THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis. The compound has medicinal effects as well. You might want to increase the concentration of THC for medicinal reasons or simply to increase your high.
The primary reasons to increase THC level include:
- Increment of the mental and psychoactive impact of the buds.
- To achieve better medicinal effects of cannabis in relieving chronic pain, nausea, and other conditions.
- To increase the value or the potency of the yields.
Though there are benefits of increasing the amount of THC in homegrown cannabis, Not everyone knows how to do it. Here are 5 tips on how you can raise THC levels.
1. Choose High Potency Strains and Genetics
The type of strain you choose to grow determines the ceiling for your cannabis potency. Genetic and strain type are the primary determinants of how far you can increase THC levels. It is also difficult to achieve the full potential of cannabis potency if you miss any of the cultivation guidelines. Therefore, you should go for a marijuana strain that is above your targeted concentration.
For example if a certain strain has a potency of 20%, it means that is the bar. No amount of effort will make the concentration of THC 21%. The most common strains of cannabis with high levels of THC are listed below.
|Strain||Average Concentration of THC|
|Girl Scout Cookies||28%|
|Chem Berry D||28%|
However, you should note that this is the optimum potency of each strain when all the guidelines are followed. You can still have a lower concentration in THC from the above varieties. You should observe any cultivation guidelines from the seed supplier for maximum concentration.
2. Right Harvesting Period
The composition of tetrahydrocannabinol changes with each stage of growth. If you harvest the crop too early, the concentration of THC is low. Low THC levels means a lower potency for the crop. Cannabis has a 15 to 20 day period when the crop is highly potent with the THC compound.
Some of the indicators that your cannabis is at maximum potency include:
- Milky white trichomes and reddish brown pistils
- Swollen ovaries
- Leaves start turning yellow
- Curled pistils
- High concentration of terpenes
You should check out these indicators before harvesting marijuana. Post harvesting practices such as curing and drying help to conserve the potency of cannabis. Some people complain of headache due to consumption of uncured marijuana. Curing and drying also improve the taste and smell of cannabis. You should dry the weed slowly because fast drying also affects its smell and taste.
It is also advisable to harvest cannabis at dawn when there is high concentration of THC. When growing marijuana indoors under lights, you should leave the plant in the dark for a day or 2 for maximum THC potency.
3. Light and Temperature Control
Like other plants, weed does well under the right temperatures and light. Although it can grow under limited light, this reduces the flowering of the plant. Cannabis produces more buds under high exposure to light and temperature around 20-250 C. Cannabis does well under exposure to UV lights. Cannabis is native to the equator and mountains. This means that, the plant does well when exposed to the sun.
Trichomes are the factory for THC and they act as defense mechanism against UV light. Therefore, increasing ultra-violet light to a certain level increases growth of trichomes. Consequently, the concentration of THC increases.
Indoor cultivation has also gained interest from farmers. To maintain high concentration of THC in your greenhouse, you should install inflorescent bulbs, LED lights, or high-intensity discharge lights. You should hang the lights over the plants and leave some space between the lamps and the crop to allow for extensive UV light discharge. The space also reduces the temperature because THC level decreases in temperatures above 250 C.
It is essential to supplement UV light during the last 2 weeks before harvesting. Supplementary light helps to tap the full potential of the plant before maturity.
4. Ensure a Healthy Crop
Though cannabis has few enemies in pests and diseases, infestation can lower the potency as well as the yield of the crop. Therefore, you should be proactive to take the necessary measures of prevention. However, you should also take care not to use excessive chemicals on cannabis because it can alter the concentration of active compounds (CBD and THC).
Some of the most common predisposing factors to disease and pests include under-watering, over-watering, excessive temperatures, nutritional deficiency, and root disruption. Therefore, you should apply the right amount of water during irrigation and regulate climatic conditions where possible. You should also avoid irregular light cycles because they can also lower THC levels. You should space your crop correctly to avoid crowding which can lead to easy spread of pests and disease. Uprooting any affected plants prevents spread of the pest or disease to others.
5. Moisture Strain
If you want to increase the amount of THC in cannabis, you should reduce the amount of moisture in the air before harvesting. This should be around 15 days before the crop is mature for harvesting. Moisture strain produces similar effect to when the plants are exposed to enough light and heat. The condition increases growth of trichomes to defend the plant.
The plants also secrete more resins which act as the protective layer against dry conditions. Increase in resinous material leads to an increase in the level of THC. However, you should keep watering the crop but reduce the amount of water. It is important to note the difference between irrigation water and humidity.
Though it is not possible to increase the concentration of THC beyond the strain maximum, you can achieve optimum concentration. Highly potent cannabis increases the intensity of the high. The marijuana also has better medicinal properties especially in alleviation of pain. Most of the hacks in maintaining a high level crop are climate factor control. You should ensure that there is right amount of humidity, temperature, and light. Apart from that, maintaining a healthy crop is equally important.