Harvesting cannabis is just like harvesting any other plant…everyone does it differently. The correct timing depends on the grower’s personal taste.
There are some key rules to make sure you don’t end up harvesting too early or too late, but any time between that is up to the grower. It has been noticed that the later you wait during the peak harvesting period, the better the results will be and the stronger the flavor.
The first sign that your cannabis plant is at the end of the flowering stage is that the lower leaves start to yellow and possibly fall off. This is totally normal, your plant is cannibalizing all the nutrients in its body and sending them to the colas (buds). At this stage it is important that you stop feeding your cannabis plant nutrients, only use pH corrected water from now on. When this starts to happen, turn your attention to the plants’ trichomes.
The telltale sign of a cannabis’s ripeness is in its trichomes, they have a little ball on top of them, that is where much of the THC and other fun chemicals are housed.
As they become ready to harvest, they begin to change color.
****It is highly recommended that you use some sort of magnification tool to properly inspect the trichomes.*****
Clear Trichomes, White Pistils
This is definitely not the time to harvest. If the trichomes are clear, they won’t be potent enough for harvest, and your final yield will suffer because of it.
You should wait until nearly half of the hairs are darker in color and are no longer sticking out so straight.
Half Clear or Cloudy Trichomes
It is still rather early for a harvest. The buds have not reached their full-size potential, although they will still produce a high if you harvest them now. This type of high will most likely be more energetic or “speedy.” The strain’s odor will develop further if you wait to harvest.
Mostly Cloudy Trichomes
Best time to harvest is now. This is the point when trichomes have the highest levels of THC, so if you want to maximize your yield outcome then harvest now. You will know your plants have reached this stage when 50 to 70 percent of the pistils (hairs) have darkened from their original white color. Because of this peak amount of potency, the high that comes with the buds harvested at this time will give you some serious euphoria and will even relieve pain. This can be considered the most “intense” high you can get.
Amber and Cloudy Trichomes
This is a bit later than the absolute peak time for the great
est amount of potency, but only because the buds have slightly less THC and more CBN. If you are looking for a more relaxing, anxiety-reducing high, then this could actually be the perfect time for you to harvest. This high is heavier and often results in a “couchlock” result. You will be able to identify this stage when 70 to 90 percent of all the pistils have darkened.
Some growers harvest as soon as the pistils begin to turn red. Others wait until the pistils are almost entirely red and the resin of the plant is dark. To figure out where you stand on the matter, harvest some of your plants early and some late. Then decide for yourself which is a better fit for your style as a grower. If you wait any later than this, you risk decreased effectiveness of the active ingredients. Make sure to measure your time carefully.
When you’re ready to harvest, you’ll carefully cut off all the colas from your plant. You’ll want heavy duty shears or scissors to handle the thickness of your plant, a few pairs of gloves, and a way to clean resin off of your scissors and hands.