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An introduction to cannabis cultivation

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Contents

  1. Local cannabis cultivation laws and regulations
  2. Cannabis plant sex and anatomy
  3. The three main growing environments for cannabis
  4. Cannabis propagation techniques
  5. Selecting a cannabis growing medium
  6. Cannabis vegetation
  7. The cannabis flowering phase
  8. Harvesting your cannabis
  9. Cannabis storage tips
  10. Local cannabis cultivation laws and regulations

Our relationship with cannabis arguably begins and ends with cultivation. All forms of cannabis that we consume derive from a cultivated plant. The value of the cannabis plant, medicinal or otherwise, is largely dependent on what we do with it — how and when we grow it, how we refine it for our own consumption, and even what words we use to describe it.

Cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning it can be categorically divided into male and female plants. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning it can be categorically divided into male and female plants. Male plants produce the pollen necessary for a female plant to produce seeds, while the female plant is the one to naturally produce more of the major cannabinoids, namely cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), which convert to CBD and THC, respectively. Cannabis also produces several other valuable compounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids, that potentially work synergistically with the cannabinoids to enhance desired and therapeutic effects .

While still highly debated, most countries only recognize one cannabis species, Cannabis sativa L., but some recognize up to three species — C. sativa, C. indica, and C. ruderalis — based on geographic origin, genetics, and morphology. The central difference between today’s indica and sativa plants is in their observable traits during the cultivation cycle.

Indica plants tend to grow short with thick stems and broad, deep-green leaves. They also have shorter flowering cycles, and grow sufficiently in cold, short-season climates. Sativa plants have longer flowering cycles, fare better in warm climates with long seasons, and usually grow taller with relatively light-green, and narrow leaves.

Knowing the morphological, or physical, form differences between indica and sativa plants is more useful to growers and cultivators than virtually anyone else in the cannabis space, despite the terms’ common use in the consumer marketplace.

Every part of the cannabis plant is usable. Historically, cannabis has been bred by humans for three distinct purposes:

  1. Fiber – harvesting cannabis stalks, typically from hemp varieties.
  2. Seeds – harvesting seeds from a female hemp plant for its rich oil and protein content.
  3. Drug-type cultivars – harvesting cultivated varieties for their psychoactive and therapeutic cannabinoids.

From seed to harvest, the cannabis plant’s growth cycle can last anywhere from 10 to 26 weeks. The cycle has three main stages: germination, vegetation, and flowering. Like most plants, cannabis requires light, air, nutrients, and a medium to house its roots. The amount and duration of light the plant is exposed to dictates which growth stage it will be in.

Local cannabis cultivation laws and regulations

In most countries and local jurisdictions where cannabis is legal — medically or recreationally — some sort of home growing is typically allowed, but growing laws vary significantly from country to country and even city to city. If you’re a prospective or current home grower, you should know the laws and regulations of your jurisdiction.

Cannabis plant sex and anatomy

Male and female cannabis plants share a common basic anatomy of roots, stems, and leaves. Both plant sexes produce trichomes , the glandular appendages on the surface of the flower that produce and hold the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes , however, the female plant produces far more trichomes than the male plant. Beyond these basics, cannabis anatomy varies significantly between male and female plants.

Both plant sexes produce trichomes, however, the female plant produces far more trichomes than the male plant. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Over the course of our shared history with cannabis, authors, scientists, growers, and industry insiders have used competing terms to describe the same reproductive plant anatomy. Due to an extensive period of prohibition, botanical terms have been frequently misused or replaced entirely. What’s more, popular colloquial terms have become interchangeable despite having different meanings.

So, let’s alleviate some of the confusion and map out the anatomy of both plant sexes by first identifying botanical terms, then clearing up some of the common colloquialisms we’ve inherited.

Anatomy of the female plant

The female cannabis plant is a pistillate, meaning it has pistils and stigmas. You may have heard female cannabis plants referred to as “sinsemilla,” translated from Spanish as “without seeds.” Sensemilla refers to all non-pollinated female plants. Sensemilla plants are ideal for marijuana growers because they offer the highest potential yield of cannabinoids. Pollinated female flowers, or female flowers with seeds, produce a less desirable product than flowers from seedless marijuana.

The reproductive anatomy of the female plant includes:

  • Colas: The flowers produced by the female plant. Colas are covered with cannabinoid- and terpene-rich trichomes and commonly called buds or nugs. A cannabis bud is not to be confused with the botanical definition of the word bud: a newly emerging plant.
  • Bracts: Small, scale-like leaf structures that encapsulate and protect the seeds. Bracts are often referred to as calyxes, though this term is botanically incorrect. The female cannabis plant does, however, have calyx cells within the delicate layer of tissue between the seed and the bracts that encapsulate it.
  • Stigmas: The reproductive parts of the cannabis plant, which catches pollen from the male plant. Stigmas are commonly and incorrectly referred to as pistils. Two stigmas protrude from one pistil.
  • Pistil: The reproductive parts of the female cannabis flower that are activated if pollen is captured by the stigmas.
  • Sugar leaves: The small leaves that hold cannabis buds together. They are called sugar leaves due to the high concentration of trichomes that have a sugarlike appearance.

Anatomy of the male plant

The male cannabis plant is a staminate, meaning it has stamen or pollen-producing reproductive organs. Male plants are sometimes cultivated for fiber and are more commonly used for breeding new varieties of intoxicating cannabis. During their flowering phase, male cannabis plants release pollen, which will prompt a female plant to start producing seeds. This practice diverts energy from flower production and reduces the overall yield. To maximize your flower yield and prevent seed production, keep male and female plants separated.

The male cannabis plant is capable of producing cannabinoids, but its trichomes are sparsely dispersed across its surface. Males do not produce nearly as many trichomes as a female.

The reproductive anatomy of the male plant includes:

  • Stamen: The organ of the male plant that produces pollen and releases it into the wind, where it may be carried to the stigma of a female plant for pollination.
  • Anther: The sacks that produce and hold pollen within the stamen. Anthers hang by a small filament. Together, the anther and the filament make up a stamen.
  • Pollen: Microscopic grains produced and contained in the anther that fertilize the female plant when released.

Hermaphrodite

A hermaphrodite is a rare monecious plant, meaning it develops both male and female sex organs. The term monecious stems from the root “mono,” meaning “one.” While there are multiple reasons that a plant may exhibit both signs, hermaphrodites are primarily formed if a female plant is exposed to extreme conditions during key stages of growth, such as insufficient light or harsh environmental conditions. Signs of a hermaphrodite typically show late into flowering.

