintenance Strains

Low-maintenance or highly resilient cannabis strains can save you a lot of money down the road. Regular cannabis seeds, despite having great genetics and yields, can fall prey to various environmental factors along with pest problems. And dealing with these issues can sometimes get expensive.

On the other hand, if you use low-maintenance strains, you don’t have to worry much about such issues that would otherwise plague your garden. Additionally, low-maintenance strains don’t require the best equipment — cannabis is a weed and it can grow in the most challenging conditions.

Just remember to choose a strain that is resilient, low maintenance, and suitable to your local environment. 

2. Start with a Basic Setup

If you are growing indoors, you don’t need to start with a high-tech aquaponics or aeroponics setup. That can come later. For starters, you can start with space buckets — all you need is a couple of computer fans, a CFL light, and some buckets! There are many other cheap indoor methods to grow cannabis, so explore your options.

3. Go Solar

In an indoor setup, one of the biggest costs is electricity; in some regions, it can significantly drive up your costs. In such cases, you can invest in solar panels. 

Yes, solar panels are expensive to purchase, but if you’re serious about growing cannabis and intend to do it for years to come, solar panels can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. 

4. Make Your Own Nutrients

There are various nutrients sold at your local gardening store, but if you want to save some money, you are better off preparing your own nutrient solutions. It may require some time, effort, and research, but if you do it right, your homemade organic solutions can be as good as store-bought ones. 

5. Use Natural Light as Much as Possible

While growing indoors does require artificial light sources, you can reduce your reliance on them by placing your plant next to a big window or on the windowsill to expose it to natural sunlight as much as possible. With this, you can get by using basic lights to supplement natural light.

6. Recycle Your Soil

High-quality soil is not only good for your cannabis plant but it can also be recycled. So, instead of purchasing new soil every season, consider recycling old soil. You may have to treat it in some cases to ensure it is replenished, but overall, recycling the soil can also save you some money in the long run.

7. Make Your Own Organic Soil

You can also make your own organic soil by using basic soil from your garden and treating it with compost, worm casting, or natural supplements. This is cheap and sustainable, so it will also reduce your garden’s carbon footprint significantly.

8. Research Well

Whichever equipment you want to purchase, do as much research as you can to find the best deals. We also encourage you to participate in our community to see what other growers are using.

You’d be surprised to know that there are so many alternatives and DIY tools that you can use to save some money. Gardening is an old hobby and is full of cheap workarounds!

Summary: How Much Does It Cost to Grow Cannabis?

There is no specific answer to how much it costs to grow cannabis since so many factors play a role in your garden. However, the rough estimate is $135 for an outdoor setup and $400 for an indoor setup on the lower side.

And there is virtually no upper limit. As you progress as a grower or plan to go commercial, you can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on your garden. Obviously, you will be rewarded with mindblowing, high-quality yields with such an elaborate setup! 

To know more about growing cannabis, stay tuned to our blog. 


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