Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
January 13, 2023

Many dispensaries and online shops present to you the broadest range of strains available today. Some of them might be grown indoors, while others – outdoors. It is worth mentioning that it is possible to mess up with both of them, as growing cannabis is not an easy thing to do.

Some meticulous users will see and feel the difference in indoor vs outdoor cannabis immediately, while for most, it will be noticeable only when emphasized on that. All in all, every plant is different, and every strain is unique, so not all distinguishable aspects might apply to them. Nevertheless, here we will try to gather together the general aspects of outdoor vs. indoor cannabis plants for you to get acquainted with.

This post is intended as information and for general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is recommended that you talk to a healthcare professional about this before introducing cannabinoids into your daily routine (especially if you have been diagnosed with any medical conditions or are under any medication). It is not recommended to drive or operate any machinery when using cannabis- or hemp-derived products. Use responsibly!

Indoor growing weed: pros and cons

Growing weed indoors is relatively new since new technological developments have made it far more failproof than it ever was before. That’s because controlling the indoor environment relies on technology that has only been available to us recently. Growers must control the temperature, humidity, soil quality, and light/dark cycles in order to have a successful yield. For thousands of years, cannabis farmers have been at the mercy of nature, and this has meant that yields were inconsistent. Now, indoor growing means that a person can grow weed anywhere with far more predictable results.


  • Control. Being able to grow indoors means controlling every aspect of the growth cycle. Cultivators can therefore ensure that each crop is getting exactly what it needs to be healthy and strong. They can control the humidity levels indoors, along with how much light exposure each plant gets, while dictating temperature. They can mimic the exact weather patterns and light cycles that each individual cultivar needs in order for them to yield as many top-shelf flowers as possible.
  • Versatility. You can grow weed indoors even if you live in a climate that’s unfavorable for growing cannabis, meaning you no longer have to own property in a specific part of the country to be a successful cultivator.
  • Protection from Pests and Diseases. Cannabis grown indoors is less likely to develop pests and diseases that can completely destroy crops. Pests and diseases are largely outdoor problems since the outdoor environment is a lot more unpredictable and difficult to control. Pests and diseases can happen indoors, but generally, these issues affect unhealthy plants, and indoor plants are much healthier on average because their environment is controlled to match their most specific needs.
  • Protection from Weather Conditions. Another plus is that the cultivator does not have to worry about freak storms, droughts, and other weather states that can be disastrous. 
  • Cost-Effectiveness. Being able to grow indoors means a lot less waste since there are fewer unpredictable variables that can destroy crops. Less waste means more cost-effectiveness.
  • Year-Round Growing. A big benefit of indoor growing is that you can cultivate throughout the year instead of having to wait for the ideal season. This means that certain strains are no longer only available at specific times of the year, and it also means that, overall, there’s more weed in circulation to get into the hands of consumers.
  • Higher-Quality Results. Because indoor cultivated cannabis is better controlled, the cultivator is able to use techniques that ensure a higher-quality product. Certain climate conditions, for example, can yield higher trichome counts, which improves the quality of the cannabis for the user.


  • Requires Space. Growing indoors means that you need to have dedicated space for your plants, which grow and can become quite big. 
  • Requires Setup. You will also need the right setup of equipment to control temperature, lighting, humidity, and more, which costs more money than scattering some seeds outdoors.
  • Requires More Time and Effort. Controlling the climate of your indoor cultivation space demands more time and effort than relying solely on mother nature.

You can understand why so many people prefer to grow their weed indoors since most of us don’t live in the precise area where we can grow extremely healthy strains based on our climate.

Outdoor growing weed: pros and cons

Of course, we know that cannabis can grow very well outdoors, as it has for thousands of years. It is actually an easygoing plant, which is why it can be cultivated in many parts of the world with little effort. But, it does require the right conditions, which can vary from cultivar to cultivar.


  • Less Effort. Growing outside means less effort to grow successful crops. You do not need to worry about maintaining temperature, light, and humidity, as nature is taking care of that for you. Of course, that only applies to those who live in a climate favorable enough for the weed that they’re growing. But, if you have the right strain for your climate, you can mostly sit back and allow nature to do all of the work for you.
  • Higher-Grade Product (if You Live in the Right Climate). Cannabis grown outdoors, if the conditions are favorable, tends to yield larger buds that contain more cannabinoids and terpenes. This means that overall the plant is higher in quality. 
  • No Indoor Space or Setup Required. With outdoor cultivation, you do not need to devote a portion of your home to growing cannabis, nor do you need to buy a bunch of equipment that monitors the conditions inside. As long as you have some space on your property, you can grow plenty of cannabis plants that don’t infringe on your living space.


