Does Growing Indoors vs. Outdoors Affect Potency?

outdoor weed growing

Everyone who smokes cannabis seems to have an opinion on the difference between an indoor vs. outdoor weed high. Some people swear up and down that their best high came from an outdoor grow while others stand by their decision to smoke indoor-grown weed and only indoor-grown weed. But what's the reality behind this age-old cannabis debate? Well, indoor vs. outdoor weed highs depend on way more factors than just where they grew, which is probably where all this confusion comes from. After all, a master farmer's cannabis crop will (almost certainly) always come out better than any novice's weed, no matter where they grew it. The reason for this is skill, not LED lighting vs. the sun! And that's just one example of how indoor vs. outdoor weed highs depend on so much more than where they grow.

As with most questions, the answer to which method of growing results in a better weed high is more nuanced than you might expect. So grab your favorite strain and get ready to read up on what exactly determines the difference between an indoor and outdoor weed high. Spoiler alert — it isn't much!

What Determines a Weed High?

pretty indoor marijuana bud

To understand the indoor vs. outdoor weed high conundrum, you first need a basic understanding of what determines the potency of a weed high in general. Perhaps the most important factor in cannabis potency is the strain in question and, in conjunction with the strain, the overall percentage of THC. You can have a perfectly-grown, all-around awesome weed plant and you still won't get high smoking it. And why? Because it could be a strain like Charlotte's Web or ACDC (both high CBD strains). Without THC, you won't get high either way! And when a strong weed high isn't what you're after, that's perfectly fine. But anyone looking to get stoned silly needs to pay close attention to what gets them that way! In any case, CBD won't give you a weed high.

Another important aspect of cannabis growing that plays a crucial role in determining a weed high is the skill of the person who grew it. If you give two people the same seed from the same plant and tell them both to grow the strongest weed they can, chances are the end results won't be a perfect match. That's because no two people are at the same level of weed-growing skill. You can buy all the expensive seeds and equipment you want, but you can't buy a green thumb (as far as I know). A skilled grower knows the right timing, the right soil, the right nutrients, and the best trimming methods to get a potent cannabis plant with a potent weed high. An amateur, on the other hand, may be able to grow weed, but they can't necessarily grow great weed.

Apart from the strain, the THC percentage and the skill of the grower in question, what else determines the potency of a weed high? Well, once the weed is in your hands it's up to you to decide! How you consume your cannabis, how much cannabis you consume, and how frequently you consume it will all influence how high you'll feel. Not to mention how different bodies experience cannabinoids differently and, as a result, will feel varying levels of highness from the same weed. So overall, what determines the potency of a cannabis high is complex and, to some extent, personal.

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Indoor Weed High

Weed grown indoors is generally considered to be more potent by members of the cannabis community, even if few stoners can specifically tell you why. The reason for this is because of the controlled environment growing indoor weed provides. In an enclosed space, you can control the amount (and type) of light your plant gets, the humidity of your growing room, and just about every other factor that goes into growing cannabis.

But does control mean better weed? Not necessarily, but as a rule you're more likely to get high-quality nugs from an indoor grow vs. outdoor grow. On the other hand, cannabis plants grown indoors tend to yield a smaller crop. So, is it worth the controlled environment (and possibly more potent weed high) if you get so much less weed for all the work it takes to grow a cannabis plant? That's really up to you and your weed growing/consuming preferences. Either way, the small yield size is part of what makes indoor weed more expensive (and desirable).

Outdoor Weed High

Weed grown outdoors has a reputation for being less potent when it comes to the high. And that isn't surprising considering just how much weed grown outdoors has to go through! From extreme heat to unexpected rain to all those nasty critters and pests in between, cannabis grown outdoors experiences significantly more exposure to the elements than indoor weed. But does that really make the end result less strong?

The answer is both yes and no — there's always room for those individual factors from earlier, especially when it comes to the weed strains and the skill of the grower. A skilled grower can harness the power of the sun and produce beautifully grown outdoor cannabis crops without sacrificing potency. An unskilled grower, however, may end up losing out on some crucial gardening details, possibly resulting in a weaker weed high. The best parts about growing weed outdoors is the larger yield and the relatively inexpensive growing costs. Unfortunately, it may result in an overall less potent weed high at the end, which is always something to consider when deciding between indoor vs. outdoor weed.

Which Weed High is Better?

big indoor grow

Comparing indoor vs. outdoor weed highs is, in some ways, like comparing apples to oranges — they're both delicious fruit that fill you up but they're just not the same. And, as with apples and oranges, weed high preference often has a lot to do with personal opinion, not solid facts. As a general rule though, indoor weed tends to produce denser nugs, higher trichome counts, and a more potent high. Weed grown outdoors often has less dense nugs with fewer trichomes, resulting in a weaker weed high, but some swear by the taste. That doesn't mean the comparison of indoor vs. outdoor weed highs is over though since there's always a ton of room for skill, strains, and everything else that goes into determining the strength of a weed high.

So choose indoor weed if you want attractive nugs with a dense dusting of trichomes and choose outdoor weed if you want something more naturally grown and less expensive. Whatever you choose, just remember that well-grown weed will get you high, and really well-grown weed will get you really high. There's nothing stopping a person from growing dank, dense, and deliriously potent outdoor weed just like there's nothing preventing an indoor grow from absolute failure.

If you're given a choice between indoor and outdoor weed, just choose whichever looks best to you. And, if that fails, ask which weed was grown by the more experienced cannabis grower. You're more likely to find great weed with a great weed high by choosing quality growers, not indoor vs. outdoor.

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Isabella Cook
Isabella is a freelance journalist based in Northern California. She hopes to use her satirical writing experience to bring fun and facts together in her articles. When she isn't writing, Isabella can generally be found cooking, catching up on shows, or reading a really old book.