17 Common Cannabis Leaf Symptoms

Throughout the cannabis life cycle, growers will, at one time or another, notice some deficiencies in their plants that are an indication of poor development. Some cannabis leaf symptoms are easily noticeable, while some growers find it hard to identify others.

When this happens, some growers, especially new cannabis growers, panic because they do not know what to do or what the deficiencies mean. Therefore, it is important to learn the crops and know what to expect during their development phases.

Luckily, for many cannabis growers, the plant is resilient, and it has the ability to stand harsh conditions and invaders. The resilience of the cannabis plants provides you with time to figure out the deficiencies and work out rectifying situations.

cannabis leaf symptoms

Deprivation of essential nutrients or light negatively affects the plant’s growth. Failure for the grower to correct the cannabis deficiencies in time leads to the crops ceasing to grow, poor development of buds, or dying. If they grow to the last stage, you may end up with poor quality yields.

One part of the cannabis plant that shows the first signs of deprivation or deficiency is the leaf. Others are the branches and stems. Cannabis plants are extremely resilient and can withstand different harsh environments or crop invaders for some time.

However, this is not a green light for any grower to allow the plants to grow without regular monitoring. The resilience of the crops is a positive thing because it provides you with enough time to learn and figure out any issues that look different and treat them before the plant goes into complete ruin.  In this article, we list the most common cannabis leaf symptoms.

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Common Cannabis Leaf Symptoms

  1. Overwatering

cannabis leaf symptoms overwatering

Overwatering is one of the most common cannabis problems. Even though the problem causes the plants to change and slow down growth, it is easy to rectify. Overwatering leaf symptoms include drooping, curling, yellowing, and root rot.

The leaves also become tight and rigid because of holding too much water. Lack of oxygen is also another issue when it comes to overwatered plants.

  1. Underwatering

cannabis leaf symptoms Underwatering

Underwatering is another common problem that several growers deal with when growing cannabis. Under-watered cannabis plants’ symptoms are drooping of the leaves, thin or papery look, wilting or lifeless looking leaves, yellowing, and nutrient deficiency. Extended underwatering of the plant also leads to curling and bunt tip leaves.

  1. Nutrient Burn

cannabis leaf symptoms Nutrient Burn

Feeding your plants with strong nutrient mixes, the wrong nutrients, or feeding them more times than you should, leads to nutrient burn. Some of the most common symptoms of a nutrient burn are brown leaf edges, crispy or burnt look, and yellow tips and edges.

Some of the most common causes of nutrient burns or nutrient toxicity include deficiencies of potassium, nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, and copper.

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  1. Potassium Deficiency

cannabis leaf symptoms Potassium Deficiency

Plants with potassium deficiency exhibit yellow leaves that begin at the tips before advancing to the base. A burn on the edges of the leaves is also another potassium deficiency symptom. In extreme deficiency cases, the leaf exhibits dead tissue spots. Eventually, the leaf dies after a series of wrinkles.

  1. Magnesium Deficiency

cannabis leaf symptoms Magnesium Deficiency

You can tell when a plant has magnesium deficiency if the leaf has yellow spots on the edges. Older leaves with magnesium deficiency exhibit yellow spots between the veins. Other symptoms include brown spots and leaves folding up before dying.

  1. Copper Deficiency

cannabis leaf symptoms Copper Deficiency

Symptoms of copper deficiency in cannabis plants are dark leaves with purple or blue undertones, yellow or white tips and edges, and metallic or shiny sheen on the leaves. The deficiency mostly affects leaves that are directly under the grow light. The other symptom worth noting is cannabis buds not ripening or growing fast enough.

  1. Nitrogen Toxicity

cannabis leaf symptoms Nitrogen Toxicity

Nitrogen toxicity starts with the tip of the leaf losing its color. The loss leaves the leaf pale. Afterward, the leaf turns brown and wrinkles before finally falling off the cannabis plant.

  1. Calcium Deficiency

cannabis leaf symptoms Calcium Deficiency

The main indication that your cannabis plant has calcium deficiency is the appearance of bronze or brown splotches on the leaf. The deficiency is not easy to diagnose because it appears alongside other deficiencies such as iron and magnesium. The symptoms mostly show on the upper leaves and leaves exposed to the light.

  1. Iron Deficiency

cannabis leaf symptoms Iron Deficiency

One of the trickiest symptoms to identify in cannabis plants is iron deficiency. It bears the same symptoms as magnesium and zinc deficiencies, which is the reason it is tricky. The unique symptoms include yellowing of the cannabis new leaf shoots. The yellowing proceeds to a white color before the leaves die due to chlorophyll deficiency.

