The Pros and Cons of High Stress Training for Cannabis Plants

As the popularity of cultivating cannabis at home continues to rise, so does the interest in various growing techniques. One such method is High Stress Training (HST), which involves manipulating the plant to create a controlled and productive canopy. While some growers swear by it, others warn of its potential dangers. So, is HST worth the risk? In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of High Stress Training for cannabis plants and provide a step-by-step guide on how to perform it, as well as identify situations when it should be avoided.

What is High Stress Training?


What Is High Stress Training?
High Stress Training (HST) is a technique that involves deliberately stressing cannabis plants during their growth to stimulate production of buds and maximize yield. This method is different from Low Stress Training (LST), which involves the use of bending and tying techniques to manipulate the shape and size of the plant without causing severe stress.

One of the main goals of HST is to create a flat, even canopy of bud sites for the most efficient use of light, which can increase yields significantly. By applying pressure to the stems or branches of the plant, cultivators can prompt the plant to release growth hormones that will cause additional nodes and bud sites to form.

There are several types of HST techniques, including cutting and bending, as well as defoliation, which involves removing leaves to allow more light to reach the bud sites. These methods all have benefits and drawbacks that should be considered before deciding to apply HST to cannabis plants.

While HST can result in larger yields and a more controllable canopy, it also comes with some risks. High levels of stress can damage the plants, and inexperienced growers may not be able to recognize when their plants have become overly stressed. Additionally, not all cannabis strains are suitable for HST, and some plants may not respond well to the techniques involved.

High Stress Training is an advanced technique that should only be attempted by experienced growers who are confident in their ability to monitor and control plant stress levels. By understanding the potential benefits and drawbacks of this method and carefully selecting suitable strains, HST can be a useful tool for cannabis cultivation.

Benefits of High Stress Training

When it comes to growing cannabis, there are many methods that growers can use to maximize their harvest. High Stress Training (HST) is one such technique that has gained popularity among experienced cultivators. By applying intentional physical stress to cannabis plants, HST can help to produce a more efficient canopy, promote trichome production, and shorten vegetative cycles. In this section, we will explore the advantages of HST and how it can help growers improve their yields.

  • Maximizes yield
  • High Stress Training (HST) is a popular technique used by cannabis growers to maximize their yields. By subjecting the plants to various forms of stress, such as cutting, bending, and defoliation, growers are able to control the shape and size of their plants, allowing for more efficient use of space and resources. One of the key benefits of HST is that it can significantly increase the yield of a cannabis grow operation.

    Maximizes yield: Cannabis plants that have been trained using the HST method are known to produce larger and more numerous buds than those that have not been trained. This is because HST encourages the plants to develop a more robust and extensive root system, which in turn allows them to absorb more nutrients and water from the soil. The increased root mass also helps the plants to better support the weight of their buds and to resist pests and diseases. Additionally, by manipulating the shape and structure of the plants through HST techniques such as topping and super cropping, growers can ensure that each bud site receives adequate light and airflow, further contributing to increased yields.

    While there are certainly some drawbacks to using HST, the potential for higher yields is a major draw for many cannabis growers. With careful planning, practice, and patience, growers can use HST to create a highly productive cannabis garden that produces high-quality buds for years to come.

  • Controllable canopy
  • One of the benefits of High Stress Training (HST) for Cannabis Plants is the ability to create a more controllable canopy. This means that growers can manipulate the growth of the plants to create an even and level canopy that maximizes light penetration to all parts of the plant. Here is a breakdown of how it works:

    Technique How it works
    Topping The process of cutting off the top of the main stem to promote bushier growth. This helps to create a more level canopy.
    FIMing Similar to topping, but instead of cutting off the entire top, only a portion is removed. This also helps to create an even canopy.
    Super Cropping The process of gently squeezing the stem until it becomes pliable and then bending it to create a more horizontal growth pattern. This helps to create a more level canopy.

    By controlling the growth of the plant in this way, growers can ensure that all parts of the plant are receiving adequate light, leading to more uniform growth and increased yields. However, it is important to note that these techniques also carry some risk of damage to the plant, and should be approached with caution and experience.

