Indoor-Grown Hemp vs. Outdoor-Grown Hemp—Pros & Cons

There are lots of different ways to grow hemp flower. For thousands of years, Cannabis sativa flourished in Central Asia and other parts of the world as a common weed growing under the sun. It’s only recently that humanity has applied its vast botanical knowledge toward hemp flower production, but the results we’ve achieved in so short a time have been nothing short of incredible.

Modern technology has made it possible to tailor indoor horticultural environments for hemp so perfectly that they have transformed this lanky weed into one of the most beautiful, fragrant flowers the human race has ever encountered. There’s truly nothing more fascinating than the relationship that has blossomed between hemp and humans over the last few decades, and in this guide, we’ll help you understand why Secret Nature places such an emphasis on the importance of growing hemp indoors.

Why does Secret Nature prefer indoor hemp production?

First, a word about Secret Nature and what makes our company different from the competition. We founded Secret Nature in 2017 after experiencing success in the California medical and recreational cannabis markets. While other fledgling CBD flower companies were focusing on high-yield, low-quality outdoor crops, we decided to apply the same top-shelf ethos to growing CBD flower that allowed us to dominate the California THC industry.

By growing our CBD-rich hemp flower indoors using the same equipment and methods that result in connoisseur THC-rich cannabis, we’re able to provide the type of quality that CBD consumers are used to enjoying in the hemp industry. All too often, outdoor-grown CBD flower results in disappointment, so we angled our brand to be both the solution to common quality concerns and the ray of hope rekindling faith in the hemp flower industry.

Indoor-grown vs. outdoor-grown hemp

If you’ve taken a look at some of our competitors and compared their offerings to the CBD buds we offer at Secret Nature, you’ve probably scratched your head in puzzlement. Why does Secret Nature flower look so much better than anything other brands have to offer? There are a lot of reasons, actually, but it all starts with our firm commitment to the benefits of indoor hemp.

In most cases, hemp producers grow their crops outdoors in giant fields. When mature, these hemp crops are usually harvested by a machine, and in many cases, outdoor buds are also trimmed by a machine called an auto-trimmer.

It’s certainly less expensive to produce CBD flower this way, but the results are remarkably poor. Outdoor-grown (or “sun-grown”) CBD bud is fluffier and has fewer trichomes. It neither tastes nor smells as good, and it’s more prone to contamination.

Full disclosure: We use extract from sun-grown bud to make our tincture and some of our other non-flower products. In these applications, using outdoor hemp is appropriate since bud used for extracting doesn’t need to be as high-quality or attractive. Brands that market outdoor-grown hemp bud for smoking, however, will always lose out to competitors like Secret Nature who grow their hemp in ideal indoor conditions. 

Benefits of growing CBD indoors

For experienced cannabis horticulturalists like ourselves, there are a variety of impressive benefits of growing CBD inside. Like all true artists, we can sometimes be control freaks, but total control is actually ideal when you’re growing hemp. The more variables you can control and adjust during the Cannabis sativa growth cycle, the better your results will be, and here are a couple of examples of the factors you can exert perfect control over when you grow hemp inside:

Light spectrum control

When you cultivate hemp outdoors, you are dependent on the sun for all of the energy your plants need to grow. During the early days of the Cannabis sativa growth cycle (from around May to July), a certain duration and angle of daylight is available, but this light availability changes later in the growth cycle (July to September).

As a result, it’s difficult to provide hemp plants with ideal lighting duration and angles when growing outdoors, and it goes without saying that you’re limited to a single growing season per year. When you grow hemp indoors, however, you can easily control the exact angle your plants receive light from and how long they’re illuminated, and that’s only the beginning of the light control that’s available with indoor hemp cultivation.

The international cannabis community has recently learned that hemp responds better to higher levels of UVA and UVB light, and with the advent of LED grow lights, it’s now possible to provide illumination in the exact frequency that hemp needs to thrive. With the addition of high-pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide (MH) indoor hemp grow lights, it’s possible to deliver incredibly high yields indoors while maintaining total control over illumination levels and durations.

Climate control

In addition to providing consistent, targeted lighting at each stage of the growth process, it’s also necessary to control the climate where your hemp is grown to deliver impeccable results. Hemp only achieves its true potential when it’s grown in the right temperature and humidity ranges, and growing hemp indoors also allows you to control CO2 levels, which hemp plants need to grow and thrive.

