For millions of years, the Cannabis Sativa plant and its ancestors have grown like a common weed across the steppes of central Asia and other parts of the world. Without the intervention of humans this plant flourished across many parts of the world. About 10,000 years ago, humans realized the usefulness of this plant and began to use it as an agricultural crop to produce oil and food. It was also used at this time to create hemp cordage for pottery. This would mark humans’ love affair with this highly useful plant and begin a long-standing relationship with cultivation. For most of our history with hemp, we have grown it outside under the sun like most other plants. However, in the modern era, we have applied our vast botanical knowledge and specialized techniques to grow the hemp exactly how we want it. This has led to two major specifications for hemp, outdoor-grown hemp, and indoor-grown hemp. Which is better and which should you buy? Read on to find out more.
Outdoor Grown Hemp
One of the major advantages of growing hemp outdoors is that plants love natural sunlight. This allows the hemp to more completely and fully realize their genetic potential. This often leads to a high-quality final product with dense buds and plentiful, diversified cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Growing outdoors also costs significantly less than an indoor growing startup. There is no need for fans, tarps, lights, etc. However, an outdoor crop is more prone to damage from pests, mold, and mildew. There is also no way to control the climate and you are at the mercy of Mother Nature’s storms, droughts, and other weather phenomena. Another limiting factor to outdoor growing is the growing season which can change substantially depending on where you are located.
Indoor Grown Hemp
On the other end of the spectrum is indoor grown hemp. This is hemp that is grown indoors usually in a specialized room outfitted with lights and ventilation units. The main advantage of growing indoor is that you can control everything that goes into the plant from light, moisture content, CO2 levels, etc. Best of all an indoor grow operation can also operate year-round with the need to shut down or stop growing in the wintertime. Plants grown indoors are also less prone to pests, mildew, and mold because of the closed environment. They are susceptible to CO2 poisoning so the CO2 levels must be carefully controlled. It is also hard to replicate the exact profile of sunlight, meaning that the cannabinoid and terpene profile may not be as rich and diverse as outdoor-grown hemp.
Why Indoor Grown Hemp Flower is Superior
Despite some of the advantages of outdoor-grown hemp and some of the drawbacks of indoor-grown, indoor-grown hemp is generally considered to be a superior product. The main reason is increased quality control which leads to improved results in any industry and this is especially true in the hemp industry. Look below for some of the benefits a perfect climate and improved lighting can do for indoor-grown hemp:
- Higher cannabinoids – No matter the indoor grow method used indoor-grown hemp usually has higher concentrations of cannabinoids than outdoor-grown hemp. It is much easier to promote the plant to grow one cannabinoid such as CBD over another helping to increase the yield. This is because the carefully controlled climate can be changed on the fly creating a perfect climate for that particular plant.
- Better terpene expression – Outdoor hemp plants are under much more stress than indoor plants. This means that things like terpenes are usually the first to take the hit. Outdoor-grown hemp often produces relatively high concentrations of cannabinoids but will sometimes lack the terpenes to make up for stress and those that do get produced often get destroyed during processing.
- Fewer contaminants – Hemp is grown outdoors, no matter how controlled is far more prone to contaminants than hemp that is grown indoors. The hemp is usually grown in large agricultural sectors and even if the grower does not use chemicals a neighbor might and there is a risk of runoff of pesticides, fertilizers, or heavy metals. There is also the risk of pollution contaminating the plant. Indoor hemp benefits from a highly controlled environment and means fewer contaminants in the final product.
- Better-looking buds – There is no doubt that hemp grown indoors just simply looks better than that grown outdoors. It is again because of the finely controlled environment. It gives the hemp the best possible conditions to grow and results in a beautiful looking hemp that looks and smells awesome.
- Smoother smoke – Indoor grown hemp expresses more cannabinoids and terpenes while remaining free of harsh contaminants. This often means that indoor hemp produces buds that taste more flavorful and produce a much milder vapor or smoke. Climate control and fewer contaminants mean you are getting a rich cannabinoid and terpene profile without the negative effects of the environment causing a harsh smoke.
Indoor Hemp for The Win!
Despite some advantages to growing hemp outdoors, indoor-grown hemp is generally regarded as the better product. This is especially true when it comes to smokable hemp for the many reasons listed above. If you are looking for hemp buds and you plan to smoke or vape them or use them in your homemade edibles recipes then it is a good idea to seek out indoor hemp. This will ensure you are getting the best quality product and keeping harsh residues and toxic chemicals out of your system.