Guide to Marijuana Harvesting: Analyzing Pistils and Trichomes

 

 

weed trichomes close up
So, you’ve managed to grow your own weed, congratulations! You’ve been growing your plant for several weeks now, and you’re anxious to clip what look like decent buds, but how do you really know your plant is ready for harvest?  Well, no worries. All it requires is careful observation. Here are two basic ways of determining the optimum time to harvest marijuana.

1. The Easy Way

The easiest way to determine whether your plant is ready to harvest is to simply look at the plant. In particular, you want to look at the white hairs, or pistils, that cover the plants buds. As the plant matures and the flowering period comes to an end, the white hairs which initially stick out straight begin to darken and curl. You don’t want to start harvesting until more than half the hairs have darkened from white to amber in color. Buds will have their highest level of THC when between 50% -70% of the pistils have darkened. Harvest at this time for more of a psychedelic head high.

You can still harvest your plant when 70%-90% of the pistils have darkened. As your plant matures further, THC breaks down and oxidizes from exposure to air. As this happens the plants chemistry changes, making for a more calming, sleepy, body high.

2. The Precise Way

For a more accurate method of determining the ideal time to harvest, you will need to look at trichomes. In particular, you’ll be looking at the color and clarity of those trichomes. Trichomes are tiny, glandular, outgrowth on the leaves and buds of your plant. They often have stalks and a bulbous head, looking similar to a mushroom. The sticky resinous coating you’ll see on the trichomes is where the THC and other psychoactive components are stored. To get a good look at them you will need to invest in a Jeweler’s loupe/magnifying glass of 30x-60x.

Take a close look at the trichomes with your magnifying glass. Clear colorless trichomes are an indication that your bud is not quite ready yet. When your trichomes are more opaque or milky in appearance then you should start to get excited. But don’t harvest until most of the trichomes are milky. This is when THC is at its peak. For the most potent buds, with the most psychoactive effects, harvest when most of the trichomes are cloudy. Eventually the trichomes will turn amber or gold in color. Some strains will even turn purple or red. If you Harvest when most trichomes have changed from milky white, to one of the colors I have just mentioned, you will get more of narcotic, stoney, body high. However, your plant has past its ideal harvesting period when more than 75% of your trichomes have darkened.

 

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To Vape Or Not To Vape? Is Vaping Good Or Bad For Your Health?

weed-joints-versus-vaporizers-benefits

Joints vs. Vapes

 

Whether you have been prescribed medical marijuana, use it religiously, or blaze for recreational purposes, we have all been hit with the burning question (pun intended), is it better to smoke marijuana or vaporize it? Although there are many forms of ingesting the medicine such as eating medical marijuana “edibles”, for those who want to avoid eating extra food to get their marijuana fix, inhalation is the preferred method. Smoking marijuana has always been the norm by conventional standards both for recreational and medicinal purposes.

With the latest glance at the daily news, people see images of their favorite celebrity or in some cases politician, smoking a “blunt” on stage or have been caught blazing a “joint” in a picture from their college years. In the last decade however, vaporizing devices have inundated the market and have shifted the culture into being more conscientious about their cardio vascular health by providing safer alternatives to marijuana use.

Vaporizing

Vaporizers come in different shapes and sizes, some of which you can put on your coffee table and others you can carry in your pocket on your way to the movie theater. Numerous methods of vaporizing are available on the market today, ranging in price from $20-$300 depending on caliber of the device and the quality of vapor extracted from the herb.

Although price may be an issue to someone with a low budget, the vaporizing process cuts out up to 95% of smoke toxins from the mist that is inhaled, which can prevent lung harm and potential risk for disease in your later years.Not only are a majority of harmful toxins and chemicals excluded, but 95% of the THC is absorbed in the first few seconds compared to minutes needed to feel the effects of smoked marijuana.

The way vaporizers work is that they only get the cannabis hot enough to release the most important aspects of the plant as vapors. Marijuana begins to combust at about 392 degrees Fahrenheit, where as in most vaporizers, the ideal sweet spot for vaporization occurs at 338 degrees, right below smoke temperature. Users tend to “sip” the vapor through their particular device of choice,  rather than “smoke” the medicine.

