About the author 

David Rhodes

David has been working in the cannabis industry for the past 17 years with experience working overseas in Amsterdam as a budtender for 5 years! Learn More About David!

Regardless of whether you’re new to cannabis cultivation or an experienced grower, determining the right harvest time can be challenging. Harvesting your cannabis prematurely can lead to underdeveloped buds. Conversely, waiting too long can result in overripe buds. In this guide, we’ll discuss the growth and ripening process of cannabis, and how to prevent overripe buds in your upcoming cultivation!

How Cannabis Ripens As It Grows:

Depending on a number of factors such as they type of strain, the type of seed, the environment and amount of sunlight will determine the actual harvesting timeline of your cannabis plants. Generally speaking marijuana plants take anywhere from seven to twelve weeks to fully grow and the buds to ripen. You should be aware of your individual setup and your specific strain to have an understanding of the timeline.

During your grow, if your buds are left for too long on the plant without harvesting, that’s when over ripe cannabis buds will begin to develop. If you notice that the trichomes of your plant turns amber instead of milky white, that is a key sign that they are approaching being over ripe.

Although you can still smoke overripe cannabis, it loses a bunch of its flavor profile, as well as it weakens the effects of the cannabis all together. It also makes the buds more brittle and dried out.

By knowing the overall timeline of your cannabis plant, you’ll have a better understanding of what week you should be harvesting to ensure that you don’t wait too long.

Signs Of Over Ripe Cannabis Buds:

If you notice any of the following signs, then you are at risk of over ripe cannabis:

  • Trichomes turn prodominately to a milky white color. If over 70% of your buds feature this milky white color, then this could mean your buds are over ripe.
  • The overall plant starts to look dry and brittle.
  • The smell seems to weaken.
  • Buds begin to turn into a darker green color compared to before. The buds begin to lose some of its potency and they gradually get darker and darker.

What Happens If You Wait Too Long To Harvest Your Cannabis Grow?

A lot of different things could happen if you wait too long before harvesting your cannabis buds. The main result would be the over ripe buds or even cannabis that is completely unusable and you’ll have to end up throwing away.

Along with this, even if your buds are still usable, if you wait too long then your grows can have decreased yield sizes, reduced potency, and really just a reduction in overall quality of your cannabis.

Unfortunately if you wait too long to harvest your cannabis, there isn’t much you can do to turn back the time and make your grow usable. Once your buds have lost their potency and experiences drops in THC levels, there isn’t anything you can do to fix this. The only thing you can really do is learn your lesson and learn to understand the signs of over rip buds, so that for your next grow you ensure you harvest on time.

What Do Over Ripe Buds Look Like?

Over ripe cannabis buds have clear signs for your to identify them, here are some examples:

  • Dried up and shrived leaves, buds and stems on your cannabis plants.
  • The cannabis plant begins to transition to a brown and dark color.
  • The smell begign to shift to being less potent or even shifting to a more garbage like smell rather than traditional weed smell. This can also be the signal of mold or other infections your plants might have caught. You should be sure to seperate these infected plants from others so it doesn’t spread.

Can You Still Smoke Mature Cannabis Buds?

If you harvested your cannabis grows a bit late and you might be wondering if you can still smoke your harvest or not. Some over ripe buds are still smokable, and others should be thrown away immediately.

If you’ve noticed that your leaves have turned completely brown, then you should throw away these buds and pruning them from your garden. This is generally caused by harvesting late, or nutrient burn, which can actually spread to other plants in your grow.

If your overripe buds aren’t too far gone, and they simply are a bit discolored and weakened smell, you should still be able to harvest them and smoke them. You might experience weakened effects as being overripe can reduce THC levels and affect terepenes, but you should still be able to smoke and consume.

About David Rhodes

David has been working in the cannabis industry for the past 17 years with experience working overseas in Amsterdam as a budtender for 5 years! His goal is to help you with your cannabis grow! Learn More About David!

David Rhodes