It is harvest season all over the West Coast. October is called 'Croptober' by most marijuana enthusiasts because so many people are trimming and drying their outdoor gardens this month. From what I have seen on social media, it looks like the longer warmer weather has helped a lot of people's crops. Brace yourselves West Coasters, the fall flood is beginning.
Supplies on the West Coast are surging, and all the while prices for bulk marijuana is dropping. How low will it go? It's tough to say. The market place has changed so much on the West Coast recently, with more and more consumers purchasing their cannabis from storefronts instead of in the shadows. In years past outdoor marijuana went for rock bottom prices when the fall flood was in full force. I once saw a good pound of solid outdoor go for $600 in Oregon, and no, that's not the same as brickweed off the West Coast, so save me your "I got a pound of dank for $100 in the Midwest bro!"
A friend asked me today why indoor marijuana is considered to be better than outdoor marijuana. She doesn't consume cannabis, so she doesn't know the nuances of being a consumer, but she always has fun questions that I love to answer. I have been asked that question before, and I always answer that question with a question. My answer is: "Is indoor cannabis really better than sun-grown cannabis?"
So, which is better: Indoor or Outdoor Marijuana?
I would definitely say that the popular opinion is that indoor is indeed better than outdoor in general. I have always felt that's in large part because of how indoor marijuana looks compared to sun-grown. We are a very visual consumer society. Think about when you go to purchase produce. Do you ever get the weird looking produce? It's perfectly fine produce, but for one reason or another it doesn't look as 'perfect' as other produce items of the same variety.
Of course you don't. You pick the bananas, apples, and peppers that look the most uniform, and the most like what you envision in your head to be what 'the best' looks like. I know I'm guilty of this. The irregular produce could be cheaper, and taste better, but more often than not people will pick what they think is the 'prettiest' fruits and vegetables. That's why apple companies put a very thin layer of wax on some of their apples to make them shinier. Shinier apples usually equals more apples sold.
Marijuana is similar in that regard. People want to buy what's 'prettiest.' They want the frostier looking buds that are free from larf (larf meaning airy, leafy, light nugs), and have that light green or deep purple coloring. Most outdoor that you will see looks kind of dark. "Most outdoor just always looks sadder and depressed compared to most indoor" my uncle always says. When it's in a jar or baggie, it doesn't look as impressive as some indoor that has been grown in a controlled environment. Outdoor grows like of wild, whereas most indoor is grown fairly uniformly.
Another thing that turns people towards indoor compared to outdoor is smell. The first thing that I do when I get my hands on a bud is to give it a pinch to see what smell the nug emits. I like sweet smells, skunky smells, earthy smells, etc. But so much outdoor for one reason or another ends up smelling like nothing, or smelling like hay. This could be for a variety of reasons, and smell alone does not indicate potency. But it does translate to taste, and even though some strains just don't smell that much no matter how you grow it, most consumers are going to pick something that smells a lot over something that doesn't smell or smells like hay.
I think a large contributing factor to the perception that indoor is better than sun-grown is that there is so much bad sun-grown out there. You can tell that a bunch of novices decided to throw some seeds or clones outside, water and feed them every once in awhile, and now expect to push all of that larfy lameness onto consumers.
If all things were equal, and there were as many outdoor growers as indoor growers, and both types of growers grew the same amount of plants, outdoor growers are going to harvest significantly more per plant, and all at one time, so it floods the marketplace. Now consider the fact that there are likely more outdoor growers than indoor growers (at least that's been my experience) because the startup costs are so much lower. So it may not be that indoor is better than outdoor, it's just there's so much crappy outdoor out there that it affects the perception of consumers, at least in my opinion (as always, feel free to thrash me in the comments, I have thick skin.)
With that all being said, a truly savvy cannabis consumer will point out that while indoor often looks better than outdoor and/or smells better, that doesn't mean that it's actually better. Now that cannabis testing is becoming standard in a lot of states, people are finding out that the best sun-grown marijuana has the same potency levels and terpene profiles as some of the best indoor grown marijuana. I have seen a lot of sun-grown cannabis that I would actually prefer to indoor. When outdoor is good, it's REALLY good in my opinion, and in the opinion of many other veteran consumers out West.
In my opinion, the when you compare the best indoor to the best sun-grown, it's a wash. Both are amazing, and both deserve a home in my lungs. I would like to point out that sun-grown marijuana is often grown more organically than indoor, and takes less fertilizer. That indoor might look amazing, but it is so full of heavy metals from being pumped with fertilizer that I don't want any part of it. The use of heavy metal fertilizers is something that the industry is going to have to address sooner than later, and it's something that I think most consumers don't even think about.
Sun-grown marijuana also has a lower carbon footprint compared to indoor since it doesn't require all of that electricity, which is another thing that consumers should keep in mind. We have to be good to mother earth if we intend to keep consuming her plants!
What do TWB readers think? Have you ever consumed sun-grown cannabis that was just as good as any indoor cannabis you have consumed? Growing cannabis in a controlled environment indoors definitely helps cannabis grow better, but if you live on the West Coast and have seen the true full potential of an outdoor plant, than you probably know what I'm talking about. And if not, the comments section is there for you to sound off. I'm off to finishing cleaning my bong, after which point I intend to fill it full of as much milky sun-grown Oregon flower smoke as I can!