Smoking

Smoking is the more prevalent way that marijuana is ingested. Marijuana that is smoked is usually done so by using rolling papers, blunt wraps, pipes, water pipes, or concentrate pipes. Price ranges for most smoking devices can range in a few cents for single joint paper  to a few  hundred dollars for high end pipes.

Most people have the false impression that holding in marijuana smoke will somehow make you feel “higher”. Research has shown that this is in fact not the case, and that users can get just as high by taking “shallow puffs” without jeopardizing the harsh feeling on their lungs.Smoking anything  will eventually if not immediately cause irritation of the lungs which according to most medical marijuana doctors, can be a cause of a more serious lung conditions later on in life.

The major difference between smoking marijuana and vaporizing, is that smoke contains substances other than beneficial ones found in the plant, where as vaporizing reduces these substances drastically. Studies have shown that there are no known risks in the marijuana plant that pose a risk to human health; however, smoking the herb can lead to possible respiratory conditions later in life from the continual irritation of the lung tissue.

 

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10 Step Guide On How To Make “Grade A” (Edible) Cannabis Extract Hash Oil

edible marijuana oil concentrates

edible marijuana oil concentrate

Step 1 (Preparation): Before starting this sequence, it is very important that you take proper precautions, have the proper supplies and the a decent preparation area.

You will need the following supplies: 1 ounce of super dry marijuana, 1 gallon of high proof alcohol solvent (Everclear works best), medium sized Pyrex mixing bowl, large wooden spoon, straining device (Muslin Bag works best), a separate container to catch strained liquid, double boiler setup, silicon spatula, plastic syringes.

Preparation Area: You must also be sure to have the proper ventilation(open windows/fan), as well as an electric stove (gas stoves are more dangerous with solvent), and a fire extinguisher.

Step 2 (Grind): Place 1 ounce of extremely dry and ground up marijuana (sativa or indica) into a medium sized, Pyrex glass mixing bowl. Make sure you can spare a few inches above the marijuana grind, as liquid will be added soon.

Step 3 (Dissolve): Add Everclear or another high proof alcohol solvent which will cover the marijuana in it’s entirety, with about an inch of additional solvent on top.

(Caution: never use rubbing alcohol as a solvent)

Step 4 (Mix): Slowly mix the Everclear and marijuana together in the bowl for just about 3 minutes. Use a large wooden spoon/large fork to mix the marijuana with the solvent, allowing for the solvent to dissolve resin and oils from the herb.

Step 5 (Strain):  Delicately pour the marijuana solvent mix through a straining device e.g(muslin bag, grain, cheesecloth, Thai filter, steeping bag, etc) into a separate 2 quart mixing bowl or large bowl.The strained concoction should be dark with greenish undertones.

 Step 6 (Repeat): Place marijuana material back into original mixing bowl and repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 in order to remove all oil and resin from the marijuana a second time.

(Caution: repeating the straining process a third time will ruin your batch as the remaining marijuana resin will have little to no benefit.)

Step 7 (Boil): Pour dark green mixture from both washes into the top of a double- boiler. Make sure that the bottom pot of the double-boiler is filled with water before turning on the heat.

(Caution: if you don’t have enough space for all of the mix in the double-boiler you can continue to add the remaining marijuana mix as the level in the double-boiler begins to drop during the evaporation process. )

Step 8 (Evaporate): Begin heating the liquid on high setting until the top pot of the double boiler starts bubbling, then turn the heat off promptly.Allow the heat from the bath of water to heat the top pan until the Everclear or high proof alcohol solvent has evaporated. Once you see that the dark green mixture is bubbling, immediately turn off the heat. This process can take anywhere from 15-25 minutes.

Step 9 (Almost Done): You are done when the liquid has become a thick green substance and no longer bubbles. If the liquid has ceased to bubble but is somewhat runny, you can turn the heat back on low until it starts bubbling again and you are satisfied with consistency.