In a final attempt to continue their seed line, a sensemilla crop will occasionally produce a few hermaphrodites. While the pollen of these hermaphrodites is frequently unviable, marijuana growers should remove hermaphrodites when they occur to eliminate the risk of pollination. Hermaphrodites will also produce a lower overall flower yield as the plant is forced to divert energy into the production of seeds that would have otherwise been used for the production of trichome-rich flowers.

The three main growing environments for cannabis

How to grow marijuana outdoors

Growing marijuana outdoors exposes a crop to the elements, offering natural light and significantly reducing costs for growers. With no artificial lights or fans required, electricity may only be required for irrigation.

While exposure to a natural environment is generally good for plants, exposure to harsh environmental conditions may present hindrances to an outdoor crop. Rain, insects, invasive plants such as thistle, animals, and extreme weather conditions are all potential crop killers. Outdoor cultivation also limits cultivators’ control over environmental crossover from neighboring fields. In short, your fellow farmer’s pesticides could end up being your pesticides if they’re not expertly applied.

Outdoor cannabis cultivation relies on the available sunlight during the changing seasons, during which the plant is exposed to the full spectrum of light available in nature at that time of year. Outdoor cultivators experience a longer growth cycle and typically only harvest once a year.

How to grow marijuana in a greenhouse

Growing cannabis in a greenhouse offers the free sunlight of an outdoor grow, but with far greater environmental control. Greenhouses allow growers to control natural light with a blackout shade or similar roof covering system. Greenhouses also offer the option to add electrical lighting to supplement sunlight on cloudy days and an added layer of protection from animals, pests, and extreme environmental changes.

One of the downsides to greenhouse cultivation is the upfront cost required to have such a structure. Greenhouses range from temporary structures made of plastic and PVC pipe to permanent structures that allow growers to control every environmental aspect and utilize advanced cultivation methods, including light deprivation.

A risk in greenhouse growing is that pests can spread inside the enclosed environment at a faster rate. Protection against environmental crossover is also limited depending on the type of greenhouse structure.

How to grow marijuana indoors

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Growing marijuana indoors usually means a warehouse setting, which requires artificial lighting and use of air conditioning and dehumidification systems. The intention of an indoor setup is to mimic the elements of the outdoors that facilitate plant growth while maintaining full control over every environmental parameter. High upfront costs, including the building structure, equipment, water, electricity, and other utilities, is the major downside of growing marijuana indoors for beginners .

Cannabis propagation techniques

How to grow marijuana for beginners

Propagation encompasses the entire growth cycle from start to harvest. Cannabis can be grown either from seeds or a cutting (clone) from another plant.

Seed

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Cannabis seeds, formed when pollen fertilizes the female plant, are ready to plant and grow as soon as they successfully germinate, or once the root has broken through the seed. While you can plant your seeds directly into the ground, it’s recommended to germinate them in a moist paper towel before planting. Home cultivators often start with feminized seeds to ensure that the adult plant is a flowering female.

Propagation through seeds is commonly known as sexual propagation, and is an often preferred method for outdoor cannabis cultivation because it makes for a more durable plant. Not only do sexually propagated crops have a greater yield potential than clones, they’re also more resistant to pests, illnesses, and diseases.

The most frequently cited disadvantage of growing plants from seeds is inconsistency. Plants propagated by seeds do not maintain the exact phenotype, or observable physical characteristics and chemical traits, of the parent plant. This causes variances and inconsistencies in the cannabinoids and terpenes that growers and consumers may find undesirable.

While most growers want uniform plants, occasionally growers will grow a large amount of plants from seeds so they can choose plants that produce unique physical and aromatic characteristics. This practice is commonly referred to as pheno hunting and is practiced by most nurseries.

Clones

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Asexual propagation, also known as cloning, is the replication of a single parent plant outside the means of sexual reproduction. Cannabis clones typically start with a cutting of a stable mother plant, which is likely to grow into a genetically similar plant under the right growth conditions. A clone’s central purpose is to reproduce and preserve the genetic identity of a cannabis plant. When grown under the exact same environmental conditions as the mother plant, a clone is infinitely more likely than a plant grown from seed to exhibit the mother plant’s physical traits, as well as its cannabinoid and terpene profile. It should also mirror the mother’s ability to take in nutrients and resist pests or fungi.

Because they’re not exposed to the genetics of multiple plants — instead receiving the same genetic code as the mother plant — clones stand a far better chance of preserving the desired characteristics of the mother. Plants grown from clones also allow growers to determine which environmental conditions will maintain those ideal genetics, and determine optimal feeding schedules, flowering times, and nutrient recipes.

Lack of genetic diversity is a good thing for growers, but it can also have catastrophic consequences. If plants are exposed to adverse environmental conditions for which they have no genetic defense, an entire crop can be wiped out.

Selecting a cannabis growing medium

Whether a plant is grown from a clone or seed, it needs a medium to serve as a base for a healthful life. A growing medium is the material in which plants are set during the growth cycle. Whether you use hydroponics , aeroponics , or traditional soil cultivation, your selected growing medium needs to provide the plant’s roots with air, water, and nutrients.

Soil

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Soil is the most common medium for growing cannabis. Healthful soil is an exceptionally stable growing medium, allowing for sufficient moisture retention that provides the grower ample time between watering sessions. Soil is readily available and relatively easy to work with, which makes it an effective growing medium for the widest spectrum of growers — from prospective home growers to bona fide experts. Soil can be used for both indoor and outdoor growing.

Hydroponics

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Hydroponic cultivation is the preferred medium for indoor cultivators, feeding plants through a nutrient-rich liquid solution. Perlite, vermiculite, coco coir, and hydroton balls are all commonly used hydroponic media, which allow for optimal uptake of nutrients and reduced water usage compared with soil. Hydroponic methods are also frequently used in greenhouse settings, but not commonly used for outdoor growing.

The major downside of hydroponics is the rigorous attention to detail the practice requires. Hydroponic media are much more sensitive to severe temperatures. Too much heat, in particular, can be very damaging as it invites bacteria and disease. Meanwhile, the water’s pH and nutrient levels must be consistently monitored to ensure the plant is getting what it needs to grow strong.

