Weed Vegan
4 min

Is Weed Vegan?

4 min

Many organic fertilisers are made from animal byproducts. These are not very vegan-friendly. Learn more about veganic farming and see how easy it is to simply switch over.

A standing pro-cannabis argument is how effective it can be as medicine. Organic weed, when used in the right way, can help with some of the worst medical conditions known to man. In many circumstances, cannabis can provide a powerful treatment option.

But what about the effect on our planet? The fact is, decades of nefarious petrochemical, monocultural and agricultural practices have been devastating the earth. Cannabis cultivation also plays a role herein, with the energy requirements for indoor growing alone leaving an enormous carbon footprint.

Great, the solution is simple! Just grow organically outdoors, right? Unfortunately, it is a little more nuanced than that.


Slice up a few cherry tomatoes and dice up some feta cheese. Add some arugula, lettuce and organically-grown cannabis fan-leaves. Splash some olive oil over it all. Just a pinch of sea salt and chia seeds and mix it all together. You have just made yourself the best San Francisco Bay Area Vegan Salad Supreme!

Again, sorry - not necessarily. Definitely vegetarian, but not vegan.

Let us break things down a little further. A vegan diet is comprised of foods that do not originate from animal products. Veganism is therefore a philosophy of nutrition and life in general. It differs from vegetarianism, in that vegetarians only abstain from eating meat, but will consume eggs and dairy products. To avoid confusion, they are sometimes referred to as ovo-lacto-vegetarians. A vegan, on the other hand, will not consume anything derived directly or indirectly from animals as a matter of principle. In this sense, cannabis plants may not be vegan.


Arugula and lettuce do not require more than mild organic fertilisers to grow lusciously green and tasty produce. Tomato and cannabis, on the other hand, are demanding and high-performing species. To obtain excellent yields, they need some extra nutrients.

Any seasoned, organic grower will have a cupboard with an assortment of natural additives. Typical names include things like bone meal, feather meal, blood meal and fish hydrolysate. These will often appear under a variation on the same name or even with friendly commercial names like “fish mix” or “sea tea.” However, they all share a common denominator. They are organic in the sense that they are not petrochemically derived, yet they’re produced as a direct result of intensive animal farming.

Bone meal is a waste product from slaughterhouses, dried and ground up into a fine powder. Blood meal is nothing more than dried blood, mainly from cows. Although, any type of blood can get in there between slaughterhouses all the way down to packaging plants.

Fish hydrolysate is the sea equivalent. Non-commercial fish that gets trapped in the lines are rejected, ground up and liquefied to be neatly poured into a bottle. Put in this way, all of a sudden organic farming does not feel all that “organic” after all.


The truth is, bone, blood and fish meals are indeed fantastic tried and true additives. They are not recent industrial phenomena either. Quite the contrary, these practices date back to early recorded history. It is ancient knowledge that sowing corn above fish heads produces excellent results in far-from-ideal-soil conditions. This was back when fishing was a still a sustainable human activity.

In this day and age, these ancient practices continue to hold value. They counter the extensive use of hard chemicals, providing for much safer, more environmentally-friendly mass production systems. It also helps educate farmers about alternatives to dangerous chemical fertilisers. Ultimately, fertilisers may work better, but are still conceptually wrong.

The term “veganic” marries the concepts of veganism and organic cultivation in one word. Super crop-boosting performances can easily be achieved by adding non-animal-based fertilisers. It is just a matter of understanding the differences.


Fossil fuels and animal production are the two main contributors to global warming and deforestation. These are responsible for 60% of human greenhouse emissions! This number is devastating. So in essence, growing veganic weed also helps to heal our planet, not just our bodies. Plant-based edibles made from veganic weed are guaranteed to be animal free. It is more sustainable by leaps and bounds and physiologically makes much more sense than traditional methods.


There are no prominent cons against veganic growing. It just so happened that through word of mouth and ease of availability, animal meals gained momentum when they were first introduced. Blood from cows was easy to find in the 1940’s. Kelp, on the other hand, was an incredibly difficult thing to source if you lived far away from shorelines.

Nowadays, things have changed. In the same way you once filled your cupboard and learned to grow organically with animal meals, the same can be said about veganic growing - nothing much changes, really. The only major difference is that it is a plant-to-plant transformation. In fact, when done correctly, veganic growing is 100% bioavailable to the plant. Theoretically, this means nothing goes to waste. Animal meals need some time to be broken down and require considerable effort from the microbial life in the soil. They also leave residue that cannot be flushed, affects taste and charges the soil profile. Veganic feeds do not and are essentially stress-free to the soil.

There is no loss in flower production, potency or CBD content. Flavours are just the same. Some may argue that because of the lower physiological work required to process veganic nutrients, bigger yields can be achieved. The jury is out on that, but in no way should veganic growing have any negative impact on your garden.

Here are some examples of successful veganic strains:

Veganic Strawberry Cough - 1st place, High Times Seattle, 2013
Veganic Rosin extract from a Strawberry Banana Flower - 1st place, High Times Non-Solvent Medical Hash Award, 2016
Veganic Dragon Balm - 2nd place, Medical Topicals, 2016
Veganic L.A. Confidential - 2nd place, Best Indica, 2016
Veganic Ghost Train Haze - 2nd, Best Sativa, 2016

And the list goes on and on.

The only real con against veganic growing is equally valid for animal meal growing. It does not lend well with pure hydroponic setups. Coco is perfectly manageable, but drain-to-waste is recommended. Unfortunately, DWC/RDWC systems are very complicated to manage. Big water butts and reservoirs are also at risk of anaerobic bacteria.

Another argument against veganic growing is the availability of commercial products. This is the newest thing on the block, so you may need to dig around. Apart from brewing your own compost tea, there are but a handful of bottled products as they are not yet widely known. It may take some extra effort and diligence to source these products, but nothing remotely close to finding kelp in the mountains in 1940. And as time goes by, it will only get easier to grow veganic.

Adam Parsons
Adam Parsons
Professional cannabis journalist, copywriter, and author Adam Parsons is a long-time staff member of Zamnesia. Tasked with covering a wide range of topics from CBD to psychedelics and everything in between, Adam creates blog posts, guides, and explores an ever-growing range of products.
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