2nd Method to Identify Harvest Time:
(how to harvest cannabis using the accurate method)
This harvest method tends to be more precise than looking at the pistils of your cannabis plant.
Look at trichomes under a magnifier to harvest cannabis buds with the right THC levels
With this method, you look at the glandular stalked trichomes on the buds under a magnifying glass. Trichomes are the the mushroom-looking growths on cannabis that are responsible for it being so popular!
In some places these trichomes are called resin glands. These trichromes are the ‘crystals’, or ‘frosty stuff’ you see accumulating on your bud/leaves. They’re also what makes weed so sticky.
The trichomes you’re trying to see look like little mushrooms. You may also see tiny, clear hair-like trichomes without the mushroom head but these don’t affect potency so you can ignore them. You are interested in the trichomes that have a little ball on top. This is where a lot of the THC and other good stuff in cannabis is located. Since these trichomes are what contribute the most to bud potency, being able to tell when they’ve reached their highest levels of THC will help you be able to choose the exact right time to harvest your marijuana.
Cannabis trichomes are difficult to see with the naked eye, so you’ll need a jeweler’s loupe or other way to magnify the image in order to use the “trichome method” for determining harvest time. Conversely, some cameras can take ‘macro’ shots that are clear enough to see what stage the trichomes are in but they can be pricey…
If you put the loupe right up to your buds, you’ll get a better view of the trichomes, letting you better determine their color and shape.
Click the picture to the left for a close-up to see what that looks like.
Although a jeweler’s loupe can make trichomes appear bigger, sometimes it’s not big enough. I know I end up squinting a lot when I’m trying to use one, but they are a heck of a lot better than nothing!
Another option is to use a 30x-60x power illuminated microscope. These magnify the trichomes a little more than a jeweler’s loupe, but they can be hard to see through since you’re basically looking through a narrow tube. You have a more limited range of view so it can be harder to focus in on what you’re looking at.
A digital microscope that takes video works even better than a jeweler’s loupe or other magnifers since you get a much clearer pic of the trichomes. Not only can you see the trichomes better, but you can record video of them to look over after the fact. These are still pretty cheap, costing about $40, and they will give you better results than any other method for determining harvest.
Here’s an example of a digital microscope in action – these buds are ready to harvest.
We took the above videos using the Carson zOrb hooked up to a laptop. So far this seems to be the most accurate way to look at trichomes (and you can make the picture big so you’re not squinting through a tiny jeweler’s loupe)
Here’s a guide breaking down
when to harvest marijuana buds based on color of trichomes.
(note: the trichomes of some strains turn purple or pink instead of amber/gold/yellow)
Click to open picture of “When to Harvest Your Marijuana” guide
Clear trichomes look kind of like glass
Cloudy trichomes look more like plastic to me