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Indoor or outdoor? How cannabis growing conditions affect potency and flavor

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Farm-to-table is a popular concept in restaurants these days, but have you ever thought about farm-to-pipe? How much do you know about where your cannabis comes from?

“There’s a lot you can learn about your favorite product based on where it’s grown, and by who. The flavor and effect changes based on geography, climate and other growing conditions,” says Jakob Miller, general manager at The Green Door in Seattle.

Cannabis grown outdoors is a little less dense than indoor plants, and even looks different to the naked eye. Those differences affect the flavor and the high as well. Every person is different and every product has unique characteristics, but in general you can expect outdoor plants to taste more like the land where they’re grown.

“Outdoor is always a little earthier, while indoor is a little smoother,” Miller says. “Of course there are a lot of really clean grows on both sides — and there’s no ‘best’ way to grow cannabis.”

Something else to consider? Outdoor farms are generally more environmentally sustainable, using the sun’s energy instead of grow lights and capturing nutrients from rainwater and soil.

“It’s a young industry and it’s exciting to see it going in a lot of really neat directions as it grows.”

Get to know your local growers

Washington State is lucky to have a great selection of local growers, and because the industry is still young and growing, it’s easy to connect small farmers with consumers.

“On the outdoor side of things most of the larger processors and producers are in the east,” Miller says, where farms are able to take advantage of extra space, a slightly dryer climate and perfect growing temperatures. “Many of those larger processors focus primarily on pre-rolls and oils, rather than offering unprocessed flowers.”

Indoor growing can happen closer to Seattle, where the heavy rains and decreased sunlight make outdoor growing more challenging.

  • Treedom: Near Bellingham, Treedom was established in 2014 after many years of medical cannabis production. 100% organic, with a commitment to social responsibility.
  • Cyclops (Agape Research): Based in Acme. Check out their great video showing their process for making pre-rolls!
  • Cannavore: Award-winning confections like chocolates, gummies and kettlecorn made with high quality ingredients and precise dosing.
  • Western Cultured: Based in rural Arlington, feeding off the fertile land of the Pacific Northwest and processing inside the former Bayliner Boat Company building.
  • Bondi Farms: Grown indoors in soil in Longview under precise conditions, using predatory insects to keep flowers pesticide-free.
  • Emerald Jane’s: From seed to harvest, artisanal, hand-crafted cannabis headquartered in Tacoma.

“We cannot keep those products on the shelves. They’re extremely popular,” Miller says.

Visit The Green Door at 828 Rainier Ave. South or explore the online store at thegreendoorseattle.com. Call 206-618-7133 to chat with a budtender about your needs, goals and history, and find a product that works for you.

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