How cannabis harvesting affects the quality of your final extract?
When producing CBD oil, it is not only crucial to choose the right extraction method (supercritical CO2 extraction or cold ethanol extraction), but also to understand the proper timing to harvest hemp. If the plant is harvested too early or too late, there is a risk of jeopardizing all the work as it can have a negative impact on the final product.
Trichomes will help you harvest your hemp plant on time
Trichomes are the mushroom-like resin glands on hemp that contain the different cannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBN) and protect the plant from UV rays, predators, and pests. To tell if the harvest time is near, there are some visual cues to consider such as when fan leaves begin to turn yellow or when half of the pistils turn brown. However, these methods can be misleading. For example, if a fertilizer is used, yellowing or leaf drop is more likely to be delayed; therefore, the most reliable method to use is to look closely at the three different colors of the trichomes. In the initial stage of their life cycle, their color is clear which indicates they are not ready for harvest because their level of cannabinoids is still low. The second stage is when their color is cloudy or milky, meaning they have reached their potency peak. In the final stage, trichomes begin to lose potency and turn into amber. Since the buds at the top mature earlier than those at the bottom, the best time to harvest is when half of the trichomes are cloudy and half are amber.
What happens if you harvest too early or too late?
Harvesting too late or too early can alter the quality of your flowers. If you harvest too soon there is a risk that the cannabinoid levels in the trichomes are low because the plant has not yet developed its full resin potential. If you let your plant mature for too long, THC starts to degrade and turn in CBN which has a narcotic and sleep-inducing effect. Moreover, harvesting too late means running the risk of decomposition or self-pollination. It is also important to keep in mind that THC levels increase rapidly as the hemp plant ripens. Meaning that if the plant grows more than it should, the THC level goes beyond the legally allowed 0.3% and this will cause a problem for CBD oil producers. Click here to find out more about the industrial world of CBD.