When to Harvest Your Cannabis

When Should I Harvest My Cannabis Plants?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions among new growers. Knowing when to harvest cannabis plants is very easy, once you know how. When you’re first growing, it can be easy to get impatient towards the end when the buds start packing on weight. They look so great, you’re so ready to try them, but it is so worth waiting into the right moment. This can be slightly different depending on the effects that you’re looking for.

How Do I Check If My Cannabis Plant Is Ready?

There are two ways of checking if a plant is ready or not. Firstly, You can use the pistils or “hairs” on the buds. Secondly, you can look at the trichomes. The latter is the more accurate method. You can view trichomes using a jeweler’s loupe or digital microscope. In some instances, you can even use your phone camera. 

What Are Pistils?

Pistils are the tiny hairs that grow out of the buds. They start off white and sticking straight out to darkened are curled in. The pistils can be orange, red or even pink in some strains.

White Pistils in Early Flower

What Are Trichomes?

Trichomes are the tiny mushroom like projections on the buds and leaves. They’re responsible for giving the buds that beautiful glittery look. This is where you can find THC, CBD, CBN and other cannabinoids. Therefore, trichomes are where you find the resin.

Magnified Trichomes; You Can See Some Clear and Some Cloudy

Pistil Method

This method uses the pistils to determine the maturity of the buds. You can view these with the naked eye. So, it’s the less accurate off the two methods.

  • 70%-90% of pistils are darkened and curled in; Highest THC & CBD
  • 90%-100% of pistils are darkened and curled in; More relaxing & calming effects from CBN

Trichome Method

This method uses the trichomes to determine the maturity of the buds. It’s the most accurate way to determine when to harvest your cannabis plants. You need a jeweler’s loupe, your cell phone camera or a digital microscope to view the magnified trichomes. Trichomes will be either clear, cloudy or amber. Clear trichomes look like glass. However, Cloudy ones have a more plastic or opaque look to them. But, Amber trichomes look amber or orange in appearance.

  • Mostly cloudy trichomes with about 5-10% amber trichomes; Highest THC & CBD
  • Mostly cloudy trichomes with about 20%-30% amber trichomes; More sedative, relaxing effects
  • Mostly cloudy trichomes with no amber trichomes; More energetic, cerebral or “heady” high

The effects can only be controlled to a certain extent with the maturity of the plant. In other words, genetics play a big role in how the strain will effect you.