Probably the most beautiful moment of a cannabis grower is harvesting the sweet product you have been working on for months. But when is the best time harvest your cannabis? This question is very important to ask yourself because when your a little to late, or early. It can decrease teh quality and taste of your product.
The best and most trusted way to choose the right moment is by looking closely to the trichomes on your buds. The trichomes are those microscopic small “hairs” growing on the smokeable parts of the plant. These trichomes contain lots of cannabinoids with all different psycho-active and medical effects (Think about THC, CBD and CBN).
These trichomes are very small so the best way to research these trichomes is by using a microscope for mobile phone or magnifying glass.
The three stages of a trichome
The right harvest moment has to be detected by the colour of these trichomes. Thats why they are seperated in three different stages. In the beginning (once you can see the trichomes) they will be transparant and look like very small water drops.
This clearly means it’s too early to harvest. There aren’t many cannabinoids/terpenes in transparant trichomes wich makes the cannabis not potent at all. Wait a few weeks longer!
After a while the trichomes enters their second stage. At this moment you will see that the colour of some trichomes start to change in to off-white/milky. This is when they start evolving their cannabinoids.
The white trichomes are full of THC and other cannabinoids wich makes it very potent! However, trichomes are evolving every moment and not all at the same time. So if a lot of them are white coloured, others will still be transparent. Next to that there is another important colour we need to keep a close eye on!
The last stage is also recognizable for it’s colour. After the trichomes have been filled with THC and a milky white colour, they will turn amber/brownish one by one. This means the THC levels getting lower.
In this proces THC will transform into CBN (Cannabinol) wich is less psycho-active but would give you somthing called a “couch lock” ( a numb, tired feeling). The longer you wait, the more trichomes turn amber which means your high will be more psychical. We recommend to harvest when +-25% of trichomes have turned into amber.
It’s a bit up to you to choose the right moment: If you want a energetic, head high you should yield when most trichomes are white. If you wan’t a more physical high that let’s you melt away in the couch you should wait till a few turned amber.
There are a lot of other things to discuss about different cannabinoids and in wich trichome-phase they will be active or not. For growing recreational cannabis, looking at these colours is a nice guideline to find the best harvest moment. (highest potency with high THC levels)
Last years there have been lots of medical researches about cannabis and different cannabinoids. Think about CBD or THCA. To research these, they also look at the colour of the trichomes. CBD levels are mostly genetically determined but they found out that in amber/brownish trichomes (Phase 3) there is more CBD then in the white trichomes (Phase 2).
So to analyse your cannabis and it’s potency, Always take a good look at the trichomes!