Our beloved marijuana plants are not as simple as some would make them out to be. They are far more complexed than “just a weed”. In the evolutionary chain if you match up a MJ plant with say an single cell organism, you would get the point quite clearly. Our plants are extremely complicated energy generating machines that function both in the sunlight and under the cover of darkness.
OK, here is where it gets a little complicated but bare with me; During daylight hours, our beloved Mary Jane takes in the light energy, some water and some air (CO2) to start the process known as photosynthesis and generates sugar and oxygen that is the building blocks of the cell energy and the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. However, carbon dioxide is generated in the dark side and is the source of carbon needed to maintain molecules. Without this dark period, it just does not produce the necessary amount of carbon to not only create molecules but to expell some of them.
People tend to forget that Cannabis is not a new plant. It is prehistoric in nature and brings with it a long history of very complexed evolution. This thing was around during dinosaurs (no wonder they were so happy) and acted totally different than they perform today. Heres how: during the days of the dinosaurs, the atmosphere was basically carbon dioxide rich environment. Through evolution, plants did us a favor and started converting this carbon dioxide into oxygen. Lucky for us.
As the world started changing, so did the Cannabis plant and plants in general as far as that goes. As the world changed in things like Temperature, Humidity, light conditions, cloud formations, daylight hours, extreme conditions such as heat and cold, and other environmental factors, the plants changed also. It is thought that the Cannabis plant started somewhere up in Tibet along the Himalayas but quickly moved South like so many snowbirds do to Arizona. As conditions changed, so did the neighborhood. Cannabis adapted, just like humans did. CO2 levels went down as the environment changed. So plants had to adapt to about 0.036% or 360 ppm.
So heres the deal: we are growing inside and trying to duplicate by artificial means the outdoors. So once we understand that we are merely duplicating natural conditions, we can then create better metabolic activity. I know I am going the long way around the track to get to a point, but I have to cover some basic ground to get to darkness. This is where it gets a little muddled. When the sun goes down, actual changes occur in a whole bunch of ways.
The first is the amount of lights wavelengths. We read tons of threads on Kelvin, different wavelengths and lights but really don't understand what these threads are really talking about. Look at it this way; when the sun sets, the angle of the light hitting the earth's atmosphere is tilted. It changes from bright daylight (white) blue spectrum (450 nm) to amber or red at sunset (650 nm) which is basically a shorter wavelength and thus carries with it more photon energy. That is why we need more red to flower (HPS during bud) and we need more white (Metal Halide) during veg stage. We are duplicating nature indoors. Basically humans developed in a similar way as we spend the day gathering food and expending energy. At night time, like cannabis, we metabolize this food to produce the energy to make new cells and repair the damaged ones we hurt during the day. We also use the night to produce very important enzymes and proteins and we wait for the sunrise to get to work or in a plants case, to start the day again photosynthesizing.
I know we are getting a little technical here and if you really want me to screw this thread up, let me introduce what the plant is really doing while it is sleeping is carrying out a cyclic process known as circadian rhythm from the Latin word meaning “approximately a day”. To take it one step further, all cells require metabolic energy in the form of what is called ATP or NADH. This energy is produced throughout the day and is the result of many biochemical processes, not just one. We all seem to concentrate on photosynthesis because we know it occurs during the daytime and we can understand that. Photosynthesis is the process of breaking down metabolic energy by using light energy (Produced during the day) to break apart water which generates O2, protons and electrons. Oxygen becomes the bus driver that transports all aerobic respiration and it is used to transport the electrons which in turn is used in the productions of those energy rich molecules known as ATP and NADH we talked about earlier.
So when all of this mixes together in photosynthesis, the Calvin cycle ( light) fixates or concentrates on CO2 to make what is called 3-Carbon sugars during this light cycle. Later during the darkness or “night cycle”, this 3-Carbon sugars are converted to 6-Carbon sugars such as glucose and fructose. Now the point should be clear and obvious. We need both the daylight for photosynthesis to occur and generate 3-Carbon sugars but we also need the darkness or night to finish the job and create 6-Carbon sugars to make glucose and fructose that is used to make cellular carbon or the bulk of ATP and NADH during aerobic respiration during the dark cycle. Does this make sense now?
Now we all read the Noob's desperate plea for help and how delicate the plant is. But it is really quite strong and we really have to fuck with it to screw things up. The cannabis will survive in a wide range of light, not just one, and under a wide range of temperatures. I am sometimes amused when I hear of temperatures being too high or humidity being out of range and I think of the tropics. Plants thrive there. And the last time I was in the tropics, it ain't no 72 degree's in an air-conditioned room. Temperature is however an important variable as it does effect humidity, dissolved gas concentrations, water stress, and is also an influence to the amount of water loss based on a ratio to carbon fixation, no laughing matter. The thing most noobs are yelling about is the leaf changes caused by light absorption , sugar formation and gas exchange. Back to the darkness, during the night the stomates in the leaves are closed to prevent loss of moisture and the need during sleep for gas absorption is not as great as during the day. During the day when demand is at it's peak, the stomata are wide open in the leaves as the demand for CO2 is at it's greatest. So when temperatures gets out of whack and rises, so does the loss of water through the very openings in the leaves stomata and the photosynthesis is maxed out at about 85 degree's but can handle a range from about 70 degrees up to about 95 degrees, a huge variable of temperature. So don't worry noobs, it can really be out of whack and still be viable.
Lets start this thread and I will add additional comments as we move along. If no one joins in the discussions, then I guess no one is interested and we will all just live in the darkness, no pun intended. ;-)