  1. Phosphorous Deficiency

cannabis leaf symptoms Phosphorus Deficiency

Phosphorous is one of the most important nutrients that cannabis plants need for proper and healthy development. In the case of a phosphorous deficiency, the symptoms appear first on the cannabis plant older leaves. The leaves of the cannabis plant turn yellow or dark green in the majority of the cases. Other symptoms include bluish and brownish spots on the leaves.

  1. Sulphur Deficiency

cannabis leaf symptoms Sulphur Deficiency

Sulfur is another crucial nutrient that plants need for proper growth. Sulfur deficiency exhibits the same symptoms as those of nitrogen deficiency. However, unlike nitrogen deficiency, sulfur deficiency first affects the newer leaves before moving to the older ones. The deficiency also attacks the leaf first before moving to the tip. The signs are brown and dry leaf edges that progress to whitish-yellow before the leaves start to drop off the plants.

  1. Manganese Deficiency

cannabis leaf symptoms Manganese Deficiency

Manganese deficiency is rare among cannabis plants even though it shares the same characteristics as a sulfur deficiency. During the early stages of the deficiency, leaves turn yellow with much darker veins than normal. The yellowing of the leaves starts at the base before progressing to the tip. After further progress of the deficiency, necrotic, brown spots appear throughout the surface of the leaf. If not corrected, the spots spread, affecting the whole plant.

  1. Heat Stress

cannabis leaf symptoms Heat Stress

Heat stress happens when the distance between the led grow lights and the crops are not good enough. It also occurs if the grow tent temperatures are much higher than required. Though marijuana plants are resilient and can handle a few days of high temperatures, too much of it eventually affects their development. Heat stress symptoms are yellow and burnt leaf edges.

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  1. Wrong pH Range

cannabis leaf symptoms Wrong pH

Growing cannabis at the wrong pH range is another issue that many growers experience with their crops. When you mix water and nutrients at the wrong pH, the issue occurs, causing poor absorption of bathwater and the nutrients. Wrong pH symptoms include leaves turning yellow with burn on the edges.

  1. Bud Rot

cannabis leaf symptoms Bud Rot

Bud rot appears because of an attack by fungi by the name Botrytis Cinerea. The fungi attack the buds from the inside, leading to rot with a moldy brown or gray inside. The symptoms of bud rot are discolored leaves that turn yellow and web-like mold on the buds. The buds also turn dark after the attack.

  1. Spider Mites

cannabis leaf symptoms Spider Mites

Cannabis pests such as spider mites are a common menace. The pests are similar to ticks, spiders, and other different bugs that belong in the same family. Once they attack the plants, spider mites are hard to get rid of.

The signs that your plants have spider mites are striplings or tiny spots on the leaves. The leaves also change their color, curl, and eventually fall off the cannabis plant. The other signs are webs along the stems and under the leaves with spider mites moving around.

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  1. Thrips

cannabis leaf symptoms Thrips

Thrips come in different forms ranging from golden or dark-winged insects to wormy nymphs. They attack the cannabis plants by piercing the leaves and sucking out whatever they can. The insects leave behind slimy, shiny, bronze, or silver spots on the places they bite. As the leaves continue growing, the pots become bigger and eventually die if the attacks go on long.

Understanding Cannabis Leaves

You can tell a lot about the structure and genetics of the cannabis plants by just cooking at the leaves. Some countries, especially in the USA, have less pure Sativa and Indica strains but more hybrids, which are mostly a cross between the two main strains.

However, the hybrid leaves’ appearance can still give you a clue as to which genetic structure the strain leans more towards Indica and Sativa. Besides the leaves playing a huge role in identifying the genetics of the cannabis strains, they also help support the growth and overall health of the marijuana plant.

The leaves also have tiny holes that release oxygen and water while taking in carbon dioxide. They play the largest role in photosynthesis and nutrient absorption.

Wrapping It Up

Looking at the shape, structure, and color of the cannabis plant leaf tells you a lot about the plant’s health. The signs on the leaves showing that the plant has one deficiency or another are a guide as to what the grower is doing wrong with growing the plants.

It is crucial to learn to examine the leaves closely and carefully each time the grower tends to the plants. Identifying the abnormalities early makes it easier to address them early before they go out of hand to stunt growth or tamper with development and the yields.