Aeroponics

Aeroponics function similarly to hydroponics, but rather than maintaining the plant’s roots submerged in water, an aeroponic system suspends the plant’s roots in an environment of mist and air where they absorb water, nutrients, and oxygen. An aeroponic system arguably has the most potential for maximum yield, but it’s also much more temperamental than other systems. Both environmental and growth control factors must receive careful, constant attention for an aeroponic system to be effective.

Germinating seeds or rooting cannabis clones

The germination phase takes place from the moment a seed’s embryo is exposed to water until the seed has sprouted its plumule, or initial taproot. Germination only occurs when plants are grown from a seed, and usually takes between 12 hours and three weeks, depending on the vitality of the seed, age of the seed, and germination techniques selected by the grower.

The simplest way to germinate a cannabis seed is by placing it about 3 millimeters deep in moist soil. Germination soils are also an option, designed with micronutrient blends that facilitate healthy sprouting. Many growers prefer towel germination, in which seeds are placed between two damp paper towels, then immediately transferred into a growing medium once the taproot is exposed.

Many growers prefer towel germination, in which seeds are placed between two damp paper towels, then immediately transferred into a growing medium once the taproot is exposed. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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If growing from a clone, the rooting phase is the time in which the plant develops its taproot. During this time, the young cutting is exposed to 24 hours of light in an environment with high humidity. This can take anywhere from 3 to 14 days.

Cannabis vegetation

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The vegetative phase is when the plant grows its roots, stalks, and large fan leaves that will structure the plant. Fan leaves will ultimately be used to convert the sunlight into the sugars that the plant needs to produce the flowers or seeds. The light cycle is typically reduced to 18 hours of light, as it requires a minimum of 16 hours of light to maintain the plant. During cannabis vegetation, cultivators can train their plants or manipulate their growth patterns for a multitude of reasons. Indoor growers may want to train their plants to stay short by growing horizontally, while indoor and outdoor growers may want to force their plant to develop multiple flower growth sites at the same level.

Training techniques

There are several training techniques indoor growers deploy to get an optimal yield out of their plants within limited space and lighting conditions. All of them involve manipulating the shape and growth of the plant, usually by bending the stem in some fashion or another.

Sea of green (SOG)

The Sea of Green (SOG) technique involves growing several small plants instead of a few large ones with the intention of maximizing space and cultivating single colas. With the proper setup, a SOG grow promotes the shortest vegetative phase to produce short and dense colas.

Low stress training (LST)

Low Stress Training (LST), like most training methods, involves bending and tying down stems for maximum yield and light exposure within a finite space. The “low stress” element of LST refers to manipulating stem growth in favor of extreme bending to prevent the stress that results from breakage or cutting.

Super cropping

You might think of super cropping as the opposite of LST in that it features strategically executed forms of “high stress,” rather than sustained forms of minimal stress. This method uses targeted stress to encourage cannabis plants to produce more of the cannabinoids and terpenes they develop for protection.

Strategically planned and executed stress on the plant is intended to initiate a defensive reaction, thereby increasing the plant’s cannabinoid and terpene production. This type of sustained stress is usually achieved by pinching targeted areas of the stems and tying them down. When growers accidentally apply too much stress, they typically apply duct tape to the damaged area to help the plant heal.

Screen of green (SCROG)

The Screen of Green (SCROG) method uses LST or Super Cropping to inhibit vertical growth of the cannabis plant by encouraging horizontal growth. This is done by forcing the plants to grow through a suspended horizontal screen. As the crop stems spread laterally across the screen, colas form in otherwise dormant areas of the stem. This technique is used where local laws limit the amount of plants that can be cultivated at one given point, allowing growers to make use of a larger amount of area.

The SCROG method uses LST or super cropping to inhibit vertical growth of the cannabis plant by encouraging horizontal growth. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Lollipopping

Lollipopping is removing growth from the lower portion of the plant to divert energy to the higher branches that produce colas, resulting in a “lollipop”-shaped plant. This technique is especially handy for indoor setups that offer minimal light to lower branches and often used on SCROG grows.

Topping and fimming (FIM)

Topping consists of clipping the growing tip of a plant’s main stem at a 45 degree angle that causes two colas to form instead of one. This method is used to prevent the plant from growing like a Christmas tree by stopping the vertical growth of the main stalk and allowing the lower growth tips an opportunity to catch up. Growers can also “top” a plant multiple times to turn two growth tips into four, and so on.

The FIM method, or fimming, is an offshoot of topping, and derived from topping a plant imprecisely (hence the name FIM, which stands for “F**k, I missed”). Rather than cut the whole tip of a cannabis plant at a 45 degree angle, fimming involves pinching off most of the cannabis tip with the goal of growing four colas immediately in the place of one.

Removing fan leaves

Removing fan leaves from the plant can be considered a training technique that aims to divert the plant’s energy into producing larger colas by limiting the amount of foliage that the plant needs to maintain and increasing the amount of direct light to any growth sites below the canopy. It also helps reduce the likelihood of a pest or mildew infestation. However, fan leaves do take in light and provide energy for the plant, so growers should use caution when removing them.

Removing fan leaves from the plant can be considered a training technique that aims to divert the plant’s energy into producing larger colas. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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The cannabis flowering phase

The flowering phase is when the female plant produces trichome-covered colas and when the male plant produces and releases its pollen. Cannabis plants flower naturally during the 12/12 photoperiod when the plant receives 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. In nature, daylight hours are optimal for cannabis plants flowering from July to November in the Northern Hemisphere. On the autumnal equinox in September, the sun is in the sky for 12 hours of the day, with daylight hours slowly reducing until and through the winter. The opposite is true in the Southern Hemisphere.

The flowering phase is when the female plant produces trichome-covered colas and when the male plant produces and releases its pollen. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Indoors or in a light-controlled greenhouse, introducing an artificial 12/12 light cycle will force a cannabis plant to flower.

When is cannabis ready for harvest?

A female plant is generally ready to harvest when the glands on the top of the capillary stalked trichomes turn from clear to a milky white color. Some cultivators are also able to use the color of the stigmas to time their harvest. Stigmas tend to change from either white to orange or red to brown. Growers should also be aware of the typical flowering times of the cultivars they’re growing.

Harvesting your cannabis

Once the cannabis plant is ready for harvest, its precious and delicate trichomes are in one of their most vulnerable states. Overexposure to oxygen, light, and/or heat may degrade cannabinoids and terpenes, or activate them prematurely. Trichomes become more fragile and therefore more susceptible to breaking off the plant if mishandled under extreme conditions. When harvesting cannabis plants, growers should implement methods of drying, trimming, and curing that reduce the amount of agitation the plant experiences in order to limit any damage to the trichome glands.

