One of the most widely used treatments against powdery mildew and other cannabis pests are horticultural oils. In particular, neem oil is a favorite among growers since it is versatile: it can be used as a carrier oil in a pesticide mix and it is also fairly effective against pests and diseases on its own.
However, neem oil also has a few disadvantages which is why some growers prefer to use other oils. Jojoba oil, a popular ingredient in cosmetics, is one that is commonly used as a substitute for neem oil. Let’s look at some of the reasons why this oil is growing in popularity among cannabis growers.
The problem with neem oil
Neem oil, which is extracted from the seeds of the Azadirachta indica tree, is widely used as an organic pesticide since it has been proven to be effective against a range of cannabis pests and fungal diseases such as powdery mildew. It is also a versatile oil used in a lot of hair and skin products. Pure neem oil has a smell similar to garlic and is also ingested as a supplement in Asian traditional medicine but it is still unclear whether it is actually beneficial.
Neem oil used in pesticide products may also be processed with solvents. It is also likely to contain the compound azadirachtin which is suspected to cause Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). Furthermore, neem oil is thought to be minimally toxic to humans when ingested, with or without processing.
What is jojoba oil?
Jojoba oil is derived from the seeds of the jojoba shrub, a slow-growing plant native to the southwestern region of the US and similar climates. Like neem oil, jojoba is also used as a carrier oil for a number of beauty and skin care products. However, it reportedly carries less risk when ingested since it is non-digestible and the erucic acid that it contains may only cause heart problems with very long-term exposure.
Why use jojoba oil on your cannabis?
At present, neem oil is still widely used and it is unlikely to be eclipsed by jojoba oil anytime soon. Neem oil is still one of the most effective horticultural oils and is relatively safe if used properly. However, jojoba presents an alternative that is just as effective and a bit safer. Neem oil is slightly toxic to aquatic creatures and may irritate your pets if they accidentally ingest it, whereas small amounts of jojoba oil is unlikely to harm your cats or dogs.
The way that jojoba oil acts on pests and insects is also different from neem oil. Instead of poisoning the bug and interfering with its hormone systems like neem oil does, jojoba clogs their spiracles, suffocating them.
Jojoba oil research on powdery mildew
Most importantly, a few studies have already shown that jojoba oil is just as effective against powdery mildew as neem oil. Powdery mildew is a disease caused by a number of different species of fungi and one of the most recommended organic forms of treatment is horticultural oils, particularly jojoba and neem. One study using a number of different horticultural oils showed neem oil to be only slightly more effective than jojoba oil in preventing and curing powdery mildew on okra plants, the former at 97.74% and the latter at 89.82%. In another study, jojoba oil was found to be 75 to 100% effective in reducing PM on grape cultivars ‘Auxerrois’ and ‘Riesling’. Even though there are no studies that measure jojoba oil’s effectivity on cannabis PM, a lot of growers already use it as a substitute for neem oil since it is less harsh.
Aside from its powerful antifungal properties, jojoba is also antimicrobial, which means it can also get rid of pathogens that can give your plants disease like root rot and witches’ broom.
Jojoba oil versus neem oil
This video sums up the difference between jojoba and neem.
Where to get jojoba oil?
Frequently Asked Questions on Jojoba Oil
Several studies have shown that jojoba oil is one of the most effective horticultural oils against powdery mildew that occur on plants including okra, grape and cannabis.
One study using a number of different horticultural oils showed neem oil to be slightly more effective than jojoba oil in preventing and curing powdery mildew on okra plants, the former at 97.74% and the latter at 89.82%
Jojoba oil is used in a number of different applications. It is primarily used in beauty and skincare products and as an alternative to whale oil and its derivatives. It also has good antifungal and antimicrobial properties which makes it a good natural pesticide and horticultural oil.
Jojoba oil is often considered a “milder” alternative to neem. Although the difference between the two in terms of safety and effectiveness is minimal, it is still good to know that jojoba oil can be used in place of neem, especially considering that it is a common household item. This means you can buy it in bulk since it can be used for a number of other things as well. The fact that jojoba oil is also safe to be used on humans is reassuring that it won’t inadvertently poison you, your plants, or your pets.