HARVESTING AND DRYING - Cannabis Growing Guide
Harvesting is the reaping of the bounty, and is the most enjoyable time you
will spend with your garden.
Plants are harvested when the flowers are ripe. Generally, ripeness is
defined as when the white pistils start to turn brown, orange, etc. and start to
withdraw back into the false seed pod. The seed pods swell with resins usually
reserved for seed production, and we have ripe sinse buds with red and golden
It is interesting that the time of harvest controls the "high" of
the buds. If harvested "early" with only a few of the pistils turned
color, the buds will have a more pure THC content and will have less THC that
has turned to CBD and CBN. The lessor psychoactive substances will create the
bouquet of the pot, and control the amount of stoneyness and stupidness
associated with the high. A pure THC content is very cerebral, while high THC,
high CBD, CBN content will make the plants more of a stupid, or hazy buzz. Buds
taken later, when fully ripened will normally have these higher CBN, CBD levels
and may not be what you prefer once you try different samples picked at
different times. Don not listen to the experts, decide yourself based on what
you come to like yourself.
Keep in mind, a bud weighs more when fully ripe. It is what most growers like
to sell, but take some buds early for yourself, every week until you harvest,
and decide how you like it for yourself. Grow the rest to full maturity if you
plan to sell it.
Most new growers want to pick early, because they are impatient. That is OK!
Just take buds from the middle of the plant or the top. Allow the rest to keep
maturing. Often, the tops of the plants will be ripe first. Harvest them and let
the rest of the plant continue to ripen. You will notice the lower buds getting
bigger and fuzzier as they come into full maturity. With more light available to
the bottom portion of the plant now, the plant yields more this way over time,
than taking a single harvest.
Use a magnifier and try to see the capitated stalked trichomes (little THC
crystals on the buds). If they are mostly clear, not brown, the peak of floral
bouquet is near. Once they are mostly all turning brownish in color, the THC
levels are dropping and the flower is past optimum potency, declining with light
and wind exposure rapidly.
Don not harvest too late! It is easy to be too careful and harvest late
enough potency has declined. Watch the plants and learn to spot peak floral
Do not cure pot in the sun, it reduces potency. Slow cure hanging buds upside
down in a ventilated space. That is all that is needed to have great sensi.
Drying in a paper bag works too, and may be much more convenient. Bud tastes
great when slow dried over the course of a week or two.
If your in a hurry, it is OK to dry a small amount in-between paper sheets or
a paper bag in a microwave oven. Go slow and check it, don not burn it. Use the
defrost power setting for a slower, better drying. It will be harsh smoking this
A food dehydrator or food preserver will dry your pot in a few hours, but it
will not taste the same as slow-dried. Very close though. And this will speed
your harvest time (which can be nerve-wracking, with all this pot hanging around
Dry buds until the stems are brittle enough to snap, then cure them in a
sealed tupperware container , burping air and turning the buds daily for two
Once experienced grower told me to dry in an uninsulated area of the house
(like the garage) so that the temperature will rise and fall each night, as the
plant is drying. If you treat the plant as if it were still alive, it will use
some of it is chlorophyll while it is drying, and the smoke will be less harsh.