Cannabis Nutrients: Understanding Macronutrients and Micronutrients

cannabis nutrients

For a plant that was only recently legalized, cannabis is doing very well for itself. The cannabis industry is estimated to be worth around $2.2bn in 2022.

To say that it is rapidly growing would be a bit of an understatement. As such, there isn’t much surprise in finding out that more and more people are thinking about growing a weed plant from seeds

Even as someone who grows as a hobby, not for commercial reasons, there are still several things you stand to gain from farming the plant. However, if you don’t have enough experience in cannabis farming, you might find it rather tedious and frustrating. This is so because cannabis has a relatively wide range of options in terms of nutrients.

Since you cannot substitute essential plant nutrients for anything, we are here to help. In this article, we will be telling you all you need to understand cannabis nutrients a lot better.

What elements are the most important to the cannabis plant?

Before going into the kinds of nutrients that you’ll use for your cannabis farm, you need to understand the elements they contain.

These elements play vital roles in the survival of the plant. They are collectively classified into macronutrients and micronutrients.

1) Macronutrients

This classification is made up of the essential nutrients that your plants require. They are often needed in relatively large quantities for your cannabis plant to survive. They are further classified into mineral and non-mineral.

Non-mineral elements include carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. The connecting factor between these three is that your cannabis plant can absorb them all from the atmosphere.

Mineral elements, however, are found in the soil. They are:

  1. Nitrogen (N): The primary function of this element is to aid the development of the plant in its vegetative stage. It is one of the integral parts of chlorophyll. The danger in denying your plant access to this is that it won’t photosynthesize. Consequently, the growth of the cannabis plant will be affected negatively.

Besides that, Nitrogen also serves as a major constituent of the protein-building amino acids in cannabis plants. Lack of proteins automatically equals frail and weak plants that can barely serve their purpose.

One more reason this element qualifies as an essential is that it is a component of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate). ATP is a compound that facilitates the appropriate energy usage in plants. To top it all off, Nitrogen helps in creating nucleic acid. Without this, the growth and multiplication of cells are not possible.

  1. Phosphorus (P): Phosphorus is another vital element to the health of your cannabis plant. By providing a means for the cannabis plant to consume nutrients, it helps to grow large and healthy buds. The nutrients consumed then assist in the step-by-step process of building the plant’s structure from roots to flowers.

If you do not provide your plant with Phosphorus, there is the chance that your plant will not even get to the flowering stage. Additionally, the plant will not be able to develop its roots properly.

Different signs could point towards a deficiency in Phosphorus. However, one of the earliest signs that you will notice is the appearance of purple-looking veins in the leaves. 

  1. Potassium (K): Among other things, potassium is very important for system regulation in plants. The first, and one of the most important, of its roles is osmoregulation. For the sake of clarity, osmoregulation is a term that refers to the maintenance of osmotic pressure in a plant’s fluids. It occurs through the passive control of salt and water concentrations in plants.

Now, every cannabis plant has a part known as the stomata. It helps the plant to exchange CO2, oxygen, and H2O. By taking charge of the alternation between the stomata’s closing and opening, potassium helps to complete the process of osmoregulation. 

Apart from this, potassium kick starts the production of Adenosine triphosphate (ATP). One of the functions of ATP is the storage of photosynthetic energy through the creation of glucose. By triggering the production of ATP, potassium indirectly helps to create glucose, which will then serve as a viable source of energy for growing plants. 

In the absence of potassium, the chances are that you can end up with weak cannabis plants. In addition to that, they will begin to look burnt primarily because of the inability to carry out osmoregulation. 

  1. Magnesium: If your cannabis nutrients contain appropriate quantities of this element, it assists in the metabolism of glucose. Contrastingly, without magnesium acting as the main molecule in chlorophyll, plants cannot create glucose. This directly translates to a lack of the required energy for growth and health. The major sign of a magnesium deficiency is a discoloration in leaves that can go as far as the veins, too.
  2. Calcium: Calcium is another important thing that you cannot afford to keep away from your cannabis plant. Its main function in the well-being of your crop is to hold their cell structure in place. Without an appropriate dose of it, you will end up with plants that are nothing short of subpar. The plant will suffer from stunted growth, curled leaves, and rusty spots, among others. In addition to looking bad, the cannabis plant won’t be able to function as it should normally.


