Soilless production of drug-type Cannabis sativa

Y. Zheng
Cannabis sativa L. (cannabis) has been used in different cultures for thousands of years either for fiber and seeds (hemp-type), or as a drug (drug-type for medical or for recreational use). It has been illegal to grow and consume as a drug since the 1930s in many countries. Recently, an increasing number of countries have legalized cannabis for medical use and a limited number of regions have legalized it for recreational use. In 2002, Canada became the first country to legalize the access to cannabis for medical purposes. On October 17, 2018, Canada became the second country after Uruguay to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Currently, there are more than 320 cultivators, processors, and sellers that hold a license issued by Health Canada under the Cannabis Regulation Act, and this number has been increasing. It is estimated that the sales of recreational cannabis can have a potential annual economic impact as high as $23 billion in Canada alone. A growing number of countries, such as Italy, Germany, and The Netherlands, have legalized cannabis for medical use. In Canada, Cannabis is mainly produced soillessly in controlled environments, including greenhouses and facilities using artificial lighting as a sole light source. The main soilless production systems currently used include growing cannabis plants in rockwool blocks or slabs, in peat moss- or coir-based growing substrates, and in deep water culture systems or aquaponics. To produce high yield and quality cannabis (e.g., high and consistent cannabinoid and terpene concentrations), it is essential to understand how different environmental factors, especially in the rootzone environment, affect the yield and quality of cannabis. This paper provides an overview of the current commercial practices, knowledge gaps and challenges currently facing this industry and the future research directions for the soilless plant production research community.
Zheng, Y. (2021). Soilless production of drug-type Cannabis sativa. Acta Hortic. 1305, 375-382
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1305.49
indoor farming, integrated rootzone management (IRM)

Acta Horticulturae