Is Home-Grown Cannabis Less Expensive than Dispensary Bud?

May 19, 2023 | Blog

It’s no secret that dispensary cannabis can be expensive. If you’re a heavy cannabis consumer or just a bargain-hunter, you might have considered growing your own cannabis instead of spending money at the dispensary. Today, we’ll investigate whether it’s cheaper to buy from a dispensary or grow your own cannabis and how Oaksterdam University can help you save money on flower. 

Is Home-Grown Cannabis Cheaper Than Dispensary Flower?

If you grow your own cannabis, you won’t experience the inconvenience of shopping time or the taxes at a dispensary — but if you shop at a dispensary, you won’t have to invest time or money into setting up a cannabis garden. Which one ends up being cheaper overall?

Is Dispensary Cannabis More Expensive?

The price of cannabis flower at dispensaries varies widely depending on the quality of the flower, regional pricing trends, and the overall market conditions. In general, though, dispensaries are known for charging high prices to cover operating costs and make a profit. 

Is it Cheaper to Grow Your Own Cannabis?

Growing your own cannabis can be exponentially cheaper than buying cannabis from a dispensary. Even factoring in the expenses — like gardening tools for outdoor grows and equipment and electricity for indoor grows — growing your own cannabis will more than pay for itself by the time you’re on your second harvest, potentially before then.

Is Homegrown Cannabis or Dispensary Cannabis More Potent?

The potency of cannabis depends on many different variables, including the cultivar, growing conditions, and more, so it can be difficult to quantify whether homegrown cannabis or dispensary cannabis is more potent. Experienced cannabis connoisseurs often aren’t even looking purely for potency; they’re also looking for flavorful terpenes, aesthetically-pleasing buds, and a balanced cannabinoid ratio. 

Generally speaking, growing your own cannabis will let you cultivate plants with traits you are looking for. If you want extremely potent flower, you can grow high-THC cultivars and enjoy it without paying dispensary markups. If you’re looking for a more nuanced experience, growing your own cannabis will let you choose your cultivars, control the growing environment, and maybe even do a little cannabis crossbreeding to cultivate precisely the flower you dream of. 

What’s the Average Start-Up Cost of Growing Cannabis?

Again, this number can vary widely depending on several factors. Are you hoping to grow indoors or outdoors? Do you already have any gardening tools? Can any growers help you set up or lend you supplies?

Keep in mind that the following estimates are all for a single plant. Growing multiple cannabis plants won’t add much to your overhead and will dramatically increase your yield, making homegrown cannabis even more economical. 

How Much Does it Cost to Grow Cannabis Outside?

If you already have some basic gardening equipment, live in an appropriate climate, have good soil for planting, and can find a grower (or organization, like Oaksterdam University) who’s willing to give you some free seeds or clones, then starting an outdoor cannabis grow can cost you literally nothing. Fresh air, sunshine, and rainwater are all free!

If you have to buy equipment to get started, your costs will be slightly higher. However, basic gardening supplies like shovels, soil, and fertilizer are relatively affordable. Seeds and clones are also reasonably inexpensive; seeds are cheaper but require more work and growing time. 

Setting up an outdoor cannabis grow can cost anywhere from $0 to a couple hundred dollars. An average outdoor-grown cannabis plant can yield about a half-pound of flower, or 8 ounces (224 grams). The average dispensary charges about $320 for an ounce of high-quality flower, so 6 ounces would therefore run you almost $2,000 — more than 10 times what it would cost to grow the flower yourself. 

How Much Does it Cost to Grow Cannabis Indoors?

Growing cannabis indoors requires more of an up-front investment. However, not all climates are conducive to growing cannabis outside, not everybody has the space and sunlight, and many people prefer growing indoors to control their plants’ growing conditions more precisely.  

It’s possible to set up a basic indoor cannabis grow for less than $500, though you can spend much more on advanced equipment and larger setups. You will also need to factor in the cost of electricity and water when setting up an indoor grow. One estimate puts the all-in cost at about $650 for your first harvest and $150 for subsequent crop yields. 

Cannabis grown indoors typically yields slightly less than plants grown outdoors: about a quarter-pound, or 3 ounces. At a dispensary, 3 ounces of good-quality cannabis averages almost $1,000. If your first harvest costs less than $700 to produce and subsequent harvests cost only a couple hundred dollars, growing cannabis indoors is still significantly more cost-effective than buying from a dispensary. 

What’s the Best Way to Learn to Grow Marijuana?

Though growing cannabis yourself is much cheaper than buying it from a dispensary, you’ll only save money if your plants produce. Many cannabis plant cultivars are fairly easy to grow, but there is a learning curve. The best way to ensure your cannabis cultivation is successful from the very first harvest is to take a class on home growing. 

Oaksterdam University offers many different classes on cannabis horticulture, including a home grow class that will teach you all the basics you need to start growing your own cannabis, plus some more advanced information and techniques that you can try out in subsequent growing seasons. 

With a wide selection of subjects and class structures available, Oaksterdam University has cannabis education for every kind of learner — and grower. Schedule an appointment with an advisor or enroll in our home grow class today to take the first steps toward a bountiful, cost-effective cannabis grow. 

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