Drying

When your cannabis is ready to harvest, cut the whole plant at the base or cut the plant into large branches. Hang your plant or cuttings upside down on a clothesline in an environment that is not overly dry or humid. At this point, some growers begin manicuring their plants by cutting off all remaining fan leaves and some of the sugar leaves. Plants should be left hanging upside down to dry until the stems slightly snap when bent.

Avoid losing trichomes by not letting your branches hit any surfaces while hang-drying. Contact with a surface can damage the trichomes and could cause them to break off the plant. Depending on environmental conditions, the initial drying process usually takes three to seven days.

The trichome gland will experience a few changes during the drying process. The most noticable is a loss of the extremely pungent smell. This is due to a loss of the most temperature sensitive terpenes, or hydrocarbon compounds that produce each cultivar’s unique aroma. Studies have found that upwards of 30% of monoterpenes, or terpenes with two isoprene units — as opposed to the three isoprene units of sesquiterpenes, four isoprene units of diterpenes, and so on — produced during the flowering phase are lost in the drying process. Additionally, when cannabis is dried, terpene compounds are oxidized, and the terpene technically becomes a terpenoid.

Trimming

Once the initial drying is complete, it’s time to finish trimming and manicuring your bud. Cannabis is typically trimmed to remove the excess sugar leaves that, while consumable, have a smaller concentration of trichomes than the flower and can be harsh when smoked. Sugar leaves aren’t normally discarded, however, as they are excellent for making edibles or concentrates.

Cannabis is typically trimmed to remove the excess sugar leaves that, while consumable, have a smaller concentration of trichomes than the flower and can be harsh when smoked. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Begin trimming by holding your colas by a stem and gently cutting away any sugar leaves and stems that surround the buds. This is a very delicate process that requires attention to detail. Ideally, this is done over a screen to collect any trichomes that may break off the plant. Take extreme care when handling your bud. Every moment of contact can result in trichome loss or damage. Whenever possible, hold your plants and branches by the end of the stem.

Wet trim vs. dry trim

While most cultivators trim their cannabis after drying, some prefer to trim while the plant is still wet. When cannabis is trimmed immediately after harvesting, the leaves are still full of chlorophyll, which may lead to a persistent grass-like aroma. Trimming the plant once it has lost most of its moisture is the more traditional approach.

Curing

Curing can be considered the final drying stage, allowing bacteria on the surface of the buds to break down any residual chlorophyll and ensuring the colas are neither too moist nor too dry.

This should be a gradual process, as bud that gets too dry will degrade more easily during transportation and packaging, lose potency, and become unnecessarily harsh to smoke. On the other hand, bud that is too wet may grow mold. Preserving fragrance and flavor is a key concern for cannabis cultivators while curing. Overexposure to light, oxygen, and high temperatures can break down cannabinoids and terpenes, and ultimately reduce potency. Striking a delicate balance between dry and moist is the key indicator of a finely cured bud.

Growers should never rush through curing. The process often requires significant trial and error. One to two months is generally a sufficient length of time for curing, though preference and available time to cure may differ among growers. It’s important to keep the environment around your cannabis cool during the curing phase.

This curing process can be performed by placing your trimmed buds in a glass jar or rubbermaid tote for 4-8 weeks. During the first week or two, the containers should be opened daily to allow some fresh oxygen to replace the air in the container. This process is called burping and is repeated until the buds have the optimal moisture content. In the last two weeks of curing the containers are opened every 2-3 days.

Cannabis storage tips

Glass jars are the ideal option for short-term storage. Ideally, cannabis jars should be opaque and airtight for ample preservation of cannabinoids and terpenes. For long-term storage , growers should vacuum seal their final product whenever possible.

Cannabis cultivation is a dedicated practice for home growers and professional cultivators alike. To master growing marijuana takes a lot of patience and trial and error, but with time — and a few great suggestions from seasoned growers — you’ll be able to give your plants a healthy life from seed, or clone, to harvest.

Local cannabis cultivation laws and regulations

In most countries and local jurisdictions where cannabis is legal — medically or recreationally — some sort of home cultivation of marijuana is typically allowed, but growing laws vary significantly from country to country and even city to city. If you’re a prospective or current home grower, you should know the laws and regulations of your jurisdiction.

From seed to harvest, the cannabis plant’s growth cycle can last anywhere from 10 to 26 weeks. Learn more about how to grow marijuana & cannabis cultivation.

How to Grow Cannabis in 10 Easy Steps

Table of Contents


Your Growing Cannabis Information Kit:

Get to Harvest in 10 Steps!

Cannabis legalization is spreading like wildfire across the US, Canada and in many other countries around the world. Many people are finally allowed to legally grow their own supply of cannabis!

Are you ready to start growing?

Growing cannabis can seem like it’s complicated, but often it only seems that way because you haven’t been given the right information. A lot of people unintentionally make growing harder than it needs to be, but that ends now!

This cannabis growing guide will help you discover the best way to grow cannabis, for your unique situation.

Find a grow style for…

  • Your grow space
  • Your budget
  • Your desired yields

Growing cannabis plants is actually pretty straightforward, and almost anyone with a few extra minutes a day and a spare closet or a garden in the backyard can grow their own professional-quality buds at home.

What does a cannabis plant need to thrive?

In order to thrive and grow, every cannabis plant needs:

  1. Light – whether you’re using sunlight or grow lights, you must understand the light needs of a cannabis plant to get the best bud quality & yields.
  2. Growing Medium – the stuff your plants grow in; soil isn’t your only choice!
  3. Air – a well-ventilated space with good air exchange and a slight breeze is best.
  4. Temperature – A good rule of thumb for cannabis plants is if it feels too hot for you, it’s probably too hot for your plants. Just like humans, cannabis plants can die if exposed to extreme temps.
  5. Nutrients – you can buy pre-formulated nutrients that you just add to your water, or you can compost your own super soil so that it already includes all the nutrients you need.
  6. Water – like all plants and living creatures, cannabis needs water to survive and grow. Is my tap water “good enough” for growing cannabis?

When growing cannabis indoors or outdoors, you will need to ensure that it gets the proper amount of these 6 resources.

How long does it take to grow cannabis?

If you planted a cannabis seed today, when is the soonest you could be actually smoking your harvest? Probably about 9 weeks with a quick-finishing autoflowering strain.