Step 10 (Cool Down): Use plastic syringes to draw up the remaining which will allow you to create individual portions for future medical use. The semi thick liquid will become thicker once it cools. Be sure to dry the left over oil in a cool, dry place.

 

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Super Bowl XLVIII aka Marijuana Bowl, Stoner Bowl, Doobie Bowl

weed bowl superbowl

Timing is everything isn’t it?  Just when we voiced our opinion at Dat Dank about the NFL Commissioner’s comments about possible marijuana legalization in the NFL, destiny brought us a Super Bowl featuring the Seattle Seahawks vs. the Denver Broncos.  For those of you who have been keeping up with marijuana legalization, you may have put one and one together and noticed that these two teams represent states that are on the forefront of recreational marijuana legalization.  For those of you wondering why people are calling it the weed bowl, marijuana bowl, stoner bowl, or bong bowl, if you haven’t already heard, Colorado was the first ever state to legalize recreational marijuana regulated by the state government with the state of Washington soon to do the same.

What makes this significant in sports? Well nothing in particular because marijuana is still categorized as a banned substance in the NFL  and any other professional sports for that matter.  But what makes it significant at Dat Dank is the fact that, as  Seattle Pi puts it:  These two states aren’t “the only two states in the union (and two of only three places on the planet) where marijuana is not only legal but have a budding legal system for growing and selling will face each other in the Super Bowl.”  And with the statement made by Roger Goodell (Commissioner of the NFL)  regarding the possible legalization of medical marijuana use among players in the future, the Denver Bronco and the Seattle Seahawks facing off in  the Weed Bowl, er, Super Bowl in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium couldn’t have come at a better time for marijuana advocates and supporters in the United States.  I’m not complaining but imagine this game was played at Mile High Stadium back in Denver, we would be talking conspiracy as opposed to a high coincidence.

So this year, fill up the Doritos bowl, and pack a fat bowl, cause this game’s gonna be a doobie!

weed super bowl showdown

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Simple Step-By-Step Guide For Making Premium Shatter BHO

shatter hash wax

  1. Take some good fresh uncut bud that has been dried. An ounce of high quality bud can yield you 3.6g of shatter provided you use about 12oz of butane and wash it twice.
  2. Place the bud in an extraction tube that is made of thick glass and is real clean. You don’t want excess contaminants in your batch that will degrade your dabs. You want to also make sure that there are no air pockets inside the tube, and you can eliminate those by using a rod to neatly but not overly pack your bud.
  3. On other end of the extraction tube you want to drip your butane through it in a slow yet evenly paced manner. On the opposite end use/attach coffee filters so that the liquid which runs down will have to go through it. The drippings should fall onto a collection dish. Note that you should do the extraction process outside as there is a chance of explosions or bursts of fire if the butane is dripped too fast.
  4. Once your butane can is spent remove it and let the excess butane still in the tube make its way down through the filter and into your pan.
  5. Next is the evaporation part of the process. Your pan should be filled with this golden brown liquid. Take your collection dish and place it in a larger frying pan filled with hot water and your mixture should begin to bubble. Change the water as needed if it cools and don’t expose it to the hot water for a long time as your product will become dark and degraded. Once the oil stops bubbling you are done and can scrape the product and either smoke it or place them in glass vials.

One of the few places I found with good prices on dabs, wax, and shatter making tools and accessories: http://www.marijuanapackaging.com/smoke-shop-supply/concentrate-tools.html

DISCLAIMER: This is just a guide laying out the steps to how shatter is made using butane.  I am not recommending that any of you try this at home without proper equipment or experience because it could involve in injury as butane is highly flammable and can be explosive.  This is an article meant to inform, not meant to inspire recreational weed smokers to screw around with butane and their leftover stash.

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Commissioner States That NFL Could Legalize Medical Marijuana

NFL marijuana

We all know that the National Football League (NFL) has banned numerous players for the use of marijuana due to the league’s strict substance ban and abuse policy.  But this may no longer be the case in the near future.  The head commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell has opened up to the Associated Press about his stance on the NFL and marijuana use since the successful legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado at the beginning of this year.  According to ESPN reports, commissioner Goodell stated that he could envision a time when players could turn to marijuana to treat pain in states where medical marijuana has already been legalized:  “I don’t know what’s going to develop as far as the next opportunity for medicine to evolve and to help either deal with pain or help deal with injuries, but we will continue to support the evolution of medicine.”

