Finding the right moment to harvest your marijuana can be tricky as cutting down both too early and too late can affect the end-product.
Judging the development of the trichomes is the crucial point to fund just the right moment. Knowing the right time to harvest will be essential in delivering the best products you have been working on for months.
Will clear trichomes get you high? Yes, but not too high as you will only get precursor cannabinoids. These types of cannabinoids are known to be not psychoactive. Finding the right time to harvest will give you more of a potent product. Clear trichomes won’t give you as much.
This article will discuss all trichomes as well as the perfect time to harvest your cannabis plant.
Knowing when to harvest your cannabis is very important as it will determine the amount of potency in your end-product. Let’s get into today’s topic to understand more about clear trichomes.
The Purpose Of Trichomes
Trichomes are the tiny slight outgrowths usually appearing in many marijuana plants around their flowers or buds. You can easily spot them all over the marijuana plant, but they are more concentrated around the flowers and buds.
Trichomes are generally categorized into crystal-like formations, and when touched, you will find that they can be pretty sticky. But before getting into that, you need to understand the three types of trichomes found on marijuana plants.
These are bulbous, capitate sessile, capitate stalked trichomes which are the bigger ones that you often see in many marijuana plants.
The first two mentioned are tiny ones compared to the capitate stalked trichome. But if you are not familiar with these, you might be familiar with the scientific name abbreviations like THCA, THC, CBDA, CBD, to name a few.
Trichomes are not only cannabinoids in general but are also considered to be a defense mechanism for cannabis plants.
The stickiness of trichomes will stop all bugs and pests from eating the buds as they usually end up getting stuck and dying later. It is also worth mentioning the fragrant aroma of a cannabis plant, a form of defense, like a solid skunky smell.
Clear And Cloudy Trichomes Differences
Usually, when the trichomes start to form, they are in clear color, and as they age, they will turn cloudy and then amber.
The main difference between cloudy, clear, and amber is when clear is known to have less THC, and the high you will get is milder than if you wait for a few more weeks before harvesting.
The rule of thumb by many farmers is to wait for the color to start going amber then harvest it. Although, most people claim in many marijuana forums that it is best to wait until the trichomes are in their amber color.
Every grower will have a different preference for when they want to harvest, and that will just be based on a few harvests under their belts.
The most important thing to note here is that if you wait for too long to cut the buds down for drying and curing the plant, the quality will start to lower. It is crucial to harvest cannabis at the right time. For this reason, looking at the trichomes will give you more idea of where you are.
Harvesting Cannabis At The Right Time
While most growers are fully aware that white pistils can only mean too early, it is actually more tricky when it turns brown.
The plant’s maturity is primarily related to the development of the trichomes and actually not the browning of the pistils. While they tend to develop right simultaneously in hindsight, judging the hair’s color can be quite a miss.
The easiest way to judge the maturity of the plants is by checking the resin glands or most commonly known as trichomes.
Using a microscope, you can quickly determine the state of the resin glands, and you don’t have to guess anymore second. Usually, the trichomes will undergo three different stages:
This is the first stage and the first sign that the bud is entering its maturity stage. Transparent trichomes or most commonly known as clear trichomes will only contain precursor cannabinoids.
These cannabinoids are not psychoactive, and they will not give you a potent product if you harvest at this stage.
Cloudy trichomes or milky resin glands will contain a fully matured THC, and to be able to obtain the most potent buds, you need to get as close to 100% cloudy trichomes.
It is worth mentioning that it is nearly impossible to get 100% cloudy trichomes since new resin glands will be produced. In addition to that, even if you harvest the trichomes, they will continue to develop, so you need to time it properly.
If you see any amber resin glands, it could only mean that the THC has been converted into CBN, a THC degraded form. It means that your product has lost a large part of its potency.
CBN is pot desirable in any harvest since it produces more narcotic feelings rather than just feeling the high value.
Since it might be hard for many growers to achieve the full 100% expectation, they recommend harvesting it around 85% milky. It should be 10% for amber, and for clear trichomes, just 5%, so you will get the best out of it.
Magnifying Your Harvesting Skills
If you are still figuring out how and when to harvest, you need to understand first the process and the changes happening in your plant.
When the harvest time is fast approaching your cannabis crop, it is essential to know when to cut your plants. This will affect the overall taste, density, and potency of your end-products.
