The art of growing cannabis has evolved over many decades into a thing of ease and beauty. Now, you can grow your marijuana at home with very little work and zero hassle using the Grobo grow box.
Whether you're growing cannabis for personal consumption or commercial purposes, the potency of your plant remains an essential factor. Being able to maximize the amount of THC (and other cannabinoids) in your buds will directly translate to higher potency levels.
Benefits of Increased THC Levels
Growers have different reasons for wanting to increase cannabis potency. Whether you consume cannabis recreationally or medicinally higher THC levels can be a useful benefit. Simply, you can get more use out of your cannabis with higher THC content than you would with cannabis containing lower levels of THC.
Being able to produce higher THC levels and cannabinoid levels in the plant has several benefits, from achieving more significant psychoactive effects to inducing stronger relief from pain, nausea, and multiple sclerosis, or for merely maximizing yields.
Let's dive into how to increase the THC production of your cannabis plant!
Factors That Have a Direct Influence on Potency (THC Levels) of a Cannabis Plant
Much of the potency of your cannabis plant resides in the sparkly hair-like trichomes of your buds. Trichomes can be found all over the buds, sugar leaves, and sometimes even the stem of a cannabis plant.
Many growers often talk about boosting the resin production of a plant as being equal to raising potency. You should know that this isn't always the case. However, if you're growing a strain that has the genetics for high THC content, boosting resin production will usually translate to an increased cannabis potency of such a plant.
The techniques we would be looking at have been tested and proven to get cannabis growers the maximum possible potency levels. Indoor cannabis growers will find these most useful in maximizing the overall benefits of each harvest. So, let's get to it. How to increase THC?
Strain and Plant Genetics
This is by far the most important factor in determining how much potency your plant can achieve. The particular strain and genetics of your plant determine the individual qualities and potency limits.
A plant with strong genetics and a high potency benchmark can easily produce buds of really high quality. However, a plant with poor genetics for potency will never perform beyond its genetic limits.
For example, let's assume that your particular cannabis strain has a THC upper limit of 10%. This means that under optimum growing conditions, the highest potency level that can be achieved is 10%. No amount of growing techniques or tricks can make a plant exceed its genetic boundaries as far as potency is concerned.
Therefore, if you're looking to get cannabis of high quality and potency, you should buy seeds with a genetic predisposition to high THC levels and high cannabinoid levels.
Plant Care and Health
To get the maximum possible potency levels from your plants, you need to ensure that you employ the best growing practices.
A healthy cannabis plant with lots of bud sites is the perfect recipe for the most potent buds, provided that you treat your plant right. You must avoid environmental extremes that can harm your plants. Also make sure you are providing it with good airflow, quality nutrients and trim off any dead leaves.
Treating your cannabis plant with the utmost care and attention will help you to get the THC levels that master growers brag about. If you want your plant to produce the most potent and frosty buds, treat it like a celebrity.
Any experienced grower would tell you that light plays a crucial part in the life and growth of a cannabis plant. The amount of light your plant receives during its flowering stage dramatically influences the production of potent buds
While it is possible to grow cannabis under low light, achieving its maximum potential requires something stronger. Cannabis grow lights like LEDs and HPS are the industry standards for growing plants with dense buds and potent sticky resins. So, if you want to increase THC levels in your cannabis plants, stick to using the strongest lights in your growing setup.
Optimal Harvest Time
A lot of cannabis growers fail to comprehend the full effects of harvesting at the right time. A plant should only be harvested when the buds are mature and ripe, that is when the trichomes turn milky white, and approximately 30% of the trichomes are amber.
Cannabis buds are at their highest THC levels within a 2-3 week period during its flowering stage. Seasoned growers have discovered that you can increase THC levels in your cannabis plants if you time the harvest period right.
In comparison, growers looking for low THC/high CBD profiles tend to favor the extended maturity of plant buds.
The process of systematically drying out cannabis buds for improved taste, smell, and storage is known as “curing”. While no evidence supports the notion that the curing process can directly increase cannabis THC levels, it does help to improve its overall perceived quality.
Curing your buds also has the added advantage of reducing the speedy effects of under-developed buds.
Ever wonder how to cure your cannabis? Check out our YouTube Video about how to cure cannabis quickly and easily!
Factors That Can Also Enhance Yield of Cannabis Plants
The factors we've looked at so far are strictly designed to increase THC levels of cannabis only. However, they aren't the only known growing techniques that affect THC levels.
Certain other growing methods have the added advantage of increasing overall harvest yield. Whether you're a recreational or commercial grower, you want to get the most value from your growing efforts.
The following growing methods should help with increasing yield in addition to influencing the production of highly potent buds:
Inducing Vegetative Cycle
Some growers have a technique for keeping a growing plant in its vegetative stage for 8 weeks at least. This means that the cannabis plant is induced into growing more vegetative parts before it is switched to the flowering stage. The increased length in the vegetative stage means a larger yield and can lead to very potent buds when combined with powerful grow lights.
Providing the Right Amount of Nutrients
Making sure your plant is well fed is one of the easiest ways to increase you yield. If your plant has all the nutrients it needs to grow, it will grow fast, which may result in a bigger yield.
Pro tip: Providing more phosphorus in the flowering stage can help produce larger blooms.
If you have a Grobo, no need to worry about nutrients! Our 850+ strain recipes will automatically dose the perfect amount of nutrients to your plant throughout each growth stage, including the flowering stage and vegetative stage.
Topping involves cutting the top of the cannabis plant, so it grows bushier rather than taller. This results in the plant developing two apical buds, also known as colas. They are the largest blooms on the plant, so having two will increase the yield.
Dropping the temperature of your grow space to about 10-15 °F simulates fall and the beginning of winter. This helps to trick the plants into “panic mode” where it rushes to finish its flowering stage before the extreme cold kicks in.
This means that the plant puts all its energy into producing resin and improving the cannabinoid content of its buds. More resin production translates to a bigger harvest and higher quality buds with potent THC levels.
Adjusting Grow Space CO2 Levels
In addition to manipulating the temperature, expert growers like to reduce the amount of CO2 in the grow space.
During the flowering stage of a cannabis plant, it produces ethylene—a hormone that helps to ripen the mature buds. Dropping CO2 levels during flowering forces the plant to produce more ethylene to help it ripen faster and produce more resin.
However, during the vegetative growth phase it is beneficial to add additional CO2 to your grow space. This can help the plant grow faster.
The goal of any cannabis plant is to mature and produce seeds that will guarantee the survival of its genes. However, a female cannabis plant can only produce seeds after it has been pollinated by pollen from a male plant. Growers have discovered that preventing pollination in a female plant causes it to go into a frenzy and produce massive amounts of trichomes and resin.
Growing outdoors it is very hard to control whether your plant gets pollinated. Neighbours may have male plants, and that pollen can travel miles to pollinate your plant. Luckily if you're growing indoors, it's much easier to control. Make sure you are keeping an eye on your plants and remove any males.
You can also purchase feminized seeds, so you won't have to worry about the gender of your plant!
This process of producing sinsemilla (Spanish for “without seed”) buds can give rise to a highly potent product that fetches top dollar.
The techniques for maximizing potency in cannabis buds are trade secrets that every cannabis grower should know. If you're serious about getting the best out of your plants, start with strong genetics and complement with the techniques we've discussed. Make sure to give your plants as much light and care as they require, and you'll be able to harvest the dankest, most potent buds in no time at all.
If you know of other proven techniques that can boost cannabis potency, do let us know in the comments.
You can be sure that we'll update this guide as soon as there's new information on things that can help to maximize THC and cannabinoid contents.