Indoor grows tend to be shorter than outdoor grows since you have more control over when the plant starts budding. Auto-flowering grows also tend to be very short. But with shorter grows, you also tend to get smaller yields. Certain strains and certain outdoor grows can take up to 7 months or more.

On average, I’d say it takes a grower about 3 – 5 months to grow, harvest and cure their own buds.

Don’t Make the 3 Most Common Cannabis Growing Mistakes!

  1. One of the most common mistakes by new cannabis growers is conducting spur-of-the-moment experiments that hurt or possibly even kill their plants. Always take a second to google your idea before you try it. Luckily when it comes to growing cannabis, there is a good chance that someone has tried it already!
  2. The next most common problem new growers have is the tendency to skip crucial steps like understanding light schedules, or why root pH levels are important for reducing nutrient deficiencies. While you can get lucky and succeed at growing weed without taking these steps, you are a lot more likely to end up with plants that are sickly or don’t produce well. Make sure you follow all the steps listed in this guide – you deserve to harvest your own top-quality bud!
  3. Don’t re-invent the wheel! You can benefit from the mistakes of others by learning how not to make the same mistakes. Don’t be afraid to look something up or ask a fellow grower!

10-Step Beginner’s Guide to Growing Cannabis

Step 1: Choose Where You Will Grow (Indoors or Outdoors)

  • Indoors
  • Outdoors

Indoor Growing

Growing indoors is much more private than growing outdoors and you also get more control over your grow.

An indoor cannabis grow can be surprisingly cheap to get started and maintain, especially if you plan on growing just a few plants.

Take a look at a few completed indoor grow journals to get an idea of how much you can expect to harvest in different types of indoor setups. My lastest 315W LEC grow yielded over a pound (497g) of dried and cured cannabis.

You have more control over everything in an indoor growing environment, which means that indoor growers can consistently produce dank buds. However, this dank weed-growing power comes with more responsibility. As an indoor grower, your plants are 100% reliant on you your care if they are to survive. If you don’t provide everything your plants need, they will die.

What space works best?

You can grow cannabis almost anywhere that has easy access to water and fresh air…

  • a spare room
  • a closet
  • garage
  • grow tent
  • extra bathroom
  • even the inside of a computer case!
    (though I recommend a Space Bucket instead 🙂

When thinking about where to grow indoors, you should also consider the temperature (also referred to as ‘temps’) of your grow space and remember your temps will rise once you have your grow lights running!.

Young growing cannabis plants grow fastest when temps a bit warmer, in the 70-85°F (20-30°C) range.

When plants are a bit older, in the budding/flowering stage, it’s best to keep temps slightly cooler, around 65-80°F (18-26°C) to produce buds with the best color, trichome production and smell.

Because temps are so important, it’s best to be able to have some amount of control over the temperature of your grow area. When growing indoors, your grow lights will give off heat. Generally, the more powerful your lights, the more heat they give off.

If you want to install a lot of bright lights in a small space, you will likely have to install an air conditioner in addition to your exhaust system to make sure you keep your temps in the right range.

If you’re growing just a few plants in a grow tent or box, usually you can install a fan to pull hot air away from the hot lights and out a window to keep things cool enough.

Some lights tend to cause more heat problems than others, and we’ll help you find the right lights for your space in Step 2.

Outdoor Growing

Growing outdoors is cheaper to get started since you don’t have to get grow lights or create an indoor grow area, though you will have to worry about privacy/stealth, possible pollination, people stealing your plants, bugs, deer and other unexpected outdoor visitors.

However, if you pick the right strain and live in a good environment, it can be much cheaper to grow outdoors, since you don’t have to provide everything for your plants. The sun will do a lot of the most cost-heavy work for you by providing a free grow light.

Of course, when you’re growing outside, it’s not always possible to control the environment perfectly. If it’s dry, you will need to water your plants. If it’s too rainy, you need to protect your plants from getting overwatered.

When it comes to temperatures, a good rule of thumb about cannabis plants is if it’s too hot for you, it’s probably too hot for your plants. And just like humans, cannabis plants can die if exposed to freezing or too-hot temps.

So if you know it’s going to be extremely hot or cold where you live, you may need to take extra steps to protect your plants from the elements, like setting up a small greenhouse.

Step 2: Choose Your Grow Light – What kind of light do you need to grow cannabis successfully?

There are lots of different grow lights for cannabis, including:

The Sun

When you’re growing with the sun, you need to make sure that your plants are getting at least 8+ hours of direct sunlight each day for the best results.

It’s best that your plants get direct sunlight from at least 10am-4pm, and more light is better. Because of the high light needs of the cannabis plant (it needs more light than many other types of plants), it is not well suited to growing in a window (though I’ve seen plenty of growers start their seeds in sunny windows before moving their plants to a more suitable final location).

Household Lighting: Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) & Household LEDs

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) & household LEDs are what people commonly use to light up their homes. They aren’t really made for growing plants, but can be a good way to get your feet wet in the growing world without a significant investment. They lack the power of dedicated grow lights, but can get the job done. CFLs and home LEDs like these are dirt cheap, and you can usually buy them from any big-box store without arousing suspicion. In fact, growing with CFLs is what I did for my first grow and I got them from a local Home Depot. I imagine that my first grow would’ve ended the same (or even better) had I used small household LEDs instead of CFLs, though they weren’t available back then. Learn more about growing with CFLs.

Other Fluorescent Lighting (T5/T8)

These lights are traditionally made for seedlings and plants that need lower light intensity than cannabis. If you do get other fluorescent lighting, I recommend sticking with a High-Output T5 light since they are the brightest option in this group. Even so, I generally recommend changing to stronger grow lights for the cannabis flowering stage unless you do major plant training (to keep plants very short) since these lights have a short light brightness range and must be kept very close to the tops of your plants. Learn more about growing cannabis with fluorescent lighting.

LEC (CMH) grow lights

LEC (Light Emitting Ceramic) is a brand name for a type of light (CMH – Ceramic Metal Halide) that has existed for quite a while. This type of light has come back into vogue after some rebranding, partly because it has some very positive traits for growing cannabis compared to HPS lighting. For one, LECs have a more natural color that makes it easier to care for and diagnose plant problems. Plus, it’s a lot better for security to have a light that doesn’t scream “WEED GROWING HERE!” like the unearthly yellow hue of an HPS. They produce significant levels of UV light, which can possibly increase trichome production. Additionally, they don’t seem to emit EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference) as much as their noisy HPS cousins which means you’re less likely to have a HAM radio enthusiast accidentally tracking down your grow. The plants grew surprisingly fast under a 315 LEC and we were impressed by the yields we achieved on our first grow.

