As one of the oldest agricultural crops in history, people have been growing cannabis outdoors for centuries. Indoor growing is a modern phenomenon, not even a century old, and only came about in response to prohibition. However, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, indoor cultivation is responsible for most advancements in its production and most of its scientific discoveries.
Back when prohibition started, growing weed indoors was safer. It was an easy way to hide plants and protect growers from the criminalization of cannabis. As technology grew, and the number of folks ordering marijuana delivery, so did knowledge about these plants. The same is true for Southern Oregon, Northern California, and other areas where outdoor farms still thrived in spite of prohibition.
For aspiring pot farmers, the differences between growing inside or outside are extremely important. For consumers, it makes all the difference, as well. How does environment affect how a strain grows, and what choices must growers face when deciding between the two? There are quite a few considerations to think about, and as science learns more about these plants, the list is sure to grow.
Climate: Controlled vs. Natural
Growing indoors offers many benefits to growing outdoors. It gives you full control over all aspects of your crops, including their location, constraints, and environment. You manage their temperature, their lighting, their humidity, even their carbon dioxide production. All of this is what stabilizes a climate and optimizes the growth of your plants, without any of the risks associated with growing outdoors.
Indoor grows are often more aesthetically appealing, less damaged by the elements. Indoor-grown buds usually have higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, that famous psychoactive cannabinoid. However, no light source can replicate the same spectrum of light that the sun does, which ultimately restricts indoor grows to less vigorous plants and much smaller yields.
You need a suitable climate for growing cannabis outdoors. Hot days, low humidity, warm nights, and plenty of exposure to the sun’s full spectrum rays. Inside, it is impossible to mimic a natural environment completely. For example, natural predators eat mites and offer substantial protection to plants they share a habitat with, such as ladybugs, ants, and even wasps.
Such help from nature does not come indoors. Growers cannot replicate such a complex natural environment inside. If plants get mites indoors, controlling them becomes an almighty challenge, especially since consumers, rightfully so, do not want pesticides on their buds. You can buy helpful bugs, but for many, growing outside promises trade-offs worth investing in.
Cost: Indoor vs. Outdoor
Growing weed is costly, whether inside or out. Both have significant up-front expenses, but over the long-term, growing outdoors are definitely cheaper. Systems that control climate indoors are expensive to operate, but sun-kissed grows only require some forking out at the start of each grow. Labor costs also differ notably. Work is constant in indoor grows, since there is continual rotation of crops.
When harvesting smaller yields grown indoors, the job of feeding, watering, trellising, pruning, and harvesting is more demanding and ongoing. Outside, growers work on just one crop each season. Large outdoor grows operate fine with just four full-time employees, only hiring additional workers at harvest time. However, despite the high cost of indoor grows, profits are higher too.
Indoor farmers have some niche selling points to offer consumers. They can recoup their expenses with higher potency, year-round harvests, and specific breeding projects. They can also grow strains otherwise unsuited to their local climate and outdoor environment. However, rising energy costs and demand for buds places outdoor farmers in a unique position to supply the market at affordable prices.
Quality: Inside vs. Outside
There is no doubt that indoor buds are top-of-the-range. Expediting breeding and controlling the environment makes for gorgeous looking flowers with intense flavor profiles. Additionally, increasing CO2 levels increases THC levels and stimulates bud growth. This is difficult to achieve outdoors. There is also no rain, wind, snow, or other natural elements to contend with, some of which are highly damaging.
Indoor buds stay pristine right until handling starts. Indoor grows also enable harvesting under peak conditions, as well curing in a controlled environment. Outdoor buds, on the other hand, are at the mercy of nature and its whims. They may not look as good, but they still taste, smell, and feel great. For many consumers, sun-kissed buds are organic and preferable to their cosmetically pristine counterparts.
Legality: Indoors vs. Outdoors
The legality of outdoor buds is responsible to many of its stereotypes. By the time consumers see outdoor-grown flowers, it is after surviving a myriad of abuse post-harvest. This is partly due to conflicting laws at state and federal level, since many outdoor farmers are still taking risks to grow their buds. For this reason, harvest is usually rapid, curing rushed, and handling hurried, even aggressive.
By the time outdoor buds get to market, they may appear worse for wear. As laws change with spreading legalization and public pressure on the federal government, outdoor facilities will not have these issues to worry about anymore. They will be able to take their time harvesting, pruning, and handling, which will increase their quality significantly, potentially even higher than indoor buds.
Marijuana Delivery in California
Until your buds are ready for smoking, you may still have to buy weed. Before typing “marijuana delivery near me” into your favorite search engine, consider which buds you would prefer: Indoor or outdoor? Both have their advantages, both have their disadvantages and, for growers and consumers alike, it is worth trying both at different times to compare results.