Like the other plants, harvesting cannabis should be done when the flowers start to change color, or are ripe. After all the care provided to the cultivation, harvesting is the payback time. However, the same should be done with great caution, as it affects the strength of the drug.
The time of harvesting cannabis decides the influence of smoking the drug. If the plants are harvested when only a few of the pistils have turned color, the buds will have more pure THC and less THC to be converted into Cannabidiol and Cannabinol. The lower amount of psychoactive substances will directly affect the strength of getting high on pot. Higher level of THC, CBN, and CBD is attained when the buds fully ripen, and it will have stronger influence on the weed smokers. If you are looking forward to trade the drug, keep in mind that the buds weigh more when they are fully ripe. However, it is always better to try the pot on different stages to decide the correct time to harvest.
New growers have a tendency to pick early because of their impatience. If you want to try some in the earlier stages, pluck from the middle or top of the plant. The top part of the buds ripe first, and let the rest ripe as usual. When the lower part receives more light, the lower buds grow bigger and fuzzier as they reach maturity. Do not harvest too late. Check the buds carefully, and harvest when they are mostly clear, and not fully brown. This is the peak time and once all the buds grow brown, the THC level starts falling down. Harvest your weed at that point.
The next job after harvesting cannabis is to dry the pot. Never dry the plants in the sun, instead hang them upside down in a ventilated area to dry them slowly. You can dry them quickly by packing it in a paper bag, but gradual drying enhances the taste of the pot much more effectively.
People who are in a hurry try to dry pot in a few hours by putting small amounts between paper bags or sheets and drying in a microwave oven. If you are trying that option, be cautious to use the defrost power setting for slow drying, and not to burn the weed. A food dehydrator or preserver can also make the drying process fast. However, the taste of the pot will not be the same as naturally slow-dried weed.
Dry the weed until the stems are brittle enough to break, and then store them in a sealed Tupperware container. Then comes the time to be rewarded for your hard work.