Legal weed has turned into a beast of a market. There are dozens of types of oil, edibles galore, and weed with names that sound like breakfast cereal. It’s a fantastic time to be a cannabis fan, and knowing how your weed is grown is essential.
However, if you remember the good old days of growing in your basement closet, you might not be up to date with all of the ways licensed cultivators grow cannabis. There’s still plenty to love about growing weed at home, but if you are ready to come out of the closet, find out why the best growers prefer sungrown cannabis.
Full-Term Sungrown Cannabis
Sungrown, or sun-grown, cannabis is grown entirely outdoors in a natural environment. In the great debate about indoor vs outdoor weed, those in favor of outdoor often cast their vote for sungrown. Plants need sun, water, and nutrient-dense living soil to reach their full potential. The sun’s rays are unbeatable, and it makes perfect sense that a plant would thrive in an environment that supports what it was intended to do.
The term ‘full-term’ means the plants are done growing when they’re done growing. There is no interference with this process. Some strains might finish in mid-September, while others need until early November to reach their maximum potential. Letting the plants run full-term is a commitment, but again, it honors the unique personality of each cultivar.
A full-term, sungrown cannabis plant is grown the way nature intended. Any time a grower manipulates the growing cycle, environment, or lighting conditions, it is no longer sungrown. Yes, there are plenty of concerns when growing fully outdoors. Pest management is often more difficult, and many weather risks can decimate a crop. Essentially, sungrown cannabis is not for the faint-hearted grower. The ones that take on the risk understand the potential outcome of naturally grown weed.
Other Growing Options Reviewed
Weed wants to grow, and thanks to legalization efforts, growers can experiment with tons of growing technology to see what produces the best cannabis. Again, this is where you get a room full of growers together, and debates spark about who does it best. However, the test results and tasting and effect profiles should be the ultimate deciding factor. So, if it’s not sungrown, what is it?
Also known as ‘light dep,’ this technology gives you more control over the light cycle. For example, when you control the light cycle, you control how and when a plant begins to flower. So, if you have a strain that produces impressive results but takes longer than you’d like to reach maturity, light dep can help push it to the finish line a bit quicker.
Light deprivation is exactly what it sounds like. The goal is to trick the plant into growing faster by only allowing it 12 hours of sun per day. Since it’s grown in a greenhouse, this is done by throwing a black tarp over the hoops for the other 12 hours of the day. During the sunlight hours, the plant absorbs as much light as it can, knowing it will be immersed in total darkness for half of the day. This manipulation convinces the plant that the seasons are changing faster than they really are, thus spurring early flowering.
Growers like light dep because they have the safety and protection of greenhouse plastic, offering all the benefits of a controlled environment. Yet, it’s just enough control to master the timeline and reach harvest faster than normal.
Greenhouse buds are allowed to follow their life cycle as intended. There are no tarps or tricks to confuse the plant. Instead, cannabis grows under the protection of greenhouse plastic, where the plants are sheltered from rain, wind, hail, sleet, or animals that like to nibble on those juicy pot leaves. As the summer season comes to an end, the plants are protected from harmful frost that can easily kill plants in one night.
It’s easy to heat a greenhouse which is extremely helpful to growers living in climates with a short summer season. In many places, temperatures drop exponentially by mid-late September, leaving precious plants vulnerable to frostbite. If the plants frost, the buds often die once thawed.
However, extra caution is required during blistering hot summers to ensure the plants receive enough water and airflow. It’s a delicate balance between keeping them hydrated and ensuring they don’t grow mildew or mold.
Growing weed indoors is kind of like playing god. You can control everything from light cycles and rays to humidity and airflow. Most of this is controlled with remotes and timers so that it can be a fairly hands-off process compared to sungrown cannabis. Additionally, pest management is easier to control if you never bring bugs in. Indoor growers tend to believe that because there are so few disruptions to the life cycle, the plants’ terpene and cannabinoid content is superior to outdoor.
However – for the conscious cannabis grower, indoor weed is a mockery. Cannabis was never meant to grow indoors, and these artificial conditions change the plant’s fingerprint. In addition, the environmental consumption needed to power all of this grow tech is expensive and comes with a hefty carbon footprint.
Top Benefits of Sungrown Cannabis
With all of these growing options, what are the driving factors pushing toward full-term sungrown cannabis? The benefits are bigger than you might imagine.
Growing weed isn’t free. However, sungrown cannabis is the most cost-effective way to grow a large canopy. An easy subtraction is the materials and equipment you’d need to grow indoors – or even the cost of light dep. Yet, the most significant savings come from the difference in yield. A field of cannabis has a lot of room to get big and tall. Greenhouse weed can be massive, but it’s still capped in height and space. Oftentimes you have to over-prune to keep the air moving in a cramped space. But outdoor, sungrown cannabis has all the room it needs.
Our beautiful earth was designed to grow things. The bright, brilliant sunlight that encourages plants to grow is unbeatable. The rich soil contains superfood nutrients that plants need to grow big and strong. Water hydrates and nourishes developing root systems, allowing for efficient nutrient uptake. It’s all a perfect system, and it all exists effortlessly. When you start playing with fans, lights, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and all the other things required to grow indoors, you are taxing the environment significantly. Quite simply, sungrown cannabis is the most sustainable way to cultivate. Growing an ounce of pot indoors can emit as much carbon as burning a full tank of gas.
Terpene + Cannabinoid Profiles
Terpene and cannabinoid development are directly tied to the amount of light the plant receives. No amount of artificial lighting can replace the sun’s natural rays. The UV and wavelengths required to inspire photosynthesis are hard to replicate, and real sunlight is superior to even the most sophisticated light tech. As a result, the terpene profiles are more robust, and sungrown cannabis almost always produces higher percentages of cannabinoids than indoor.
What is the Best Kind of Weed?
There is some incredible cannabis in the world. Some of it was grown indoors. Some of it was grown with the help of light deprivation. But to the most knowledgeable cannabis connoisseurs, full-term sungrown cannabis is the best on the planet. It’s up to you to decide what you prefer and your values for how your cannabis is grown. Shop with dispensaries that pride themselves on thoughtfully sourcing cannabis from regenerative farmers who take a conscious approach to cultivation.