  • Increases trichome production
  • High Stress Training (HST) has been a popular method for increasing the trichome production of cannabis plants for quite some time now. Trichomes are the tiny hair-like structures on the surface of the buds that contain the highest concentrations of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. By increasing the number of trichomes on your plants, you can significantly improve the potency of your buds.

    How HST Increases Trichome Production

    One of the primary ways in which HST can increase trichome production is by putting stress on the plant. When a cannabis plant is stressed, it produces more resin and trichomes as a defense mechanism against potential predators or environmental stressors. When you apply HST to your plants, they will respond by dedicating more of their resources to producing trichomes.

    The Role of Light

    Light is also a crucial factor when it comes to trichome production. Cannabis plants need intense and focused light to produce high-quality buds. By training your plants through HST, you can create a more controllable canopy that allows for each bud to receive the proper amount of light. This will increase the overall production of trichomes and improve the potency of your buds.

    Strain-Specific Results

    It is important to note that the results of HST on trichome production can vary depending on the strain. Some strains may respond better to HST and produce more trichomes, while other strains may not see as much of an increase. It is crucial to research your specific strain and understand its unique needs before attempting any HST techniques.

    For those looking to maximize the trichome production of their cannabis plants, High Stress Training can be an effective method. However, it is important to note that this technique comes with some drawbacks, as well. The high risk of plant damage and excessive stress can affect the quality of your buds if not performed correctly. It is recommended that growers with experience and knowledge of their specific strains attempt HST techniques.

  • Shorter vegetative cycles
  • One of the benefits of High Stress Training (HST) for cannabis plants is that it can lead to shorter vegetative cycles. This means that the time it takes for the plant to grow and mature before flowering can be reduced. This can be especially beneficial for growers who want to speed up the growing process and get their harvests faster.

    Shorter vegetative cycles can also allow for more cycles per year, as the grower can fit more rounds of growth and harvest into a given time frame. However, it is important to note that shortening the vegetative cycle can also impact the final yield of the plant, as it may not have had enough time to fully develop and grow.

    While there are benefits to shorter vegetative cycles through HST techniques, growers should carefully consider the impact on their final yield and other factors before making this decision. It is also important to properly monitor and care for the plants throughout the process to minimize any potential damage or negative effects.

  • Faster harvests

One of the well-known benefits of implementing high stress training (HST) techniques on cannabis plants is that it can lead to faster harvests. This is made possible by the fact that HST effectively maximizes the efficiency of the plant’s growing space while improving growing conditions. As a result, a significant boost in plant growth and development can be observed, leading to faster maturation and harvesting times.

To understand this better, let us take a look at the following table:

Traditional Growing High Stress Training
Plants grow in a natural, untrained manner. Plants are trained to focus on top colas, increasing bud production.
Plants require more growing space as they grow taller and bushier. Plants can be kept shorter and more compact, requiring less growing space.
Plants tend to have a longer vegetative period. Plants tend to have a shorter vegetative period as energy is focused on top bud production.
Harvest time is longer as plants need more time to mature fully. Harvest time is shorter as plants mature faster due to efficient bud production.

As seen in the table, traditional growing methods often allow plants to grow in an uncontrolled, natural manner, leading to a bushy growth pattern and longer vegetative periods. As a result, plants take longer to mature and require more growing space as they grow taller and bushier.

On the other hand, with HST techniques such as topping, FIMing, and super cropping, plants are trained to focus their energy on top bud production while keeping them shorter and more compact. By doing so, plants can mature faster due to efficient bud production, leading to shorter harvest times.

The faster harvests achieved through HST can be a great advantage for cannabis cultivators who want to maximize their yields while reducing growing time. However, it is important to note that HST can also come with its fair share of drawbacks and risks, as discussed earlier in this article.

Drawbacks of High Stress Training

While High Stress Training (HST) has a lot of benefits, it also comes with its own set of drawbacks. No training method is without risks, and HST puts plants under significant stress, which can lead to damage. In this section, we will explore some of the potential drawbacks of High Stress Training, so you can make an informed decision about whether or not this method is right for your plants.

