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How to Grow Cannabis Plants with Higher Potency (THC Level)?

When growing cannabis, growers have diverse goals.

Some desire the largest yield or quantity, while others shoot for flavor profiles or grow for medicinal or therapeutic benefits. Most growers wonder if it’s possible to increase cannabis potency.

The answer is a bit nuanced. A good grower can use proper cultivation techniques to get the plant to express its full genetic potential, but genetics are also the limiting factor. Fortunately, while you can't force plants to produce beyond their capabilities, you can still employ tactics to enhance cannabis potency.

In this article, we'll cover some cultivation techniques to help push your plant, and also some other best practices to maintain that potency. Let's get into it!

What is THC in Your Cannabis Buds?

thc and cbd in cannabis

THC, or TetraHydroCannabinol, is the most abundant chemical found within the cannabis plant's trichomes, responsible for its psychoactive effects or "high."

THC produces this high by binding to specific receptors in both the brain and central nervous system. Beyond its psychoactive properties, the compound has many therapeutic and medicinal benefits as well, ranging from:

  • pain relief;
  • nausea suppression;
  • appetite stimulation;
  • and muscle relaxation

The production of THC is triggered by genetic responses to the cannabis plant's ripeness and environmental conditions. Factors such as light intensity, temperature, humidity and nutrient availability all influence the expression of genes related to THC production.

How to Grow More Potent Cannabis?

There are ways to ensure maximum cannabis potency. The first comes before you even start actually growing, and that's strain selection.

You want to make sure you're growing a strain with the genetic potential to produce high THC levels. Not all strains are capable of producing strong buds with high THC levels. Selecting quality, verified genetics is the building block of growing high potency plants!

Need help finding your favorite strain? Check out these reputable options, recognized by numerous Hey abby growers for their reliability and wide variety of strains.

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Now that you've selected the right strain, let's talk about factors you can control to help maximize THC production and levels!

1. Lighting

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Using and high-intensity, but also high-quality light, such as:

  • LED
  • HID
  • HID-DE (double ended)

These types of cannabis grow lights can influence and/or encourage THC production! Research also shows that adding UV lighting can also stimulate THC production! UV rays can be harmful to the plant, and as a response, the plant will produce more THC to protect itself!

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2. Stress

Inflicting the proper amount of stress onto the cannabis plant can also boost THC levels! However, it's essential to exercise caution, as too much stress can slow its growth and negatively affect yield and potency.

Low stress tactics like pruning, and low stress training can beneficial producing strong cannabis! Experienced growers will use high stress techniques like super cropping, drought stress, and light stress to trick the plant into thinking it’s near death. As a genetic response to this stress, the plant will produce more cannabinoids as a defense mechanism and in some cases, to aid in reproduction.

3. Environment

Maintaining proper temperature and humidity levels in your garden can also have a positive effect on THC levels. By providing the right environment, you remove the plant's workload of regulating temperature and stomata control, allowing it to focus on flower and THC production.

High temperatures can cause THC content to rapidly degrade, while cold temperatures may slow growth but promote higher THC production.

Similarly, high humidity levels won't allow the cannabis plant to properly transpire, impeding the movement of water and nutrients throughout the plant. That limits its ability to produce max cannabis potency. Conversely, low humidity can cause excessive transpiration and stress, affecting the plant's ability to maximize THC production.

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4. Nutrients and Water

Hey abby hydroponic cannabis nutrients

Making sure you are providing cannabis plants with enough nutrients and water is crucial for various plant functions, including photosynthesis and transpiration, which have a direct influence on THC production. You can also manipulate the nutrient profile to encourage higher THC levels. For instance, cutting back on nitrogen (N) and increasing phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) levels can stimulate resin production, thereby enhancing THC levels.

5. Harvest Timing

trichomes of ripening marijuana buds

Harvesting cannabis at the proper time will help ensure that your plant is at peak THC content. If harvested too soon, the trichomes may still be premature; while waiting too long can result in degraded THC.

For peak THC content, you want to check the trichome's color, as it is an indicator of the cannabis bud's maturity level. Amber or brownish trichomes indicate that the THC has degraded into CBD/CBN. Clear trichomes suggest immaturity and lower THC content. Only milky or opaque trichomes signify peak THC content.

Though the plant will never have 100% milky trichomes at a given time, you want to harvest when you have about 70%-80% milky trichomes, with the remaining 20%-30% being amber or clear!

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If you're new to cannabis growing and feeling overwhelmed by the thought of managing everything to grow potent buds, Hey abby grow box can wipe all your worries out.

Hey abby comes pre-assembled an advanced and powerful LED system, along with a sophisticated algorithm designed to create the perfect growing conditions for each cannabis growth stage. With Hey abby, everything you need is conveniently packaged in one box, including highly concentrated, salt-based nutrients, eliminating the need for any guesswork or trial and error.

growing cannabis with high potency via Hey abby grow box

Image via Hey abby grower @Wiccn

If you are looking for the easiest way to grow strong, high-potency buds, reliably, Hey abby cannabis growing system checks all the boxes!

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Does CO2 Increase Cannabis Potency?

Cannabis plants use carbon dioxide during photosynthesis to produce energy. In fact, carbon dioxide is one of the fundamental components of the actual plant tissue!

Increasing the CO2 concentration in the garden can enhance photosynthesis levels, and create more usable energy. In return, this can accelerate growth rates and promote the development of larger and more abundant flowers. However, there has been no scientific data suggesting that CO2 enrichment directly enhances potency.

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What's the Best Cannabis THC Level Range?

Average THC range, in cannabis from storefronts, falls between 15%-25%, with some strains reaching as high as 33%! A good THC level to shoot for is 20% or higher.

However, for a better experience, you don't want to have only high THC levels in your flowers. Cannabis with a balanced and synergistic combination of THC and other cannabinoids have been found to produce a much more enjoyable effect!

high THC level cannabis buds grown in Hey abby

Take, for example, the "Lemon Cherry Gelato" strain grown in the Hey abby. It not only reached an impressive THC level of 25%, but also preserved a harmonious blend of other cannabinoids.

quality, strong cannabis grown inside Hey abby

Image via Hey abby grower @Wiccn

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