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When to harvest cannabis for CBD, according to science

Researchers have figured out a way to grow and harvest cannabis to maximize the yield of CBD, according to a study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

The authors have investigated how chemical composition changes in hemp at different harvesting times, which is crucial in harvesting as much CBD as possible from cannabis plants and therefore maximizing the crop's value industrially without increasing the yield of illegal THC compounds.

The authors have found that essential oils and cannabinoids increased in the tops of plants (inflorescencess) until full flowering in the third harvest before decreasing at seed maturity in the final harvest. "Initially, as hemp grows, the levels of cannabinoids are low until the plant reaches flowering," Hunt said. "Cannabinoid content then decreases until seed maturity is reached.

"The greatest proportion of cannabidiol was extracted from the tops at full flowering. However, a significant increase (63 percent) in the banned psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was observed at this harvest stage as compared to the budding stage of development, where the plant initial begins flowering. "Harvesting the tops after budding would be preferable due to the high cannabidiol content and low amounts of THC."

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