UVB (280-315nm) has a short wavelength, high energy and also causes sunburn in humans and plants. UVB is known to damage protein and nucleic acids in plant cells, causing decreased metabolism and decreased number of flowers. UVB can have positive effects for plants as well. Cannabis responds to the stress and sunburn from UVB wavelengths, by creating it’s own sunscreen in the form of trichomes. The more trichome production the higher the THC, CBN and CBD levels.
Exposure to UVB radiation is also known to reduce a plants biomass, plant height and leaf area, but increase leaf thickness, terpene and resin production. Cannabis cultivators who’s main goal is to boost the amount of fragrant enhancing terpenes and oils for edible, tincture or waxes, rather than focus on high yields may choose lighting such as Metal Halide that provides some level of UVB radiation or supplement their current lighting with UVB reptile lights.
Finally, UVA and near ultraviolet light (315-400nm) has the longest wavelengths of UV light and can be very beneficial to plant development. UVA has also been shown to increase the amounts of THC, CBD, and terpene production in cannabis plants, without the negative effects of UVB. Wavelengths in the UVA spectral range are included in the absorption spectrum, particularly in the 380nm range. The absorption spectrum is the range of wavelengths of light that are absorbed by green chlorophyll for photosynthesis. Additionally, research has shown that exposing plants to UVA light can also inhibit mold growth and fungal development.