Cannabis Cultivation Lighting Research Shows Shifts in Technology, Grower Practices

Canopy Illumination: LED Usage Continues to Increase

One of the most consistent trends to emerge from Cannabis Business Times’ five-year “State of the Lighting Market” study is the increasing adoption of light-emitting diodes (LED) lighting.

In 2016, about a fifth (21%) used LED lighting in propagation, and fewer used the technology in the vegetative (17%) and flowering (15%) growth stages. This year, more than half of cultivators reported using LED technology in each of the growth stages, making it the most-used lighting type across propagation, vegetative and flowering. Since 2016, the number of participants reporting using LEDs has grown by double digits in each stage.


When CBT first conducted this study, 65% of participants reported using T5 (high output/HO) lights (or other HO fluorescents) in propagation, while just 21% reported using LEDs. That statistic has evolved greatly, as 2020 findings show 63% of cultivators using LEDs in this growth stage, while 37% use T5 or other HO fluorescents. The use of most other lighting types in this stage has remained largely unchanged, with the exception of compact fluorescents, which 17% of growers report using in this year’s study versus 9% in 2016.




Growers use a variety of lighting types in the vegetative growth stage. The 2016 study showed a slight variation among a handful of lighting types: 37% of cultivators reported using T5 lights, 31% used high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights, 23% used quartz metal halide lights and 20% grew with ceramic metal halide lights. Each year, LED adoption in this growth stage has increased, and in 2020, 58% reported using LEDs, up from 46% in 2019 and 17% in 2016. The second most-used lighting type this year is T5 (high output/HO) lights, with a fifth of participants (20%) noting they use this technology in their veg rooms, reflecting a 17 percentage point drop from five years ago. Ceramic metal halide usage has stayed consistent, with 19% of participants reporting they use this lighting type in this year’s study.



Another significant change in the five years CBT has conducted this study is the lighting type participants report using in the flowering stage. In 2016, HPS lights were the most-preferred lighting type—62% of cultivators said they used them in their flowering rooms. This year, that figure dropped by 22 percentage points, with 40% reporting using HPS (single and double-ended) in this final growth stage. As seen in propagation and veg, LEDs are now used by the largest number of participants, with 52% indicating they grow with this lighting type, up 37 percentage points from the 2016 study.


Post time: Apr-26-2021