Growing high-quality cannabis takes time, sunshine, and attention to detail. After months of giving our cannabis plants all the nutrients they need and watching them flourish under the California summer sun, the days are getting shorter. Every grower knows what that means: It’s time to harvest.
Seeing cannabis plants in full flower is a spectacular sight and smell to behold. It’s a proud moment for every grower—but it’s only half the journey.
Harvesting, drying, and curing cannabis is a labor of love that makes all the difference in quality. Will it take patience and effort? Yes. Will it be worth it when you light up a rich, smooth, and tasty smoke? You can bet on it.
At Instakush, we grow all of our own cannabis. This means we have complete control over the process, from seed to sale. We know exactly how our cannabis is grown, harvested, dried, and cured, so we know beyond a doubt that the flower we deliver to your doorstep will be of top quality and taste.
Here are some of the steps that go into creating a cannabis harvest fit for a connoisseur.
Timing the Harvest
When it comes to harvesting, timing is everything. A little too early or late and you’ll miss the sweet spot in terms of potency and desired cannabinoid profile.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects typically associated with being high. It is concentrated in tiny structures on the cannabis plant, called trichomes. When the trichomes look milky under magnification, that’s a sign the plant is ready for harvest.
The THC concentration increases during flowering until it reaches a peak period, after which it starts to degrade. Within the peak period is where you want to harvest, but how early or how late within this period will determine the relative concentrations of specific cannabinoids. This in turn affects the type of high the plant will produce.
If you jump the gun and harvest too early, the plant won’t have reached maximum potential in terms of THC. Instead, you’ll have higher levels of cannabigerol (CBG), which is a precursor to the other cannabinoids that haven’t yet had time to fully develop yet.
Within the peak period, harvesting earlier is known to produce more of a euphoric head high, like what you’d expect from the No Days Off Triangle Mints. Harvesting late will give you a more lethargic, sedative type of stone, like what you might feel with this Desiigner Cookies Kush.
But leave it too late and you’ll have too much cannabinol (CBN), which is what forms when THC oxidizes and breaks down. At this point, the THC content has dropped and you might experience an unpleasant flavor when smoking.
Drying Out the Crop
Once the cannabis has been harvested, the fresh green buds need to be dried out at just the right temperature and humidity so that their moisture content decreases evenly.
If the air is too dry and warm, the outside of the buds will over-dry to a crisp while the centers are still damp. If the air is too humid and cold, the buds will remain moist for too long, making them susceptible to mold and mildew and not safe to consume.
Drying is essential to prolonging the shelf life of cannabis, and making sure it’s free of any mold that could cause health problems when smoked. The drying process is crucial to preserving the cannabinoids and terpenes present that will give the flower a delicate and delicious flavor.
This is the final step that will fine-tune the flavor and smoothness. With the bulk of the drying done, the buds are almost ready to take their final form. First, they need to be aged to properly preserve them and to fully develop their flavor and aroma.
Curing involves storing the buds loosely in glass jars, with a device or sachet inserted to control the humidity. The curing containers must be in a cool, dark space and periodically opened to refresh the oxygen content inside, known as ‘burping’. There is no set time for the curing process, though two weeks is considered the minimum.
Curing allows for fine-tuning the moisture content and allowing the remaining sugars and starches to fully leave the plant. These steps improve the bud’s shelf-life in terms of susceptibility to mold, as well as enhance the quality and smoothness when it burns.
The Final Product
If this process sounds complicated and delicate, that’s because it is—but it doesn’t have to be. You can grow decent cannabis at home with DIY solutions and a bit of guesswork, or even drop dollars on equipment to control your humidity and temperature down to the finest detail.
Alternatively, you could leave all that to the experts and just enjoy the final product delivered to your door.