Did you know that the process of drying and curing your marijuana buds post-harvest is crucial to the overall taste and quality of your crop?
After you’ve harvested your plants, it’s tempting to take a deep breath of relief and declare yourself done with the hard work. nHowever, your task isn’t finished just yet because the cannabis must be cured and dried as soon as possible.
Slow drying your marijuana buds in a properly regulated environment is the process of curing. After that, you must store the dried buds in glass mason jars for a few weeks. Finally, you will have marijuana with better smells and tastes and, perhaps more significantly, greater potency!
In this guide, we will cover how to dry and cure marijuana buds. But first, let’s go over a few reasons why it is important to do so.
Cannabis Curing Increases Potency
Why go through the whole growing and harvesting procedure unless you intend on obtaining the most potent marijuana possible?
The process of biosynthesis is what helps cannabis plants create tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, among other cannabinoids. This transformation involves specific compounds being blended together to form something new; for example, THCA turns into THC during this process.
If you want your marijuana to be properly cured and contain a higher level of THC, keep it in temperatures between 60- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit.
Not only is it important to have the right temperature, but you must also keep humidity at an optimal level. By doing so, you help with the biosynthesis process and make sure your plants are full of THC.
Curing Affects Flavor and Quality of Smoke
The pleasant and distinctive aroma and flavor of cannabis are due to its terpene content, which you may discover by smelling it. Even at very low temperatures, these volatile and fragile chemicals are at risk of evaporating and deteriorating. A rapid-fire hot cannabis drying process is frequently used by businesses that produce low-grade marijuana on a large scale.
For higher quality cannabis, use a slow curing process to keep the terpene content.
When marijuana is inadequately cured, enzymes and bacteria can degrade undesirable compounds in the smoke. It also causes the breakdown of unhealthy sugars produced when chlorophyll decomposes. These acids and minerals are responsible for the throat burn that some people experience when smoking.
Curing Preserves Your Cannabis
If you want your cannabis to last, high-quality curing is key. When done properly, it can be kept in an airtight jar for up to two years with only a minimal loss of potency. Otherwise, it will lose its cannabinoid content and become more susceptible to mold growth.
How to Dry and Cure Your Cannabis
Drying and curing marijuana buds requires a level of mastery. It’s difficult to dry cannabis quickly if you live in a coastal region. This is due to the high nighttime humidity in these areas. Mold growth is prevalent in such regions, putting marijuana at significant risk of mold damage. So, winter or fall are the best months to attempt to dry it as soon as possible.
It’s a little more complicated if you live in a warmer climate or at higher elevation, such as Denver. In Arizona and Nevada, the temperature may vary from 28 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, with low humidity levels. In Denver, the elevation is over 5,000 feet and the temperature can range from 0 degrees Fahrenheit to 100+ degrees in summer. For folks who live in these types of areas, they need to be extra careful when drying and curing their cannabis.
When squeezed between your fingertips, a cannabis bud should ideally react like a marshmallow. If it’s too dry, it’ll break down into a powdery substance. While small amounts are simple to dry and cure, producing commercial quantities poses a greater problem. Do not think about the temperature or elevation you should aim for.
Even so, your drying room must be properly ventilated via a lot of filtered, fresh air from the outside. You’ll also need to take precautions to prevent odors in the air from becoming out of control. Please keep in mind that extremely low temperatures create cannabis with a high chlorophyll content, especially when combined with poor ventilation.
Growers prefer to water cure, freeze-dry, or dry ice cure their plants. However, in this article, we’ll concentrate on a tried and true drying and curing technique.
What Is the Best Way to Dry Cannabis?
Make sure you have everything you’ll need before getting started with the drying and curing process. The following items are required:
- Wide-mouth mason jars for all your plants
- A drying rack
- A hygrometer
The following are just two of the many options available. However, they help you keep track of humidity and avoid your cannabis from becoming too dried out.
Right after you harvest your cannabis, you need to begin the drying process. When growers cut down their marijuana plants, they immediately notice how sticky and wet the flowers are – this usually means that there’s a high level of resin present. However, if nothing is done, bacteria and fungi will start to grow.
