When & How to Harvest Marijuna? [Cannabis Buds]

Last updated on April 28th, 2020 at 07:00 pm

how to harvest cannabisHello, there!

Have you already started growing marijuana on your own? Then you probably came here to know how to harvest cannabis?

Growing marijuana on your own is itself a complicated process if you are a beginner. And knowing when the cannabis buds are ready to harvest takes skill.

Don’t worry!

We are here to help you out with that.

Tools Required for Bud Harvesting:

When to Harvest Cannabis buds?

After spending so much time caring for your plants, its time to reap the rewards. But you should be careful in doing so.

When to Harvest Cannabis?

See, growing cannabis and harvesting buds is very similar to harvesting grapes in a field to make alcohol. As you might already know, the longer the wait before harvesting the grapes, the stronger the alcohol is going to be.

With cannabis buds, it’s the same thing, the longer you wait to harvest, the stronger the buds will be for the person who is smoking them.

It is critical to know the perfect time to harvest and to know when the buds are ready to be harvested. If you harvest it soon, then they will not be stronger, and you will be making a sleeping product only.

If you wait too long, then you will notice that the THC or the potency of the buds will start to break and the product will lose its quality. It will also have a powerful narcotic effect as well, which would not be liked by anyone.

The perfect time for cannabis harvesting would be when you have the highest potency in the buds.

What are the most apparent symptoms of your cannabis buds being ready?

Once your marijuana plant has completed the flowering stage, the health of the plant will start to decline. You will note that the stem will get thick and the leaves of the cannabis plant will get yellowish and die.

The pistils of your plants will start turning red. The cannabis buds will begin to turn brown in colour, and they will become darken in shade. These are some quick ways to see if your plants are ready to be harvested.


The procedure as mentioned above is only a basic thing if you want to know how professionals check if their plants are ready to be harvest, then read on.

Rule of Thumb

  • Indica Plants – Ready for harvesting after 8 weeks
  • Sativa Plants – Ready for harvesting after 10 weeks
  • Autoflower Plants – Ready for harvesting after 10 weeks

The above timeline is just a basic guidance timeline; you should not take it as a guarantee that it will work with your marijuana plant.

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Methods to Check Cannabis is Ready to Harvest

To precisely check if your plants are ready to be harvest or not will require the following two methods.

METHOD #1 – The Pistil Inspection

Too Early!

When your marijuana plant has straight and white pistils, that means the plant is not mature yet. It’s too early to be harvesting marijuana buds. You might need a few more weeks of time.


When To Harvest Cannabis Buds

Pistils are still under 50%

Almost there!

When you start to notice that your marijuana plants 50% pistils have begun to go brownish in color (Check the picture above) and have started to curl in, that is the time when you are very close to harvesting. But wait for it just a little longer!

When To Harvest Cannabis Buds

50% to 70% Brownish Pistils

Start harvesting!

Once over 60% of your cannabis plants pistils have turned dark in color (as shown in the photo above), you can go ahead and start harvesting those sweet buds. This is the time when your weed plant has the most THC in it. If you are going for a bit of calming effect from your buds, then wait for about 75% pistils to turn dark and then harvest it.

When To Harvest Cannabis Buds

Over 90% of the pistils have turned brown

You Lost it!

As you can see in the picture above, more than 90% of the pistils have turned brownish in colour, this means that you have lost the chance to harvest the highest THC cannabis buds. Now all that is left is CBN buds that will make you sleepy.

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How do you check the amount of THC in your cannabis buds?

  • Not Ready!

If your marijuana plant has less than 50% of pistils in brown of reddish color that means it is not yet time to harvest the buds. Wait for some time!

  • Going for a light taste and a mellow high?

If you have a marijuana plant with 50% to 70% of its pistils brown in color, then you can start harvesting if you want a very low and mellow high from your buds. If you wait longer, your buds will surely get more THC!

  • Harvest it NOW!

This is the time most of the professional marijuana growers harvest their buds when about 70% to 90% of the pistils in their weed plant have turned reddish brown. This is the highest THC content you are going to get in that plant, so harvest it now before it starts to ruin!

  • Want a sleeping effect or want to destroy the plant?

If the number of brownish pistils of your marijuana plant goes over 91%, then you have lost the chance to get the highest THC content from your buds. All the cannabinoid would have already started to turn into CBN which has a very heavy taste and has a sleepy effect. If you want to go to sleep and want to be drowsy after smoking your weed then go ahead harvest it now!

METHOD #2 – The Trichrome Inspection

When To Harvest Cannabis Buds

Trichomes on marijuana plant

Before we start out to explain how this works, you would need to buy a microscope. It is not possible to check the buds Trichrome without a microscope if you have a microscope lying around then grab it now. You would need a microscope with a range somewhere around 30x to 100x.

If you have a microscope with light in it, perfect! As you will need to check the trichrome, the light enabled microscope will give you a proper view of all the trichomes.

If you are confused as to what trichomes are, then they are the crystal like things you see growing on the leaves and the buds of your marijuana plant. They are sticky, and they are the number 1 reason your buds are potent.

Fully developed marijuana buds will have mushroom-like trichrome on them, they would have a ball-shaped tops on the resin glands.

How do you know when to harvest the cannabis buds?

If you notice a large number of these mushroom top resin glands trichomes, that means your marijuana plant has reached the highest potency.

When To Harvest Cannabis Buds

3 Stages of Trichome growth on your marijuana buds

Too Early!

If you look under a microscope and see trichomes with no color on them (completely transparent), then it is not yet time to harvest the buds.

Start harvesting!

If you see the trichomes of your marijuana plant have turned milky white colored or amber, then it is the perfect time to harvest the cannabis. Do it now, and you will have the highest potency in your weed buds!

Lost the battle!

If you see no milky white trichomes in your marijuana plants and all of them have turned amber then it a lost battle, you were late.

How do you check the amount of THC in your cannabis buds?

  • Not ready!

If all the trichomes of your marijuana plant are colorless and transparent, then you would have to wait for it to mature and get ready to harvest.

  • Harvest it now!

The best time to harvest cannabis buds is when you see that the trichomes have turned milky white in color. This is the point where you get the maximum amount of THC in your marijuana buds that will give energetic high.

  • Tad-bit late!

If half or less trichomes of the weed plant have turned amber, then you were just a little late. But it is not entirely ruined! You can still harvest but the buds will have slightly less THC than the previous stage and will give a powerful high to the user.

  • Lost case!

If all the trichomes have turned amber, then you were late to harvest. Now, these cannabis buds can only work as sedatives; they will not give the high to the user.


  • When checking the trichomes, make sure you don’t touch the buds a lot because in doing so you will get the THC on your fingertips, and no one wants that right?
  • Once your plant reached a 40% milky white trichomes, we recommend checking up on then every now and then as to not lose the harvest window.
  • If you want an energetic high from your marijuana buds them as soon as you see that 70% trichrome have become milky white and developed the ball tops like a mushroom, start harvesting it!
  • There are sativa strains on the market in which the trichomes do not change color at all; you might want to be careful with those.
  • You can even cut off little pieces of the plant and start testing the sample to check what kind of preference you have and what type of high you like.

For now, that’s it for harvesting the buds post. We will surely keep adding and updating the post now and then.

We hope we have helped you to solve your doubt and look forward to any questions or queries that you might have on this topic.

Happy harvesting!

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