5 Reasons why you'll want to wait until the perfect moment to harvest

Published Jul 5, 2021 11:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Tinnakorn Jorruang

Figuring out when to harvest cannabis isn’t an exact science, and since most of us are waiting on the edges of our seats for that glorious day to come, it’s not uncommon to jump the gun and pull plants just a tad too early. On the other hand, harvesting cannabis too late can also have dire consequences, so it’s a delicate balancing act for sure.

Now you might be thinking, what does it really matter? After all, you’ve put in so much hard work, you can almost smell the drying cannabis already, and you’re understandably getting tired of sitting around waiting. Unfortunately, it matters quite a lot, so it’s important to take this essential step seriously, and just in case you don’t believe us, we’re going to tell you exactly why that is.

1. Taste

The taste of any number of mouth-watering strains is a lot of what keeps cannabis users coming back for more, as it’s a complex mixture of delicious flavors that you can find anywhere else. Unfortunately, this highly sought-after quality can be severely impacted if you harvest too early or too late. Too soon, and you’re likely to taste the nutrients or fertilizers used to boost the plant's growth, and too late results in dead plant matter and a harsh taste.

2. Smell

Each strain offers its own unique blend of aromas, thanks to a broad range of terpene profiles to choose from, and in many cases, this feature is what sells a cannabis product. Berry strains smell like berries, chocolate just like warm sugar, and skunk exactly like the cute strong critter, and these scents are typically preserved when you are carefully drying cannabis. However, if they don’t exist yet because you harvested too soon, or they’re destroyed from waiting too long, there will be nothing left to protect.

3. Potency

Cannabinoids are natural powerhouses that provide a wide range of benefits that we all know and love. They are an essential part of the experience and the whole reason for growing, but they too can be significantly impacted by an itchy trigger finger. If you don’t let the plant fully mature, then it’ll never be as potent as it could be, and if it ages beyond its prime, the cannabinoids will break down and become less effective, and neither of those scenarios is any good for a consumer.

4. Yield

You’ll notice that it takes time before buds will make their grand appearance on a cannabis plant, and that is because, during the earliest stages of life, the focus is more on growing the stems and branches that will eventually support the flower. During the final month of growth, a cannabis plant can double its yield, and that’s a huge loss if you pull them just a few weeks too early, and this is a huge part of why it’s so important to wait until just the right moment to harvest.

5. Effects

We’ve touched somewhat on effects as far as potency, however, a lot of growers don’t realize that the effects of cannabis have just as much to do with when it’s harvested, as it does the genetics. Once a pot plant gets as potent as possible, the resins that contain the trichomes begin to age. To start, they are clear, which indicates a lighter set of effects, and as they get darker, the effects can be far more sedative. In this case, how you want to feel should determine how long you should wait to harvest, but it’s something that can only be seen with the help of a microscope.

If we’ve managed to convince you that this huge step is even more important than you originally thought, then you might want to head on over to our harvesting guide, where you’ll find tips and tricks to help you along the way.

Essentials every grower should have for harvesting cannabis

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