LED grow lights

LEDs are much more powerful than CFLs or any other fluorescent lighting. They are top-tier grow lights on par with HID lighting (HPS, LEC) when it comes to how much bud they can produce. They’re visually attractive and tend to be more appealing to growers because they’re not as ‘old-fashioned’ (though they tend to cost more). In fact, LEDs are the only grow lights that have seen major technological research and development in the past 10 years.

LED grow lights work great for growing cannabis and some companies have been refining their models for years (the combination of parts is almost like a company’s recipe). Each LED model is different and needs to be kept a different distance away from your plants. It can sometimes be hard to find any “standard” advice about growing with LEDs, yet these days there are quite a few brands which are well-tested and trusted by cannabis growers and these brands tend to have good support for questions. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to just ask the manufacturer about how far away the lights should be kept, as that’s where new growers are most likely to mess up.

Metal Halide (MH) & High-Pressure Sodium (HPS)

MH/HPS grow lights (like the light pictured here) are a type of “HID” light like LECs. A combination of MH/HPS is what most commercial growers use when growing cannabis indoors. They are surprisingly cheap to buy and set up, especially considering how incredibly powerful they are.

HID lights work very well for growing cannabis and produce consistently good results indoors. However, the higher wattage HID lights tend to run hot and can leave a big mark on your electricity bill. You definitely want to make sure you’re getting the exact right lights for your space so you don’t pay for more light than you really need. HID lighting (HPS in particular) has another problem in that it’s been less popular over the last few years. This has made it increasingly difficult to find quality models if you’re not looking for a huge 1000W.

That being said, the smaller MH/HPS grow lights are actually really well suited to a small grow and don’t produce nearly as much heat as their bigger cousins. Check out a grow under a 250W HPS in a 2’x4’x5′ tent. I didn’t even use an exhaust!

See another grow under the same 250W light (with autoflowers), and yet another grow we did with 2 plants under a 600W HID grow light a while back. Learn more about HID grow lights.

Don’t know what type of lighting to pick? Choose your grow type based on your starting cost…

Step 3: Choose Your Growing Medium

Each growing medium that you can use has different care and watering requirements.

These are the most common grow mediums:

  • Soil – grow in organic composted super soil for the easiest growing experience, or start with the popular Fox Farms Ocean Forest soil mix (FFOF already contains enough nutrients to last the first month of your young plant’s life).
  • Soilless Mix – anything besides soil including coco coir, perlite, vermiculite, etc. (all soilless mixes are technically considered hydroponic growing since there’s no soil).
  • Directly in Water / Hydroponics – Get some of the fastest growth and biggest yields possible, especially when combined with HID/LEC/LED grow lights.
  • Less Common Types of Hydro – Some people grow with plant roots suspended in misted air (aeroponics) or in a tank with fish (aquaponics), but these are relatively less common for cannabis growers.

What’s the Best Soil? Your absolute best option would be to compost your own soil (or purchase composted soil) which gets incredible taste results but does take a little more work (or money if you buy it).

For those of us who prefer pre-made mixes, I recommend starting with the popular Fox Farms Ocean Forest soil (often referred to as FFOF) since it’s already supplemented with plenty of nutrients that work very well for young cannabis plants. It’s a rich yet still somewhat airy soil that is made for plants just like cannabis and has been used by growers for years.

If you have limited soil options, choose an organic potting mix which is usually available in some form in the gardening section of any big-box store. As long as you use good cannabis nutrients (more on that below), a regular organic potting mix will work just fine.

Common cannabis-friendly potting mix brands in the US:

  • Kind Soil Pre-Made Super Soil (top-tier and organic)
  • Fox Farms Ocean Forest Soil (top-tier)
  • Black Gold All Organic Potting Soil (good)
  • Espoma Organic Potting Mix (okay)
  • Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix (worst) – If you say you’re growing in Miracle-Gro soil, a lot of cannabis growers will wag their fingers at you. In addition to poor drainage, the original Miracle-Gro soil contains slow-release Nitrogen which is good for vegetative plants but bad for bud growth in the flowering stage and you can’t really rinse it out. Too much Nitrogen in the flowering stage can lower yields as well as possibly add a green or chemical “taste” to buds. However, if you’re going to use Miracle-Gro, their Organic Choice Potting Mix doesn’t have slow-release nutrients, which makes it a better option for growing cannabis than their standard version. It still drains poorly even with perlite, but if you’re desperate it does the job and you can get good results if you use good nutrients. The truth is that many growers have made it to harvest over the years with Miracle-Gro, despite some problems along the way, and even though it’s definitely not optimal, sometimes you have to do what you have to do!

Pick up a bag of perlite (found in the garden section) to help soil drain better unless it already contains perlite. Perlite looks like little white rocks and should be mixed in so you have about 70% soil and 30% perlite. Should you add perlite to your soil?

If you’re having a tough time deciding on a grow medium, you might want to think about starting with a mix of coco coir and perlite. It’s easy and low-maintenance. That’s how I got started growing (with CFLs as grow lights) and it’s also what I used in my 1-pound 315W LEC grow. Growing with coco coir can be a good choice for beginners because it’s cheap, holds water well, and doesn’t have as many of the problems associated with soil (bugs, root problems, etc.). Yet since it’s hand-watered, it’s intuitive and has a lot of the ease of soil growing.

I’ve heard many people recommend against growing cannabis hydroponically for your first time because it’s “too complicated,” yet I’ve seen growers succeed at every grow type even on their very first grow. If you really want to grow hydroponically, I recommend you don’t waste your time doing something else first. If you’re passionate about hydroponic growing and do your research before you get started, there’s no reason you won’t be able to do incredibly well your first time. Read our bubbleponics tutorial to see how GrowWeedEasy.com co-creator Sirius got started growing cannabis with top-fed DWC on his very first grow.

Step 4: Choose Your Nutrients

Soil growers – unless you’re growing with composted super soil, you will need to get cannabis nutrients made for soil to make sure your plants produce at their best. Even if you started with an amended soil like FFOF, you will still need to start adding nutrients once you reach the flowering/budding stage as cannabis plants are heavy feeders and your plants will have already used up most of the nutrients in the soil by the time budding begins.

