How to Harvest Cannabis

Learn how to harvest your cannabis crop with this step-by-step guide, including tips on when to harvest, how to trim your buds, and more.

Checkout this video:


Cannabis is an annual, dioecious, flowering herb. The leaves are palmately compound or digitate, with serrate leaflets. The first pair of leaves usually have a single leaflet, the number gradually increasing up to a maximum of about thirteen leaflets per leaf (usually seven or nine), depending on variety and growing conditions. At the top of a flowering plant, this number again diminishes to a single leaflet per leaf. The lower side of the leaves contains a spiny winged margin. The upper surface is glabrous and generally darker green than the lower surface.

The Different Ways to Harvest Cannabis

There are many ways to harvest cannabis, but the most common method is to use a sharp knife or pair of scissors. You will want to make sure that the blades are clean and sharp before you start cutting. You will also want to cut the main stem of the plant first and then start cutting the side branches.


The art of hand-trimming is the practice of removing excess leaves from the marijuana flower using only a sharp pair of trimming scissors. Hand-trimming is the traditional method for trimming cannabis and is still used by many growers today. While it may be a more time-consuming process, it allows for more control and a better final product.

There are a few things to keep in mind when hand-trimming cannabis. First, make sure your trimming scissors are sharp! This will make the process much easier and prevent you from damaging the delicate marijuana flowers. Second, take your time! Trim slowly and carefully to ensure that you don’t remove any important parts of the flower. Finally, be sure to trim away any excess leaves or stems that could affect the quality of your final product.

Machine trimming

Machine trimming is one of the most efficient ways to harvest your cannabis crop. Large-scale commercial operations use machines to trim their crops, and many small-scale growers are finding that machines can save them a lot of time and energy.

There are a few different types of machine trimmers on the market, but they all work in basically the same way. The plants are placed in a chamber where the leaves are shaken off of the buds. The leaves and stems are then collected in a bag or bin while the trimmed buds are deposited in another bag or bin.

Machine trimming is not without its challenges, however. It can be difficult to get the machines set up properly, and they can be damaging to your plants if they are not used correctly. In addition, machine-trimmed buds may not have the same high quality as hand-trimmed buds.

When to Harvest Your Cannabis

The time of year, weather, and your plant’s maturity are all factors in when to harvest your cannabis. While the general rule of thumb is to harvest in the fall, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure a successful harvest. Let’s go over when the best time to harvest your cannabis is.

Checking the Trichomes

The best way to determine when your cannabis is ready to harvest is to look closely at the trichomes. These are the small, gleaming crystals that cover the buds and leaves of the plant. Under a magnifying glass, you’ll see that they’re shaped like tiny mushrooms with bulbous heads. If most of the trichomes are still clear, your cannabis isn’t quite ready yet.Keep monitoring the trichomes closely until about 30-40% have turned milky or amber in color. At this point, your cannabis is probably at its peak potency and is ready to harvest.


The tiny, white hairs that grow on the buds of female cannabis plants are called pistils. As the plant matures, the pistils change color and curl inward. This is an indication that the plant is ready to harvest.

You can begin harvesting when about 30-50% of the pistils have changed color. If you wait too long, the THC will begin to degrade and the bud will lose potency.

To determine whether your plant is ready, use a magnifying glass to get a close look at the trichomes (the tiny, crystal-like glands that produce THC). At harvest time, they will be milky white or translucent. If they are dark brown or red, the plant is past its prime.

How to Dry and Cure Your Cannabis

After you have harvested your cannabis, it will need to go through a drying and curing process before it is ready to be consumed. This is an important step to ensure that your cannabis is of the highest quality. There are a few different methods that you can use to dry and cure your cannabis, so let’s get into the details.


Hang-drying is the most popular and simplest way to dry your cannabis. It doesn’t require any special equipment, just a dark, dry, and well-ventilated area. The ideal relative humidity for drying cannabis is between 60-65%.

To hang-dry your cannabis, start by trimming off any large fan leaves. Cut a length of string or twine and tie it around the stem of the branch, leaving a few inches of slack. Find a clothesline, shower rod, or another similar fixture to hang the branch from. If you’re hanging multiple branches, space them out evenly to ensure good air circulation.

Leave your cannabis to dry in a dark room with good ventilation for about 1-2 weeks, or until the buds are crisp but still pliable. You can tell if your cannabis is properly dried if it snaps instead of bends when you try to break it in half. If it bends, it needs more time to dry.

Once your cannabis is dried, it’s time to cure it. Curing allows for further evaporation of residual moisture inside the buds and helps develop complex flavors and aromas. For best results, cure your cannabis in small batches in airtight containers such as mason jars. Fill each jar about ¾ full of buds, then seal it tightly and store it in a cool dark place such as a closet or cabinet.

Open the jars once a day for the first week to allow air to circulate and prevent mold growth. After the first week, you can open them once every few days. Continue curing for at least 4-6 weeks total; the longer you cure, the better your results will be. Once cured, your cannabis will be smokeable for several months to a year if stored properly


Jar-curing is the most common method for curing cannabis. It’s simple and doesn’t require any special equipment, just some canning jars and a cool, dark place to store them. Start by trimming your buds and placing them in the jars, then seal them tight and check on them every day or so to make sure they’re not getting too moist. After about a week or two, your buds should be perfectly cured and ready to smoke!


Harvesting cannabis is a process that requires knowledge, precision, and patience. By following these steps, you can ensure a successful harvest of high-quality cannabis buds.

-Start by harvesting the biggest, healthiest buds first. These buds will be the most mature and will have the highest chance of mold or pests.
-Use a sharp pair of scissors or a knife to cut the buds from the stem. Be careful not to damage the buds as you cut them.
-Trim away any excess leaves or stems from the buds using scissors or your fingers.
-Cure the buds by drying them slowly in a dark, dry place for 7-14 days. This will help improve the flavor and potency of your cannabis.

After you’ve harvested your cannabis, it’s important to enjoy it responsibly. Smoke or consume only as much as you can handle and always store your cannabis in a safe place where it can’t be accessed by minors.

Scroll to Top