Harvesting and Processing

After the months spent taking care of your plants, it is finally time to harvest them and, perhaps, make some extracts. Which is the correct time to harvest your cannabis plants? How to properly dry, cure and store your buds? How is hashish made? And BHO? You will find the answers to these questions in this category, which gathers all our posts related to post-cultivation issues.

Introduction to cannabis tasting

Is it possible to taste marijuana?

Marijuana is probably the known plant species with more organoleptic variations. Its richness in regard to flavours and smells is practically infinite, varying between organic and chemical notes, with sweet, sour, fruity or woody undertones – and many more. The different combinations of the more than 100 terpenes (mainly monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes) that it contains produce flavours and aromas that vary enormously between different plants, providing completely different notes and undertones from one cannabis strain to another. It’s for this reason that marijuana tasting is such an important and exciting activity, in which we get to know better the strains we grow, trying to intensify our senses when smoking them so we get the best of our favourite varieties.

Marijuana produces a large number of terpenes

Marijuana produces a large number of terpenes

Cannabis tasting requires few previous steps before the final evaluation of the sample, which ensure that we appreciate the main flavours and undertones in its taste and smell (as well as the effect) and these aren’t “distorted” by various factors that we’ll see.

One of the first things to think about is the way in which you will consume the sample: the best way is as you normally do; if you are a Bong smoker, use a Bong. If you normally vape it, use a Vaporizer . The way in which you’re used to consume cannabis allows you to make an evaluation as most objective as possible.

Anything you have ingested recently, whether if it’s food or drink, can alter the flavour of the sample to taste. Therefore, it’s convenient to have your mouth clean and free of any aftertaste from other substances. You also should have your hands clean and free from odours before handling the sample.

The place where you do the tasting should also be clean from other smells rather than those from the marijuana that you will consume during the tasting. The ideal would be a room temperature of 22-24ºC, with a humidity level of 50%. With these conditions, you make sure that the sample won’t lose its organoleptic traits while you manipulate and prepare it.
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How to store marijuana buds

Storing our marijuana buds

After harvesting and properly drying our cannabis plants, storing them is a crucial stage if we want to enjoy top grade marijuana during the following months. A correct storing process is one of the most important and most oftenly forgotten aspects of cannabis cultivation, so it requires proper attention if we want to be proud of our buds.

As happens with the drying process, canabis buds are best stored in a dark, cool place. Light degrades the cannabinoids and terpenes present in the resin glands of our buds, so we should always keep them away from light sources. Storing our marijuana in cool places also helps to preserve their cannabinoid and terpene content, but it should be noted that, while refrigeration slows down the breakdown of cannabinoids, freezing buds is not advised since the water inside the buds crystallizes and pierces the plant tissues (a phenomenon known as ice nucleation), allowing chlorophyll to escape and harm the resin glands. Continue reading

Marijuana bud trimmers

Cannabis bud trimming machines

Techniques in growing marijuana have improved, as well as the processes performed after harvesting, e.g. the process of manicuring buds. Some of us – actually most of us – have spent hours and hours, with a small scissor on our hand, leaf by leaf, manicuring our precious flowers. This  process is currently carried out by different machines that help us doing the job.

 Spin Pro Trimmer

Spin Pro is a machine designed for trimming marijuana. No electrical power is needed, so you can take it everywhere regardless of access to power.

Its structure is divided into three sections:

Spin Pro trimmer

Spin Pro trimmer

  • The top part is a bowl-shaped lid with a handle connected to the inner side of the bowl. Inside, there’s a small metal structure connected to rubber bands measuring about 10 cm. These rubber pieces press marijuana buds against the grate to allow a proper trimming.
  • The middle part is composed of a grid with 1 cm slots, which enables the leaves to remain in the centre of the bowl and being trimmed by the bottom part of the grid, where an x-shaped wire is connected to the handle. When the handle is operated, the mechanism is activated so that the wire spins at a high speed while trimming the leaves and manicuring the buds. The leaves are then deposited in the bottom of the bowl.
  • The bottom part is a stainless metal bowl where the remaining leaves are deposited after trimming our buds. For a good maintenance of the device, you only need to wipe it with some alcohol to remove any residual THC from the marijuana flowers.