Outdoor conditions can often be too dry for hemp, which thrives in more humid environments. Dryness, however, is only the beginning of the issues that can occur when you don’t grow hemp in climate-controlled, indoor conditions. When you grow hemp outdoors, it’s also more likely to be exposed to toxins like pesticides and heavy metals, and pests are much more prevalent in large-scale, outdoor operations.

Why indoor-grown hemp flower is superior

Increased quality control naturally leads to better results in any industry, and nowhere is this more clearly the case than in hemp horticulture. Here are some of the benefits that perfected climate control and improved lighting provide in indoor-grown hemp:

Higher cannabinoids

Whether it’s grown hydroponically or in soil, indoor-grown hemp always has higher concentrations of cannabinoids than outdoor-grown bud. With indoor-grown flower, it’s rare to see yields higher than 10% CBD, but here at Secret Nature, we consistently harvest flower with between 20% and 25% CBD. Cannabinoid concentrations this high can only be delivered with indoor-grown hemp, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that we’re Cannabis sativa experts as well.

Better terpene expression

Outdoor hemp plants receive less love and they’re under more stress, so it’s the little things, like terpenes, that disappear the most notably. Even if outdoor-grown hemp yields relatively high concentrations of cannabinoids, it either won’t express very many terpenes or the terpenes it does express will be damaged during processing.

There’s a reason that Secret Nature bud smells and tastes so amazing. It’s cultivated with care in a climate-controlled, perfectly lit indoor environment that’s like paradise for hemp plants.

Denser flower

Because it doesn’t have the energy it needs to grow effectively, outdoor-grown hemp flower is consistently low-density. Density in hemp flower isn’t everything, but if you can see clear through a bud that you’re holding, there’s something wrong. Secret Nature buds are dense and juicy partially because we grow them indoors, and we also use the best nutrients and substrates on the market to make sure our non-intoxicating bud is especially dank.

Fewer contaminants

Growing hemp in soil can deliver great results when you use the right type of soil and nutrients. Hemp that’s grown outdoors, however, is usually just unceremoniously planted in the dirt, and many hemp fields are located in areas where other crops were grown previously. Our modern agricultural model strips soil of nutrients, so the soil in fields that have been recently repurposed doesn’t have what hemp plants need to thrive.

Furthermore, many hemp fields are located in the middle of large agricultural sectors. Even if a hemp farmer doesn’t spray their crops with pesticides, that’s no guarantee their neighbor won’t, and agricultural runoff carries pesticides, fertilizers, and heavy metals along with it. It’s almost impossible to prevent contamination in outdoor environments, but indoor hemp cultivation has the potential to be completely contamination-free.

Better-looking buds

Hemp buds that were grown indoors simply look better. They’re denser and frostier, and they express more of the delicate orange hairs and other colorful components that make Cannabis sativa such a beautiful plant. Especially when you hand-trim your buds like we do at Secret Nature, indoor-grown hemp nugs become such a sight to behold that it almost seems a shame to break them up and smoke them.

Smoother smoke

Because they express more terpenes and cannabinoids while remaining free of contaminants, hemp buds that were grown indoors taste better and produce milder smoke or vapor. Maximizing and retaining the terpenes that flowering hemp expresses is a big part of helping hemp smoke stay smooth, but trimming excess leaves and ensuring that no pesticides or fertilizers made their way into your bud also plays a big role.

Get the best indoor CBD flower with Secret Nature

As our lab results show, Secret Nature indoor-grown CBD flower is free of contaminants, and our cannabinoid concentrations are significantly higher than what you can achieve with even the highest-quality outdoor-grown hemp. That’s the difference industry experience and top equipment make, and we’re always pushing the limits of what’s possible to provide even higher cannabinoid concentrations and even danker non-intoxicating hemp bud.

If you have any lingering questions, check out our FAQ page or contact us for answers, and remember that we’re always standing by to assist you in your quest to find the perfect CBD flower solution for your needs. Take a look through our top-shelf, indoor hemp flower catalog to find a strain that suits your fancy, and remember to use the code “Secret 15” to save 15% at checkout.

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"Everyone has the right to choose what they consume. We believe in creating the most premium cannabis products that will enhance anyones chosen lifestyle."

Tyler William, Founder and Ceo