Hydro Weed vs Soil: Is Hydroponic Cannabis More Potent? - Happy Hydro

Hey there, fellow gardeners and cannabis enthusiasts! Are you wondering whether hydroponic cannabis is more potent than soil-grown cannabis?

Look no further, because in this article, we'll be diving deep into the debate between weed grown hydroponically vs soil. As a passionate gardener and cannabis aficionado, I've had the pleasure of experimenting with both hydroponic and soil-based growing techniques.

Through years of trial and error, I've discovered the pros and cons of each method, as well as the impact they have on the potency of cannabis.

We'll be exploring everything from the science behind hydroponic and soil-based growing, to the potential risks and drawbacks of each method, and even the future of cannabis cultivation.

If you prefer visual content check out our YouTube channel here.

Hydroponic vs. Soil-Based Growing: An Overview

To start off, let's take a look at the key differences between hydroponic and soil-based growing:

Hydroponic Cultivation:

  • Uses water and nutrient solutions to feed the plants
  • Requires a carefully controlled environment, including temperature, humidity, and lighting
  • Typically involves the use of artificial substrates, such as rockwool, perlite, or coco coir
  • Plants grow faster and produce higher yields, but require more attention and maintenance

Soil Growing:

  • Uses soil as a medium for plant growth that is typically full of organic amendments
  • Relies on the natural properties of soil, such as its nutrient content and microbial life
  • Requires less maintenance and attention than growing hydroponically
  • Typically produces smaller yields, but may result in a richer flavor and aroma
  • Next up, let's explore the science behind the potency of cannabis and how it relates to the growing method used

The Science of Cannabis Potency

Cannabis potency is determined by the concentration of cannabinoids, which are the chemical compounds that give cannabis its unique effects.

The two most well-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, while CBD has more of a calming, relaxing effect.

The concentration of these cannabinoids in cannabis plants can be affected by a variety of factors, including the strain of the plant, the growing environment, and the harvesting and curing methods.

While both hydroponic and soil cultivation methods can produce high-potency cannabis, the specific growing method used can impact the cannabinoid profile of the plant.

Some studies suggest that growing hydroponically can lead to higher concentrations of THC in the plant.

In contrast, others suggest that soil-based growing can produce a more diverse cannabinoid profile, including higher levels of CBD.

While the potency of cannabis ultimately depends on a variety of factors, including genetics and growing conditions, the growing method used can have an impact on the final product.

In the next section, we'll take a closer look at the specific advantages and disadvantages of hydroponic and soil-based growing, and how they can affect the potency of cannabis.

Hydroponic Growing: Pros and Cons

Hydroponic growing has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its ability to produce high yields of quality cannabis quickly. Here are some of the pros and cons of growing hydroponically:


  • Plants grow faster and produce higher yields due to the precise control of nutrients and growing conditions
  • Water and nutrient recycling reduces waste and conserves resources
  • Requires less space than traditional soil-based growing methods
  • Potentially less susceptible to pests and diseases due to the sterile growing environment


  • High initial investment in equipment and setup
  • Requires more maintenance and attention than soil-based growing
  • Precise control of growing conditions can be difficult to achieve, leading to potential risks to the plants

Now that we've looked at the pros and cons of hydroponic growing, let's explore the advantages and disadvantages of soil-based growing in the next section.

Soil-Based Growing: Pros and Cons

Soil-based growing is the traditional method of growing plants and has been used for centuries. Here are some of the pros and cons facing soil growers.


  • Relies on natural soil properties, which can lead to a more diverse cannabinoid profile and richer flavor and aroma
  • Requires less maintenance and attention than hydroponic growing
  • Lower initial investment in equipment and setup
  • Can be done with organic and natural fertilizers, resulting in a more natural end product


  • Yields can be lower than with hydroponic growing methods
  • Soil-borne pests and diseases can be a problem if not properly managed
  • Requires more space than hydroponic growing methods

As you can see, both hydroponic and soil-based growing methods have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of which method to use ultimately depends on the grower's specific needs and preferences.

In the next section, we'll take a closer look at some of the research that has been done on the potency of hydroponically grown cannabis versus soil-grown cannabis.

Hydroponic Cannabis vs. Soil-Grown Cannabis: Which Is More Potent?

The debate on whether hydroponic cannabis is more potent than soil-grown cannabis has been raging on for some time. While both methods can produce high-quality cannabis, there are some key differences in the way the plants are grown that can impact potency.

In hydroponic growing, nutrients are precisely controlled, and the plants receive a consistent supply of all the nutrients they need. This can lead to faster growth, higher yields, and potentially higher THC content in the buds.