  • High risk of plant damage
  • High stress training (HST) for cannabis plants has certain drawbacks that growers need to consider. One of the major limitations of HST is the high risk of plant damage. The process of HST requires a lot of forceful bending and pruning of plant material, which can lead to trauma and injury.

    While the goal of HST is to increase yield and promote the growth of dense, healthy buds, it’s important to remember that plants have their limits. Excessive stress caused by HST techniques can cause long-term damage to your cannabis plants. This means that growers need to be careful when performing HST, as too much bending and cutting can harm the plants.

    Another factor that increases the risk of plant damage during HST is the level of experience of the grower. If you’re new to growing cannabis, it’s essential to perform HST techniques with caution to avoid causing undue stress or injury to your plants as they grow.

    One of the main ways in which plant damage can occur during HST is through the snapping of branches or stems. This can happen because of overzealous pruning or bending, or simply because the plant is not strong enough to withstand the forces applied to it during HST. When a stem or branch snaps, it can cause permanent damage to the plant and reduce its overall health and yield potential.

    In addition to the risk of broken branches, HST can also lead to other forms of damage such as torn leaves, damaged trichomes, and stunted growth. All of these factors can have a negative impact on the quality and quantity of your cannabis harvest.

    Despite the drawbacks associated with HST, it’s still a popular technique among many cannabis growers. However, before attempting any HST techniques, growers should carefully weigh the risks and benefits and have a solid understanding of the process to minimize the risk of plant damage.

  • Requires experience
  • High Stress Training (HST) is a technique that requires experience and expertise to execute properly. While it is an effective way to increase yield and promote the growth of healthy, high-quality cannabis plants, it can also be risky and cause damage to the plants. It’s important to note that HST isn’t suitable for every strain, and growers need to understand their plants’ specific needs and limitations before attempting HST.

    Without proper experience and knowledge of HST techniques, growers run the risk of causing excessive stress to their plants, which can negatively impact their overall health, yield, and quality. HST requires a certain level of know-how when it comes to cutting and bending cannabis plants, as well as understanding when it’s appropriate to defoliate and prune them. It’s essential to know which techniques are suitable for which strains, as different plants have different growth patterns and requirements.

    For example, topping a shorter, bushier plant may be effective in promoting horizontal growth and maximizing yield, but topping a taller, lankier plant may cause it to become too tall and unstable. Similarly, super cropping can be an effective technique in promoting growth and increasing yield, but it’s important to know the right amount of pressure to apply to avoid breaking or damaging the plant.

    Inexperienced growers may also struggle with determining the right amount of stress to apply to their plants. Too much stress can cause harm to the plants, which can result in a reduced yield or poor quality buds. On the other hand, not applying enough stress can mean missing out on the benefits of HST altogether.

    HST requires a great deal of experience and expertise, and growers should approach it with caution. It’s essential to research and understand the particular needs and requirements of the plants being grown and to have a solid understanding of the different HST techniques available. Novice growers may want to consider starting with less invasive techniques, such as defoliation, before moving on to more complex techniques such as topping or super cropping.

  • Can cause excessive plant stress
  • One of the drawbacks of High Stress Training (HST) for cannabis plants is that it can cause excessive plant stress. While this stress can be utilized to increase trichome production and yield, it can also cause irreversible damage to the plant.

    Some of the ways excessive plant stress can manifest includes:

    Symptom Description
    Stunted growth The plant may become smaller than expected due to the stress hindering its growth
    Yellowing leaves The leaves of the plant may turn yellow and die off from the stress
    Lack of vigor The plant may lack vigor and appear weak and unhealthy
    Reduced yield The stress may take a toll on the plant and lead to a reduced yield

    It’s important to note that excessive stress can also lead to the plant being more susceptible to pests and diseases. It’s crucial to monitor the plant’s reaction to the HST and adjust accordingly. If you notice any adverse effects on the plant, it’s best to stop the training and allow the plant to recover.

    While HST can be an effective way to maximize yield and promote trichome production, it’s important to approach it with caution to avoid causing excessive plant stress.

  • Might affect plant quality
  • High stress training (HST) involves physically manipulating the plants to achieve better yields and canopy structure. However, this technique can also have negative effects on the overall quality of the cannabis plants. Might affect plant quality is one of the drawbacks of high stress training that growers need to consider before implementing this method.

