Indoor vs Outdoor Cannabis


One of the great things about the Cannabis plant is its hardiness and ability to adapt and thrive in various environments. Some historians have reported that cultivation for medicinal purposes, fiber/rope and food began in Asia as early as 2700-500 BC (depending on the source). Either way, as the plant was introduced to other parts of the globe it was subjected to new environmental conditions and selectively bred over time, resulting in the many cultivars we have today.


Cannabis is an annual, meaning it’s a plant that completes its life cycle in one growing season, then dies. When planted outdoors, seeds germinate in Spring and flowers bloom from late Summer to early Fall. Alternatively, plenty of farmers choose to grow year-round indoors because it offers the ability to maintain a controlled environment, and a perpetual harvest.


There are fans and critics on both sides of the indoor/outdoor/hybrid growing methods. But at Dockside, we don’t discriminate or favor one cultivation technique over another. We are fans of quality and diversity providing access to a wide selection of flower that has been carefully curated by our well-seasoned team of buyers. Our budtenders are happy to guide the novice or expert in finding what’s right for them!

In the meantime, since you came here to learn some of the basic differences between indoor and outdoor growing methods, let’s cut to the chase.


Control– Indoors, growers have full control over creating a stable environment with consistent light cycles, temperatures, CO2 concentrations, humidity, and pest control. This allows for the cultivation of strains that may not survive as well outdoors. Increasing CO2 concentrations can sometimes boost the growth of the flowers. Additionally, the size of the plants is often deliberately managed, keeping them shorter and bushier.

Consistency– Because of the ability to have full-environmental control, the conditions of each strain’s grow cycle and harvest can be replicated to a T time after time. Farmers are able to test variables until they’ve optimized the growing conditions of any given strain.

Status– During prohibition, indoor-bud held a reputation for being higher end, as it was often grown with more care than outdoor bud due to the ease of hiding and carefully tending to plants in an indoor garden. In order to mitigate risk, outdoor grows were sometimes hidden in non-ideal locations and the bud-structure compromised during harvesting and trimming from speedy and/or aggressive handling. In today’s legal market, without the fear of being caught, outdoorgrowers are able to optimize their techniques and handle their harvest with more patience and care. Regardless, consumer mindset hasn’t necessarily caught up, so regardless of its truth indoor weed is still associated with having a higher status
Presentation- Without the potential for damage by wind or rain, the flower structure of indoor cannabis tends to be a little denser and more “crystally” appearing. By popular standards, this makes a more photogenic bud.

Looking for indoor flower at Dockside? Try…
Artizen, Doc & Yeti, Fifty Fold, Fire Bros, House of Cultivar, Lifted, Royal Tree Gardens


Soil – An outdoor farm’s unique biodiversity and local climate are capable of producing subtle flavors and terpenes in the cannabis flowers. It’s impossible to make an exact indoor- replication of these natural factors. Additionally, naturally occurring predators help control the population of unwanted pests.

Sun– Full-spectrum sunlight has the potential to encourage the development of rare cannabinoids in mature plants. Additionally, outdoor plants reach up toward the sun and have plenty more space than indoor plants to spread out, sometimes resulting in a fluffier, less dense-looking bud.

Stress– Wind, rain, and other environmental elements can stress outdoor plants and have the potential to damage the flower structure or yield. As a result, sometimes outdoor cannabis has a more rugged appearance.

Sustainability- Because outdoor farms can take advantage of natural sunlight and rain, they require much less energy to produce. If you are concerned with your own carbon foot-print, then outdoor weed might be a good choice for you!

Looking for outdoor flower at Dockside? Try…
Canna Organix, Kiona, Lazy Bee Gardens, LuvIt, Natural Mystic, Puffin Farm

Experimenting with trying flower from both indoor and outdoor growers is fun. We are so lucky to have so many award-winning farmers in the state of Washington!