Ceramic Metal Halides (CMH): What’s It All About?

Grow lights are probably the single most important piece of equipment any indoor grower will use in their grow setup. This is because marijuana plants thrive on the light emitted from the sun, leaving those indoor growers always on the hunt for the light that will do it best. And while there are many different types of lights that can be used, growers today are finding that ceramic metal halides are giving them everything they need.

Ceramic metal halides, typically referred to as CMH, are lights that use a ceramic arc tube. They are sometimes referred to as ceramic discharge metal halide (CDM) or even more commonly, light emitting ceramic (LEC). While LEC is a brand name of these types of lights, more and more people are using the terms CMH and LEC interchangeably.

Whatever name growers decide to use while incorporating them into their grow room, they are starting to replace traditional high-pressure sodium lights and regular metal halides. This is largely due to the fact that CMH lights do the best job of mimicking the spectrum of the sun. And that will translate into better and healthier plants and higher yields. And it’s all done with just one tube of light, unlike LEDs that often require several lights to cover just a few feet of space in the grow room.

What do you need to create a Ceramic Metal Halides (CMH) setup?

Growers that want to get in on the trend of using CMH lights will also be happy to know that they can be much easier to install. While other types of lights need a separate ballast, many CMH lights are plug and play, which means all you really need to turn it on is an outlet.

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Of course, just as all lights need to be placed above the marijuana plants so that they can provide the light the plants need, so too do ceramic metal halides. Because of this, growers will also need brackets or heavy hooks they can hang the lights from.

One of the most popular options used when switching to CMH lights is purchasing a kit that will have everything one needs in order to get going.

What are the pros and cons of using CMH in your grow room?

There is definitely a lot to love about ceramic metal halides, which is why they’re becoming so popular today. But nothing is perfect, and the same is true for CMHs. Growers have to be prepared to weigh these pros and cons before making an investment to determine what is going to be best for them and their marijuana plants.

The biggest benefit to the plants is that CMH lights truly do mimic the sun, not only providing the right spectrum of light, but also creating UVB rays, which increases trichome production and smell in the cannabis buds. And because marijuana plants thrive under natural sun and these lights so closely resemble it, it will be healthier and better for the plants overall.

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Another reason this natural light is so much better for the plants is due to the fact that, unlike other high-pressure sodium lights and LEDs, growers can actually see their plants in their natural color. Not only does this allow the grower to take in the natural beauty of their crop, but it can also be easier to see when things like disease or mould settle in. And that means growers can deal with those issues earlier, giving them a better chance of saving the plant.

But the natural light is just part of what makes growers love these lights so much. The other reason so many are making the switch is because CMH lights are much more energy efficient. And growers know just how easily those utility bills can start to add up when high-powered lights are used as frequently as marijuana plants need them. Because they are so much more energy efficient, the bulbs also don’t need to be replaced as often, with the typical CMH light bulb having a life span anywhere between 20,000 and 50,000 hours.

So what’s the drawback to these lights that seem so perfect?

The price. While other types of lights, such as LEDs, may be more affordable to install, installing CMH lights can get pretty pricey. In fact, the average starting cost for these lights is around $500. So it’s important that they’re some of the most energy efficient and won’t also eat into a grower’s utility bills.

Growers today have many lighting options. And any grow lights will effectively help the grower to raise healthy plants. But the reason why so many are making the switch to CMH lights is because they are simply better, for the plant and for the grower’s utility bills. The only real hurdle is paying the initial price for them.

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