How To Harvest Cannabis
The cannabis industry is huge, and there are so many products, strains, and brands that it’s almost hard to keep track of all of them. Cannabis plants can be dried and smoked, concentrated into many forms, and even baked into edibles, but its diverse descendents all originate from a single, flowering plant. Learning how all the forms of cannabis products are made is interesting in itself, but let’s take it a step further: how do we even get harvested marijuana flower? There’s nothing better than a fresh jar of The Kind Center’s flower, and there’s a good reason for that. Our experienced budtenders grow cannabis on and off-site. If you’re looking to learn more about the processes that go into making such stellar flower, you’re in the right place. Of course, there’s no “right” way to grow anything. As with any other species, cannabis plants can be individually finicky, requiring more or less of certain nutrients including sun or water. At The Kind Center, we tailor this process to each individual plant so it gets all the TLC it needs, but this serves as a good overview.
Remove Fan Leaves
When cannabis grows, it contains all the plant structures you’re used to: a stem, leaves, and flowers. The flower you smoke is exactly that: the flowers of a cannabis plant, often referred to as bud. When a female cannabis plant grows, it forms the surrounding structures and the base of the plant first, flowering only when it matures. In order to grow, the plants need sunlight (of course) and grow fan leaves that are essential for photosynthesis. During the harvesting process, these leaves are removed, as they don’t have any flower. It’s actually super easy to distinguish these leaves from the buds. They look like stereotypical marijuana leaves often depicted in art, and display characteristics of either sativa or indica strains.
Cannabis flower may be dried in two ways. After trimming the fan leaves, what remains are smaller leaves (also known as sugar leaves) and the flower. “Wet” trimming is when the remaining leaves are removed, and the bud is dried. “Dry” trimming is when the plant, with its many buds and associated smaller leaves, is dried as a whole. The take-away here is that the fan leaves are gone and we’re drying out some flower. Typically, the plants are hung upside down and dried across a time frame that, at its shortest, lasts a week. The flower is left in the dark with a moderate temperature (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit) and high humidity (around 50%). Any light may damage the cannabinoids and terpenes, and the other factors ensure that the plant dries slowly.
Our budtenders know a plant is ready for de-stemming when the dried plant has stems that more easily snap than they do bend. From here, the flower is cut at the base of each flower. Keeping in mind that each plant has more than one flower, this means that each stalk of cannabis plant has quite a bit of bud. At an industrial level, this can be done by machine. From there, the bud is sorted by size to make further steps easier.
The trimming process removes sugar leaves. The sugar leaves are concentrated around the base of the bud, and can be distinguished from fan leaves by their pointy nature and more discreet stems. The tricky characteristic of sugar leaves is that they do produce trichomes, but they vary in just what amount of trichomes they produce based on strain, size, and the individual plant. Trichomes are the source of cannabinoids and terpenes, and these growths are super important to the potency of a plant. They’re the part of the cannabis that makes it “sticky.” It’s up to a budtender how much to trim sugar leaves, with the goal of having strong bud without losing too much trichome-filled material. There’s a delicate balance to deciding which leaves aren’t concentrated enough to hold up to “smokeable” standards. Afterall, you want all the flower you buy to be strong, right?
After trimming, curing begins. Curing is additional drying for the flower, which also takes place somewhere dark. It takes months to properly cure flower, and doing it correctly enhances the flavor, potency, and shelf-life of bud. It can’t just sit there though – the curing jars have to be examined daily, plus opened to let in fresh air and release some humidity. We know our flower is done curing when it smells like it’s done. You know the smell.
Visit The Kind Center for Premium Cannabis
The most important part of harvesting cannabis is caring about the harvest, and the budtenders of The Kind Center certainly do. Having patience to allow flower to properly grow and cure is essential to providing the high-quality products we serve. At The Kind Center, we never sell anything we don’t use ourselves. Swing by today to check out our selection of flower and other cannabis products, or order online for delivery!