Happy Croptober! Let’s dig into some Cannabis Harvesting Tips:
A beginner's guide to Harvesting Cannabis
It’s, October and it’s time to start deciding when to take down your cannabis plants. Many of you who purchased clones from us were first time growers, so we wanted to share a few tips with you to boost terpene production, ensure you harvest at the “golden moment”, and how to dry and cure!
Growth times can vary by strain and by geography, however generally indica strains will flower in 50-60 days and sativa strains will flower in 60-70 days. Because each strain is unique these are generalities and not rules, some sativas can finish more quickly and some indicas can take longer to grow.
Harvesting cannabis at just the right moment helps to maximize the terpene and resin potential of the plant. If you harvest too early you sacrifice some of that production. Similarly if you harvest too late, the THC crystals can degrade into CBN (the cannabinoid that puts the plant to sleep), reducing the potential of psycho-activity in the plant. Due to the fact that we are in Oregon, we are sometimes forced to harvest cannabis in mid-October due to oncoming rains and mold prevention- but we do what we gotta do.
With so many variables that equate to a proper harvest time there are a few tricks to finding what we in the cannabis industry refer to as the “Golden Moment”. Every strain will represent its maturity differently and at different times so treat each strain you grow uniquely. Now let’s get out your magnifying glasses and let’s take a peak at some helpful hints:
Monitor Your Trichomes
Also known as Pistols, they will begin clear and slowly change to a milky white and then to a shade of amber. The amber is not always present and is highly strain dependent so do not rely on this aspect solely. If you do not see the amber, continue to check using the following methods before deciding to wait for harvest.
Monitor Your Stigma
These are the hair like features on the flower. While the plant is growing they will be white and as the plant comes closer to maturity, they turn to a darker and darker shade of orange/red (or sometimes purple depending on the strain!)
Keep One Eye on the Gland Heads
These can be found at the top of the Trichome or Pistol. Within this magical ball can be found your terpenes and cannabinoids. As the plant matures, the glands will swell. We tend to keep an eye on them in the final few weeks. Once we see the first one or two pop we know the rest are also at their maximum potential and do our harvest.
Keep Your Other Eye on the Skies
And on the weather forecast. If you are growing outdoors, make sure to harvest your plants before any large rainfall soaks your flowers or get them under cover. These are prime conditions for mold once you get to the drying and curing process and are best avoided.
WET TRIM VS DRY TRIM
Now is the time to decide if you are going to trim your cannabis wet or dry if you haven’t already. Trimming wet not only allows the flowers to cure more quickly, but the added air circulation also minimizes the risk of mold occurring during the drying process. Wet trimming is the go-to method for most people in the industry because having the leaves being alert and horizontal makes the trimming process much quicker.
The reason someone may choose to dry their harvest prior to trimming is to preserve cannabinoid and terpene exactness. A true cannabis connoisseur will choose the slower method of waiting for the flower to dry before harvest and taking the extra time to trim. Some studies have shown that up to 30% of terpenes can evaporate in the first week of drying!
Hang your branches in a well ventilated and dry area and monitor closely. Some people have hung rope or twine lines in their homes or garage, others use hangers. Make sure there is enough spacing between branches for air to flow freely.
It does not take too long for cannabis to dry out, maybe 3-14 days depending on humidity, temperature and how you trimmed. Over-drying your cannabis will cause resin glands to shrink up and burst, losing potency or cannabinoids and terpenes as well as making for a harsher smoke on the throat. Making sure to pull your buds down and put it in a air-tight jar with some preservation packs is going to be important. Be sure to check your flower more frequently as time passes to make sure you do not over dry it.
Your plant will be done drying when the branch is no longer rubbery but doesn’t quite break when you bend it.
This is a rather simple step. Place your trimmed and dried flower into your storage container (reference below). Curing is accomplished by “burping” or opening the jar for short periods of time every few days over the period of about 7-10 days.
GLASS. GLASS. GLASS.
Anything airtight will do the job but there is a risk of plastics absorbing your terpenes and cannabinoids and are okay for temporary storage but for long term storage nothing competes with a classic mason jar.
Also we couldn’t recommend Boveda Moisure Control Packs more highly. The Moisture % we would recommend for cannabis is 62%. They are available online.
The resin on your fingers and scissors is considered like gold in some places- Ball it up and top your pipe with it!
Sticky Residue Removal: A little coconut oil will take that right off!
Remove as few crystals and hairs as possible, that is where all the good stuff is.
Wash your scissors frequently. We keep a small tub of isopropyl 99% nearby and have two sets of scissors and alternate between them, keeping one constantly at the ready. Remember to save that hash first!
Wear old clothes that you don’t care if get dirty.
Harvesting Cannabis at its “Golden Moment” will increase cannabinoid and terpene yields.
Wet trimming can be faster and easier while Dry trimming preserves more cannabinoids and terpenes.
When curing, make sure your plants have sufficient room for airflow.
Store you cannabis in glass whenever possible.
What is CBN and what does it do?
A beginner's guide to Cannabinol
Often referred to as “The Couchlock Cannabinoid”, CBN (cannabinol) is present in all strains of cannabis and does not provide a high on its own. Although there hasn’t been much research on Canabinol’s sedating effects, one human study did look at this question and found that it may be the combination of CBN and THC that cause the sedative effect.
CBN is the final terpene produced by the cannabis plant and is created as THC degrades over time. For that reason you see the highest levels of CBN in older strains. For many years the best way to find and take advantage of Cannabinol was to seek out old flower, or to buy some new flower and wait. As research has advanced on the benefits of other cannabinoids, products have begun to emerge on the market, made from rarer strains that have been found to be high in this cannabinoid.
