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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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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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