Greater mental and psychoactive effects from the same amount of bud (your harvest will go further!) Many medical marijuana growers desire high THC levels for the relief of nausea, certain types of pain, spasticity, certain symptoms of multiple sclerosis, etc. Many of the things you do to increase THC levels will also increase your overall cannabis yields. However, not every grower wants the highest levels of THC in their bud, and may actually be seeking other cannabinoids found in certain strains. For example, there are many medical marijuana growers who prefer low -THC, high-CBD cannabis, which is non-psychoactive and may be of interest to those looking for possible relief from anxiety or seizures. Learn more about the difference between CBD and other cannabinoids like THC (unfortunately you can’t use grow methods to increase CBD levels, you need to start with a low-THC, high-CBD strain).
Much of the THC and “potency” in your buds is contained in the sparkly trichomes. These are the most important factors that will affect your THC levels and overall marijuana potency: Strain & Individual Plant Genetics. Your plant’s genes are hands-down the most important aspect of cannabis potency when it comes to growing! Your plant genetics set the “upper limit” of how much THC and other cannabinoids your plant will ever be able to produce. Although you can use grow methods to maximize the THC within that limit, you will never be able to overcome the limits set by your strain and plant genetics. So as a really rough example, let’s say your strain/plant genetics can only produce 15% THC at most. That means you may get less than 15% THC in your buds if you don’t grow the plant right, but no matter what you do you’ll never be able to increase it above 15%. In order to get really high levels of potency and THC, it’s essential to start with high-potency, high-THC genes from a respectable breeder.
Learn how to research strains so you get the most potent cannabis plant to fulfill your needs. If you’ve never ordered cannabis seeds before, learn how to get seeds delivered to the US and worldwide. Some strains just don’t have the genetics to make cannabis buds as potent and trichome-covered as the one pictured here! Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to beat genetics so start with good genes! Many cannabis growers don’t realizing they are actually harvesting their buds too early, dramatically reducing yields and potency! There is a 2-3 week period during the flowering stage when plants are “mature” and buds are at the highest levels of THC. At this point, the tiny resin glands (trichomes) on the buds have turned milky white, and most of the white hairs (pistils) on the buds have darkened and curled in. Highest Level of THC When… Most white pistils have darkened and curled in (bud looks more “solid”) Most clear trichomes (looks like glass) have turned white (looks like white plastic) If the plant is allowed to keep maturing, the cannabinoid profile continues to change. Buds harvested on the later side tend to produce more of a relaxed “body” effect, though the psychoactive effects of THC may be somewhat reduced. If you harvest earlier than this, the plant hasn’t reached its full potential. Sometimes early-harvested buds can produce a “speedy” effects, or give some people headaches (curing will help with this) so avoid harvesting early if you can! Learn more about when to harvest cannabis (with lots more pics!) Get the effects you’re looking for! This cola has several weeks to go before it reaches its highest THC levels – harvesting now will reduce both your yields and your potency! In order to get your cannabis to produce the most potent buds possible, you need a robust, healthy cannabis plant with lots of bud sites getting direct light during the flowering stage. This means it’s important to avoid common plant health mistakes like overwatering, underwatering, heat stress, root problems, irregular light cycles, and nutrient problems. Check out our 7-step remedy to fix most cannabis plant growing problems. Try to maintain balance and avoid environmental extremes. Basically, treat your cannabis plant like it’s a celebrity – it gets everything it wants! Although cannabis can grow in relatively low light conditions (it grows like a weed!), it will not produce significant amounts of bud without very bright light in the flowering stage. Cannabis uses light to power the growth of buds, along with the THC and cannabinoids contained inside. Outdoors your plant needs direct sunlight 8+ hours a day to produce to its fullest, and indoors you need strong, bright grow lights (like LEDs or MH/HPS grow lights) to produce the highest levels of THC. Although there is no evidence that the curing process (jarring up buds after they’ve dried) increases THC levels directly, there is a lot of evidence that it increases the perceived potency of buds. Though not well understood, this may be because there are chemical changes that happen during the curing phase that “intensify” the effects of THC and other cannabinoids. The curing process also has other benefits for marijuana growers. For example, newly dried cannabis buds often smell like cut grass or hay, even if they smelled great in the flowering stage.
The curing process helps get rid of the unpleasant grassy taste/smell and brings back the natural taste and smell of the cannabis plant. Lastly, uncured and early-harvested buds can cause “speedy” thoughts or headaches for some people, and curing often reduces these negative effects. Although it’s true that using CO2 can increase your overall cannabis yields , there isn’t any evidence that it actually increases the potency of your bud. Unknowns: These Growing Methods May Increase THC But Aren’t Well-Tested. These are some of the common ways growers try to increase the THC levels of their cannabis. These techniques and methods are considered “unknowns” because there hasn’t been a whole lot of scientific testing to see what works and what doesn’t work as far as increasing THC. There are many supplements for growing cannabis, and each one has a different purpose. Some supplements are great, while others are just snake oil. When it comes to supplements for bud quality, most claim to increase yields or flavor as opposed to potency. However, there are some supplements that either claim or insinuate that they will increase the potency and/or THC levels in your cannabis.
Unfortunately, at this time there aren’t any supplement companies which have conducted systematic tests showing that their supplements will actually increase THC. Because of this, although it seems possible that some of these do work as stated, I can’t recommend any ones in particular. If you know of any supplement manufacturers who have actually tested their products on real cannabis plants and can demonstrate that their supplements actually increase THC, we’d love to hear from you!