A must-have in every grower’s box of tools is a handheld microscope to get the best of it. This helpful tool will take the guesswork out of knowing when to cut your buds.
Counting the days and simply checking in with your microscope will give you both visual and microscopic points of view of the near-estimation of when to cut. But the ultimate key here is to be observant of the color of your trichomes.
It is worth mentioning that the top part of the cannabis plant will finish even before the bottom part. The middle branches are considered the average for the whole plant.
The difference in location will help get a more appropriate judge of the condition and their readiness to harvest.
Ready For Harvest
You can use your handheld field microscope and choose a bud on a central branch to harvest appropriately.
You are looking for the trichomes and their shape and color, and you will notice that these have the basic shape of a mushroom and are very clear during early development.
There should be no harvesting when the trichomes are clear as they are not ready yet. The white hair or pistils on the plant are essential for bud growth and will shorten and change color.
During the second stage of the finishing process, the trichomes will start to get cloudy. Clear trichomes are healthy through the entire growth process since the plant is constantly making new ones.
If you harvest most of the cloudy buds, they will give you more of an energetic high. This peak is when the THC is most potent, and this dynamic property is a bit stronger when you are harvesting Sativas.
Just be mindful that if you crop at this point, you will be losing some weight and density, and the amount will vary depending on the strain genetics and the growing style.
For the third and last stage of finishing, the trichomes will start to turn amber, and the best thing to do is none other than wait until 70 of them are amber.
The amber-colored resin will indicate that the THC has reached its ripeness and is ready to come down. It is worth mentioning that these buds will produce the densest flowers and may take a little longer to process.
The more amber the trichomes are, the more soothing and couch-look effect will have after the curing process.
Being Patient Is A Challenge
Right now, you are probably aware of when is the perfect time to harvest your buds, but this is easy. Being patient can pose a challenge.
Patience can pay off significantly since your plants tend to put on more weight for the last 10 to 20 days. This weight gain is because of a hormonal response to the natural end of the flowering span of the plant.
As a by-product of waiting, the plant’s natural desire is to find pollen is at your advantage as it creates more potent buds for you.
Due to their scientific ability, the plant will still be fertilized by male pollen for as long as possible. It can sense the end of the season; it will focus on its energy to make the flowers more pollinated by adding density and stickiness.
As a result, this can add more trichomes to catch just one floating male pollen and thus complete the cycle. Patience will be the virtue in the final days of the cultivation, and for many outdoor growers, the countdown to harvest will be when you see some female pistils.
Many indoor growers typically count the days they switch the lights from vegetative lighting to flowering lighting. Others, however, wait and count from Day 1 of flowering, which is the first-day pistils are usually seen.
The best way for indoor and outdoor growing is to wait until you see the first sign of bud development. Once you see that, you need to mark your calendar from that point in time.
In many cases, Sativas usually take longer to finish than Indicas, and many hybrids depend on the dominant variety. It is a known fact that each cannabis type has a recommended approximate finishing time.
You need to keep up with your calendar and use your eyes and handheld scope. Whenever you are in doubt and lost in time, you can always wait a few days before harvesting.
Influence Of trichomes On Cannabinoids And Terpenes
Trichomes are the source of resin and cannabinoids in all of the marijuana plants, and they are tiny spheres of cannabis resin.
They coat the leaves, buds, and branches of the whole cannabis plant, which gives it a frosty white appearance. Cannabis trichomes allow the production of many cannabis concentrates that are usually made like shatter, cannabis oil, has, wax, etc.
Special cells produce secretions of terpenes and cannabinoids, typically stored in the spherical resin gland. The exact ratio of the cannabinoids and terpenes secreted can be determined by the genetics of the original cannabis seed.
Aside from that, you need to take into consideration the environment as well.
Many growers grow cannabis seeds for the THC content, and most cannabis strains have THC levels around 15%.
If you are looking for a higher number, you can ask for any dispensaries that offer high THC seeds as they have different variations. There are some maximum strengths available of cannabis with THC levels up to 25%.
To sum it up, you can actually control the effect of your bud depending on the time you harvest it. By harvesting early, you will be able to obtain a product that can provide more cerebral inebriation.
On the other hand, harvesting late will give you bud that can trigger a more body-centered effect. You can obtain bugs that will provide the needs you want to your body depending on the harvest and curing process.
The most important takeaway is that a clear trichome will give you a high but not the psychoactive high expected from a cloudy one.