    One of the ways that HST might affect plant quality is by causing an increase in the production of stress hormones, such as ethylene. These hormones can negatively impact the flavor and aroma of the buds, making them less desirable. HST can also cause the plants to produce fewer trichomes, leading to lower levels of THC and other cannabinoids.

    Another factor that affects plant quality is the risk of injury or damage to the plants caused by high stress training. Since this method involves physically altering the plants by cutting, bending, and manipulating them, there is a higher chance of injuring the plants. This can lead to stunted growth, deformities, and lower overall yields.

    Additionally, HST requires an experienced hand to ensure that it is done correctly. Inexperienced growers who attempt this method may not achieve the desired results, leading to plant damage and lower quality buds.

    Lastly, inappropriate timing and execution of HST can also contribute to poor plant quality. For example, if HST is done during the flowering stage, it can cause unnecessary stress to the plants, leading to lower yields and inferior buds. If HST is done incorrectly, it can cause a decrease in productivity instead of increasing it, further affecting the quality of the plants.

    While high stress training can have many benefits, it is not without its drawbacks. The potential negative impact on plant quality is a significant concern for many growers. It is crucial to weigh the pros and cons of HST carefully and to consider the strain and growth stage of the plants before implementing this method.

  • Not suitable for all strains

It’s important to note that high stress training (HST) may not be suitable for all strains of cannabis plants. While it can be a highly effective method for maximizing yield and promoting faster growth, some strains may not respond well to the stress that HST puts on the plants.

Each strain of cannabis has unique genetic characteristics, and some may be more resilient to stress than others. HST involves a significant amount of physical manipulation to the plants, such as cutting and bending their branches, which can cause a lot of stress on the plant.

If a strain is not able to handle this stress, it may result in damage to the plants, poor growth, or even death. Additionally, some strains may not adapt well to the canopy control that HST provides, which can lead to issues with light penetration and uneven growth.

It’s essential for growers to research and understand the specific characteristics of the strains they are cultivating, to determine if HST is a suitable method for their plants. Some strains that are particularly delicate or have thin stems and branches may not respond well to the HST process.

While HST can provide significant benefits for many cannabis plants, it’s crucial to approach this method with caution and carefully consider the individual characteristics of each strain to determine if it’s the right choice.

How to Perform High Stress Training on Cannabis Plants

How To Perform High Stress Training On Cannabis Plants
So, you’ve decided to give High Stress Training (HST) a try on your cannabis plants. While it can be a successful method for increasing yield and improving plant health, it’s important to understand the different techniques and when to use them. In this section, we’ll explore the various methods for performing HST, including cutting and bending and defoliation, so you can determine which approach is best for your plants. Remember, HST requires precision and care to avoid damaging your plants, so proceed with caution and take your time.

Cutting & Bending

One of the most common techniques for High Stress Training (HST) on cannabis plants is cutting and bending the branches. This process involves damaging the plant in a controlled manner to promote growth in specific areas. Here are some methods to consider:

  • Topping: The process of cutting off the top of the plant, leaving behind only a few branches. This allows for the remaining branches to grow outwards, creating a bushy appearance. Topping can be done once or twice during the vegetative stage, and can result in higher yields.
  • FIMing: FIMing involves cutting off just the tip of the plant, which stimulates new growth while allowing the plant to maintain its height. This method is less stressful for the plant than topping, and can also increase yields if done correctly.
  • Super cropping: This involves physically bending the branches of the plant, which causes small tears in the inner tissues. The plant responds by repairing itself and growing thicker, stronger branches. Super cropping can be done throughout the plant’s lifecycle and is a great way to control the height of the plant.

It’s important to note that these techniques should only be performed during the vegetative stage, and not during the flowering stage. Also, care should be taken to avoid over-stressing the plant, which can result in damage or reduced yields. With experience, cutting and bending can be an effective way to maximize yield and promote healthy growth in your cannabis plants.

  • Toppping
  • One of the techniques used in high stress training for cannabis plants is topping. Topping involves cutting off the topmost part of the plant’s stem, which encourages more growth in the lower branches. This method increases the plant’s width and encourages a fuller bushy shape.