Cutting 12-inch branches from the plants is one of the most effective methods to dry marijuana. After that, remove any undesirable leaves and hang them from coat hangers or even bits of string! If you have enough area to hang the plants, there’s no need to spend money on high-tech equipment.
There are two types of trimming: “wet” and “dry.” The former involves pruning the plants as soon as they are ripe. Trim off each branch separately using shears to remove any excess plant material. Because their lower cannabinoid content, don’t eliminate all of the sugar leaves because they’re better for edibles.
When harvesting on a commercial scale, dry trimming is the way to go. This is where you cut off branches and hang them upside down from separate lines. Only trim and process them when they are fully dry.
Although dry trimming is more work, it’s typically done on a commercial scale. Many home growers opt for the wet trimming method because it’s easier.
Compared to wet trimming, bud-trimming is more difficult because the sugar leaves are curled towards the bud. No matter which method you prefer, ensure that you remove the larger fan leaves for a neater appearance.
If you want your marijuana to be less harsh, then you should get rid of more of the leafy matter. If you live somewhere with high humidity, like above 30%, then you can leave a little bit more leaves.
Hanging Your Marijuana Buds
The key to effective drying is maintaining the appropriate temperature and humidity levels in your storage space. Keep the room between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit, with 45-55% humidity. You can use a small fan to circulate air, but don’t aim it directly at the cannabis plants.
Do you find yourself unable to maintain the specified temperatures and humidity levels? If that’s the case, consider investing in a humidifier (or dehumidifier if necessary) or an air-conditioning unit.
The best way to dry your marijuana buds is by hanging them upside down, but if you don’t have enough space, laying them flat on a surface like cardboard works too. Just remember to turn the buds every few hours so they don’t get wet spots. And since you’ll need to check on your buds daily, make sure your grow room is easy to reach.
If you have the money, buy a drying rack designed for marijuana–it will dry your buds faster than using a clothes hanger. This is because removing the moisture-rich stems from the bud speeds up evaporation. If you live somewhere with excessive humidity, mold will be a problem, so in this case it’s worth investing in a quality rack.
Do You Feel the ‘Snap’ of Dry Buds?
You should have completely dry marijuana buds in 7-12 days, depending on the storage room’s conditions. If they’re dried faster, you can still cure them; however, the process will take longer. You may snap off the tiniest buds with little force once the buds are ready to cure.
The stems may feel slightly bendy to the touch, which means there is still moisture inside. This is okay because as the curing process continues, the hidden water will work its way to the outside of the buds. If you have a large crop, you can place branches in bins with lids left off overnight.
Every time you empty the trash, slide your hand to the bottom of the container. If there is more moisture at the bottom than on top, turn the branches over. When you’ve achieved an equal level of dampness throughout, put lids on the containers.
In general, you won’t need to ‘press’ the cannabis. However, If your buds seem a bit shabby after being grown outside, pressing them will give them a neater appearance. The optimal time to do this is 5-9 days after they’ve been hung up; at this point, the marijuana should be slightly moist. Put the marijuana buds in plastic bags and roll/squeeze them firmly before placing beneath pillows or something similar for several hours.
Be mindful of how much pressure you’re using when handling the marijuana. If it’s too much, the trichomes will break and lower the quality. A few hours later, remove the cannabis from the bags; you’ll see that the buds are sticking to each other.Pull them apart and put them back on the hangers so they can finish drying out. You can do this every two days until you’re pleased with how they look.
Your 6-Step Guide to Cannabis Curing
It’s time to finish the curing process once you’re certain your marijuana buds are dry enough.
Step 1 – Separate Buds from Branches
If you haven’t already, this step is the one for which you should have been working. Trim the buds and separate them from the branches if you haven’t already.
Step 2 – Place Buds into a Container
You’ve put in a lot of effort into the procedure, and it would be a shame to mess it up now. Your main aim from here on out is to keep your marijuana buds safe.