This class of cannabis nutrients is essential to the health of your cannabis plant in the long run. However, their absence does not pose consequences as dire as the absence of macronutrients.

Additionally, your cannabis plant only needs trace amounts of these elements for survival.

Examples of these micronutrients are:

  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Chlorine
  • Molybdenum
  • Silicon
  • Copper
  • Boron
  • Cobalt

What are the types of cannabis nutrients cannabis farmers use?

Because there are two broad methods of cannabis farming, we only have two major kinds of cannabis nutrients.

These two nutrient types each have their benefits and grey areas. They are:

  1. Hydroponic nutrients

The hydroponic system of cannabis farming is one that is done without the use of cannabis soil. Instead, the system substitutes soil for other such mixes like clay pebbles, Rockwool, coco coir, etc. It is an excellent choice for indoor cannabis farming

Hydroponic nutrients are those that are best suited to this method of farming. The products often contain concentrated liquid mineral salts. Alternately, the minerals could be in powder form. However, they will need dilution to suitable levels for the cannabis plant. 

For plant absorption of nutrients in the hydroponic system of farming, the nutrients have to be water-soluble.

Hydroponic nutrient products usually come in two different solutions. The first is “Grow,” which has high amounts of Nitrogen for the vegetative stage. The second is the “Bloom” solution, which has just enough Phosphorus to aid the development of flowers. This reason behind this separation is that cannabis plants require different nutritional content for each stage of growth. 

The drawback of hydroponic nutrients is that they demand a lot of caution. Overfeeding can cause significant damages to the plant, which might even lead to death. As such, you should begin with only about a quarter of the recommended level of feeding. Afterward, you can gradually increase to the full recommendations. 

  1. Soil nutrients

Soil farming is a direct contrast to the hydroponic farming system, which does not use soil. The primary difference between the two types of nutrients is that, unlike hydroponics, the soil contains such organic matter as compost, humus, worm castings, and manure. These contain a lot of macronutrients and micronutrients. 

Soil nutrients are non-soluble. As such, cannabis plants rely on fungi and microbes dwelling in the soil to help process the nutrients for use. Unlike hydroponic nutrients that can potentially harm your plant, organic nutrients allow for more mistakes, and they are a lot more forgiving. This is so because their content is not immediately soluble and your cannabis plant cannot instantaneously absorb them. 

If you are a bit of an amateur, we’ll advise that you take advantage of this laxity. That is, use only organic soil nutrients. That way, even if you make mistakes, you won’t have too much to lose. One of the most cost-effective ways to provide your cannabis plants with organic soil nutrients is by combining things like:

  • Fish and blood meal to supply Nitrogen,
  • Kelp meal and wood ash for potassium,
  • Bat guano and bone meal for Phosphorus, etc.

Many of these “ingredients” are readily and economically available for purchase at garden centers close to you. All you would need to do is to mix them into the soil prior to the time you start the potting process. If you go through the process correctly, you would merely need watering and occasional feeding with carbohydrates to maintain the soil.

In contrast to doing it by yourself, you can simply buy organic cannabis nutrients that have been mixed already. This helps to remove the guesswork from plant feeding. While it might be a tad expensive, it is a lot less stressful.

In conclusion

All forms of plant life require nutrients to survive. Cannabis has the potential to make you a lot of profit. As such, you should pay more attention to what you feed your cannabis plants. This guide provides the relevant information to do that.

What do you think?

100 points
Upvote Downvote


Leave a Reply





cannabis soil

Cannabis Soil: Home Grower’s Approach to Choosing the Best Soil

sativa seeds

Marijuana Leaves: 4 Great Ways to Use Them