Cannabis Ripening

Comprehensive Guide to Cannabis Ripening

Every plant growers goal and to produce high-quality buds and the most awaited part of the growing process is without a doubt is the harvest time. This is the time where growers harvest the fruit of their labor.

In cannabis cultivation, the harvest period is also the most awaited time but it can be tricky as the key to harvesting great quality yield depends on the timing of the harvest. That is why every grower needs to know about cannabis ripening as it has a great effect on the quality of the crop.

Cannabis ripening signifies that the cannabis plant has reached the maturity period thus it is time to harvest. It is important to remember that there are many varieties or types of cannabis stain they also vary in the growth cycle. Knowing the ripening period of your cannabis plant is essential because the timing of the harvest will affect the quality of the yield.

Cannabis Ripening: Why does it matter 

For most experienced cannabis growing, there several factors indicating cannabis ripening and they base it according to odor, growth cycle, and trichomes. They don’t want to harvest too early or too late as these will affect the quality of the buds. 

The knowledge about cannabis ripening can be tricky if you are no familiar with the plant’s growth cycle. Knowing exactly if your plants are ready to harvest is an important aspect of growing cannabis. Cannabis ripening involves knowing if the flowers are already matured and fully developed.

There are several ways on how to determine the ripeness of the cannabis plant. But it is important to know the timeline of the maturity stage to keep you guided.

Cannabis Ripening: A timeline

Here is a simple timeline of the flowering period from the early stage until it reaches the maturity period.

0-2 Weeks

This is when the plant is slowly transitioning from the vegetative phase to the flowering stage.

2-4 Weeks

This is considered as the early flowering stage where the development of the cannabis flowers begins. In this stage, trichomes also begin to develop.

4-6 Weeks

This is the end of the vegetative stage and the flowering stage is in full swing. This is a very crucial stage as this is where the flowers are being fully developed. Trichomes are also developing at this stage.

6-8 Weeks

A very crucial stage for trichome development as they in full tilt.

8-12 Weeks

During this stage, the development of flowers slows down and the plant now is transitioning to the ripening stage. In this stage, you will notice that the pistils are now beginning to turn brown, the trichomes are now pretty much visible changing colors from clear to milky or cloudy, and then, later on, turns amber. Cannabis ripening is based on the transition of the trichomes as they are also the best indicator if it is the perfect time to harvest your cannabis plant.

12 Weeks onwards

This will be the end of the cannabis ripening period. This is characterized by flowers being bulky and the pistils are no longer productive and the plant has stopped producing flowers. Harvesting during this period is not advisable as you will be harvesting low-quality plants.

When is the best time to harvest your cannabis plant?

As mentioned earlier, timing is of the essence in harvesting cannabis, and here are important factors to consider when harvesting your cannabis plant:


As soon as your plants have reached maturity, the cannabis ripening period starts when the trichomes are transitioning into different colors. Trichomes are a great indicator of when to harvest your cannabis plant. Trichomes are the sticky crystal-like element found on the leaves and buds of the cannabis plant.

1) Clear trichomes

This means that plant is still developing so it is not a good time to harvest as they are not very potent. It would affect the outcome of your harvest.

2) Cloudy trichomes

This indicates that buds are still developing in size as well as some of its properties such as the odor and the taste. If you harvest during this time, you will have buds with energetic high. If the trichomes are about 50-70% then expect crops that have the highest level of potency.

3) Cloudy or amber-colored

This means that the potency is low and will bring about relaxing effects.


This would indicate cannabis ripening through the development of its pistils. If the pistils are still sticking out, then it is not still a good time to harvest your crop as it is still developing. The actual harvest time may still be in several months. 

As soon as the pistils have changed its color and more than half of it has darkened, then it is now ready for harvesting. The perfect time to harvest potent buds is when 60-70% of the pistils have darkened. Harvesting the crop with about 90% of the pistils have turned dark will give you buds with low THC content but with calming and relaxing effects.         

Note that there are many varieties of cannabis plants and some strains may look different from another so it is best to have good information about the strain that you are growing especially the color of their pistils.


Another important indicator of cannabis ripening is by observing its leaves that surround the calyxes. Normally, if the cannabis is already ripe, the leaves turn yellow and it would curl up. Just be very careful though and make sure that your plant is not suffering from any disease as they have the same symptoms. Most healthy plants will have this indicator if it has reached the maturity level. The leaves will turn yellow and crisp. That is a perfect indicator of cannabis ripening.


Cannabis may seem to be an easy plant to cultivate but growing a high-quality yield requires additional effort for you as a grower. Knowing and having solid information about cannabis ripening will help you better if you want to achieve the best results. Remember, timing is important so make sure to harvest your crop at the right time.    

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