One of the questions that you ask us the most when the harvest time is approaching is when to cut the marijuana. It is logical if we think that it is the culminating moment of a lot of efforts, and although many of us enjoy the cultivation process, the objective for which we sow is to be able to consume our own marijuana, without having to resort to the black market and above all, knowing how they have been raised and cared for.
Some very brief technical questions
Then we will go over the traditional methods for setting the harvest date and modern methods. In the last part of the article we are going to give a series of tips to obtain the best results, both in psychoactivity and in organoleptic characteristics.
The first thing you have to take into account, when choosing when to cut marijuana, are your personal tastes. Do you like to stay on the sofa for hours? Do you consume while playing music or create any art with other people? Are you looking for medicinal uses ?. For each use there is an ideal time to cut, although there are general guidelines that must always be followed and from there you will have to be the one to investigate and find your harvest time, do not worry, like everything, practice is the best teacher.
We are going to review some of the things you have to know to identify the exact time of harvest, on a technical level. Once you do 3 or 4 crops in a row, you will have gained enough experience and you will know perfectly when to cut marijuana. Each one takes the method that they like the most and that works for their objectives of taste, humidity, effect, etc. and that is the important thing, that you feel good with the fruit of your effort.
The first thing we should know, before looking at the techniques to identify the maturity of your plants, is the chemical process that happens inside the trichomes, which is where the substances that will take effect and give it aroma are produced. to our cannabis. From a certain moment the substances that are in the trichomes, the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, begin to transform into other substances. This is caused by different events. On the one hand, exposure to substances called enzymes that break down molecules, and on the other hand, contact with oxygen and with the ultraviolet rays of the sun, let’s take a look at this process.
From CBGA, which is synthesized as trichomes begin to form, other cannabinoids such as CBG, THCA, CBDA, and CBCA are formed. These in turn lose the “A”, remaining as THC, CBD and CBC. The latter happens when the temperature rises or by incidence of ultraviolet rays. For example, when we smoke or vaporize we heat these substances, transforming THCA that does not generate a psychoactive effect into THC, which does.
From here THC also begins to be converted to CBN, so marijuana begins to lose the psychoactive effects of THC and to gain the sedative and relaxing effects of CBN.
Also keep in mind that some of the terpenes and flavonoids are constantly evaporating and their production decreases when the plant begins to end its life cycle.
If we go over the date, we will get a very relaxing marijuana on a physical level, with medicinal properties due to CBD and CBN, but without the possibilities that THC gives us.
The previous paragraph is the one that saves all the information to know when to cut marijuana, when the balance between our favorite cannabinoids is that of our liking, it is at the moment of high psychoactive potency and has the aroma and flavor (given by terpenes, terpenoids and flavonoids) that we like the most. Obviously we do not know when everything happens and we can not go measuring cannabinoids, because we would need to perform a chromatography a day, to analyze the levels of each of them. Let’s see other methods that we can do at home.
A first approach to the subject can be made by looking at the color of the hairs or pistils. Many growers are oriented by the color of these, when it goes from white to reddish and then to dark brown. If you always grow the same variety, in the same place, it can be a good indicator. But it is not at all reliable. Cannabis tradition tells us that from 80% of pistils, or stigmas, browns can be cut, but this may have been caused by a few days of intense heat, wind or by the plant’s genetics. It can be a good indication to know that the plants are entering the maturation process and that you have to start monitoring them, but not to know when to cut the marijuana.
You should start monitoring your plants when 60% or 75% of the pistils are brown. But it is not a valid method to know what exact day to cut.
Let’s see other tricks to know when to cut marijuana, which like the previous one are not very reliable, but can give us clues to start monitoring our plants. One of them is the smell, when you have been cultivating for a long time, you will know when your favorite varieties are ready just by smelling them, the perfect combination of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids is detected by your nose. But our sense of smell has lost a lot in recent years, and right now it’s not a very accurate test. Although it only serves to give us an idea, as in the previous case.