If you want thick, solid, earlier nugs, force the issue! Timed and calculated stress can be advantageous to your marijuana plants. Case in point, a technique known as forcing.
Forcing is a phenomenon that occurs when the plant become root bound. This stress triggers the plant to flower earlier and more vigorously. When the plant gets ultra taxed from the roots entangling and entwining in on themselves, they create a “root mass.” With no further place for the roots to go, the plant goes into shock, triggers flowering, and hastens to finish its life cycle.
You may have noticed this phenomenon quite unintentionally when you have neglected to transplant a specimen into a larger pot. Your other plants (the ones that had been moved into bigger pots) grew bushier and taller, while the one that was still in the inadequate pot was stunted but seemed to produce bigger buds that started earlier and finished harder. Sound familiar now that you think about it?
The phenomenon of forcing does not readily occur in nature. Generally speaking, the plant drives down a tap root to find moisture while the feeder roots sprawl to gather sustenance as long as the vegetative cycle is still in gear. Putting the plant into a fixed and finite environment—not big enough to accommodate full vegetative potentiality, predestines it to reach a critical growth mass when it fills the existing environment and can do no further vegetative growth during the growth cycle. With no further room for growth, the plant still wants to thrive, so it puts its energy into flowering and spreading its progeny.
You can force two ways. You can do your final transplant into pots of a size the marijuana is sure to outgrow, or you can counter sink industrial strength garbage bags (to create a closed environment) in the ground, perforate them for drainage, then plant your marijuana in those as their final destination. Be sure the holes you line with the bags are similar in size to the diameter of the pot you would use. A good rule of thumb for marijuana in the Northern Hemisphere is a 7-gallon pot as the final transplant.
A great trick I like to use is to hasten the forcing even more by using beneficial bacteria and fungi. This causes explosive growth to your root system, causing your plants to become root bound much faster. Colonize your rhizosphere with these puppies and watch you roots outgrow their homes in no time.
Forcing can limit the vegetative mass of your plant, but this can pay for itself with early flowers and big, dense buds. A stem that has been flowering longer gains more density and thus weigh (the growers best friend) when the plant is not ready to die off. And that mean the dense, tight nugs that we all love.