A cannabis plant has two stages during its life. A vegetative stage, and a flowering stage. Each stage is dictated by the amount of light the plant gets. Cannabis plants are annuals, which means they respond to seasonal changes, and can be harvested once a year. When planted outdoors, they will mature when the days start getting shorter and the nights start getting longer. Below is a basic breakdown of the two stages.
The vegetative stage is dictated by the amount of light a plant gets. If the plant has more than 18 hours of light per day, it will stay in its vegetative state. Vegetative means that the plant is growing without budding.
The flowering stage is also dictated by the amount of light the plant gets. In order to start the flowering cycle, the plant needs to have 12 hours of light, and 12 hours of darkness. This will naturally signal a hormonal change in the plant, and it will start budding after about a week.