  • Difficult to Control the Outcome. With outdoor cannabis, you won’t have a perfectly consistent climate and light conditions that give you a better assurance of yielding a specific outcome. So, you’re at the mercy of nature and hoping that your particular climate is as perfect for the strains you’re growing as you’re assuming. 
  • Higher Risk of Waste. Because of the reason above, you are at a higher risk of wasted crops, which can make the entire process less cost-effective. You always have to prepare for some loss when growing cannabis in general, but that’s especially the case with outdoor growing, where things are a lot less predictable, and you leave a lot to chance.
  • Higher Risk of Diseases, Pests, and Weather Disasters. There is also a greater risk of diseases, pests, and disastrous weather conditions that can ruin an entire harvest. This also means that you have to really inspect your plants regularly to make sure that there is no sign of pest infestations or disease spreading, and you have to be ready to compensate for weather problems, like knowing to water a lot more than usual during a drought.
  • Potential for Poor Soil Quality. If your soil is low in quality, then you will either need to modify it intensively or risk a disappointing yield. Each cultivar’s soil requirements differ a bit, but overall, you need to have nutrient-rich soil that’s not too sandy or too clay-like.

Growing outdoors is obviously favorable in many ways, only if you live in a climate that facilitates a top-quality yield. Otherwise, it may not be right for you.

Visual difference: outdoor vs. indoor weed

Visually, it is usually not a big problem to differentiate the ones grown indoors from those grown outdoors. 

  • Size. Everything grown outdoors tends to be larger: the stems are thicker, the flowers and, overall, the plants are bigger. Unlike outdoor plans, indoor ones tend to be smaller and denser. 
  • Color. The general rule would be that the outdoor plants are darker; that is to say, if the indoor plant is green, the same strain grown outdoors would be dark green; if there are purple elements in the indoor plant, then the outdoor one will produce dark purple elements.
    The bottom of the flowers of the indoor plants is generally greenish or purplish, while in the outdoor ones, they are brownish. 
  • Bud Density. As long as indoor plants live in a protected and safer environment, they tend to produce more densely situated buds. Outdoor plants, on the other hand, being exposed to larger and more dangerous environments, produce larger buds but at lesser density. 

Overall, seeing the plant and its buds is usually enough for the right judgments on its growth environment, though exceptions might still be made. 

The difference in quality: outdoor vs. indoor weed

Potency is something that many people might be most interested in. Unfortunately, there are no researches that would robustly study the indoor vs outdoor weed high levels and profile overall. Some sources state that exposure to the sun and a rich environment make outdoor plants more tasteful and rich in cannabinoids. While there are also studies that have compared the cannabinoid profiles of both plants, resulting in a completely different conclusion: that it is the indoor-grown cannabis that is richer in THC and other cannabinoids. This is believed to be so because the indoor environment is easier to control: light, humidity, soil, and carbon dioxide exposure.

Another distinct difference is that plants grown outdoors might produce not only more but some unique terpenes to the strain, making the outdoor weed richer in flavor. There is even a special term for that – “terroir” – which is mainly used in the wine industry to describe the factors that affect the crop’s features. It includes climate, soil type, microorganisms, etc. It is believed by some that terroir can also be applied to the cannabis plant. 

Nevertheless, the terpene profile of the plant depends not only on the environment the plant was raised in but also on the methods the plants were dried. Many indoor growers nowadays pay attention to these, preserving the most they can, while modern outdoor growers might a bit overlook this part. 

The difference in price: outdoor vs. indoor weed

Consequently, growing outdoors when not requiring light, humidity, or carbon dioxide exposure regulation becomes cheaper as it is energy efficient. Spending less money on energy consumption often leads to a lower price. Consequently, indoor-grown plants are usually more expensive as manufacturers speed more money on sustaining these plants financially and environmentally.

Which one is right for you?

Cannabis plant comes in a variety of strains cultivated both indoors and outdoors, with each flower giving you a unique experience. So the question is not whether you need an indoor cultivated flower or an outdoor one, but more of a suitable strain that will satisfy your needs and expectations. 


What is stronger: indoor or outdoor weed?

There is not enough data to certainly conclude that one type is stronger than another. There are cases when outdoor weed grown in the appropriate environment happen to be more potent in comparison to the ones grown inside. There are also other cases when under surveillance and specific control, indoor plants develop higher potency.

Can outdoor weed be potent?

Under suitable conditions, such as favorable weather circumstances, for example, outdoor cannabis plants can produce quite potent, if not more potent, flowers than the ones grown indoors. The potency of the end product is more dependent on the manufacturer’s care.

Is indoor weed always better?

The quality of the weed does not depend on whether it was grown indoors or outdoors. Manufacturers’ care after the plants is what matters. Although indoor cultivators nowadays tend to be more meticulous about the growing and drying processes, outdoor cultivators tend to be less thoughtful. However, it does not mean that all indoor flowers are better than those grown outdoors.

Why is sun-grown weed cheaper?

Outdoor-grown weed tends to be cheaper as its cultivation requires less financial and environmental sustainability. Those manufacturers that produce weed indoors spend more money on sustaining light, humidity levels, carbon dioxide exposure, etc.

Are indoor buds smaller?

Yes. Outdoor cannabis plants are larger, with outdoor buds being bigger and stems being thicker. At the same time, indoor cultivated plants are smaller but with denser buds.