The major setback from this issue being pushed faster is the league’s 10 year collective bargaining agreement.  Marijuana remains a prohibited drug under the NFL’s substance abuse policy and this agreement was last set in place in 2011 and isn’t set to expire until 2021.  The loophole pointed out by Rt.com shows that the CBA only bans the “illegal use of marijuana, meaning a potential gray area exists concerning situations and states where legal and medical marijuana is permitted.”

In a sport where players are beat and battered week after week with pain, the NFL would be a prime example for the sports world in which medical cannabis could properly be used and regulated for the benefit of the players and sports as a whole.  What do you think?

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Why You Should Buy a Bubbler Pipe for Smoking Marijuana

five chamber glass bubbler

Bubblers have since been the mystical method for smoking Marijuana to me.  Why is it mystical you might ask?  On first look to a novice it may look like a fancy pipe but for those that have marveled over the glasswork, you could get lost in the twists and turns funneling into multiple chambers, a water reservoir, and eventually getting you blazed.  Most people commonly use pipes, bong or simply roll a joint and blaze it the good ol’ traditional way to get high.   This article was written for those of you who haven’t smoked from a bubbler before, just give me 1 minute of your time.

Bubblers can be an alternative and fun method for smoking and should be used to add variety to your smoking experience.  Bubblers are usually alot smaller than your standard bongs and have a bowl, similar to that at the end of a pipe, which is removable and is located at the top of a cylinder (I’m sure you’ve seen it before). It is then inserted inside the bubbler and the bubbler is partially filled with water at a point above the cylinder object. A person then lights the bowl. Smoke then travels through the water and into the mouth of the user when he or she releases their thumb from the base of the bubbler. The water helps filter the THC and also decrease the temperature of the smoke that is inhaled.  So in the end its kinda like smoking a the lovechild of a bong and pipe.   But in my opinion and the opinion of many other bubbler users, the end result is a smoother smoke than that of a pipe.  Be careful though, as the water in the bubbler gets dirty real fast and if you pull the smoke too hard, you are likely to inhale some of that skunked water as well.  I recommend cleaning out the bubbler and emptying the water after every smoke session to ensure a great experience every time, but who am I kidding, that never happens.  So just make sure you clean it out once every few uses to keep your bubbler just as majestic as when you first saw it on the store shelves or in your online shopping cart.  Having a larger than pocket sized bong is just down right convenient.  Your hits are likely to not be as strong as fat as your bong hits but they will get the job done especially if you have some good bud.  No go fill that bubbler up with some water and let it rip!

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Governor of New York Changes Stance To Loosen Marijuana Laws

governor cuomo marijuana new york

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York has long been known for his hard stance  against legalizing marijuana of any kind in New York.  This change of position comes a shock to many but digging deeper into his political history, we can see that Gov. Cuomo lead the charge in the legalization of same-sex marriages in New York in 2011.  Gov. Cuomo has made major moves in the past few years in the area of social policy in an effort to bolster his popularity with the voting public.  Because of Gov. Cuomo, gay marriage is now legal in New York and gun laws in the state are one of the nation’s toughest.  Although he has began spearheading abortion rights in his state, that effort has not achieved the success of his other campaigns that have most recently put him in the glowing spotlight of public approval.

Although New York is not going to be competing in the liberal likes of Colorado or California, this shift in legislation allowing those with serious illness have access to medical marijuana is a huge leap for the state of New York where possession and distribution of drugs carry some of the heaviest penalties in the nation.  The legislation proposed will allow 20 hospitals in the state to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with cancer, glaucoma, and other diseases that meet the standards set by the New York State Department of Health.

