The cannabis community is notorious for its expansive slang vocabulary. There are dozens of different words for cannabis alone—marijuana, cheeba, the sticky-icky, dope, mary jane, pot, dope, wacky tobacky, ganja, dank, grass, and the list goes on and on.
To make matters even more complicated, different regions in the world have their own unique slang words for cannabis. Today, let’s take a journey down under to uncover the meaning behind one of Australia’s most iconic cannabis slang terms—bush weed.
What Is Bush Weed?
Like many other common slang words, bush weed may have different meanings depending on who you ask. According to Urban Dictionary, bush weed refers to weed of poor quality, similar to the way we might use the terms mids or reggie back here in the states.
However, this isn’t the full picture. Bush weed specifically refers to cannabis grown outdoors. While indoor-grown cannabis has a reputation in the community for typically being more potent, it isn’t necessarily better than outdoor cannabis. The cannabis strains used and the cultivator's experience level have much more to do with quality and potency than whether it is grown inside or outside.
What Is Hydro Weed?
If the Aussies call marijuana grown outdoors bush weed, then what do they call marijuana grown indoors? It turns out you may already be familiar with this bit of slang.
Like in many parts of the United States, Australians use the term hydro to refer to indoor cannabis. Hydro is short for hydroponics—a style of horticulture where plants grow without the use of soil. Hydroponics utilize nutrient-rich water solutions instead of conventional soil and use controlled temperature environments plus artificial lighting solutions to mimic the power of the sun.
This cultivation technique offers some distinct benefits, but also a few drawbacks compared to conventional outdoor growing.
Bush Weed Vs. Hydro: Weed Quality
As said earlier, choosing to grow indoors or outdoors has little bearing on the overall quality of cannabis if the cultivator knows what they’re doing. That being said, some common characteristics tend to differentiate the bush weed from the hydro.
Dispensaries often consider hydro to have better shelf appeal—meaning indoor buds tend to be more aesthetically and visually pleasing.
Indoor cannabis doesn’t grow as tall as outdoor, making the buds denser and more compact. Because indoor cannabis isn’t as heavily exposed to the elements as outdoor cannabis, indoor buds usually have fewer imperfections and more vibrant colors. The lack of elemental exposure also means hydro will tend to have a more pungent odor than bush weed.
However, because hydro isn’t grown in soil, it doesn’t absorb any of the rich nutrients present in soil microbiomes, giving bush weed a more robust flavor profile.
Bush Weed Vs. Hydro: Sustainability
With the existential threat of a climate catastrophe looming in the near future, everyone concerned with the survival of the human species is looking for ways to be more sustainable—including cannabis cultivators.
One of the biggest drawbacks of indoor growing is the massive energy costs associated with hydroponics. Between the artificial light set up, the humidity controls, the fan, the atmosphere regulators, pumps, and purifiers, indoor grow operations have a considerable carbon footprint. The commercial cannabis industry produces ~15m tons of greenhouse gasses annually because of indoor growing. That’s the equivalent of around 3 million cars.
In contrast, outdoor grow operations require hardly any energy at all, making them the far more sustainable option of the two.
Bush Weed Vs. Hydro: What’s The Best Option For Growers?
Ultimately, different growers will have different preferences when it comes to where they choose to cultivate their cannabis.
Growing hydro gives the cultivator more control over their end product and allows them to grow out of season. Plus, hydro tends to have better shelf appeal than bush weed. However, indoor grow operations require a ton of startup capital and are much worse for the environment.
Growing bush weed has a substantially less upfront cost, is way more eco-friendly, and even though it may not be as pretty, outdoor cannabis absorbs nutrients from the earth where it’s grown, creating a more flavorful and rich terpene profile. The biggest drawback to outdoor growing is that cultivators are at the mercy of the elements, limiting when you can plant/harvest and increasing risk factors like drought and pests.
Do you have a preference between bush weed and hydro? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter!