When should you harvest cannabis?
Timing the harvest correctly is essential for achieving optimal cannabinoid content and yield in cannabis plants. Many farmers either start gathering their crops too soon or wait too long, reducing the quality and worth of their ultimate produce. A delay of only a few days might affect the effectiveness of the final product. Cultivators must harvest female cannabis plants at the pinnacle of their maturity, just before the medical ingredients begin to deteriorate since the plants spend their last days concentrating on resin production. Cannabis flowering stage
The optimal time to harvest marijuana and hemp is covered in detail, as is the biology behind this process.
WHY EXPERTS DISAGREE ABOUT WHEN TO HARVEST CANNABIS
When to harvest is a topic of debate among experts. Divergent viewpoints may be attributed to a variety of factors, including individual choice. A higher percentage of THC is present in cannabis harvested earlier, giving it a more energizing, heady impact, whereas later-harvested cannabis is more sedating.
The plant’s ambiguity contributes to the overall problem. Various strains (or, more precisely, cultivars) show differing external signals of maturity during the prime time for harvest. The distinct chemical profiles of different cultivars are highly prized by experts. Depending on the cultivar, the required chemical profiles may appear sooner or later in the development cycle.
Certain sativa varieties favor a lengthy 16-week blooming season and a “summer” that never ends. On the other hand, certain indicas may complete their flowering cycle in as little as 5 weeks.
In addition, the cannabis plant’s flowers develop at different rates in different spots. There is more light reaching the upper blossoms than the lower ones. Lower flowers generally contain less THC (since they receive less light), and fewer trichomes (resin glands).
All these things might impact your harvest plans and methods, and making it difficult to determine when to harvest cannabis. However, the guidelines below should be followed. Paying careful attention to your plants and using the signs can greatly improve your chances of a good harvest.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T HARVEST ON TIME
There are about one hundred different cannabinoids in marijuana. It’s true that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) get all the attention, but another cannabinoid, cannabigerol (CBG), has a significant impact on both yield and freshness.
The cannabinoids THC and CBD may be produced from CBG. That’s because during blooming, the cannabinoids THC and CBD are progressively converted from CBG, which is plentiful during vegetative development. The full potential of THC is only reached when CBG levels are very low.
Once its therapeutic effects have been fully realized, THC starts to metabolize into cannabinol, a less attractive cannabinoid (CBN). When the plant’s vitality declines later in its life cycle due to exposure to oxygen and UV radiation, the THC also begins to age. THC also slowly dissolves into CBN when cannabis flowers are stored.
Because of its calming and anxiety-reducing effects, CBN may be beneficial for certain patients. However, the vast majority of consumers want their cannabis to be effective but not sleep-inducing. Cannabis flowering stage
THE THREE RULES FOR HARVESTING MARIJUANA AT THE RIGHT TIME
It is possible to tell when to harvest by looking at the trichomes and the pistils. Both are readily identifiable landmarks due to their characteristic “maturity-related” hue or form shifts. Assuming one has access to a lab and the necessary testing chemicals, chemical analysis is another solid option.
- Trichomes are the mushroom-shaped resin glands found on the flower and nearby leaves.
- Pistils (or stigma) are the hairs coming from the flower’s calyxes.
CHECKING FOR THC VIA THE TRICHOME METHOD
As a plant develops, its trichomes gradually transform from transparent to milky white. When resin production reaches its peak and trichomes take on a milky appearance, secondary metabolites like THC, CBD, and terpenes have also reached their highest levels.
Even so, the cloudiness of the trichomes will not occur all at once; rather, it will develop gradually.
Some trichomes will have changed to amber or brown by the time the majority have become opaque. When the trichomes become an amber color, this means harvest time has gone and the active therapeutic chemicals are decaying.
Cannabis flowering stage
One rule of thumb is to harvest marijuana when more than half of the trichomes have developed a hazy, milky tint.
If you’re using the Trichome Method for harvesting, you should cut your plants down after the majority of the trichomes have changed from clear to cloudy and just a small number of them are amber. If the majority of the plant’s trichomes are amber, it has passed its prime.
Pistils are often referred to as “hairs” by consumers and for good cause. Slender white pistils extend forth from the flower’s calyx in search of pollen and the chance to generate seeds.
Once the plant is fully mature, the pistils will become a rich brown or orange color. This indicates the plant has stopped actively seeking pollen in order to produce seeds, an indication of a halted biological process.
Second, marijuana should be harvested after 70 percent of its pistils have become a dark brown or orange color.
Pistil Method growers typically harvest after 70 percent of pistils have turned color and curled inward. When more than half of the stamens on a plant have turned a rusty orange or brown, it has passed its prime.
CHECKING FOR THC WITH LABORATORY TESTING
Hydroponic farmers that have access to chemical testing equipment have greater say in the growing process. Growers who keep tabs on their crop’s cannabinoid levels may harvest at the optimal time for maximum THC and CBD content.
It is difficult to determine the final THC content. Consequently, growers use a unique technique for chemical analysis: they keep tabs on cannabigerol (CBG).
Third Principle: Gather Marijuana When CBG Levels Are Near Zero.
The conversion of CBG into THC and CBD, the two most sought-after cannabinoids, is easily detectable when CBG levels drop toward zero.
HOW TO TELL IF IT’S TOO EARLY TO HARVEST CANNABIS
Because the crop’s worth decreases if it’s harvested too soon, it’s crucial to choose the best window for harvesting, even if it means delaying other plans.
Half of the trichomes should be hazy and half of the hairs should have changed color before harvesting.
Repeatedly, if less than half of the trichomes have become milky, you shouldn’t harvest. Also, wait until at least half of the pistils have gone brown/orange before picking.
REAL-WORLD HARVEST SCHEDULES
In actuality, farmers rely on both trichomes and pistils to determine when to harvest. Knowledge and instinct play a role as well, as does whether the grower wants a cerebral, energizing benefit (from an early harvest) or a physical, anxiety-relieving one (from a delayed harvest). The accessibility of necessary personnel is also essential.
Cannabis flowering stage
Also, the answer to the question “when to harvest outdoor weed?” may change according to the season and the temperature. Waiting for completely milky trichomes and risking crop loss due to cold or wet weather makes taking down the plants before a large storm a wiser option. Recognizing optimal outdoor harvesting times is complicated by factors such as location.
TIPS FOR WHEN TO HARVEST CANNABIS
The best time to harvest is either first thing in the morning or in the dark. Resin is produced by cannabis plants throughout the night, whereas photosynthesis is what keeps them going during the day. Photosynthesis-related metabolites may contribute to a less-than-desirable flavor.
Have a look using a portable microscope.
Trichological maturity may be evaluated using a 30–100x microscope. They may be purchased from most hydroponic supply shops (microscopes help with pest inspection too). Another option is to utilize a high-resolution DSLR camera and then expand the images on a computer monitor.
Maybe you could harvest in stages.
Due to the faster maturation of the upper sections of the plant, you may choose to harvest those parts first and let the lower blooms another week to increase potency and trichome density.
Get organized and have a full strategy for harvesting.
Large-scale grow operations begin preparing for harvest months in advance, well before the trichomes develop a milky sheen. Staff members are prepared for harvest day via training, the acquisition of necessary equipment, and the development of comprehensive standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Gathering Produce for a Fast Freeze Product.
You should start harvesting your plants a few days earlier than usual if you plan on employing fresh-frozen extraction procedures in processing them. Cannabis flowering stage
Contact Mobius if you are a commercial grower interested in rethinking your approach to harvesting. If you want to increase productivity and profits while maintaining compliance and minimizing hassles, our professionals can help you figure out what equipment you’ll need.