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It’s outdoor VS indoor Cannabis in Flow Kana Sungrown Challenge

In April, Leaf Magazines' Bobby Black judged the Flow Kana-sponsored event.

Photo courtesy of Human Nature PR

This April, I was invited to participate in a unique promotional event on behalf of the Leaf – a Pepsi Challenge-style blind taste test called the SunGrown Challenge, sponsored by Flow Kana. 

The concept was simple: gather a group of Cannabis influencers, insiders and journalists; blindfold them, give them samples of Cannabis to touch, smell and taste; then ask them which they preferred and see whether they could differentiate between those grown indoors and those grown outdoors. 

Among the 27 other “experts” taking part in the Flow Kana event were Cannabis comedian Ngaio Bealum, Bong Appetit producer Jason Pinsky, Weed and Grub podcast hosts MaryJane Gibson and Mike Glazer, “Compton Cowboy” Stona Mane, and stoner drag queen Laganja Estranja. Each of us was led in one or two at a time and had our eyes covered by a cushy, pot leaf-emblazoned blindfold. We were then handed different jars of Cannabis to touch and smell, followed by a joint of each to smoke and assess. These samples were allegedly some of the best-selling strains in California, with similar terpene and cannabinoid profiles – the only major difference was whether they were indoor or outdoor.

Leaf Magazines contributor and Sungrown Challenge judge Bobby Black
Photo courtesy of Human Nature PR. Leaf Magazines contributor and Sungrown Challenge judge Bobby Black examines some nugs.

Of the three strains I was offered, my top two both turned out to be sungrown. The final results of the challenge were revealed a month later in the form of a video released on social media (videos of the individual participants’ experiences are reportedly forthcoming). In the end, the majority of my peers were in line with my choices: 68% of them picked the sungrown as their favorite.

Sisters of the Valley at the Sungrown Challenge
Photo courtesy of Human Nature PR Sisters of the Valley were among the judges of the Sungrown Challenge in Spring 2021.

According to event sponsor Flow Kana, the purpose of the challenge was to debunk the perception that indoor-grown flower (which creates a sizable carbon footprint) is somehow more potent or flavorful than more sustainably grown, outdoor flower. According to a 2018 study by New Frontier Data, indoor Cannabis cultivation produces nearly 25 times more carbon and requires 18 times more energy per gram of bud than outdoor cultivation. To help address this environmental concern, Flow Kana is putting their money where their marijuana is by donating five dollars for every share of the video (up to $10,000) to Planting Justice – an Oakland nonprofit dedicated to sustainable gardening and social food equity. 

Our thanks to Flow Kana for including us in this fun experiment. 

Watch the video at flowkana.com/sungrown-challenge

Photos by @humannaturepr.com

About Bobby Black

Bobby Black is a marijuana media icon. He spent 21 years at High Times magazine as an associate art director, senior editor, and columnist. He is currently the executive director of the World of Cannabis Museum project and host/writer of the cannabis history podcast/column Cannthropolgy.

This article was originally published in the June 2021 issue of California Leaf.

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