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  • 【HIGH EFFICIENCY ENERGY SAVING PLANT GROW LIGHT】It Consuming only 100 Watts output with 225pcs LEDs, more scientifically and energy-efficient! Max 2.0g yield, highest PAR/LUMEN output(430μmol/m².s), perfect suit 2' x 2' veg stage, 1.5' x 1.5' bloom stage. Full-spectrum led grow lamp, ideal for all growth stages. TS600W without dimmer.
  • 【HIGHER QUALITY GROW TENT】It's made of thicker1680D canvas grow tent material(ALL OTHERS brands grow tent are 601D canvas), which is tear proof & perfect light locking; 13% denser zipper teeth helping zippers work smoother & more durable; 33% better support capacity metal frame(thickness is 0.8mm, OTHERS only 0.6), ensuring security and stability, supports up to 88lb/40kg.
  • 【EFFICIENT 4"INLINE FAN KIT: Fan Speed】2550RPM , Airflow: 200 CFM , Noise: 28 dBA. Upgraded Inline Fan with EC motor & metal case & 3 settings speed controller, more durable & safer to use! 4" Fan Carbon Filter; 1050+ RC 48 Australian Virgin Charcoal with 33ft length flex ducting, moves air quickly & efficiently for optimal ventilation.
Bestseller No. 2
IPOW Grow Tent Kit Complete 3.3x3.3ft LED Grow Light Dimmable Full Spectrum Indoor Grow Tent Kit 24'x24'x55' Hydroponics Grow Tent with 4 Inch Ventilation Kit
80 Reviews on Amazon
IPOW Grow Tent Kit Complete 3.3x3.3ft LED Grow Light Dimmable Full Spectrum Indoor Grow Tent Kit 24"x24"x55" Hydroponics Grow Tent with 4 Inch Ventilation Kit
  • Package Include: 24" x 24" x 55" grow tent, LED grow light, and 4" ventilation kit includes 4" inline duct fan, carbon filter, flex ducting, 3pcs duct clamps, thermometer and hygrometer, timer, 4pcs 5 gallon grow bags, 2pcs adjustable rope hangers.
  • Full Spectrum Grow Light: Dimmable full spectrum LED grow light consumes only 100W with 240 pcs LEDs. IP65 waterproof helps extend the lifespan. High efficiency that saves 50% on energy bills than HPS grow lights and delivers powerful light output to maximize the yields, idea for all growth stages.
  • Durable & Sturdy Grow Tent: Well-constructed with strong and sturdy steel frame. Reflective mylar interior gathers more grow lights. Heavy duty 600D oxford cloth exterior increases the durability. Reliable zippers provide smoother shut and open. Double stitching perfectly lock light inside. Waterproof tray makes your floor away from water leakage.
  • Effective Ventilation System: Noise-free 4" inline duct fan, Australian charcoal carbon filter and flex aluminum ducting offer a effective ventilation system. Strong and powerful airflow helps eliminate all unwanted smell, also ideal for humidity control.
  • Save Your Time And Money: Forget about choosing the individual item one by one. Our complete grow tent kit not only saves your time but also saves your money. Super easy to assemble and operate, even for beginner growers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We are always here to provide excellent customer service support before and after buying.
-$94.00 SALE OFFBestseller No. 3
MARS HYDRO Grow Tent Kit Complete 3x3x5.3ft TS1000W Dimmable Full Specturm 2.3x2.3ft Grow Tent Complete System 27'x27'x63'Growing Tent Kit 1680D Indoor Grow Kit with Upgraded 4' Inline Fan Filter Kit
659 Reviews on Amazon
MARS HYDRO Grow Tent Kit Complete 3x3x5.3ft TS1000W Dimmable Full Specturm 2.3x2.3ft Grow Tent Complete System 27"x27"x63"Growing Tent Kit 1680D Indoor Grow Kit with Upgraded 4" Inline Fan Filter Kit
  • 【MARS HYDRO AMAZON SERVICE】Quickest FBA Shipment Speed +100% Satisfactory Seller Solution+30 Days Hassle-free Return + 5 Years Warranty of Grow Light =Happy Purchase, any problems will be responded within 8 hours!
  • 【Grow Tent Kit Complete System Includes】MARS HYDRO 3x3FT TS1000W grow light, 27"x27"x63"grow tent, 4"inline fan with speed controller, 4"carbon filter, 33ft length flex ducting, duct clamps,timer,humidity thermometer,4pcs 5 Gallon grow bags, adjustable rope hangers.
  • 【HIGH EFFICIENCY ENERGY SAVING PLANT GROW LIGHT】Max coverage 3x3ft, flower coverage 2.5x2.5ft, It Consuming only 150 Watts output with 342pcs LEDs, highest PAR/LUMEN ([email protected]"), with unique reflective hood, is more high efficiency that saves 50% on energy bills than HPS grow lamps, ideal for all cycle grow & denser harvest. TS1000W carries a dimmer to adjust the brightness according to individual needs.
  • 【PREMIUM QUALITY GROW TENT】Made of thicker 1680D canvas material(ALL OTHERS brands grow tent are 601D canvas), which is tear proof & lock light perfectly, Mars Hydro Grow tent has 13% denser zipper teeth helping zippers work smoother & more durable; 33% better support capacity metal frame(thickness is 0.8mm, OTHERS brand only 0.6mm), ensuring security and stability, supports 110lb/50kg.
  • 【EFFICIENT 4"INLINE FAN KIT】Fan Speed: 2550RPM, Airflow: 200 CFM , Noise: 28 dBA. Upgraded Inline Fan with EC motor & metal case & 3 settings speed controller, more durable & safer to use! 4" Fan Carbon Filter; 1050+ RC 48 Australian Virgin Charcoal with 33ft length flex ducting, moves air quickly & efficiently for optimal ventilation.
-$40.00 SALE OFFBestseller No. 4
VIVOSUN Grow Tent Complete System, 3 x 3 ft. Grow Tent Kit Complete with 4-inch Inline Fan Package, VS2000 LED Grow Light, Temperature Humidity Monitor, Netting, Grow Bags, Pruning Shear and Timer
35 Reviews on Amazon
VIVOSUN Grow Tent Complete System, 3 x 3 ft. Grow Tent Kit Complete with 4-inch Inline Fan Package, VS2000 LED Grow Light, Temperature Humidity Monitor, Netting, Grow Bags, Pruning Shear and Timer
  • Complete System: 3 x 3 ft. grow tent with observation window and floor tray for indoor plant with 4-inch inline fan package, VS2000 LED grow light, temperature humidity monitor, 3 x 3 ft. elastic trellis netting with hooks, 5-pack of 5-gallon grow bags, 6.5-inch gardening pruning shears, and 7-day programmable timer
  • Promote Plant Growth: VIVOSUN grow tents are equipped with a lined zipper double stitched to prevent light leaks; Made of 100% reflective Mylar to ensure plants fully absorb lights’ nutrients and energy
  • Sunlike Full-Spectrum Light: VS2000 full-spectrum LED grow lights provide the power and maximum PAR output needed by plants for maximally efficient photosynthesis
  • Effective Ventilation: Comes with a heavy-hitting blower with a fan speed of 2300 RPM for an airflow of 190 CFM; Moves air through the target location quickly and efficiently for optimal ventilation; The carbon filter eliminates some of the most undesirable, pungent smells
  • Sturdy, Durable, Portable: Made of 300 g thickened nonwoven fabric, these pots do not retain excess water, allowing your roots to breathe for healthier, more vigorous growth; Double-stitched handles help effortlessly transport full of soil and plants with ease
Bestseller No. 5
Spider Farmer Grow Tent Kit Complete 3x3x5 SF-1000 Dimmable Samsung Diodes & Meanwell Driver, Grow Tent Complete System 2.3x2.3ft Growing Tent Kit Set 27'x27'x62' with 4 Inch Inline Fan Carbon Filter
697 Reviews on Amazon
Spider Farmer Grow Tent Kit Complete 3x3x5 SF-1000 Dimmable Samsung Diodes & Meanwell Driver, Grow Tent Complete System 2.3x2.3ft Growing Tent Kit Set 27"x27"x62" with 4 Inch Inline Fan Carbon Filter
  • TOP NOTCH QUALITY LED GROW LIGHT: Use Samsung LM301B diodes and MEAN WELL driver; full spectrum light ideal for all stages of growth; adjustable light intensity with dimmer switch; protective coating on LEDs helps extend the lifespan; no fan, zero noise. Only consumes 100w, running 50% less power than other Blurple lamps or HPS. This light delivers a powerful light output and uniform canopy penetration resulting in maximum yields.
  • DURABLE & STURDY GROW TENT: 100% Reflective Mylar interior maximizes the efforts of grow lights; heavy-duty 1680D Oxford cloth exterior adds durability; reliable SBS zipper shut and open smoothly; double stitching for strength and light protection; well-constructed with strong and sturdy steel frame; plenty of openings for fans/ vents/ electrical cords; removable viewing mesh screen for viewing & removing humidity; bottom tray prevent water leakage on the floor and keep tent stay clean.
  • POWERFUL VENTILATION SYSTEM: Quiet and powerful 4” Inline fan and RC412 Australian carbon filter and flex aluminum ducting combo; very easy to install and use; gives strong airflow and proper air circulation.
  • MONEY & ENERGY SAVING COMPLETE GROW TENT KIT: Compare the cost of individual items and the cost of our complete grow tent package, our kit saves $$ and a lot of time vs buying each item separately. Designed to be user-friendly; comes with easy-to-follow installation instructions; is easy to assemble and is very simple to operate, even for beginner growers. All parts are compatible and properly matched; everything comes in 1 box with discreet packaging.
  • VALUE FOR THE MONEY: Getting a high-quality grow tent kit means that you’ll get more value for a longer period of time. All parts are backed up by local maintenance centers in the USA. As a manufacturer specializing in the production of Led grow lights for more than 10 years, Spider Farmer has been insisting on creating more efficient, more suitable and better quality home grow equipment, being a trusted partner for every grower!
5/5 - (2 votes)

Bowden draws from over a decade of home growing experience as well as consulting for small-scale and hobbyist-level growers. He has written hundreds of articles, thought pieces, and tutorials about growing cannabis at home

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