To a typical recreational user, there are several noticeable differences between the “Ins” (Indoor-grown) and “Outs” (Outdoor-grown); the visual appearance and the smell.

Differences between Indoor vs Outdoor Grown Cannabis

Because of the elements “Outs” must withstand (the wind, rain, bugs, sunlight, moonlight, etc.) it tends to have a more weathered appearance. Most “Outs” will look darker, feel lighter, and more loosely packed than their indoor counterparts (As illustrated in the photos below) For that same reason, many “Outs” will not have the same pungent smell that an “In” of the same type would have, lacking smell or even smelling like hay. These are the typical reasons many people who see Outdoor-grown weed on the shelf of their cannabis shop will lean towards “Ins,” even if they don’t know why the differences exist.

Flavor Differences

There is a concept in the wine world called “Terroir,” which refers to the special characteristics imparted upon the plant by the geography, climate, and geology of where it was grown. Many cannabis connoisseurs believe that terroir applies just as much to cannabis as it does to wine. They believe that properly grown outdoor bud has subtleties in the flavor that can’t be matched by Indoor-grown, which tends to taste more like the fertilizer with which it was grown. If you’re a discriminating cannabis user with a sensitive palate, this might be very important to you. If you can’t taste much difference between individual strains, it probably won’t matter much in the end.

Potency Differences

There isn’t a substantial difference in potency between “Ins” and “Outs.” Since THC and CBD content testing is a standard practice in the industry, you can get an accurate estimation on how potent your weed will be before you buy it, so it’s easy to find the In or Out with the strength you’re looking for.

Energy and Environmental Differences

For cannabis growers who want to reduce their environmental impact, outdoor growing is the better option. Indoor cannabis production consumes a substantial amount of energy. A 2011 study found that indoor cannabis grows are responsible for 1 percent of the nation’s total energy supply. And while that might not sound like a lot, it is. The amount of energy to power indoor cannabis grows across the country is equal to about $5 million. It’s also enough energy to power 2 million average homes.

When you consider that indoor cannabis cultivation energy is parallel to putting 3 million more cars on the road, you get a clearer picture of just how much energy it really consumes. For gardeners who are doing their best to do what’s right for the planet and keep things green, an outdoor grow will consume far less energy than an indoor setup.

Pros & Cons

Growing Indoors

You can enjoy a nearly absolute freedom at choosing your location.

Less natural challenges as you can control the environment at will.

Higher THC percentages that depend on the quality of the surroundings.

This method is more convenient when the climate is unsuitable outside.

Cosmetically speaking, indoor flowers are more pristine.

The cultivation, harvesting, and curing is more detailed.

Indoor flowers are considered a first-class choice.

Cost may be high, and some natural factors cannot be replicated.

Growing Outdoors

Requires low humidity, formidable sun exposure and hot days.

More challenges but also “natural helpers” against mites, such as ants.

You won’t need a climate control system, a budget relief.

The rising cost of energy makes outdoor farming less expensive.

Consumers can notice the difference and tend to prefer outdoor flowers.

Federal law makes some outdoor cannabis farms a risky business.

This method needs fewer pesticides and insecticides, increasing its reliability.