Monthly Archives: March 2014

Indoor versus Outdoor Grown – Which is better?

I get asked this question a lot and there is no easy or 100% correct answer. As much of any grow whether indoors or outdoors has to do with the grower and strain for the sake of argument let’s assume the grower is competent and knows the basic fundamentals of growing marijuana and has been successful doing so.

In debating the pros and cons of each one must logically deduce what the most important aspect of growing medical quality marijuana in the first place. Is it quantity or quality? This should be a no-brainer as quality is the most important aspect.

I will try and be the most objective that I can as I have grown in both and used the same strains as a comparison.

So let’s list out the pros and cons of both. First we have outdoor growing.

Pros – Higher yields. Lower costs because of using the sun.

Cons – Security. Bugs and pests. Dust and other contaminants. Less quality. Weather and mold issues and also could lead to having to harvest earlier if temps drop too low meaning harvesting immature plants which have not reached full maturity.

So now let’s do the list of pros and cons for indoor growing.

Pros – Higher quality due to being able to control all aspects of the plants environment. This means harvesting when plants are fully mature and trichomes have reached the perfect balance of 1/3 amber, 1/3 milky and 1/3 clear. Better security and stealth versus outdoors.

Cons – Lower yields. High energy costs for lighting, equipment etc.

Now some will argue these points specifically the lower quality issue when growing outdoors. As I pointed out I have tested this using the same strain to see what the results would be and my analysis of both was validated by what I have stated. I did this first test some 6 years ago. While I got larger yields growing outdoors I had to harvest a few weeks earlier than I would have liked due to drops in the temperature and rain and the likelihood of mold if the plant was not harvested. I could not control these conditions outside and was at the mercy of mother nature. I also noticed that plant and buds were leafier and not as compact and with far less trichomes than grown indoors. As trichomes are where the THC is predominantly, this is a major factor.

I dried both the indoor and outdoor the same and then cured for a minimum of 1 month before smoking. I found the outdoor to be a harsher smoke and not as effective to the indoor grown. To validate this I sent samples of both to be lab tested and my initial thoughts were validated. The outdoor was tested at 17% THC while the indoor tested at 22%. It also came back that there were more contaminates on the outdoor grown (bugs, dust, other plant fibers, etc.).

I did this same test a year later and was benefited by being able to harvest the outdoor plant 2 weeks later than the first test when full mature to see if the results would be different. After sending to the lab the results were actually worse. The outdoor tested at 15% while the indoor tested at the same 22%. The outdoor was still a bit harsher as well and still had the contaminant issues. After about 3 months of curing the harshness was not as bad however and so my thoughts are that the plant grown outdoors maybe had build ups of more chlorophyll than the indoor grown but I have no way to validate that.

My thoughts after doing much research on the THC issue being lower with outdoor may be due to degradation of the trichomes themselves because of light which is much more intense from the sun than any indoor lights and the sun degraded more of the THC than what occurs in an indoor grow.

I see that there is great value if involved in the retail aspect of growing outdoors due to the cost implications and when in “business” the profit margins are the most important aspect. When it comes to medical quality marijuana however then quality trumps quantity everyday. Add to the fact that patients do not need to be ingesting the contaminants like dust, bugs and dust and other foreign plant particles.

To me, all things being considered equal, indoors is far superior than outdoor grown marijuana.

I do not want this post to infer that growing outdoors is bad but in my estimation it is just not on par with the quality that medical marijuana patients need. But if that is all you can do then it is better to have than to not have even if lower in quality. You will just have to medicate yourself more with the outdoor grown.



Bud Snob Myth #2 – Green and Fresh Buds

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See our samples above. These are our indoor grown in soil buds that we currently have available. These are not yet fully cured but will turn more brown with age as the chlorophyll degrades.

Myth #2 – Buds Should Be Green and Fresh

Wow. Where do I start? This kind of thinking may be accurate for fresh vegetables and fruit or rose flowers but is not true of cannabis. The cannabis plant goes through a natural life cycle as an annual plant. This is not to say a grower should wait to harvest until the plant looks like it is dying.

The proper harvest technique is to use a jewelers loop and look at the trichomes. When you get the proper balance of say close to 33% amber, 33% milky and 33% clear then the plant is ready for harvest. It is quite natural for the plant to have yellowing dying leaves and even buds at this cycle of its life.

Growers who base their harvest on the hair colors or just eyeballing them are usually the ones growing for money and bag appeal or ignorance. You will hear a common theme from myself and that is it is all about the trichomes. Nothing else matters but the trichomes as this is the medicine. All the rest of the plant is nothing more than a means to transport those trichomes into your body.

The whole concept of green and fresh is laughable at best and it basically is another disservice that the professional for profit mmj medical dispensaries foist upon the general medical cannabis user. It all starts with educating the patients which they do not care about.

Hydroponic growers usually have more of the green and fresh buds because the plant basically is being altered in its normal life cycle under those conditions. Most hydro growers use chemicals which are much harder to flush out of the plants system and so you are partaking in chemicals which you have no clue what they are and or what long or short term effects they may have on you.

The green in buds is nothing more than chlorophyll. Proper curing is necessary to reduce the chlorophyll. This takes time. A proper cure will result in a mix colored bud of brownish to green with a much smoother flavor and less harshness. The proper curing changes the pigments and is normal. So if you are seeing some yellowing or browning big deal.

Again the common theme should always be how good the medicine is and not what it looks like.




Bud Snob Myth #1 – Hard Nugs

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See our samples above. These are our indoor grown in soil buds that we currently have available. These are not yet fully cured but will turn more brown with age as the chlorophyll degrades.

Myth #1 – Buds should be hard nuggets about thumb size.

Debunk – Usually the hardness or denseness of cannabis is dependent on strain. Of course there will be differences between outdoor grown (usually not as dense) versus indoor grown. That being said there is usually zero difference in the quality of the medicine (trichomes).

There are many tricks that growers and dispensaries use to create harder, denser buds such as compression or nasty chemical foliar feeds (usually in hydroponic grows).  Some growers say that adding additional co2 while growing makes harder buds. More on the co2 myth in a later post.

Some dispensaries have been known to rehydrate their mmj supply and then put in a vacuum sealer bag and compressing and then re-drying to a degree. Again this does nothing to make the bud any better other than to maybe introduce mold and to increase bag appeal.

I personally do not like to use hard nuggets as they are hard to break down and smoke. Most times you have to constantly relight and have a harder time getting the medicine into your body. I also have never seen any hard nugget being of better medicinal quality than any other nugget including the normal shake on the bottom of the bag.