A Complete Guide To Drying And Curing Cannabis
Now that your cannabis buds are ready for harvesting, it doesn’t mean that you can already smoke the stuff. Buds need to be cured properly before you can use them.
The Science Behind Why You Need To Dry And Cure Your Buds After Harvest
Curing cannabis buds involves carefully drying them in a controlled environment, followed by keeping them in a sealed glass jar over a few weeks so that the cannabis plant can undergo natural processes in order for it to reach optimum quality and ensure that you’re getting as much cannabinoids, terpenes, and overall potency out of them. Curing is also critical to reduce or eliminate the harsh taste of cannabis. Even if your plants come from amazing genetics and you’ve carefully grown them, curing is still a necessary step that can take your bud from cheap to top-shelf quality.
Proper drying and curing cannabis helps to:
The point of a proper cure is to change the overall effect of cannabis. During the curing process, something happens that changes the cannabinoid and terpene profile that makes you feel better while delivering more health benefits.
How To Dry And Cure Your Cannabis
The process of curing starts the minute you cut your plant. To get the most out of the curing process, it’s important to understand how to dry your cannabis buds. A critical phase of the curing process is during the first few days when you start to dry your bud. At this time, the objective is to let your bud slow dry, which takes anywhere from 3 to 7 days while ensuring that your cannabis is protected from bacteria and molds.
It’s common practice among growers to trim the cannabis buds then hang them upside down to dry. You’ll know that you’re ready to go once the outside of the buds are dry and the small stems end up snapping when you try to bend them. Keep in mind that a slow drying process is always recommended in order to get the most out of your cannabis plants.
Note: Don’t attempt to speed dry your buds by using a dehydrator, oven, or microwave because you’ll lose so many of the important benefits of curing. What’s even worse is that buds that have been speed-dried will usually make you feel paranoid or give you headaches. They also taste and smell really bad!
These are the steps involved:
Here’s a guide for trimming based on relative humidity (RH) levels:
Once you’re done trimming, save some resin-covered leaves that you’ve cut off. Although these can’t be smoked, they’re the perfect material to use for making cannabis butter and extracts after they’ve dried.
Keep an eye on the temperature as you cure your buds. Even if your temperature is mildly hot, such as 85°F, can result in the burning off of super valuable terpenes and even some cannabinoids. Proper curing is halfway to ensuring you get the best bud possible.
Cannabis buds can be dried by hanging them upside down using anything from strings to clothes hangers. The entire plant can be hung upside down if you prefer. There are other ways of drying the buds too; some growers like to put freshly harvested buds on a drying rack, which is effective in drying them quicker compared to other method since the stems, which contain some water, are separated from the buds. A drying rack is also recommended if you live in a humid area where mold tends to be an issue, but it’s also ideal if you are drying a large amount of buds but only have a small area to work with, and if you have large colas or buds that may get moldy. Leave as little or as much stem as you’d like, but keep in mind that the more stems there are, the longer it will take to dry.
Other methods of drying also include placing them in paper bags, laying them on cardboard, in a closet, or in a grow tent. Laying bud on cardboard will result in wet spots, which will also leave a print on the side of the buds that touch the surface. Cardboard drying is ideal if you live in a humid environment since it pulls the water from the buds. If you find that the bud creates wet spots on the cardboard, rotate them every 4-5 hours so that they have a chance of drying out evenly. This is a minor nuisance that using a drying rack or hanging eliminates.
If you live in a very humid place or the buds start to get soggy or wet, you should consider using a small fan to contribute to circulation and air flow to prevent the buds from getting too soaked or worse – getting mold. But when you use a fan, never point it directly toward the bud; just point it to a wall nearby. A fan should only be used as a last resort since it can overdry buds instantly.
The most important thing to keep in mind when drying is to do it slowly, so that you can check it regularly and make adjustments if needed. This is something you can’t easily do if you hide them in a hard-to-get-to area like the back of a closet.
Once the buds have completed the drying process, which you can easily tell when once you can snap off buds with your fingers without having to leave strings of plants behind. If your plant is “stringy”, this means that there is still a lot of moisture inside. Even if the buds feel too dry, provided the stems are still bendy this means that there is still too much moisture inside which can end up outside the buds when you cure them. This is the ideal time to pull the buds down and place them in a jar.
In drying methods that remove the buds from the stems, it’s important to jar the buds immediately when the outsides are dry to touch; right before the buds have dried completely since there will no longer be stems to accumulate water. When the outside of the buds are dry to the touch, this will reduce the chances of any mold growing, since it tends to grow outside when buds are damp.
The perfect curing environment in a jar is a room temperature of around 70°F and 60-65% humidity.
Here are some tips to cure the buds as perfectly as possible:
If you detect the odor of ammonia, or if the buds feel moist to the touch, they need to air out more before you close the jars. If it starts to smell just like how cannabis should, then you know you’re doing the right thing.
The most important thing to keep in mind for a perfect cure is by controlling the humidity in the environment. The ideal relative humidity (RH) should always be between 60-65%, which creates the suitable conditions for producing just the right amount of moisture and helps you cure the fastest and most effectively. You may also want to consider investing in a hygrometer which helps you get an accurate reading of humidity levels.
Here’s what you should look out for with humidity requirements:
But if you followed all the steps in this article, it’s unlikely that your buds won’t be brittle
For long term storage, or keeping your buds potent for months at a time, use air-tight containers such as the wide-mouthed mason jars, then keep them in a cool, dark place. For prolonged storage over 6 months, it’s best to consider vacuum sealing your buds, or storing them in your freezer using tightly packed mason glass jars.
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