Different strains of weed come with different potencies. For example, OG Kush may have as much as 27% THC and less than 1% CBD, while Harle-Tsu will have 12% CBD and less than 1% THC. You may want to increase the potency of your ganja so that you get a little more of THC or CBD, but is this even possible? Good surprise, it is possible and this article will show you how to get that little extra oomph.
Why Increase The Potency Of Your Cannabis?
Potency refers to the number of cannabinoids (mostly THC or CBD) in a particular cannabis strain. Most times, the potency of a strain is given in ranges, showing that the amount of THC can vary in a strain. When a few tricks are employed, a strain can yield the highest possible amount of THC or CBD.
Increasing potency will give stronger effects on the body and mind. This may mean psychoactive effects, relaxation or healing effects on the body. Amping potency will also help to improve overall yields.
How To Increase The Potency Of Your Cannabis
- Start with the right cannabis strain
The potency of weed is carried in the resinous trichomes of the plant. Some strains are more endowed with resinous trichomes than others; this means that they will be more potent.
When buying cannabis seeds or clones, you should consider the potency of that strain as this is contained in the genes. Choosing a high potency strain will set you off on the right path. For example, you cannot choose Harle-Tsu seeds if your aim is getting a high THC yield. No matter how hard you work with this strain, you can never end up with a significant amount of THC. The genetics set the upper limit of the THC that you can obtain, which is less than 1% for Harle-Tsu.
So, start with the right seeds from the right breeder and you will be on your way to hitting the maximum limit of THC or CBD for this strain.
- Time your harvesting
One theory is that cannabis plants should be kept in the vegetative phase for eight solid weeks before being moved to the flowering phase. For this, the jury is still out. However, delaying harvest time has been shown to increase yields dramatically.
There is “a right time” to harvest your cannabis buds, this is when the potency is at its highest. Look out for these two signs that will tell you that the time has come:
- The trichomes covering the buds have turned milky white and are the thickest they have ever been. For some strains, you will need a pair of loupes to see the trichomes. Before the plants mature, the resin glands will be glassy. When they are ready for harvest, they should have turned milky white. They will be very sticky when touched and the buds will be hard to break by hand. At this time, THC levels should be highest. Holding out for too long will decrease THC levels but increased CBN levels. This will give you more relaxing effects but less psychoactive effects.
- The second sign observes the pistils. These are the hairs that sprout from around the buds. Before the plants mature, pistils will be milky white. When the plants are ready for harvest, the pistils will have darkened and will appear brown or orange. This is the best time to harvest as potency will be at its peak.
- Ensure adequate light
To maximize potency, your buds need to be exposed to sufficient amounts of light. This is not to mean that cannabis cannot grow in dark conditions, however, maximum lighting ensures that the weed reaches its maximum potency. This is especially needed during the flowering stage.
Whether you grow your cannabis indoors or outdoors, they will need sufficient amounts of light to ensure large and potent buds. Outdoors, they will need 8 plus hours of direct sunlight while indoors will need exposure to bright grow-lights such as LEDs.
- Curing and Decarboxylation
Curing is done after the buds have matured and they have just been harvested. Curing involves drying out the buds to reduce the moisture content.
Decarboxylation is the process where the cannabinoids are converted from their acidic form to their active form.
Curing starts off the process of decarboxylation. The moisture content is reduced and the cannabinoids start to change to their active states. THCA is converted to THC while CBDA is converted to CBD. Before this happens, the full effects of the cannabinoids cannot be appreciated. Reducing moisture also helps to preserve the buds and prevent them from forming molds.
Can Supplements Increase The Potency Of Cannabis?
The best and most effective way to increase the potency of weed is to create the optimum growing conditions for the weed. But first, you have to start with the right strain.
After you have optimized your grow, ensuring that the weed has been properly cured and decarboxylated will ensure that your cannabinoids have maximum potency. Without this, you will not enjoy the effects of your ganja, even though the THC or CBD is high.
The market is currently flooded with supplements that claim to increase cannabis yields. Supplements that offer nutritive value may produce larger and heavier buds, but this may not affect potency. As it stands, there are no published results on supplements that increase potency. So if there are any, we are not aware and cannot find any evidence on the same.
1. NCBI (2016): Decarboxylation Study of Acidic Cannabinoids: A Novel Approach Using Ultra-High-Performance Supercritical Fluid Chromatography/Photodiode Array-Mass Spectrometry. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549281/
2. NCBI (2019): An Update on Plant Photobiology and Implications for Cannabis Production. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6455078/
3. Deep Blue Lib (1976): TRICHOMES OF CANNABIS SATIVA.(CANNABACEAE)1P.DAYANANDANANDPETERB.KAUFMAN PDF. Retrieved from https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/142132/ajb211846.pdf