    To perform topping, use a sterilized pair of scissors or shears to snip off the top of the plant just above the second node of the stem. The second node is where the next set of leaves begins to emerge. The cutting should be quick and clean to minimize damage to the plant.

    After topping, the plant’s lower branches will receive more light and nutrients, allowing them to grow and become stronger. The plant will also produce more colas, which are the sites where buds grow. Topping also creates a more even canopy, which promotes even growth and increases the yield.

    It’s important to note that topping can increase the stress on the plant, and improper technique can result in damage. If done correctly, however, topping is a very effective method for increasing yield and improving plant structure. Some growers even perform multiple rounds of topping to encourage even more growth.

    Topping is a high stress training technique for cannabis plants that involves cutting off the top of the stem to encourage lower branch growth and increase yield. This technique should be done with care and precision to avoid damaging the plant.

  • FIMing
  • FIMing is a high stress training technique that involves removing a portion of the plant’s new growth to create several colas rather than one. FIM stands for “Fuck, I Missed,” which refers to the fact that this technique was discovered by accident.

    To perform FIMing correctly, it’s important to make sure that the plant has grown at least 3-4 nodes before attempting the technique. Here’s a step-by-step guide to perform FIMing on cannabis plants:

    Steps for FIMing
    Step 1: Identify the new growth on top of the main stem. The tip of the new growth should have two or more distinct leaves.
    Step 2: Using a sharp and sterilized pair of scissors, make a clean cut to the new growth. The cut should be made just above the second node, not far from the tip.
    Step 3: After making the cut, the plant will continue growing, but instead of one main cola, it will have multiple colas developing from the stress.
    Step 4: It’s essential to provide the plant with extra nutrients to help it cope with the stress and continue growing healthily. A good quality fertilizer with high amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK) is recommended.

    FIMing can be highly beneficial, as it helps to increase yield and develop a fuller canopy. However, it’s essential to exercise caution when performing the technique, as it can cause severe stress to the plant if done incorrectly. Make sure to read up on this technique and practice on a small number of plants before attempting it on a large scale.

  • Super Cropping

One of the more advanced techniques of high stress training (HST) for cannabis plants is called super cropping. This technique involves physically bending the stems of the plant in a way that causes them to become more resilient and produce more buds. Super cropping is highly effective when done correctly, but it does require a fair bit of skill and experience to pull off successfully.

To super crop a cannabis plant, you’ll begin by selecting the main stem that you want to bend. Use your fingers to locate a spot an inch or two below the stem’s tip where the stem is still flexible. Then, use your thumb and forefinger to firmly pinch the stem at this spot and gently bend it to one side. You should feel the fibers inside the stem crack a bit as you do this, but the idea is to apply just enough pressure to create a small “kink” in the stem without actually breaking it.

Once you’ve performed this initial “crushing” of the stem, use your fingers to gently bend the stem in the opposite direction, so that it resembles the letter “S”. This will create two new kinks in the stem, which will help to promote new growth and increase the overall size and density of your plant.

It’s important to note that super cropping can be a bit risky, as it does put the plant under significant stress. But when done correctly, the plant will quickly recover and begin to produce bigger, better buds in response to the technique. Just be sure to avoid overdoing it with the super cropping – if you apply too much pressure or bend the stem too far, you could end up breaking it completely and severely damaging your plant.


Defoliation is another high stress training technique that involves the careful removal of specific leaves from the cannabis plant. When done correctly, defoliation can help increase the yield and quality of your harvest. However, it is important to note that defoliation can also be risky and should only be done by experienced growers. Here are some tips for successful defoliation:

  • Cut away shaded leaves: The first step in defoliation is to remove any leaves that are blocking light from reaching the lower parts of the plant. These shaded leaves are unlikely to contribute significantly to the plant’s photosynthesis process, so removing them can help maximize the plant’s overall growth and productivity.
  • Remove old, dying leaves: As cannabis plants grow, some of their leaves will naturally start to yellow and wither away. These dead leaves should be carefully removed to prevent any potential harm to the rest of the plant. Removing these leaves can also help redirect the plant’s nutrients to healthier parts of the plant.
  • Remove extra leaves to promote airflow: In some cases, a cannabis plant may develop too many leaves, which can slow down airflow and ultimately inhibit growth. In these instances, it may be necessary to carefully remove some of the extra leaves to promote better airflow and photosynthesis. It is important to be cautious when doing this, though, as removing too many leaves at once can cause excessive stress on the plant.

