Growing Marijuana Indoors vs. Outdoors: Effects on Potency

Smoking Marijuana Potency Indoors vs. Outdoors
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When most people think of a garden or grow operation, they think outdoors. This is often the correct assumption to make, considering a majority of our agriculture is found on massive outdoors farms. From grapes to corn and everything in between, farmers around the world produce an insane amount of crops.

Strangely, though, when most people think of growing cannabis, they assume that it’s indoors and hidden in the basement. Again, this is largely true in today’s world, but go back to before the Reagan Era. Cannabis was more commonly grown outdoors in a similar manner to corn.

In fact, the cannabis plant is so resilient that if you were to throw a seed in your front yard, you’re likely to find a healthy cannabis plant growing there before long.

Due to the prohibition of cannabis and its cultivation, growers were forced to move their operations inside. The popularity of indoor grows increased drastically when cannabis was declared an illegal substance. It started as a way to hide your plants, but it’s persisted as a social norm even in states with full legalization. This brings us to the question: When growing marijuana, is it better to do it indoors or outdoors?

Indoor Growing

growing marijuana indoors

The cultivation of cannabis has drastically switched over to indoor facilities. It is common for states that have legalized cannabis to require all legalized grow facilities to be kept indoors.

This irritates certain consumers, but it makes some sense from a regulatory perspective. Indoor grows are far more regulated and can be controlled a lot easier. Not only have indoor grows became very popular for regulation, they have quickly become more favorable to the growers.


  • An indoor grow is year-round. Not only can you keep harvesting your plants in the winter months, but you also don’t have to worry about fluke weather popping up.
  • An indoor grow can make it easier to control insects and pests. Due to the controlled environment of the facilities, indoor grows to tend to have fewer ailments.
  • An indoor grow gives the lead grower more control of the plant. They have the ability to adjust the light, airflow, soil, and even nutrients. The product tends to come out much more consistent.
  • An indoor grow ensures that there is no cross-contamination, meaning it is easier to keep the mother plants separate from the rest.


  • An indoor facility does not receive the natural sunlight that most crops do. This may diminish the number of natural nutrients of the plant.
  • An indoor facility, when compromised by an ailment, quickly spreads to other plants. This can cause an entire grow to have to restart. Spider mites are one of the fastest-spreading ailments in an indoor grow.
  • An indoor grow facility requires much more consistency and direction within the process, meaning you must pay attention to the light being used, nutrients, soil, water, and even airflow. Indoor plants are much more sensitive.
  • An indoor facility can become much more expensive than an outdoor grow. You have to pay rent, electric, growing tools, and even maintenance workers to make sure the equipment keeps working. The cost of an indoor grow can be far more expensive.
  • The yield of indoor plants is typically less than outdoor plants, but you tend to get a more consistent yield than outdoor. A big reason for this is simply the amount of space in an indoor grow compared to outdoor.

Outdoor Growing

outdoor marijuana grow set up

The classic method of growing cannabis is no longer the norm. However, it is still very popular amongst certain growers and smokers. Outdoor facilities are more common in states like California and Oregon.

Yet it’s rare to find any legal flower to purchase that was grown outdoors. States have regulated the use of outdoor facilities and pushed for indoor grows, but an outdoor grow has some great benefits that indoor facilities do not offer.


  • Outdoor grows are more natural and organic than an indoor grow. They receive natural sunlight and are given natural nutrients from the soil.
  • Outdoor grows to produce far more yields than an indoor plant. The buds tend to be much denser, and it’s common to see very tall plants in an outdoor grow. They have more space to thrive.
  • Outdoor grows can be much larger and they don’t require as much constant work as an indoor grow. This means you do not have to worry as much about changing lights, airflow, or even nutrients.
  • Outdoor grows are good for the natural ecosystem and tend to work with the plant’s natural cycle. This method offers a much more natural pest management style than indoor grows.
  • Outdoor grows may produce a fuller cannabinoid profile.


  • Outdoor grows require the correct climates and regions. It is important that outdoor facilities are in states that have a good climate for cannabis.
  • Outdoor grows are less consistent in their yields. They also tend to not have the same “bag appeal” that indoor buds have.
  • Outdoor grows require a lot of land and agricultural knowledge. They also have a tendency to have issues with pests.
  • Outdoor grows are seasonal, so you can only harvest at certain times of the year. In turn, this makes them a bit less profitable. They are also a bit more difficult to regulate.

Which Produces the Highest Potency?

field of marijuana

As we continue down this journey of understanding the cannabis plant, we are beginning to realize the importance of each cannabinoid and how they affect us. At the moment, consumers are worried solely about the percentage of THC in each plant.

Indoor grows are far more consistent and controlled. This allows growers to pinpoint exactly what the plant needs and when it needs it. The ability to control all aspects of a grow tends to allow indoor plants to yield a higher percentage. Outdoor buds yield more weight, but indoor buds have the ability to test at a higher percentage of THC.

Indoor buds have also been bred to contain more THC and less of the full cannabinoid profile. Outdoor buds typically have a wider spectrum of cannabinoids.

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