When it comes to sungrown cannabis flower versus indoor cultivation, we’re a bit biased. That’s because Vacation cannabis flower is strictly grown using outdoor cultivation techniques, drinking up sunlight as nature intended. We consider ourselves cannabis connoisseurs and some of the most exotic weed we’ve ever experienced was grown the old fashioned way. We’re talking about exceedingly rare terps! Indoor flower can still have its moments in the sun… figuratively speaking, of course. But when we have the choice, we’ll almost always go with the sungrown option. Today, we’re going to discuss 4 very closely related reasons why we think you’ll agree that sungrown cannabis is frequently the superior choice.
Sungrown Terpenes Are More Diverse and Plentiful
You may have noticed that when you smoke indoor cannabis strains, it hits differently… and not always in a good way. This is likely due to a variety of factors, but many of them can be summed up by differences in the cultivar’s terpene profile. What we perceive as the benefits of cannabis are a direct result of the diverse terpenes at play within the structure of the plant. Whether grown indoors or in the sunshine, your cannabis will be rife with terpenes… but just how rife depends on several factors including the environment in which it was cultivated. You’ll often find that cannabis grown in controlled indoor environments produces fewer terpenes than its sungrown kin. To make matters worse, the terpenes are also typically weaker when compared to sungrown cannabis.
Research indicates that this is likely due to plants using terpenes as a defense mechanism against challenging environments. If you’ve grown cannabis before, you’ve likely heard that a little stress can promote potency in your harvested results. When growing cannabis outdoors, the environment will often do a pretty good job of this for you. Your plants produce defensive terpenes to ward off pests and attract symbiotic critters, shield against harsh rays and other environmental resistance, and even boost their immunity against disease. Obviously, plants that are grown in controlled warehouses are not subjected to the same stresses of those grown in a naturally occurring environment. This may be why we so often see sungrown strains getting the attention of cannabis connoisseurs for producing such exotic, powerful terpene profiles when compared to most strains cultivated indoors.
Cannabis Connoisseurs Should Get Used to the Term “Terroir”
The factors that influence the strong production of terpenes in sungrown cannabis can be summarized by the term “terroir” which we often see used with fine wine. While the terroir of cannabis is a complex, multi-faceted collection of interrelated factors working together, we can often look to the relationships between sunlight, soil, regional climate, and cultivation techniques to get us in the ballpark. You’ve likely heard that champagne is only truly champagne if it has originated in the Champagne wine region of France and was produced under the strict guidelines of appellation. That’s because Champagne, as opposed to other forms of French sparkling wine, has distinctions that make it truly representative of its locale and its culture.
At the end of 2020, cannabis connoisseurs everywhere popped open a bottle of… errr, weed when California passed an appellations law that gives some of the world’s finest cannabis the same treatment. This was a major step forward in defining the unique high end products of California’s smaller artisanal cannabis cultivation brands. Just as Champagne provides an essence so regionally distinctive that it is protected by law, so too can sungrown cannabis under the right conditions. It is impossible for indoor-cultivated cannabis to benefit from the rich tapestry of a terroir since it is cultivated in a non-naturally occurring environment, nurtured by store bought nutrients and products, and largely devoid of the culture that fosters products deemed worthy of appellation.
But it’s not as simple as saying all sungrown cannabis has a terroir. There has to be value in your natural growing climate. Cultivators farming in the Emerald Triangle are perfect candidates to apply for appellations for their cannabis. Ditchweed, though grown in the sunshine, is not. Diverse environments have equally diverse effects on cannabis cultivation and the crop will naturally thrive in certain environments and struggle in others.
Think of sungrown cannabis as marinating in its terroir for up to 9 months, while indoor cannabis is clinically nurtured and forced to flower within just 6 weeks. This isn’t an adequate amount of time for it to develop compounds and terpenes that are responsible for that ever-desirable entourage effect. Indoor cannabis favors THC, which can be great for some people, but reduces the presence of CBD and other cannabinoids that contribute to the entourage effect. The results have given way to the belief that indoor grown cannabis creates a fast but short-lived psychoactive effect with a steep crash ending while the high from sungrown cannabis creeps up into a well-rounded, multi-dimensional experience that sticks around for a while before gently fading.
Higher Quality, Yet More Affordable?
With the numerous benefits of sungrown cannabis, it surely must cost a fortune compared to indoor cultivated weed, right? Actually, in most cases, cannabis grown in an outdoor environment is more affordable. A lot of this is directly related to the high costs involved with the setup and maintenance of an indoor grow operation. When you start to factor in the costs of lights specifically designed for cannabis cultivation, water filtration systems, and ventilation equipment, not to mention the astronomical electric bills and warehouse rental, indoor grow operations are costly to say the least. And that translates to a higher cost product. Sungrown cannabis doesn’t make it to the shelves of your favorite dispensary without accruing costs too, but farmers can at least count on plenty of free sunshine. Cannabis connoisseurs may feel conflicted paying less money for better quality, but we promise that the proof is in the puff.
Be Good to Your Mother (Earth)
Last, but certainly not least, there’s the environmental impact to consider. If you love cannabis, then you must love Mother Earth by default. The carbon footprint left by sungrown cannabis is a fraction of that left by cannabis cultivated in a controlled indoor environment. This has to do with the massive amounts of electricity needed to run an indoor grow operation, powering the lighting, ventilation systems, humidity control equipment, water purification systems and more. Speaking of water purification, the water waste produced by an indoor grow house has often been found to be polluted with high levels of metal and salt that can negatively impact sewage systems. Similarly, the used soil that’s discarded by these grow houses frequently introduces heavy metals, destructive pests and disease into the environment.
To make the contrast even starker, sungrown cannabis is actually beneficial to the environment! Contrary to what you may believe, cannabis grown the old-fashioned natural way requires fewer pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and adjustments to the soil than their indoor grown counterparts. Depending on the techniques adopted by the farmer, the outdoor cannabis crop can even retain the soil’s natural moisture and nutrients, so that the rich quality of the earth is preserved.
So, whether you love the environment, your bank account, culture or quality cannabis flower with exotic terpenes, sungrown cannabis is the clear champ. This doesn’t mean indoor cultivation doesn’t have its own unique benefits. Even as cannabis connoisseurs, we still respect indoor flower and won’t turn it down. But there’s a reason that Vacation cannabis is strictly sungrown… several reasons as we’ve just illustrated. Maybe you agree? Find out how you feel about sungrown by doing your own taste test… or in this case, “experience test.” We think you’ll clearly agree it’s more fun in the sun.