When using defoliation as a high stress training technique, it is important to remember to be gentle and take your time. Only remove leaves that you are sure are not contributing to the plant’s growth, and avoid removing too many leaves at once. If you are unsure about how to perform defoliation, consider consulting with an experienced grower or doing additional research before attempting it on your own.

  • Cut away shaded leaves
  • One way to perform high stress training on cannabis plants is through the process of defoliation which involves removing excess or unnecessary leaves. One specific aspect of defoliation is cutting away shaded leaves. These are leaves that are not receiving enough light and are therefore not contributing to the plant’s growth or yield. Removing these shaded leaves allows the plant to focus its energy on the leaves that are receiving light, which can result in larger and healthier buds.

    When cutting away shaded leaves, it’s important to use sterilized scissors or a sterile blade to prevent any damage or infection to the plant. Make sure to only remove the leaves that are truly shaded, as removing too many leaves can cause undue stress on the plant. It’s best to start with a small number of shaded leaves and then gradually remove more over time as the plant adjusts to the process.

    Cutting away shaded leaves can be a beneficial component of high stress training for cannabis plants, but it’s important to remember that it should be done in moderation and with caution.

  • Remove old, dying leaves
  • When performing high stress training on cannabis plants, defoliation is an important technique to promote better airflow and allow more light to penetrate through the canopy. One aspect of defoliation is removing old, dying leaves. These leaves have a yellow or brown color and tend to droop down. They are no longer contributing to the plant’s photosynthesis and can even attract pests or mold.

    Removing old, dying leaves can also be beneficial in preventing the transfer of nutrients from the plant to the dying leaves, which can lead to deficiencies in other areas of the plant. They can block the light from reaching the younger leaves and buds, reducing the overall yield of the plant. By removing these leaves, you can redirect the plant’s energy to other parts that are still functional and healthy.

    It’s important to note that not all leaves with yellow or brown coloring are dying leaves, sometimes it can be a sign of nutrient deficiencies or stress. It’s crucial to inspect each leaf carefully before removing it, ensuring it’s not a sign of a more significant issue affecting the plant. As a rule of thumb, you should only remove leaves that have a faded or yellowed look but are not completely wilted or damaged.

    Defoliation, including removing old, dying leaves, plays a vital role in high stress training on cannabis plants. It allows for better airflow and more light penetration while redirecting the plant’s energy to other healthy parts of the plant. It’s essential to exercise caution and inspect each leaf before removing it to ensure it’s not a sign of a more significant issue affecting the plant.

  • Remove extra leaves to promote airflow

When it comes to high stress training for cannabis plants, one technique that can be used is defoliation. This involves removing some of the plant’s leaves to promote better airflow and light penetration. One specific aspect of defoliation is removing extra leaves. This can be done by carefully determining which leaves are unnecessary for the plant’s growth and development.

Why Remove Extra Leaves?

Removing extra leaves can be beneficial for several reasons. First, it allows for better airflow around the plant, which can prevent issues such as mold and mildew. Removing excess leaves can help promote better light penetration throughout the plant, which can lead to increased bud development.

How to Remove Extra Leaves

To remove extra leaves from your cannabis plant, it’s important to be cautious and avoid causing any unnecessary stress to the plant. Here are some tips for removing extra leaves:

Step 1: Identify which leaves are unnecessary for the plant’s growth and development. These may include leaves that are blocking light or airflow, or leaves that are damaged or yellowing.
Step 2: Using a pair of clean and sharp scissors, carefully remove the identified leaves. Be sure not to damage any other parts of the plant in the process.
Step 3: Monitor the plant closely for the next few days to ensure that it is not experiencing any negative effects as a result of the defoliation. If necessary, adjust watering or nutrient levels to support the plant’s recovery.

