How to Tell When It’s Time to Harvest Your Weed

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When it comes to harvesting cannabis, timing is everything. If you take your plants down too soon, they’ll be immature with underdeveloped resin glands containing less of the vital essential oils that give pot its flavors, scent and potency. Chop down too late, and THC will have degraded and converted to CBN, resulting in a more lethargic stone.  

Harvesting Myths

Just because a seed breeder says that their product matures in 60 days of flowering doesn’t make that an accurate date for cropping. Some companies will under-report flowering times in an effort to get you to purchase their beans. You must also take into account any downtime your plants spent recovering from the stress caused by transplanting or other aggravating factors. Sometimes this can add weeks to your flowering stage and push your harvest time back significantly.  

The amount or percentage of red hairs is also not an accurate way to judge the proper time to harvest your plants. It’s true that these pistils darken from white to orange and then red as the buds ripen, but it’s only an indicator that harvest is approaching and not the best determining factor.

You Must Magnify!

The best thing you can do is to get a magnification device such as a loupe or microscope that will give you a closer look at the actual trichomes on your buds. Sometimes referred to as “crystals,” trichomes are actually glands filled with essential oils made up of cannabinoids, such as THC, CBD and CBN, as well as flavinoids and terpenes. They look a little bit like tiny clear glass mushrooms with a stalk and a bulbous head. It is these gland heads that are separated and pressed together to make hashish.

As harvest approaches, the gland heads will turn from clear to a cloudy or “milky” white, and then eventually turn amber as they begin to go beyond ripeness. If you harvest when most of the gland heads are clear and cloudy, you’ll get a more uplifting high. If you wait until most are amber, the effects will be more lethargic. It really comes down to personal preference, but most people prefer the cloudy and that is when the THC levels are at their highest with no degradation.

Note: Some concentrate makers like to take down their plants a little earlier in order to get a lighter-colored product that’s more desirable to the marketplace. Because the terpenes begin to degrade as the plant continues to mature, these hash producers are willing to sacrifice a small percentage of potency in order to preserve the flavor and clarity of their oils.

  1. Danny, what the dope business needs is a bank. They need a fucking bank. Bitcoins suck. A bank.

    1. You are on to something, Michael. Bitcoins do indeed suck. The cannabis industry needs to act like an industry, with its’ own infrastructure separate from the traditional banks. Starting an independent system of banking (cannabis credit unions?) free from stigma would go a long way to building cannabis’ reputation and give more control to those doing the actual work.

  2. Hey could you put magnified pictures of the trichromes at exactly the preferred moment for harcest.
    Also is there any difference between outdoor harvest and indoor as far as color on the trichromes

  3. You made it so easy to understand. I can’t thank you enough. I looked at my plants with a magnifying glass, and they were just perfect for the picker. Thanks again and happy harvest to all.

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