There are 3 basic methods of harvesting cannabis available to the grower, by hand, by scissor, and by machine.
Harvesting by Hand
The finest grade cannabis is arguably carefully manicured by hand, whereby the flowers of the plant are individually separated from the stems and leaves. Traditionally, agrarian communities working with cannabis separated the seeds from the flowers and the flowers from the leaves and stems by hand. As they did so they discovered that a percentage of the resin would build up on their fingers and thumbs. This sticky substance when collected together is called “Charas” in India or’Temple Ball’ in Nepal -where it is used in religious ceremonies and smoked by Tourists.
Harvesting cannabis by hand is time consuming laborious work – no matter how great the rewards. The skill of harvesting cannabis by hand, without disturbing the resin that sits on the flowers, is a separate art-form. Today hand-harvesting is mainly the pursuit of the charsi or charas maker -who purposely destroy the flowers during the process of their work.
Harvesting cannabis by hand, as a means of collecting charas, is best suited to working with large numbers of plants outdoors. Harvesting by hand for the purpose of harvesting by hand, can however be practiced indoors using a single plant. In fact there’s no better way to get closer to cannabis in the garden than by hand-harvesting. This is perhaps one aspect of ‘cannabis culture’ that many seasoned growers probably still haven’t practiced. Remember to collect the resin from your fingers with a degree of care and a BLUNT knife, an old credit card, or tea spoon afterwards.
The essential oils available within the charas will vary between plants, yet is often considered the crème de la crème of cannabis resin for smoking. The easiest way to remove excess residue from the fingers afterwards is to apply a mixture of olive oil, washing-up liquid and washing machine powder and agitate the resin slowly away from the fingers using warm water. It won’t get rid of the smell but it will stop your hands sticking to the rolling papers!