When to Remove Extra Leaves

It’s important to remove extra leaves at the right time in order to avoid causing unnecessary stress to the plant. Ideally, this should be done during the vegetative stage of growth, when the plant is still developing its leaves and branches. This will give the plant plenty of time to recover and adjust to the changes before the flowering stage begins.

Removing extra leaves is just one aspect of defoliation that can be used as part of a high stress training approach for cannabis plants. As with any high stress training technique, it is important to be cautious and observant to ensure that the plant is not being overly stressed or damaged in the process.

When to Avoid High Stress Training for Cannabis Plants

As much as high stress training (HST) can benefit cannabis plants, there are instances when it is best to avoid it. Knowing when to hold back and take alternative approaches can save your plants from unnecessary stress and damage. The following considerations should help you decide when HST may not be the best choice for your cannabis plants.

  • For Autoflowering strains
  • When considering the pros and cons of high stress training for cannabis plants, it’s important to note that certain strains may not be suitable for this method. In particular, autoflowering strains should be approached with caution when it comes to high stress training.

    Autoflowering strains are unique in that they automatically enter the flowering stage after a set period of time, rather than being triggered by changes in light. This means that they have a relatively short vegetative phase, which is crucial for high stress training to be effective. However, because autoflowering strains rely on genetics rather than light cycles, any stress or damage inflicted during training can have a much more significant impact on their growth and yield.

    Additionally, autoflowering strains are generally smaller and more compact than other cannabis strains, which can make high stress training techniques more difficult to execute properly. For example, topping or super cropping an autoflowering plant could stunt its growth or damage its delicate structure more easily than it would with a larger, more robust plant.

    Autoflowering Strains: Pros Autoflowering Strains: Cons
    Shorter life cycle, allowing for faster harvests Less resilient to stress and damage
    Compact size, making them ideal for small spaces Less suitable for high stress training techniques
    Can be grown year-round, without the need for specialized lighting Smaller yield potential

    If you’re considering high stress training for cannabis plants, it’s important to research the specific strains you’re working with and understand their unique characteristics and needs. While some strains may benefit greatly from high stress training, others may not be well-suited for these techniques, particularly autoflowering strains.

  • For young seedlings
  • When it comes to High Stress Training for cannabis plants, it is important to avoid using this technique on young seedlings. Young seedlings are delicate and can experience damage easily due to their underdeveloped roots and fragile stem. The process of HST involves bending, cutting and defoliation, which can be extremely stressful for young plants and can even cause stunted growth. Attempting HST on young seedlings can also increase the chances of infection and disease as they have a weaker immune system compared to mature plants.

    Additionally, the purpose of employing HST techniques is to maximize yield and promote healthy growth, but applying these methods to young seedlings will have the opposite effect. It can cause excessive stress on the plant and stunt its development, reducing the growth rate and overall quality of the plant. In other words, applying HST to young seedlings would be counterproductive and detrimental to both the plant and the yield.

    It is recommended to wait until the seedlings have established a strong root system and have grown enough to withstand the processes involved in High Stress Training. As a general rule of thumb, it is advisable to wait until the plant has developed 4 to 6 nodes before attempting any type of HST. This will give the plant enough time to establish itself and grow stronger, making it more resilient to the stresses placed on it during HST.

    While High Stress Training can be beneficial for mature cannabis plants, it is important to avoid using this technique on young seedlings. By doing so, you will not only avoid damaging the plant but also allow it to grow into a healthy and robust specimen.

  • If your plants are already under stress
  • When it comes to high stress training for cannabis plants, it’s important to remember that not all plants are suitable for this type of technique. If your plants are already under stress due to various factors such as nutrient deficiencies, pests, disease or environmental factors, high stress training may exacerbate the problem rather than resolve it.

    Factors That Can Cause Stress in Cannabis Plants

    There are several factors that can cause stress in cannabis plants. Here are some examples:

    Stressful Factors Effects on Cannabis Plants
    Poor nutrient uptake Stunted growth, nutrient deficiencies, lower yields
    Pests and disease Yellowing leaves, stunted growth, lower yields
    Environmental stress Drought stress, heat stress, cold stress, lower yields

    Why High Stress Training is Not Recommended for Stressed Plants

    When plants are already under stress, they are less able to withstand the physical stress that high stress training techniques impose on them. This can cause further damage, and may even kill the plants.