One nutrient system to rule them all…

Looking for a suggestion? One of the simplest (yet inexpensive) nutrient systems that works extremely well for beginning cannabis growers is Dyna-Gro (Grow, Bloom)

Dyna-Gro can be used at half-strength in soil, water, coco coir, or any growing medium and works amazingly well for growing cannabis. It does not build up salt in your growing medium like many other inexpensive fertilizers, and it will never clog your hydroponic system.

Just use the “Grow” bottle during the Vegetative stage and the “Bloom” bottle during the Flowering stage. You can actually follow the instructions on the bottle. It’s super simple.

Like all nutrient systems, avoid starting at full strength or it can burn your plants! Learn more about nutrient burn. Only raise the dosage if you notice that your lower leaves are turning yellow and falling off (except in the last 2-4 weeks before harvest, when yellowing lower leaves is a natural part of the maturation process)

Is my tap water “good enough” for growing cannabis?

Before I address pH, let’s talk about the “hardness” of your water…

The “hardness” of water describes how much extra “stuff” (like minerals and/or impurities) is contained in your regular tap water. You can contact your local water supplier for more information (ask for a “municipal water report”), or you can test the PPM of your water at home. Generally, as long as your water has less than 200-300 PPM (parts per millions) of extra stuff, it should be okay to use it for growing. If you are worried about the quality of your tap water, you can choose to use purified or Reverse Osmosis (RO) water, but you may then need to add extra Cal-Mag and possibly a few other supplements to help make up for the random minerals and nutrients that are normally found in tap water. I’ve personally always grown with straight tap water (in a big city in California with a natural PPM around 370, which is pretty high), and I’ve never had a problem. However, some places have very hard water, or tap water with unacceptable impurities, and growers in these areas will likely need to use purified water to get the best results.

Step 4B: Nutrients, continued: The Importance of Root pH

It’s important to maintain the pH of your root environment to prevent nutrient problems.

The easiest way to do that is to test the pH of your water before you water your plants or add water to your reservoir.

There are certain types of grows (such as when growing cannabis in organic composted super soil) where you don’t need to test your pH unless you run into problems. This is because with a properly composted super soil, you actually have a microbial colony living in the soil that will take care of the pH and hand-deliver the nutrients to the roots of your plants for you. However, this is a rare exception to the pH testing rule, and almost all growers need to regularly test and maintain pH for a successful grow. If you’re not growing in super soil that you have amended and composted (or purchased) yourself, testing and maintaining pH is a MUST.

Some growers will always get lucky and successfully grow weed without testing the pH of their water, but most people who don’t test for pH will start seeing signs of nutrient deficiencies and other nutrient problems.

If the pH at the plant roots is too high or too low, your plants won’t be able to absorb nutrients properly.

Even if plants do fine in the vegetative stage, cannabis plants tend to be more picky and prone to problems in the flowering/budding stage. Many growers have written in to tell me they got all the way to the flowering stage without testing pH, then were surprised that they start running into nutrient problems as soon as the plants start budding. In order to make sure this doesn’t happen to you, it’s important to get in the habit of testing pH right from the beginning!

Even if the right amounts of nutrients are present, your cannabis plants simply cannot absorb them if the pH isn’t in the correct range.

It’s actually really easy, quick, and cheap to learn how to check and adjust the pH of your water, and there are “pH test kits” specifically made for this purpose.

After you get the hang of it, checking and adjusting the pH and will take you less than 3 minutes each time you water your plants. And your results (monster yields with huge buds and healthy plants) will speak for themselves.

Soil: Maintain 6.0 – 7.0 pH
Hydroponics: Maintain 5.5 – 6.5 pH

Getting the pH exactly right isn’t nearly as important as checking regularly and making sure it stays within these ranges.

Step 5: Get Your Cannabis Plants (& Choose Your Strain)

For those growers lucky enough to know other cannabis growers in real life, getting plants is usually pretty simple. Many cannabis collectives and dispensaries will happily sell you clones though they tend to be a little less liberal when it comes to selling seeds. A great advantage of purchasing clones or seeds from a trusted source is that you know you can trust the genetics you are receiving.

Yet many people do not know any other growers in real life. For these soon-to-be growers, the best option may be to purchase cannabis seeds online from a breeder or seed bank.

Surprising Fact: No one in the US has ever gone to jail or prison from simply ordering cannabis seeds online from overseas.

If you are considering this for the first time, you may be surprised to learn that, because of the way the laws about customs work in America, it is actually reliable and safe to buy your cannabis seeds online from a reputable seed bank as long as you get it from outside the US (sending seeds from one place to another in the US can get you in big trouble though!).

Get Seeds – View a list of tested & trusted seed vendors: https://www.growweedeasy.com/seeds

Get Clones – You need to know someone with live female cannabis plants if you want to get clones. Many cannabis dispensaries and collectives will sell clones to prospective growers, or you might know someone who can give you a clone. Learn how to make your own cannabis clones!

Step 6: How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds

  • If you have already a rooted clone (a live cannabis plant) please skip right to Step 7.

There are many methods for cannabis seed germination.

Personally, I think one of the easiest ways to germinate a cannabis seed is to place it directly in a specialized starter cube like a Rapid Rooter.

Just keep the Rapid Rooters moist (but not soaking) and warm. It can help to put your tray on a seedling heat mat. Seedlings should pop in a few days to a week.

So far Rapid Rooters with a heat mat have given me the best germination rates of any method. They work with any growing medium, too – once the seedling has emerged, you can stick the cube directly into your growing medium or hydroponic system.

Another popular way to germinate seeds is via the paper towel method.

Paper Towel Method:

  • Cannabis seeds
  • 2 plates
  • Paper towels
  • Water
  • A place to plant sprouted seeds

NOTE: If seedlings seem to be “stretching” upwards or growing very tall, usually it’s because they want more light.

Step 7: Vegetative Stage – Grow Your Plant Big and Strong

Once your plant grows the first “regular” set of leaves, it’s pretty much officially in the vegetative stage. How long is the vegetative stage?

Cannabis plants keep getting bigger and bigger with long days (vegetative stage) and start making buds when they get long nights (flowering stage).

Young growing cannabis plants grow fastest when the temperature is a bit warmer than a comfortable room temperature, around 70-85°F (20-30°C). But as long as it doesn’t get freezing cold or burning hot, your plants should be able to grow in a wide range of temperatures.

In this stage, your plant will focus ONLY on getting big and strong. Buds and flowers are not part of the plant’s vocabulary yet.

