Circadian Rhythm and Indoor Dark Cycles of Medical Marijuana

Posted by Lee G. Leissett | 15521 views
By Lee G. Leissett


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marijuana light cycle

Your marijuana plants needs darkness, even during veg phase.
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" The dark cycle for medical marijuana is just as important as the light cycle. "

The circadian rhythm is a 24 hour internal clock found in every biological creature on our planet. This internal clock in plants and animals triggers biochemical and behavior responses, usually in accordance to sunlight. Sunlight is the giver of all life and energy on earth and understanding its relationship to the circadian rhythm found in plants is of the utmost importance to the medical marijuana grower.

A plant relies on light to perform photosynthesis, which allows many chemical processes within a plant to happen. The dark cycle for medical marijuana is just as important as the light cycle. Within the dark cycle many plant processes occur. Most notably, it is the elongated dark cycle that triggers a flowering response in most plants, including marijuana.

In nature, the longer dark cycle indicates to the plant the end of the summer growing season and the approaching fall harvest time. However, indoor growers have unlimited control over the environment, and thus can manipulate the plants to grow in ways nature never imagined. Some can benefit your plants, while others cause unintentional stress.

24 hour vs 18 hour light during vegetative phase. There are many gardeners that will argue a 24 hour light cycle for vegetative growth is the way to go. From my experience, I strongly disagree. Plants are biological creatures and all biological creatures benefit from rest. Although the plants may grow a little faster due to the extended light period, many plants develop nutrient deficiencies or stunted growth in the flowering stage.

Most gardeners don’t realize the problems they are having in their flowering room are occurring because their plant wasn’t receiving a proper dark cycle in their vegetative stage. I always recommend an 18 hour lights on and 6 hour lights off cycle for the vegetative stage. The 6 hours of darkness ensures your plants will be able to translocate nutrients and energy stored in the form of sugars and prepare itself for another day of full fledged photosynthesis.

12 hours on and 12 hours off for flowering. A medical marijuana plant’s flowering hormones are triggered by the amount of darkness it receives. Most marijuana strains require 12 hours of darkness to trigger the hormones responsible for the flowering process. I have experimented with numerous lighting techniques for flowering and as long as the plants receive 12 hours of darkness they all work (the plants create flowers).

My opinion is that a balanced 12 hour on and 12 hour off cycle works the best. Although some of the other light cycles may cut down on overall flowering time, they end up diminishing yields making them a wash and definitely not worth the extra effort.

There are many different opinions on the proper light cycle for indoor medical marijuana plants. I have tried most of the new lighting techniques out there and I strongly suggest sticking with an 18 hour on 6 hour off vegetative light cycle and a 12 hour on and 12 hour off flowering cycle. Through evolution and defined by the circadian rhythm we find that medical marijuana, like all biological creatures, are in tune with a 24 hour cycle and benefit from rest. 


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