When to Harvest Marijuana?
Posted 6 years ago by Ian Shutts
So you have grown your own cannabis but when is the right time to harvest? Picking the right time to harvest marijuana can be a bit tricky at first. You must understand a bit about what is going on before you decide when to cut down a plant, and never only go with whatever someone tells you.
The reason for this is simple. The best weed in the world is the one you enjoy the most, not what your friends or your neighbor tell you.
Not all Cannabis plants are the same. There is a reason there are so many strains out there, and why good clones are so expensive. It is certainly not just marketing hype. To each, his own you could say.
Cannabis has well over 200 active compounds, from THC, CBD, flavonoids, terpenes and a bunch of others. Some of these compounds are responsible for the high, other of the flavor, and others for the smell. All of them combined interact with each other and with your body. And what might work great for you may not be so good for someone else.
Ever heard the term “couchlock” or “head high”? Some love the former others prefer the latter. These terms are typically associated with the strain being predominantly indica or sativa. Indicas exhibit more of a body high while sativas tend to be more head. But it does not end there!
To make things a bit more complicated, even within each strain you will find variations – called phenotypes – unless if growing from a clone. If you were to buy a bunch of seeds of the same strain to grow them, pure genetic variation would undoubtedly come into play. Much in the same way, you may have 99% the same DNA as your brother or sister, but will look and behave quite differently. Marijuana plants work the same way.
If you are not already freaked out by all this information, lets us dig a little deeper. Even if you are growing from a clone and they behave the same way, the precise time you choose to harvest will also factor in the final taste, smell and high of your weed.
But really, do not feel intimidated by all this. It is way simpler in practice, and all you need to become a pro at is, is a $5 jeweler’s loupe – we will explain how in a moment.
We are just explaining all this, so you have a clear understanding why the most demanding commercial Cannabis greenhouses in the world have a precise day in which they harvest – they maintain and propagate each strain with a specific phenotype, study it to exhaustion and clock everything by the day! They provide the service of delivering that exact weed, with that precise signature high, taste, and smell.
It is very difficult to go too wrong, really. When to harvest marijuana? As soon as the plant becomes mature, it is good to harvest, and you have a few weeks margin. If you take the time to understand the basic concepts explained here you will be able to predict harvest times better while maximizing yields at the same time.
Enter the jeweler’s loupe.
The jeweler’s loupe is a very cheap gadget that is easy to find and buy online. It will permit you to look at the resin glands in great detail. Resin glands – or trichomes – start out by being transparent, with time become cloudy or milky, then turn to an amber color or even caramel tone. This happens within the space of a few weeks and continues even after harvest to some degree.
Cut a plant too soon, and you lose final weight, trichomes will be clear and the smoke weak without much of a taste. As the bud ripens and become heavier, with the trichomes becoming milky – this is when the fresh sweeter smells and tastes come from, and the high is more head than body, light and uplifting in nature.
Wait a little longer, and as a general rule of thumb, this will be the recommended time to harvest – when the trichomes start to become amber. Some may argue when trichomes are 50% amber.
This is because even after cutting down the marijuana, chemical processes continue for some time – in this case, oxidation – where the THC is at peak concentration and then starts to break back down into CBN.
For those who enjoy that couch-lock narcotic feeling, let it run just a little longer, not too much though, or you will start losing potency. The term “over-the-hill harvest” comes from this, letting the plant mature a bit over its peak to gain from a denser and complex smell and body stone.
So as you can see, it is not that complicated. All it requires is some experimentation. You can even make a sativa feel more indica or vice versa. You may love a strain for its smell but feel it floors your too much – so harvest earlier! Or love that sativa, but it keeps you too much awake at night – chop later.
Always judge a plant in its whole. Remember you will be smoking the entire plant, not just the main cola. Take that loop and inspect the buds top to bottom.
Give it a try! The best way is growing a few plants and harvesting sequentially, one plant each week, label the jars accordingly and call your best friends over for group tasting and comment. Just like the connoisseurs do.
You will be surprised how differently everyone will judge each batch. And who better judge what weed is the best?
To each, his own.
Smokersonly.com can provide you all the information you need to know about how to grow cannabis so you can start producing your own high quality product.