Research available is limited (as we are just beginning to study this cannabinoid in depth) but did begin in the 1970s! Very few studies show results for the human body (mostly mice) so it’s mostly theoretical right now. The only human study done was in the 1970s and pertained to its assistance with sleep. Most of what we have learned personally comes from customer feedback. What research does exists suggests possible aid for things like glaucoma, as an antibacterial, neuro-protective, and appetite stimulant. We have provided links to these research studies below so you can learn more.
THE COUCH-LOCK CANNABINOID
That first study in the 1970s led the way for this cannabinoid to become known as the “Couch-lock Cannabinoid”. While the sample group was small, none of the respondents reported that cannabinol made them tired.
So why does everyone say that it’s sedating?
“Pure Cannabinol is not particularly sedating,” Dr. Ethan Russo, Cannabis Researcher and Neurologist, “But it is typically found in aged cannabis in which the monoterpenoids have evaporated leaving the more sedating oxygenated sesquiterpenoids. This accounts for the discrepancy.”
In other words, that older weed that is boasting high levels of Cannabinol is also high in sedating terpenes. Researchers believe it is the effect of the terpenes rather than the CBN that creates the relaxing effect we find in aged cannabis. They have also suggested that accompanying it with THC is necessary to receive that sedative effect.
One misconception to be aware of is that not all high CBN products will be non-intoxicating, some are mixed with even balanced ratios of THC. While Cannabinol alone will not produce a high, it can actually increase euphoric effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. If you are looking to take advantage of CBN’s benefits without a high, make sure you are using products that don’t contain too much THC!
Each cannabinoid occurs in different levels within different plants and can interact with each person uniquely depending on the synergy of cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant in combination with how your body produces and reacts to them. Learning about the uses of each cannabinoid can greatly increase your success with using cannabis as a medication. Your budtender can be an excellent tool in helping direct you to the strains and intake methods that are right for you. We do offer CBN Products in our store- you can check out our menu here to see what we have available by using the search feature.
CBN is created at THC degrades over time (most commonly found in older weed)
Cannabinol does not produce a high on it’s own (much like CBD) but can increase euphoric tendencies of THC.
Studies have shown positive results with Cannabinol as an anticonvulsant, anti-biotic, neuroprotectant, appetite stimulator, and an anti-inflammatory.
Leafly’s, “What is CBN (cannabinol) and what are the benefits of this cannabinoid” https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/what-is-cbn-and-what-are-the-benefits-of-this-cannabinoid
Weedmaps, “The Difference between CBN vs CBD” https://weedmaps.com/learn/cbd/cbn-vs-cbd
High Times, “The Ultimate Guide to Cannabinoids in Cannabis” https://hightimes.com/guides/cannabinoids/
Weedmaps, “CBN, Definition” https://weedmaps.com/learn/dictionary/cannabinol-cbn
Science Directs, “CBN” https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/cannabinol
National Library of Medicine, PubMed:
Antibacterial Cannabinoids of Cannabis https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18681481/
CBN delays onset of ALS https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16183560/
CBN and CBD excerpt opposite effects on rat feeding patterns https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22543671/
Cannabinoids in Health & Disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202504/
Cannabinoids, Inflammation & Fibrosis https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1096/fj.201600646r
Effects of delta9-tetrahydracannabinol and cannabinol in man https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1096/fj.201600646r
What is a Cannabinoid?
A beginner's guide to Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant that interact with receptors in the brain and body to create various effects. Dozens of cannabinoids exist in the cannabis plant, but THC is the one most people know due to its abundance and psycho-active attributes. Some of the other Cannabinoids we have begun to become familiar with include CBD, CBN, CBG, CBC, THC-A, THC-V, and THC-O.
Why does cannabis produce cannabinoids? Cannabinoids are known as secondary metabolites, which means they are chemicals the plant produces that have no primary role in the plant’s development. However, the leading hypothesis is that secondary metabolites act as an immune system for the plant, fending off predators, parasites, and pests.
SCIENCE & THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
Because humans (and many other mammals) have receptor systems that cannabinoids bind to, we are able to reap their benefits for both health and recreation This system, called the endocannabinoid system (or ECS), is a group of specialized signaling chemicals (think “keys”), their receptors (think “locks”), and the metabolic enzymes that produce and break them down. The endocannabinoid chemical signals that our bodies naturally put out act on some of the same brain and immune cell receptors (CB1 and CB2) that plant cannabinoids (like CBD and THC) act on.
Put more simply, the plant’s cannabinoids mimic natural compounds in our bodies.
The isolation of THC came from an Israeli chemist by the name of Raphael Mechoulam. In 1964, Mechoulam isolated and synthesized THC from Lebanese hashish, marking the beginning of cannabis research and leading to the discovery of many other cannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, and “endocannabinoids” – the THC-like compounds our body naturally produces to maintain stability and health.
Each cannabinoid occurs in different levels within different plants and can interact with each person uniquely depending on the synergy of cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant in combination with how your body produces and reacts to them. Learning about the uses of each cannabinoid can greatly increase your success with using cannabis as a medication. Your budtender can be an excellent tool in helping direct you to the strains and intake methods that are right for you.
Coming Soon: Learn about each cannabinoid individually by clicking on the image above. Stay tuned while we role out this new education section of our website!
←Meanwhile- check out this cannabinoid wheel from Leafly! Super informative!
100s of Cannabinoids exist in each plant.
The first Cannabinoid was discovered in 1964.
Cannabinoids mimic compounds in our bodies and bond to receptors in our natural endocannabinoid system. Think of the cannabinoids as “keys” and our receptors as “locks”.
Using the correct cannabinoid for you will improve efficacy.