Under the ideal conditions, you should store your buds at a humidity of 60-65% and a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. At this level of moisture, the buds will feel dry to the touch on the outside but still have some give when squeezed.
The best containers to store your marijuana are wide-mouth mason jars, which can be easily found online or even at Walmart. Get the 32 oz size as it can accommodate up to 1.25 oz of dried bud. You could buy larger jars, but then you run the risk of mold growing more easily. Make sure to only fill the jar 3/4 of the way so that there is still some air at the top and avoid crushing any marijuana buds when closing the lid tightly.
In order to cure your weed properly, you need to shake the jar regularly. If the buds are sticking together when you do this, it means that your weed isn’t dry enough yet and needs more time.
Storage containers include wooden, metal, and plastic vases. Plastic bags can be used in a pinch, but they degrade after coming into contact with certain cannabis terpenes. Some farmers intentionally dehydrate bud when it is still wet on the outside to encourage bacterial growth.
Usually, it’s best to avoid this tactics as the marijuana produced is of lower quality and harsher on the lungs.
Step 3 – Place Containers in a Dark Place
Remove the marijuana buds from their jars and place them in a cool, dark, and dry location. Hopefully, your buds’ exterior isn’t crunchy or dry. This indicates that the moisture from within the flower has rehydrated the outside. If the outside is too crispy, it implies your marijuana is excessively dried out.
Step 4 – Regular Checks
For the first few days after you buy flowers, open the vase’s lid a couple times each day. This is key because it helps the water evaporate and also gets more oxygen to the plants.
If you open your container and immediately smell ammonia, it means that anaerobic bacteria have begun to grow. This occurs when cannabis hasn’t been dried properly before being stored. If left unattended, mold will form on the buds.
Test the container’s humidity level regularly with a hygrometer; the ideal range is 60-65%. If the level falls outside of this, take these actions:
- Over 70%: Place your buds outside the jar for 12-24 hours.
- 65-70%: Take off the jar’s lid for 2-4 hours, but keep the bud inside.
- 55% or less: Rehydrate with a humidipack if you have one.
Check your jars every time you open them for the first seven days. After that, check them every other day. If you think your marijuana buds are too dry, let them sit in the jar for a few more days to see if any moisture comes to the surface of the bud from its interior.
By using a humidipack, you decrease the likelihood of mold growth. If you don’t have one though, organic matter such as an orange peel can be used to rehydrate the bud.
Step 5 – Repeat All Steps for 2-3 Weeks
After about three weeks, your cannabis will be ready for use if stored in a mason jar. That being said, some experts argue that it is actually better to wait eight weeks. And for certain marijuana strains, you might have to (if you can!) since they benefit from a six-month curing process.
After six months, curing will no longer improve the quality of your cannabis. To maintain potent strains, it is best to create a long-term storage solution.
The long-term storage jars you used to cure the bud are also perfect for large quantities of cannabis.
Alternatively, you may vacuum seal the cannabis or keep it in tightly-packed mason jars for long-term storage. If the marijuana buds haven’t been curing for at least three months, don’t try to store them for a long time.
Step 6 – Pack in Portions and Weigh
If you’re keeping the marijuana for personal use, it’s best to invest in humidity packs. They will help maintain your weed fresh for an extended period.
There are a plethora of low-cost cannabis weighing devices available online. Choose a brand, weigh your cannabis, calculate your usage, and figure out how long this batch will last you!
Final Thoughts on Drying and Curing Marijuana Buds
In the past, when marijuana was illegal, people did not focus on drying and curing it as much because their main goal was to sell as much cannabis as possible. Neglecting this process is one of the reasons why the quality of weed back then was not very good.
Today’s high degree of competition in the sector necessitates that marijuana producers spend more time and money drying and curing their products, which is something they had no choice but to do. Fortunately, because specialized equipment isn’t required, you may perform it at home using cannabis you cultivate.
After you’ve harvested your cannabis, make sure to begin the process as soon as possible. Otherwise, you risk damaging the plant’s quality. There is a thin line between under- and over-drying. This is something that only experience can teach you.