Are there any differences between indoor and outdoor cannabis?

By: Contributor Grow

The debate about indoor or outdoor cannabis quality is as old as Beatles vs. Rolling Stones. And honestly, there’s no right answer; it’s all about you as an individual consumer and what you like to smoke. Cannabis comes in many shapes, sizes and colors, but there is a fundamental question that needs to be answered for you in order to widen your choices as user: What is the difference between both types of marijuana?

If you’re a cannabis expert, you can easily tell the difference between growing outdoors and growing indoors. But for the new consumer, the difference between the two growing methods is not so obvious. They have both advantages and disadvantages, so whether you’re looking to grow your own cannabis or simply want to improve cannabis your identification skills, learning to differentiate them is very beneficial.

At the end of the 20th century, cannabis began to be grown indoors for many reasons and, due to its popularity, as well as the ease of intervene in many aspects of plant growth, more people began to believe that indoor cannabis is of greater quality than the one grown outdoors. But that’s simply not true; there are more features to cannabis that make it of a “good quality” than the place where it grows.

In addition, talking about good cannabis is extremely subjective; a consumer may be seeking high THC content whereas someone else may be looking for a rich flavor and a complex terpene profile. But there are certain features that make the distinction quite easy.

The color of cannabis flowers

One of the simplest ways to differentiate between the two types of cannabis is that the outdoor grown usually results in a worn-out and dulled-colored darker green flowers and buds. This is because outdoors have to withstand a number of climatic elements such as rain, sunlight, wind or temperature changes, compared to indoor cannabis, which will exhibit a lighter colour and, usually, a brighter green, which can present a number of more intense and colourful shades, with flashes of orange, purple or even red in some strains.

Size of marijuana buds

To grow outdoor cannabis usually means that everything will be bigger, including buds and stems, but with a looser flower consistency. Indoor plants can only grow as much as lights and space allow, so they are significantly smaller. Thus they tend to have more compact buds, than the thick, aerated outdoor cannabis buds.

Density of glandular trichomes

Indoor cannabis is grown closer to the light source in a controlled environment, resulting in smaller buds that have really dense trichomes. For this reason, it is not uncommon to see indoor buds shining like frosty crystals. As outdoor buds are larger and trichomes have more surface area to cover, their density is significantly lower.

The nuances of marijuana flavor

Believe it or not, outdoor cannabis is considered to have a richer flavor profile, full of subtleties and intricate flavors. This is because the environment in which it was grown provides part of its natural flavor to the plant. It is what is called “terroir” and applies to any fruit or vegetable that is grown outdoors, a term that refers to geographical characteristics such as climate or soil that give personality to the final product. In fact, the terroir plays a central role in how the taste of, for example, wine develops. 

Intensity of cannabis aroma

In outdoor crops, often its aroma also reflects the environment, and smells of wood, grass, pepper or pine, more earthy acre aromas. If you ask outdoor growers, many will say that the sun can generate unique terpene profiles that are not present in indoor grass. However, indoor cannabis can receive the perfect amount of light per square meter and unique spectra of different wavelengths to maximize terpenes.

Thus, indoor crops usually have a rich aromatic palette that goes beyond the soil, and can smell lavender, citrus, vanilla and even coffee. Therefore, for identical strains of Amnesi-K Lemon, Cherry Dream and Cookies Haze, some grown indoors and others outdoors, the indoor ones will have more fruit, cherry and chocolate/mint aroma, respectively, than those grown outdoors.

Cannabinoids potency

Is indoor cannabis stronger than outdoor cannabis? Not necessarily. The potency of cannabis is determined by the concentration of THC in the plant and that is the product of multiple factors. However, the interiors give the grower more control to introduce things that increase the concentration of cannabinoids (such as an extra supply of CO2).

Additionally, indoor crops don’t have to fight the elements, thus the flowers are usually in perfect condition. So, although one is not stronger than the other, indoor crops develop under ideal conditions that give them a better chance of producing a more potent crop.

The price at which weed is sold

After comparing flowers, many consumers unwittingly choose indoor buds, even though they are usually more expensive. This is because they tend to be more aesthetically pleasing and may have a more attractive aroma profile. But that doesn’t mean they’re any better than the ones on the outside. As consumers, we are attracted to products that completely involve our senses; and indoor cannabis usually involves them more deeply than outdoor cannabis.

Environmental impact of marijuana cultivation

There are also other differentiating factors that may be important. For example, the amount of energy needed to grow indoors is significant and unnecessarily increases the environmental footprint. Something that is inefficient, because the plant has been growing in nature under the sun, moon and stars for millennia. Besides, outdoors it is grown on land in a living soil full of insects, fungi and bacteria that break down the organic matter to feed the plants. We feed the earth because it the plants. It’s a different top-down approach, and many believe it produces a superior product.

Indoor or outdoor? Which is the best cannabis for me?

In terms of quality, it depends on you and what you like to smoke. Some users prefer sun-grown cannabis because it is the most natural and ecological version of the plant, with more robust, natural cannabinoid profiles and terpenes. However, because many elements can affect outdoor cannabis, many users also believe that outdoor weed is at the bottom of the pyramid of potency/effects.

One great thing about cannabis is that there are countless strains for self-cultivation both indoors and outdoors, and each one offers a unique experience. The best way to find out what works best for you is to try cannabis that is grown in both ways. Because the indoor/outdoor contrast is an excellent place to start your cannabis research journey, whether you’re a casual amateur or a luxury-loving seeking the best weed.

Kannabia Seeds Company sells to its customers a product collection, a souvenir. We cannot and we shall not give growing advice since our product is not intended for this purpose.

Kannabia accept no responsibility for any illegal use made by third parties of information published. The cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption is an activity subject to legal restrictions that vary from state to state. We recommend consultation of the legislation in force in your country of residence to avoid participation in any illegal activity.