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Drying and curing marijuana buds

After harvesting our marijuana plants, the drying process begins. Drying your plants – along with curing the flowers once dried – is one of the most important steps to get first class buds.

We could say that, at the moment of harvesting, only half the work has been done. The following steps have the same importance than the nutrients used or the number of light hours received by our plants.

These are the correct steps to properly dry and cure our cannabis buds to keep at most their organoleptic and psychoactive properties.

Cannabis bud ready to harvest

Cannabis bud ready to harvest

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When to harvest marijuana plants according to trichome ripeness

You have worked hard over the past weeks! Maybe you have spend some money in a growing tent or in cannabis seeds ;  after a long time and hard dedication, you have finally arrived at this crucial moment.

How to know when to harvest your marijuana plants?

We will see here which is the best moment to harvest your marijuana plants at their psychoactivity peak, and try to understand what happens in our plants during the last weeks of flowering. In this way, you will be able to harvest your plants depending on the desired effect.

The marijuana harvest window is an aspect that, unfortunately, is rarely taken seriously; other times, what happens is that the grower just don’t have enough patience to wait for a few days to ensure highest levels of THC.

Some cannabis strains are better when harvested at their THC production peak, while others will be better if harvested a few days later.

Marijuana trichomes

Marijuana trichomes

Regarding trichomes and what they tell us, Robert C. Clarke – in his book “Marijuana Botany” –  states:

When resin trichomes are near their THC concentration peak, they have a translucent colour since the plant is still producing resin in the trichome glands.

At this moment, THC production is at its peak, while CBD levels are still low and stable, since molecules quickly become THC.

Terpene – aromatic molecules – production is also at its peak, developing gorgeously aromatic floral clusters.

Many growers harvest their cannabis plants at this moment because they prefer a more clear and cerebral psychoactive effect.

At this moment, THC has few sedative effects due to low CBD and CBN levels.

What does it all mean?

If you are growing mostly Indica hybrids, it is better to harvest your plants when the resin glands are completely developed but not fully ripen – before they turn amber – unless you want to be glued to your sofa.

The harvest time depends mostly on marijuana strains and phenotypes, and can vary from several days to a few weeks between different cannabis varieties.

If you extend too much the flowering period of an Indica strain, it will dramatically affect its taste and effect. Fortunately, extending only a few days the flowering stage don’t usually cause major issues for most people. Continue reading

When to harvest marijuana plants?

The harvest of marijuana plants is one of the most expected moments for any grower, who virtually enjoy the fruits of their labor after several weeks of hard work and impatience.

Harvesting marijuana

The big question for the vast majority of growers at late flowering is: When to harvest my plants? This question can have several answers, depending on the growing conditions and our personal needs.

Bud at the middle of its flowering period

Bud at the middle of its flowering period

Marijuana plant 15 days before harvest

Marijuana plant 15 days before harvest

Ripe marijuana plant, ready to harvest

Ripe marijuana plant, ready to harvest

We should consider the following points to know if a plant is ready to be harvested:

1.-Seedbank recommendations.

When we purchase a pack of seeds, it usually comes with an aproximate harvest date, which is the first reference that we must keep in mind. However, this recommendation, while being important, is merely orientative, since the flowering period and hence the harvest date may depend on several factors such as latitude – outdoor growing – phenotypes or growing conditions/systems – specially indoors .

2.-The colour of the pistils 

One of the first symptoms of the ripening of the buds is the colour of their pistils. They get brown as they ripe, so when half of them have become brown the harvest time is near; if we harvest the plants at this moment, their effect will be more psychoactive, while if we wait a few days and harvest them when all the pistils are brown their effect will be more narcotic.  Continue reading