Going on the flowering times from the breeder or seed bank will give you some idea as to when your buds are ripened, especially if you have given them an extra week or two but there are more reliable ways to accurately determine when you should be harvesting.
The pistols that are a hallmark of flowering Cannabis will begin to change color from white to a reddish brown color as they ripen and when more than half of them have turned color it is generally approaching the end of the flowering cycle but sometimes this could be deceptive.
The most reliable way to tell if they are ready is to look at the trichomes or crystals. You will need a magnifier to look at them properly because they are far too small to see accurately with the naked eye.
A jeweller’s loupe is perfect for this:
These magnifiers are also great:
You will be able to look on either the buds or the smaller leaves that are coated in crystals and see what stage of ripening they are at.
The trichomes will start off as clear and through the ripening process they will become cloudy or milky and eventually turn amber.
If the majority of the trichomes are still clear, it means that we have not yet hit peak Cannabinoid levels. It would contain a lot of pre-curser Cannabinoids and harvesting now would likely result in a very speedy or racy high which is exactly the type of bud which is likely to induce anxiety or paranoia.
It also would not be ideal for pain relief and could actually enhance your focus on the pain making it worse. At this stage the trichomes will look very reflective and sparkly.
When the majority of trichomes are cloudy this is at or near the peak amounts of THC and other Cannabinoids and will likely produce a somewhat uppish stimulating high with very good amounts of pain relief.
You will be able to tell when they are cloudy because they seem to lose that sparkly shine to them and start looking milky.
As the plant ripens further more of these trichomes will start turning an unmistakable amber colour. At this point we are going past the peak THC levels and THC will be breaking down into CBN.
There are always exceptions to this but the general rule is that the more a plant ripens; the more trichomes will turn amber.
Leaving them too long and having a vast amount of amber will lead to a couch lock, heavy, narcotic type of high. This is not ideal for functional medicine unless you wish to use it to easily fall asleep.
We recommend that you keep an eye on the trichome development and aim for mostly cloudy with between 5-15% amber trichomes.
This generally gives a nice balanced profile of Cannabinoids which will combat a variety of pains as well as provide a comfortable balance of euphoria that is neither too sedating nor too racy.
The Secret to Natural Pain Relief
Introduction & comprehensive FREE guide to growing, processing and using cannabis products for help managing chronic pain conditions. Even if you have no garden and zero growing skills or experience.
Always consult your physician when considering a change to your current treatment.