    Additionally, stressed plants are more susceptible to disease, pest infestations and nutrient deficiencies. By subjecting your plants to high stress training, you are increasing the risk of these issues occurring.

    What to Do If Your Plants are Already Stressed

    If your plants are already showing signs of stress, it’s best to focus on resolving the underlying issues before attempting any high stress training techniques. This may involve adjusting nutrient levels, treating pests or disease, or optimizing environmental factors such as temperature and humidity.

    Once your plants have recovered and are healthy again, you can consider implementing high stress training techniques to improve yields and plant health. It’s important to always monitor your plants closely throughout the process, and to adjust your approach as needed based on their response.

  • If your plants are too tall or too short

When it comes to High Stress Training (HST) for cannabis plants, it is important to know when it is appropriate to apply this technique. One key factor to consider is the height of your plants. If your plants are too tall or too short, it is best to avoid HST.

If your plants are too tall, it means that they have already entered the flowering stage and have stretched beyond their capacity. Applying HST at this point can cause excessive stress, leading to further damage and stunting their growth. In such cases, it is better to focus on managing the canopy by trimming and pruning strategically.

Similarly, if your plants are too short, they may not have developed enough in the vegetative phase to handle the stress caused by HST. In such cases, it is better to allow your plants to grow for a little longer before applying any training techniques. This will give them time to develop a stronger structure and better resistance to stress.

Applying HST to cannabis plants that are too tall or too short can do more harm than good. It is best to focus on other techniques to manage the canopy and promote healthy growth. Give your plants ample time to develop before applying any stress-inducing techniques. Proper management, patience, and caution can help you achieve the desired yield without compromising the quality of your plants.


In conclusion, the decision to use High Stress Training (HST) for cannabis plants depends on various factors that should be carefully considered. While HST can maximize yield, create a controllable canopy, increase trichome production, and shorten vegetative cycles, there are also drawbacks: a high risk of plant damage, the need for experience, the potential for excessive plant stress, and possible adverse effects on plant quality, among others.

If you do decide to use HST, it’s important to perform it correctly. There are different techniques, such as cutting and bending, and defoliation, which can each have their own benefits and risks. It’s also important to know when to avoid HST altogether, such as when dealing with autoflowering strains, young seedlings, or already stressed plants.

All in all, HST can be a useful tool for experienced growers with careful planning and execution. However, beginners should approach it with caution and consider the potential consequences before attempting it. As with any technique in cannabis growing, the ultimate goal is to produce high-quality yields while minimizing any adverse effects on the plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can High Stress Training Increase Yield?

Yes, high stress training can increase yield by promoting lateral growth and creating a more developed canopy.

2. What Are Some Techniques of High Stress Training?

Cutting, bending, and defoliation are common techniques used in high stress training.

3. Is High Stress Training Suitable for All Cannabis Strains?

No, some strains, such as autoflowering strains, may not respond well to high stress training.

4. Does High Stress Training Shorten Vegetative Cycles?

Yes, high stress training can shorten vegetative cycles by directing growth and promoting faster development.

5. Can High Stress Training Affect Quality of Cannabis Plants?

Yes, if done improperly or excessively, high stress training can affect the quality of the cannabis plants and their final product.

6. Is High Stress Training Recommended for Young Seedlings?

No, high stress training can be damaging to young seedlings and should be avoided until the plant is more established.

7. Can Defoliation Be Used in Conjunction with Cutting and Bending Techniques?

Yes, defoliation is often used in conjunction with cutting and bending techniques to promote airflow and direct growth.

8. Is Experience Required for High Stress Training?

Yes, high stress training requires experience and knowledge of proper techniques to avoid damaging the plants.

9. When Should High Stress Training be Avoided?

High stress training should be avoided for plants that are already under stress, too tall, too short, or autoflowering strains.

10. Can High Stress Training Increase Trichome Production?

Yes, high stress training can increase trichome production by promoting the development of secondary and tertiary buds.


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