Moves like this are big in cannabis legalization efforts because it gives the public a chance to understand that when all efforts to treat medical illnesses are exhausted, medical marijuana can be used positively.  When you have highly populated states such as California and New York setting examples of effective regulation, others will follow in due time.  It’s hard to say if Colorado had any affect on Gov. Cuomo’s new plans to offer medical cannabis, but one thing is for sure, he’s not afraid to tackle big issues and go with what he thinks is right.  Keep on advocating Gov. Cuomo, we’re all behind you

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A No-Frills Guide To Buying Weed In Colorado

how to buy marijuana in colorado

The great state of Colorado opened it’s doors to Marijuana use on January 1st , 2014 (aka Green Wednesday).  The marijuana dispensary doors are now officially open for business and you want to get in on the action, here’s a few things you should know without having to read the Colorado marijuana use laws.

Who Can Buy Marijuana For Recreational Use?  Colorado’s age requirement to buy Marijuana is anyone that is 21 and older with a valid government issued ID.  As long as you are of age, you can legally purchase, possess, and smoke Marijuana in the state.  Colorado also has what I call a “sharing is caring” clause.  You can share your weed with anyone else who is 21 years or older as long there is no exchange of Marijuana for money.

I’m Not From Colorado, Can I Still Buy Marijuana?  The same laws apply to all United States citizens as stated above.  As long as your over 21 years of age with valid ID, you can cruise into a licensed retail shop and buy up to 1/4 ounce (out-of-state limitation)

What If I’m Not 21 Years Old But Over 18?  Great news for those over 18 years old but under 21, you can still buy Marijuana as long as you have a medical marijuana card.  Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2000 but has now dropped the annual registration fee for the medical marijuana card to only $15 per year!

OK, I’m Finally In Colorado, Where Can I Buy Weed?  There have been 136 retail marijuana shop licenses issued throughout Colorado but MOST of these are in Denver.  But if you somehow find yourself in Summit County, there are four shops there as well.

How Much Marijuana Can I Buy?  If your a Colorado resident, you can buy up to 1 ounce of weed (equivalent to 60 normal sized joints) and out-of-state visitors can buy 1/4 ounce of weed at one time (equivalent to 15 normal sized joints).  That’s still alot of joints so there is nothing to worry about with this limitation.

Lastly, How Much Money Should I Prepare?  Your typical purchase of an eighth of an ounce will run anywhere between $25 to $45 with taxes on top.  The state tax is set at 25% and a very nice 5% city/county tax assessed in most places.

I Didn’t Smoke All My Weed, Can I Take It Back Home For My Family And Friends?  No.  Although you bought it legally, it is still illegal to take it with you across state lines.  It can even be tricky to transporting weed from city to city within Colorado because each city  and county have set their own individual marijuana laws.

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Clean Butane Hash Oil Extraction: Vacuum Ovens Alternative

vacuum oven bho

Following up with the original post about BHO extraction, some of our readers have suggested a few other alternatives (safer means of extraction) that I will be covering in the weeks to come.  I am all for smoking the good stuff but safety is always first.  So here is my vacuum edition of BHO extraction.

If you have the means and the money to purchase a vacuum oven, I suggest you do it if you want to smoke the cleanest wax ever. Vacuum Ovens can be a bit pricey especially for the good one and range from $1000 to $2500. Multiple websites such as eBay sell used vacuum ovens that are substantially cheaper (ranging from $200-$1000). Vacuum Ovens allow for even temperature control at low temps. Chemical duty vacuum pumps allow the user to insert his residue made by pushing butane through cannabis, and collect residual butane so that you may dispose of it. These types of pumps won’t be harmed by the butane and will last a lot longer that other type of pumps. You can also make large batches of shatter using vacuum ovens rather than other vacuum methods.

If you do not have the cash flow to purchase a vacuum oven, I suggest you at least use a glass vacuum desiccation chamber with a hot plate inside. Raising the hotplate temperature to 115F in the vacuum that is set at -29.9hg will leave behind a clear shatter when cooled. If your shatter remains sticky, you should purge it again. Small bubbles may exist in the end product but this is the result of not using a better purging mechanism like a vacuum oven. You should always smell your shatter to make sure there is no butane in it. A well prepared sharer will smell very good, and should serve as an assurance that no residual butane is left.

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