How to Maximize THC Levels in Cannabis Plants

Learn how to maximize your cannabis plants' THC levels for maximum euphoria. Find out when to harvest your plants and how to identify peak THC levels.

How to Maximize THC Levels in Cannabis Plants

Cannabis growers are always looking for ways to maximize the THC levels in their plants. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis and is responsible for the plant's euphoric effects. Knowing when to harvest your plants and how to identify peak THC levels can help you get the most out of your crop. The optimal harvest window usually coincides with the plant's peak THC production.

Growers usually harvest cannabis after a two-month flowering phase, but for different varieties, the optimal harvest dates can range from a few days to several weeks. Look out for yellowish fan leaves, bright orange hair development, and milky trichomes. The biological limits of THC production mean that ~35% of total THC in dry weight is an approximate upper limit for strains. On average, strains with a high THC content contain between 18 and 20% of total THC, while the most potent strains contain between 25 and 30% of total THC.

Terpene production also tends to peak around the same time as THC. The plant will be more powerful and tastier when harvested at this peak. Indoor marijuana plants tend to harvest in three months, while outdoor cultivation can take up to nine months. You can also see subtle differences between indica varieties and sativa-dominant varieties.

When properly labeled, cannabis products indicate the amount of THC, CBD or other compounds present as a percentage of the dry weight of that product. If the flower you buy is labeled with 25% THC in dry weight, it means that 25% of the flower's mass, after drying to remove water, comes from THC. The hydroxylation of 9-THC generates the psychoactive compound 11-hydroxy 9_Tetra hydrocannabinol (11-OH-THC) and subsequent oxidation generates the inactive 11-nor-9-carboxy-9-tetrahydrocannbinol (THCCOOH). The urinary excretion half-life of THCCOOH was found to be approximately 30 hours after seven days and 44 to 60 hours after twelve days of monitoring. The evidence of numerous diffuse in vivo effects supports the hypothesis of a non-specific interaction of THC.

However, the bioavailability of 9-THC varies depending on the depth of inhalation, the duration of inhalation and the retention of respiration. Agricultural biotechnology company Front Range Biosciences uses selective breeding to develop hemp strains that don't produce THC. With the right knowledge and a useful tool, you can reach maximum THC levels even with your first crop. Cannabis growers have increased the THC content in their plants in recent years, causing the leaves to cause a stronger high. Maximum euphoria is delayed compared to the maximum concentration of THC in the blood and physiological and behavioral effects return to baseline values within 3-5 hours. Knowing when to harvest your plants and how to identify peak THC levels can help you get the most out of your crop.