Editors Note: Head Magazine is excited to introduce a new column focused on Cannabis Cultivation by cannabis grow professional Michael Warren. Michael has been growing cannabis professionally as well as advising companies on best practices for years. This first article addresses the basic question: Indoor or Outdoor? 

For those of us who want to grow our own, personally or professionally, there is no one-size-fits all answer as to which method is ‘the best’ because there are advantages and drawbacks to each unique option. As a former partner and Director of Operations at an award-winning cannabis cultivator, I have seen both methods – indoor and outdoor. Here are some insights from my experience:

Photo by 2H Media on Unsplash

Photo by 2H Media on Unsplash

Indoor Cannabis Cultivation


When you grow cannabis inside, you offer the plant a controlled environment, such as a grow room, greenhouse, or grow tent. There are many advantages to this method over an outdoor cultivation.

Environmental Control

Outside, you can’t control when it will rain, what the temperature will be, and so on. Indoor cultivation allows you to control light, humidity, air circulation, temperature, and so much more. You can create optimal growing conditions for the plants and enjoy higher yields, as well as better quality buds.

Year-Round Cultivation

Depending on where you live, there may only be certain times of the year when growing outside is feasible. Indoor cultivation, on the other hand, allows you to grow year-round, no matter what the weather is outside.  You can harvest multiple times during the year and have a better revenue stream with the consistent production.

Photo by Ryan Lange on Unsplash

Photo by Ryan Lange on Unsplash

Increased Safety

Plants that grow outside can be stolen, vandalized, and seen. Inside, you have the increased privacy of those four walls as well as extra safety. No one can see the plants and they can’t be stolen or touched in any way. 


Although there are plenty of advantages to indoor cultivation, there are also drawbacks. Here are a few to consider: 

Higher Costs

When you commit to growing plants inside, you will have to invest in equipment, like HVAC systems, ventilation, and grow lights. That, and the cost of creating the actual grow room or greenhouse, can make the overall price of cultivation inside less financially profitable, especially if you are a small-scale grower.

Photo by Alejo Reinoso on Unsplash

Photo by Alejo Reinoso on Unsplash

Energy Use

Growing inside means you will be using a lot of energy with the equipment you have purchased. You will likely have higher energy bills and that will also put out more carbon emissions into the environment.

More Pests/Diseases

Indoor plants are more likely to get diseases and attract pests since controlled environments can be a breeding ground for both pests and infections. You would have to be diligent in your monitoring and there might be pest control measures you would have to take to prevent infestations from taking over.

Photo by Teanna Morgan on Unsplash

Photo by Teanna Morgan on Unsplash

Outdoor Cannabis Cultivation

Growing cannabis plants outside in the open air, like in a garden, field, or rooftop, brings many advantages over growing inside as well. Here are a few to remember:


Lower Costs

You don’t need to buy any equipment or put up any infrastructures, so growing outside is more affordable, especially for those who are growing on a small scale. The only costs are seeds, soil, and water.

Natural Lighting

There’s nothing better than natural sunlight for any plant. It’s effective, efficient, and can result in larger yields and a better-quality bud over the indoor cannabis growth.

As is true with indoor growth, there are downsides to growing outside, such as:

Photo by Marcus Spiske/ Unspash.com

Photo by Marcus Spiske/ Unspash.com


Lack of Control

You can’t control what the environment does. The temperatures can vary too much, a storm can blow through, and a variety of things outside of your control can impact the way things grow and how healthy the plants are.


You will have to depend on the season if you decide to grow cannabis outside. The number of harvests you grow per year will be limited and that can bring less revenue streams.

Safety Issues

Growing your cannabis plants outside opens them up to theft, vandalism, weather conditions, and even law enforcement. If you want a smaller amount of crop loss, an indoor solution might be better for you.

Photo by Anthony Quintano via Creative Commons cc.2.0

Photo by Anthony Quintano via Creative Commons cc.2.0

Light deprivation growing

Also known as light dep, this is a technique used in outdoor commercial cannabis cultivation where plants are grown under a controlled light schedule that mimics natural light cycles. This technique involves using blackout tarps or shades to reduce the amount of light that the plants receive, forcing them to flower earlier than they would naturally. Here are some potential advantages of light deprivation growing in commercial cannabis:


Increased yields

By manipulating the light cycle, light deprivation growing can cause plants to produce more buds and increase overall yield.

Faster harvests

Light deprivation growing can also speed up the growth cycle, allowing growers to harvest multiple crops per year.

Better quality

Some growers argue that light deprivation can result in higher quality buds, with a more potent aroma and flavor.

More control

Light deprivation allows growers to have more control over the growth cycle, which can help to minimize the risk of pests and diseases.

Here are some of the disadvantages of using light dep as a growing technique:



Setting up a light deprivation system can be expensive, especially for smaller operations.


Light deprivation requires careful monitoring and precise timing, which can be challenging for novice growers.

Strain limitations

Not all strains are suitable for light deprivation growing, so growers may need to select their genetics carefully.

Overall, light deprivation growing can be a valuable technique for commercial cannabis growers, but it requires careful planning and consideration of the potential pros and cons.

Consider your budget, your goals, and what you have available before figuring out what direction you want to go and good luck!

Michael Warren, aka “The Profit Whisperer” is a cannabis consultant who specializes in streamlining and optimizing cannabis cultivations while boosting profits in the regulated sector. Michael is the founder of GrowthProfit Consultants and the go-to guru for those looking to elevate their cannabis businesses profits.