Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 8, 2023

Growing cannabis plants, especially as a newbie, can be disappointing only if you discover that your harvest didn’t turn out as potent as you had hoped. It’s a bummer for any grower, but if your harvest is otherwise healthy, there are ways to make your plants more potent next time. 

And while there are some small changes you can make to ensure it doesn’t happen again, there are also ways to make the “weak” weed you already harvested more potent.

In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons why your cannabis may be weak and how to make it stronger, as well as share some tips on how to increase the quality of your high with the weed you currently have.

What Makes Cannabis “Weak”?

There are a few possible reasons why your weed’s potency isn’t top-notch, so let’s try to identify them. 

Sometimes It’s the Weed Strain

Starting with the most basic one that has nothing to do with your expertise – the cannabis strain. There are so many different strains nowadays, and sometimes the seeds you’ve bought may not turn out that good. While having good growing techniques is important, you can’t change the genetics of the plant. Poor genetic makeup will produce weak buds no matter what, so the best thing to do is simply not cultivate that Indica or Sativa again, and find seeds of higher quality.

Early Harvest

Once the buds flower, they need time to mature and develop their cannabinoid content. However, many inexperienced growers tend to harvest their buds sooner either due to impatience or out of fear of overflowing, or letting the buds flower for too long, which causes THC degradation. Nugs that were harvested too early aren’t good for smoking and can give you headaches. The THC content isn’t fully developed by that point and the effects will likely be weak.

Not Enough Light During Flowering Stage

When the buds don’t get enough light during the flowering stage, it can stunt their development as well as the development of the trichomes and subsequently, the cannabinoids. For more details, we have a guide on how much light cannabis plants need during the flowering stage.

Improperly Dried Buds

To get the best results, cannabis flowers should be hung up to dry for 3-10 days immediately after harvest in order to get rid of the excess moisture and prepare them for curing. This ensures you’ll make the most of their cannabinoid and terpene content to get the most potency and aroma. 

Not Left to Cure for Long Enough

Similarly, if your buds weren’t left to cure for long enough, their levels of THC and CBD will not be as high as they could if they had been properly cured. The curing process not only prepares the weed for long-term storage, but also improves its flavor and aroma and increases the cannabinoid content because all the unnecessary starches dissipate. Cannabis nugs should be left to cure for at least two weeks and mason jars are the best containers for this. If you want to know more, check out this detailed guide on curing.

Pollination Occurred

If your female plants were exposed to pollen and were pollinated at any point during the flowering stage, the majority of their energy was focused on producing seeds instead of cannabinoids. If you notice your nugs are seedy, this has definitely happened. To prevent this from happening again, remove the male plants as soon as you identify them or use feminized seeds.

How to Improve the Quality of Your High

So, your weed didn’t turn out very strong, but even so, there are still some ways you can make the best of it and at least improve the quality of your high. Since you’re left with all those nugs, why not use them?

Store Your Stash Properly

The first thing you can do is store it properly to preserve the cannabinoids and terpenes and protect them from degradation. Cannabis is very sensitive to light, especially sunlight, so storing it in a dark, cool, and dry place is the best. Additionally, avoid storing the nugs in plastic at all costs. Plastic creates moisture and can create a static charge. Glass jars or metal containers are a much better choice.

Use a More Efficient Smoking Method

The smoking method can actually make the biggest difference. For example, when you smoke a joint, due to the high temperature, many of the cannabinoids and terpenes will be lost to combustion, but if you use a bong or a bubbler the smoke will be much better. The potency won’t be affected as much as there is still combustion, but the quality of the smoke will be significantly better.

Vaping, on the other hand, will preserve much of the cannabinoids and terpenes. Vaporizers and vape pens don’t combust the weed but they heat it at a high enough temperature for the cannabinoids to be efficiently extracted. The smoke is also much more flavorful and easier on the throat.

Make Some Edibles

Edibles create a more potent and long-lasting high than smoking weed, so why not use some of your weed to make weed brownies or even cannabutter or cannabis oil? The process of making edibles efficiently extracts the cannabinoids from the plant material which increases the psychoactive effects.

Eat Foods Compatible With Cannabis

Some foods contain compounds that can increase the absorption of the cannabinoids into the body thereby making the high feel a little more powerful. Mangoes are a good example because they contain the terpene myrcene which will boost the action of THC. Similarly, foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids can help the cannabinoids bind to the cannabinoid receptors more efficiently.

Grind the Nugs

It may sound ridiculous, but sometimes simply using your grinder to grind the nugs that are denser instead of just using your fingers to break them up can make a difference. Smoking weed feels better when it’s ground into tiny pieces. Even if it doesn’t change the potency, your smoking experience will definitely be much better.

Take a Tolerance Break

Finally, take a tolerance break. If your weed tolerance is high and your harvest turns out weak, you won’t feel much of the effects. Taking a tolerance break can reset the way you respond to the cannabinoids, so if all else fails, you can try this.

The Takeaway 

The excitement of your long-awaited cannabis harvest can quickly be dampened once it becomes apparent that your weed isn’t as strong as you like. This can be due to many factors, the majority of which are completely in your control. So, that’s the good news. Cannabis cultivation is a skill, and if you’re a newbie, you will learn over time how to get a potent harvest every single time.

On the other hand, if you’re already in a possession of a baggie that you discovered was weak and didn’t do much for you, then maybe you can’t increase its potency, but there are ways that you can at least noticeably improve the quality of your high.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


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