A Guide to When Marijuana Buds Are Ready for Use

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A little knowledge on harvesting Cannabis the right way can have you managing your sprouts like an expert. The buds need a learned approach rather than simply cutting the plants and trimming them. It’s a process mastered by the patient that includes drying, curing, and smoking the buds. The first step is to know the perfect time the buds are ready, and everything else gets easier after that. For weed enthusiasts who grow marijuana, harvesting is the most exciting part of the process. This read will help a harvester at any level of expertise to improve their process for a better harvest.

Preparation for Harvest 


Check if your plant has pests or anything growing out of the ordinary like fungi. A thorough sweep is important at this stage; remove all damaged parts. 


Not your washroom but your plants. Flushing is a process of giving the cannabis plant water with no nutrients. It “flushes” out nutrient build-up and nutrient imbalance in your plants, which blocks new nutrient absorption. This process is an optional step that appears intimidating to many beginners but is simple. You can do it in one or two weeks before harvest; it is recommended by most experts, particularly when you use mineral nutrients. Flushing gives your plants a fresh start and improves the marijuana end product.  

Cut Oversized Leaves 

Over-sized leaves show that your plant does well in the environment, but the downside is the low amount of trichome. Depending on your reason for home harvesting, the weed will be less potent; but the leaves are great for edibles and oil, so that’s not too bad.   

When to Harvest 

The timing is most crucial in the harvesting process. If you mistook it for a week early or late, it would be ok; don’t leave it for longer than that. 


The harvest time for outdoor weed is during the warm season, depending on your location. Harvest is done once a year, but tropical areas can boost a second harvest due to the climate. Know the weather in your region and interact with other growers for a better guide. Follow the weather and be cautious of weather fluctuations to decide the right time for the peak ripeness.  

Your cannabis plant can last for three hours at low temperatures of around 30°F; any lower and the frost will damage it. You can harvest early marijuana buds if there are signs of damage but not too early that the buds are premature. A tip to remember, potted plants get more temperature fluctuations than those in the ground.  


The indoor marijuana plants take around eight weeks after flowering to harvest. Depending on the strain you use, it may take longer or shorter. Growing indoors can give you as many harvests as possible. The strains can take three to eight months from seed to maturity. You can do up to four harvests from small plants or two for larger ones. There is work to clean up and trim in between the harvest.  

Trichomes and Stigma 

The trichome is around the plant and changes color from clear, opaque, and amber for harvest, while the stigma appears like hair and covers the buds. The stigma color changes from white to orange and slightly curls when ready to harvest. The top buds receive more light and might be ready sooner than the lower ones meaning you will harvest some plants with buds that are not there yet. You will need a handheld microscope that ranges from as low as 30X to 100X to look at the trichomes changing color.  

The trichomes have reached their maximum THC content when the color is amber. It is the perfect time to remove them; the longer the content stays in the plant, the UV rays and oxygen break it down.  

Types of Harvest 

Different growers have different preferences on when and how to harvest; some do it early and others later. Before you harvest, you need to choose the process that suits your style best. Factors like weather and your schedule will guide which process to use for harvesting. The following are two different ways to harvest.   

Dry Trimming 

This process takes more patience. The plant is first cut and hung upside down for several days in a dark room with room temperature to dry. Next is removing the buds using the bucking process, and when completely dry, you trim them. When cutting the plants at the start, make the end of the plant in a hook for easier hanging. At the drying stage, the THC converts to a psychoactive state. This is the good stuff. 

Wet Trimming 

With this process, you will get straight to trimming. In one setting, the cannabis plant is cut down and the buds removed from the branches using the bucking process; and finally, the buds are left to dry.  

Harvest Equipment 

Now that you are set and ready to get the fruit of your labor, the following are the equipment you will need.   

Scissors, Pruners, and Rubbing Alcohol 

You will use the scissors for some time, so choose one with an ergonomic handle for comfort. As you trim the buds, the scissors get sticky. You will need a pair that cleans easily with rubbing alcohol or get two pairs to switch in between. The pruners cut the branches. 

Apron or Old Clothing 

The plant resin is sticky, so you need a silk apron if possible or old clothes. For your hands, gloves will work, but if you prefer hands-free trimming, olive or coconut oil will keep the resin from sticking.  


Do not underestimate the power of entertainment when doing long, repetitive work; it helps pass the timeout. Choose entertainment for your audio attention like music, comedy, and podcast; avoid visuals that will cause distractions. 

In Conclusion 

Marijuana’s legalization increased the number of cannabis growers for medical, cost, recreational, and other reasons. Many growers have had many trials and errors as they start but soon, many realize it takes time, patience, and care to produce quality products. A good place to start is good research and feedback from those with experience. Eventually, the cultivation becomes enjoyable and the hard work rewarding. As you read, it is not complicated to harvest, but it’s all about timing. These tips will make your home harvest look like professional’s work.