This week, we’re going to tackle a debate that’s been a part of cannabis culture for a long time and has become more important recently: the merits of Outdoor-grown Cannabis versus Indoor-Grown Cannabis.
The Ability to Choose
Back when the black market was the only market for marijuana, the choice was already made for you. Unless you lived near the Mexican border or the Green triangle in Northern California, chances are all the bud you were smoking was grown indoors. Unless the marijuana farm is in vast tracts of wilderness, growing weed outside was just too risky for most growers. The smell and visibility of an outdoor grow operation is bound to turn heads in the law enforcement community, so most growers were forced to grow inside. For this reason, it’s more than likely most of the bud you’ve bought over the years has been from a “grow room.” Now that there is a legal recreational market in several states, there are outdoor grow operations popping up all over, giving you the option to smoke outdoor cannabis.
How do they compare?
To a typical recreational user, there are several noticeable differences between “Ins” (Indoor-grown) and “Outs” (Outdoor-grown); the visual appearance and the smell. Because of the elements “Outs” must withstand (the wind, rain, bugs, sunlight, moonlight, etc.) it tends to have a more weathered appearance. Most “Outs” will look darker, feel lighter, and more loosely packed than their indoor counterparts (As illustrated in the photos below) For that same reason, many “Outs” will not have the same pungent smell that an “In” of the same type would have, lacking smell or even smelling like hay. These are the typical reasons many people who see Outdoor-grown weed on the shelf of their cannabis shop will lean towards “Ins,” even if they don’t know why the differences exist.
What about taste?
There is a concept in the wine world called “Terroir,” which refers to the special characteristics imparted upon the plant by the geography, climate, and geology of where it was grown. Many cannabis connoisseurs believe that terroir applies just as much to cannabis as it does to wine. They believe that properly grown outdoor bud has subtleties in the flavor that can’t be matched by Indoor-grown, which tends to taste more like the fertilizer with which it was grown. If you’re a discriminating cannabis user with a sensitive palate, this might be very important to you. If you can’t taste much difference between individual strains, it probably won’t matter much in the end.
Since nature takes care of the lighting and some of the watering of these plants, responsibly grown “Outs” have a reduced carbon footprint when compared to Indoor-grown bud. If environmental sustainability is important to you, sun-grown bud is right up your alley.
What about Potency?
If potency was going to be the tie-breaker for you, we’ve got bad news. There isn’t a substantial difference in potency between “Ins” and “Outs.” Since THC and CBD content testing is a standard practice in the industry, you can get an accurate estimation on how potent your weed will be before you buy it, so it’s easy to find the In or Out with the strength you’re looking for.
So which one is right for me?
The answer is simple, try both and make the decision for yourself! Since the potency is the same, it mostly comes down to personal preference. Do you like strong smelling bud with a gorgeous coat of crystal resin as your ideal bud? Then keep smoking those Ins. Do you want a more sustainable product with subtle flavors? Next time you’re in the store, ask a bud-tender to recommend an Outdoor-grown strain.
Toke on, Dreamers!