In soil-based growing, the nutrients available to the plants are dependent on the natural properties of the soil and the amendments that are added. This can lead to a more diverse cannabinoid profile, but it can also result in lower THC levels than with hydroponic growing methods.

You can add liquid nutrients to the soil, but the roots are not continually oxygenated like they are in hydroponics, so the plants don't consume them at the same rate as they do in hydro.

There have been several studies that have attempted to compare the potency of hydroponically grown cannabis versus soil-grown cannabis, but the results have been mixed.

Some studies have shown that hydroponic cannabis has higher THC levels, while others have shown no significant difference in potency between the two methods.

Ultimately, the choice of which method to use should be based on a variety of factors, including grower expertise, available resources, and personal preferences. It's also worth noting that there are many factors beyond the growing method that can impact the potency of cannabis, such as genetics, curing methods, and environmental factors.

Now, let's dive into the comparison between hydroponic and soil-based growing methods.

Hydro Weed vs Soil: An In-Depth Comparison

When it comes to growing cannabis, there are two primary methods: hydroponics and soil-based growing.

Each method has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, and choosing the right one for your needs requires an understanding of the different factors that affect cannabis growth in each method.

Pros and Cons of Both Growing Methods

Hydroponic growing offers several benefits, including faster growth rates, higher yields, and greater control over the growing environment. Although, it can be more expensive to set up and maintain, and requires a greater understanding of the science behind it.

Soil-based growing, on the other hand, is a more traditional and less expensive method of growing cannabis. It is also easier to set up and maintain, and may produce a more natural and complex flavor profile in the final product.

In the next sections, we will explore the science behind both hydroponic and soil-based growing methods, as well as provide tips for selecting the right equipment, strains, and best practices for growing cannabis. 

The Science of Hydroponic Growing

Hydroponic growing might sound like a complicated science experiment, but in reality, it's all about creating the perfect environment for your plants to thrive.

One of the key factors in hydroponic growing is maintaining the proper water temperature, nutrient levels or PPMs (parts per million), and pH levels. This means keeping your water at the ideal temperature, typically between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and monitoring the nutrient levels to ensure that your plants are getting the right amount of nutrients for optimal growth.

It's also important to keep everything as sterile as possible, to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and other pathogens that can damage your plants. Depending on the size of your setup and the type of plants you're growing, you may need to change your water on a regular basis to ensure that the nutrient levels stay balanced and that your plants continue to thrive.

By staying on top of these key factors and making adjustments as needed, you can create the perfect environment for your hydroponic plants to grow strong and healthy.

Hydroponic Cannabis Equipment For Beginners

To grow cannabis hydroponically, you'll need a few essential pieces of equipment. Here's a comprehensive guide to the equipment you'll need:

  1. Hydroponic system: This is the heart of your hydroponic setup. There are many types of hydroponic systems to choose from, including DWC (deep water culture), NFT (nutrient film technique), and ebb and flow systems.
  2. Grow lights: Since hydroponic systems are typically used indoors, you'll need grow lights to provide the necessary light for photosynthesis. LED lights are a popular choice, as they are energy-efficient and provide a broad spectrum of light.
  3. Nutrients: Plants grown hydroponically don't have access to the nutrients found in soil, so you'll need to provide them with a complete nutrient solution.
  4. Growing medium: In hydroponic systems, the growing medium serves as a support structure for the plants and holds the nutrient solution. Common growing media include rockwool, coco coir, and perlite.
  5. pH testing kit: The pH level of your nutrient solution is critical for plant growth. A pH testing kit will help you ensure that the pH level is within the optimal range for your plants.

The Advantages of Hydroponics Systems

Hydroponic growers receive a number of advantages by growing with this method including:

  1. Faster growth: Because growing hydroponically allows for more efficient nutrient uptake, cannabis plants tend to grow faster in a hydroponic system than they do in soil.
  2. Increased yields: Hydroponic growing can lead to higher yields, as plants are able to absorb nutrients more efficiently.
  3. Reduced water usage: Hydroponic growing uses less water than soil-based growing, as the nutrient solution can be recirculated.
  4. Fewer pest and disease problems: Hydroponic growing can reduce the risk of pest and disease problems, as there is no soil to harbor harmful pathogens.
  5. Greater control over nutrient uptake: When growing hydroponically, you have greater control over the nutrient solution, allowing you to fine-tune the nutrient levels for optimal growth.

The Science of Soil-Grown Cannabis

The science behind soil-based growing involves understanding the soil's composition, the nutrients it contains, and the water requirements of the plant. Soil growers will rely on the microbial activity in the soil to break down organic matter and release nutrients to the plant.

