Harvesting without Microscope

(Stole this from other site)

Okay, I’ve posted this a couple times, but I though it deserved its own thread.

Is it ready yet?: SpruceZeus’s take on marijuana ripeness.
This is by no means meant to be the definitive guide to knowing when to chop your plant, only my views on the subject.

I’m personally of the opinion that 90% of the growers on this site (And probably in general) harvest too early. By letting the plants go a little longer you’re ensuring that the’ve plumped as much as they’re going to.
Despite popular opinion to the contrary(and don’t fool yourself, the jury is still out on this one) Recent studies have shown ;contrary to what was previously believed, that THC itself (And its predecessor THC-A) are quite guilty of causing the confusion and drowsiness associated with burnout and other cannabinoids (our friend CBN, and a handful of others) to be the catalyst (along with THC) to being ‘high’ rather than 'baked’
Regardless, whether or not theres any substance to the aforementioned study, its easy to get the high you want.
If you want a soaring ‘cerebral’ high: Get yourself a tropical sativa that contains a high level of THC-V and grow it until it is ripe.
If you want the narcotic couchlock stone, grow a rugged indica until its ripe.
Notice a pattern of growing it until its ripe? Its a really good rule to live by.
OF course we have to remember that there is more to a good high than just THC. At last count there are at least 66 cannabinoids, and we don’t know what most of them do.

Now alot of people will tell you that you should harvest based on the colour of your trichomes. But (again, in my opinion) that is far too simplistic and there are too many variables to make that an effective strategy. I’ve made that point a million times before and i’m not going to re-hash it here,(maybe just a bit) but rest assured there is more to the picture than just trich colour.

A ripe marijuana plant will be filled in, will have an amber tinge to the buds. The pistils should have browned (or orange-d) off and receded into the buds. The seed bracts should be swollen and the trichomes should be sticking straight out with bulbous ends. Also, because you’re coming close to the end of plant’s life cycle, the leaves should have yellowed off and started to die.

one of my plants, 3 days before chop-chop.

Another very important (imho) reason to let your plants mature is Terpenoid production. Terpenes are responsible for alot of the complex (And enjoyable) flavours that cannabis produces. Some of the most intense flavours are produced on the “downslope” of cannabis’s life cycle. My personal experience with this first came when i was growing GH cheese. One of the plants i harvested at 8 weeks and it tasted pretty nice and had pretty dense buds. The other i grew until about 9 1/2 weeks and it had most amazing, sour, skunky, delicious taste with rock hard buds.

Here is my interpretation (and maybe exaggeration) of a scenario i see all too often…

Quote:noob mcboob
I’m a new grower and i’ve been reading all this great information about when its time to harvest. Theres pictures and everything!!!

Look at my trichs, they look nice and milky with a touch of amber just like the ones in the picture that says its harvest time now!!!

So i just have one question…

Does this look ready to you?
Click to expand…
That plant is 4 weeks into 12/12. Granted not all of the trichomes are that far along. And most people arent going to harvest weed that looks like this. But my point with this is that you have to look at the big picture. Stop being so scientific and start being practical.
I’m not anti knowledge, i just cant stand these “rules” that more often than not lead people down the wrong path.
Lets cut through the bullshit and spread good information in a way that is not so absolute. Or at very least explain the growth stages of cannabis making sure to mention that the pistils should have receded back into the bud before you chop. Regardless of trichome colour.

If I could offer one piece of advice on picking the right time to harvest, it’s all about watching the pistils. Not so much the colour, but the movement. They should have receded into the bud and the seed bracts should be swollen.

It should look less like this
And more like this.

Trust me when I say, it is worth the excruciating wait.


None of the images loaded buddy. Good read tho.


yeah i copied it from a different forum that i used to be a member of… i am trying to figure out when i should harvest my jack…dont have a microscope…came across that read so i figured i would post it here…

Wouldn’t a camera with a good zoom function work also. I mean I get some pretty good pics with my phone and then just zoom in on it. Can see the trichs pretty clearly imo. Mine seem to be all milky right now.

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without a scope consider harvesting when the “pistal’s” are 80% amber

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yeah right now they are over 60 days…maybe closer to 70…majority of the pistils are red …im doing a water cure in the dark for the next couple of days…

lol i have a house phone… did and experiment once and turned my cell off for a week…never turned it back on.lol…

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when I was a child, this is what we used to look at trichs!


As @steve2 stated above, generally when 80% to maybe almost as much as 100% of the hairs have turned brownish is a sign the plant is pretty much “done”. In other words, the “swelling” and making new pistils with new fresh white hairs has slowed to a crawl or stopped entirely, and therefor it is pretty much “done” and ripe.

Happy harvesting,





heard about it “water curing” good to use that method for a fast cure - other than that not very good reviews. keep us posted on it ! (water cure)

I agree ; generally 50% to 70%. that being said a 50% amber pistals - you have a mostly “milky”, “cloudy” tic’s and some amber. and with a 30% pistals will be milky/clear tic’s

Actually that can be highly dependent on the strain. Most pro growers are starting to say more and more that you really want to go nearly 100% browning pistils for the above mentioned reasons, if a ton of pistils are still freshly white, it generally means new calyxes and pistils are still growing in abundance and the buds are still putting on a lot of weight.


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In fact, I’ve personally experienced it with dominant sativas, where absolutely all the pistils have browned, and yet the trichs under the microscope are still very clear or milky white.


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Yes, water curing can get a lot of the chlorophyll out quickly, but you do risk losing a lot of trichomes and this will obviously reduce potency.

After all it is very similar to the way water hash is made. But if you can recover the trichs, it might be all good.


you are 100% right - the plants genetic’s is the “key” factor

You are right there are some “white” strains

There is a way to make hash using a method like that - all you need is cold water and a jar and filter

I dont mean i am going to submerge the whole plant or the buds in RO water.
What i do is completely clean the roots off and remove any excess soil and
coco…get them nice and clean and put just the roots in ph adjusted tap
water. I refresh the water everyday. Again an other technique i learned
from a different forum. It was (site) or (site)… the dude who put the
info out had a user name of Riddleme…basically he said the water will
continue to be pulled up through the roots and through transpiration all
the nasty’s will be removed…it takes about 7 days.of keepin the roots in
fresh water then after that you trim like usual and dry as usual. Once good
and dry you can smoke… No need to jar at all. The flavor is there and the
smell is there… jarring might enhance those qualities just a little… but


I’m interested in this process of curing, so in a way she is being dipped in h2o for flushing reasons? What is the science behind this lol so interesting!