Trichomes go through three consecutive colour states. These are clear, cloudy, and amber. The best time to harvest is when half of the trichomes are amber, and half are clear or cloudy. This colour disparity is due to the uppermost buds ripening earlier than the ones at the bottom. In any case, you don’t want to wait for all trichomes to turn amber, as this generally leads to a decrease in THC and an increase in the sleep-inducing cannabinoid CBN.
Although not set in stone, it’s important to at least consider the harvest schedule provided by your seed source. This is usually found on the seed packaging. This schedule is the approximate number of days/weeks it will take for your cannabis seed to grow into a mature plant. This schedule, however, fluctuates based on growing conditions such as environment, water, and heat. Always take this valuable breeder information with a grain of salt.
Avoid premature harvesting as much as possible, but if you really need to, it isn’t the end of the world. If you only harvest a few days early, the “damage” to potency will be minimal. Some bud is better than no bud at all!
If you find yourself slightly perplexed by the notion of determining when to harvest, then read on—we’ll cover everything you need to know.
Finally, you should also be careful with late harvests as some strains will begin to self-pollinate and turn intersex as a result.
On the other hand, a late harvest means that you allow your cannabis plant to mature past the point of peak potency. Many consider this a bad method due to the degradation of THC—the cannabinoid most users want to take advantage of. And while the terpenes on buds are indeed more pungent when allowed to mature, the flavour and aroma will go south if kept alive too long.
If you’ve got a photoperiod cannabis plant, then checking its pistils and stigmas is a useful way to gauge whether it’s ready for the chop. You can usually assume that a plant is ready to harvest when about half of the pistils are brown. Again, the trichome method is more reliable.
Harvesting your plants late induces a more narcotic and “stoney” high as opposed to energising cerebral stimulation. Even if you grow a sativa, harvesting late will likely result in effects similar to indica-dominant strains. While this is not ideal for many, some medicinal users prefer the greater levels of CBN and more sleep-inducing effects of weed that is left to mature for longer.
Offshoots of surrounding plants can also knock your cannabis over, which is why harvesting early is sometimes a good idea. Stealth growing is another reason some opt to harvest before the plant is truly ready. While technically you can start harvesting as soon as your plant produces flowers, the cannabinoid levels remain very low until the buds are mature.
Learn whether you should harvest your cannabis earlier or later than usual, or perhaps somewhere smack dab in the middle.
Only expose your plants to light after you have cut them from the root ball.
Tiny crystals appear around the flowers
The big day has come for your marijuana buds. Start early in the day, shortly before the very moment when the grow lights are turning on. You may turn off your high pressure sodium lights or others now and work with standard room lighting.
The pistils turn from white to a dark brown/red
Ovaries are swelling up
Many professional growers flush their plants in the last week or two before harvesting. This means they only use plain water to wash out nutrients or anything that could negatively affect the taste or smell of your yield.
The smell will be intense (keep your air flow and carbon filters running if you are doing indoor growing)
CBD is mostly used for medical effects. Good news: CBD does not degrade over time. If you wait for the THC to degrade into CBN, you can get bigger benefits of CBD.
So here is a list of practical signs that tell you if your buds are ready for harvest:
It is time for harvesting your cannabis. You have grown your plants from seeds or clones of your favorite plants. You have taken care of their lights, their water supply and their nutrient levels.