The soil must be well-aerated to allow oxygen to reach the roots, and it must have a proper pH level to ensure that the nutrients are available. Soil growers also need to be aware of the risk of pests and diseases that can be attracted to soil, and take steps to prevent them from damaging the plant.

Soil-Grown Cannabis Equipment For Beginners

When it comes to soil-based growing, there are a few essential pieces of equipment you'll need to get started. Here's a comprehensive guide to the equipment you'll need:

  1. Grow tent or grow room: This is the space where you'll grow your cannabis plants. You can either purchase a grow tent or set up a grow room in a spare room or closet.
  2. Grow lights: Natural light is ideal for growing cannabis, but if you're growing indoors, you'll need artificial lighting. There are a few different types of grow lights, including high-intensity discharge (HID) lights, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). HID lights are the most popular, as they provide a good balance of light intensity and energy efficiency.
  3. Ventilation system: Cannabis plants need fresh air to thrive, so you'll need a ventilation system that can provide a constant flow of air. This can include fans, ducting, and filters.
  4. Potting soil: Unlike hydroponics, soil-based growing requires a growing medium. You'll need to choose a high-quality potting soil that's designed for cannabis cultivation.
  5. Nutrients: Cannabis plants require a variety of nutrients to grow, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. There are many different nutrient brands and formulas available, so it's important to do your research.

The Advantages of Soil-Based Growing

While hydroponics has its advantages, soil-based growing also offers some benefits, including:

  1. More natural flavor: Soil-based growing can lead to a more complex and nuanced flavor profile, as the cannabis plants are able to take on the unique characteristics of the soil.
  2. Lower start-up costs: Soil-based growing is generally less expensive to set up than hydroponic growing, as you don't need to purchase as much equipment.
  3. Greater ease of use: Soil-based growing is generally easier for beginners to master, as there are fewer variables to manage.
  4. More forgiving: Soil-based growing is generally more forgiving than hydroponic growing, as plants can tolerate a wider range of nutrient levels.
  5. More environmentally friendly: Soil-based growing is generally considered to be more environmentally friendly, as it doesn't require as much energy to run as a hydroponic system.


In the end, the choice between hydroponic and soil-based growing comes down to your individual needs and preferences.

If you are looking for faster growth, precise control of your growing environment, and have the resources to invest in a hydroponic system, then hydroponic growing may be the way to go. If you prioritize flavor and aroma, don't want to invest in expensive equipment, and have more space to work with, then soil-based growing may be a better fit.


Q: What's better hydro or soil?

A: It depends on personal preference and specific growing goals. Hydro offers a more controlled environment with faster growth and potentially higher yields, while soil-based growing offers a more natural and traditional approach with potentially better flavor and aroma.

Q: Is hydroponic better than soil for weed?

A: Growing hydroponically offers a more controlled environment with faster growth, higher yields, and greater potential for nutrient uptake. However, soil-based growing can also produce high-quality weed with a more natural flavor and aroma.

Q: Is Hydro weed stronger?

A: The strength of weed produced ultimately depends on factors such as strain, nutrient content, and growing conditions. It is not always true that hydro weed is always stronger than soil-grown weed.

Q: Is hydroponic weed worth it?

A: If you're confident you can keep up with the maintenance, pH levels, ppm levels, temperatures, etc., your hydroponic plants will grow faster than in soil, so yes!

Q: Can you move a plant from Hydro to soil?

A: It is possible to move a plant from a hydroponic system to soil-based growing. However, it's not recommended as the process can be extremely stressful for the plant.

Q: Does hydro grow faster than soil?

A: Yes, hydroponically grown plants typically grow faster than soil grown plants.

Q: What are the pros of hydroponic weed?

A: The pros of hydroponic weed include a more controlled growing environment, faster growth, potentially higher yields, and greater potential for nutrient uptake.

Q: Does hydroponic weed grow bigger?

A: Typically hydroponic weed grows bigger, but you can find massive outdoor plants grown by people in California, so this is debatable.

Author | Chris McDonald

With two decades of expertise, Chris leads Happy Hydro in redefining sustainable gardening and delights in backpacking adventures, mind-expanding journeys, and creating memories with his loved ones.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Our Philosophy

Our bottom-line commitment is to have happy customers.

Rather than focusing on raising margins and obsessing over profits, we've achieved an extraordinary customer retention rate by offering competitive prices, superior products, and – perhaps most importantly – world-class customer service.

Our philosophy will never change: When you're happy, we're happy.