If you’re feeding your plant with additional nutrients, start at half strength as it can be easy to burn your young cannabis plants. Bring to 3/4 strength one plant starts growing vigorously and if your plant displays signs of needing more nutrients even though the pH is in a good range.

Only feed nutrients at full strength if the plant is showing signs that it needs more nutrients (lower leaves are turning lime green, then yellow, then falling off – the first sign of a nitrogen deficiency, the most common type of deficiency – if the plant is not getting enough nutrients).

At this stage, you can’t tell if one of your cannabis plants is going to be a boy or a girl yet. Wait, why do I care if my plant is a boy or a girl?

Light

  • Give plants 18-24 hours/light a day in the vegetative stage when growing indoors. 18 hours of light a day is preferable, 24 is for the experimental type of grower.
  • If growing outdoors, try to make sure you plant gets strong, direct light for most of the day, at least from 10am-4pm, and more if possible.

The size your plant gets in this stage will have a huge impact on the final size of your plant.

Step 8: Flowering Stage

This is the stage where your plants start making buds. This stage will last until harvest!

During this stage, you will need to…

  • Change to 12-12 Light Schedule
  • Identify Gender of Cannabis Plants
  • Get Rid of any Males

We’re getting to the exciting part!

Most strains of cannabis begin this stage once they’re getting at least 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness a night. Autoflowering cannabis plants will start the flowering stage without needing a lighting change.

  • Indoors, you must change to a 12-12 light schedule, with 12 hours of light & 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness each day (usually accomplished by putting your lights on a timer) to get your cannabis to start flowering (making buds). When should I change my light schedule to 12-12?
  • Outdoors, your weed will naturally start flowering when the days get short enough, usually a few months before winter.

The flowering stage is where your plant goes through “puberty” and basically reveals whether they are a boy or a girl.

Unfortunately, for regular seeds, half your plants will end up female and half will end up male. That’s why a lot of growers prefer starting with clones or buying feminized seeds – all the resulting plants will grow into females.

As cannabis growers, we’re only looking for females as female plants are the only ones that make buds. Male plants just make pollen sacs (balls) that cannot be used for smoking.

A week or two after you initiate the 12-12 light schedule (or naturally in the wild), your plants will reveal their gender…

Female plants start growing wispy white hairs at the tops of branch joints. These are the pistils of her flowers/calyxes. You’ll get bunches of these calyxes growing on top of each other to make buds, and each calyx will have a few white hairs coming out of it. This is great news! It means this plant will eventually grow beautiful weed with buds/flowers/ganja that you can smoke.

Male plants start growing balls/pollen sacs with no white hairs/pistils. Unfortunately, most male plants do not develop psychoactive properties like girls do in their flowers. Plus, male plants can pollinate your female plants and cause them to make less bud and more seeds. Therefore, most serious cannabis growers choose to remove and dispose of male plants as soon as they show their sex.

Note: The sturdy green growths are not pistils, they are always there on both boy and girl plants. When looking for gender, you’re specifically looking for white wispy hairs (pistils).

Ok, so you’ve gotten rid of your male plants. Your female plants will be growing more and more white hairs and before you know it, actual buds/flowers/trees are forming. Woohoo!

Now that you’re fully in the flowering stage, it’s best to keep temps slightly cooler, around 65-80°F (18-26°C) to produce buds with the best color, trichome production and smell. Learn more about what you need to do in the flowering stage to produce top-shelf buds.

It’s important to pay close attention to your cannabis plants during the flowering stage. This is because in this stage your plant is much more likely to suffer from nutrient problems as they’re focusing all their energy on growing buds.

Step 9: Harvest Your Weed

When to Harvest Weed? Is She Ready for Harvest?

  1. Wait until your buds stop growing new, white hairs. By this point, your buds should be fragrant (the whole grow room or area will likely smell strongly of cannabis), plump and ‘filled out’.
  2. Wait until at least 40% of the white hairs have changed color (darkened) and are curling in. This marks the beginning of the harvest window. Buds harvested now will have more of a speedy effect and are not at full potency.
  3. Harvest when 50-70% of the hairs have darkened for highest THC levels
  4. Harvest when 80-90% of the hairs have darkened for more a couchlock, anti-anxiety effect (some of the THC has turned into the more relaxing CBN)

The hardest part of growing cannabis for many new growers is waiting for the right time to harvest.

There are additional cannabis harvest methods which are much more precise – such as using trichomes to know when to harvest your buds.

I sometimes get asked how to harvest weed… (i.e. cut it down from the plant)

Just get a sturdy pair of scissors and cut the plant down in the most convenient way possible. Seriously…that’s it!

Trimming comes next; it’s one of the most rewarding and physically taxing parts of the entire grow, but it’ll be worth it!

Step 10: Dry and Cure Your Newly Harvested Buds

After you have cut off and trimmed all of your glittery, beautiful fat buds, you will want to hang them upside down in a cool, dark place with plenty of ventilation so that they can dry out.

Dry buds slowly for best results and check often for mold or overdrying. You’ve worked way too hard to lose your crop now!

After your cannabis buds have dried (thin stems snap, but the thicker stems are still a bit bendy), it’s time to start curing them so they’re smooth, taste good, smell good, and have the best effects.

To cure your buds, put them in tightly-closed quart-sized mason jars in a cool dark place. Fill each jar loosely about 3/4 of the way full.

For the first 2 weeks of curing, open the jars once a day for several seconds to get fresh air in your jars and release any moisture.

If your buds feel moist when you check on them, leave the tops of the jars off until the outsides of the buds feel dry to the touch. Too-moist bud is what causes mold!

Special products like “Boveda 62% Humidipaks” will make curing a lot easier, as they will naturally regulate the humidity in your jars.

After your cannabis has been curing for at least 2 weeks, and they haven’t felt wet every time you’ve checked the jars for at least a week, you can start opening the lid once a week instead of once a day.

Some people only cure their bud for 1-2 weeks total while other cure their bud for 30 days or more. Because you need to open the jar regularly, you can always sample some as it’s curing to get a feel for whether it’s done or not.

I personally think that cannabis tends to be more potent if you cure it for at least a month.

Curing for longer than 6 months doesn’t do anything, and cannabis can become less potent over time as THC turns to CBN. Keep your harvest in a cool, dry, airtight space for long-term storage.

That’s it! 10 Simple Steps and You’ve Got Your Very First Cannabis Harvest!

Are you ready to start growing cannabis at home? It's surprisingly easy when you stick to the 10 simple steps in this grow guide. Start growing today!