Did you know that drying and curing marijuana buds is a critical post-harvest element? Why? Because simply put, it can significantly impact the taste and general quality of your cannabis crop.
The process of growing cannabis does not stop at harvest time. Properly drying and curing your fresh cannabis stash is paramount to prevent mould contamination from taking place. These procedures will also result in buds that taste better and offer a superior high
It is easy to breathe a sigh of relief after harvesting your plants in the mistaken belief that the hard work has been completed. Alas, your job isn’t done just yet, because you have to cure and dry the cannabis as soon as possible.
Curing involves drying your cannabis buds slowly in a specially controlled environment. Next, you need to keep the dried buds in glass mason jars for a few weeks. Eventually, you will have weed that smells and tastes better and, perhaps more importantly, is a great deal more potent!
Ahhh, harvest time. After watching your ladies grow and flower, it’s finally time to collect your hard-earned buds. But before you can enjoy a toke of some homegrown Kush, you’ll need to dry and cure your freshly harvested weed. Below, we’ll share our answers to some frequently asked questions on the drying and curing process, so you can maximise the flavour and potency of your stash.
Before we provide you with a guide to drying and curing cannabis buds, let’s outline a few reasons why you need to dry and cure in the first place.
Cannabis Curing Increases Potency
Why bother going through the entire growing and harvesting process unless you’re intent on getting the most potent weed possible?
During a process known as biosynthesis, cannabis plants produce tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and other cannabinoids. The process involves certain compounds getting converted into different blends. For instance, THCA becomes THC during this process.
Failure to properly cure weed means it ultimately contains a lower level of THC and other cannabinoids. When you cut down your cannabis, make sure it is kept in temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is also essential to maintain a humidity level between 45% and 55%. By doing this, you facilitate the biosynthesis process and ensure your crop is laden with THC.
Curing Affects Flavor and Quality of Smoke
In case you didn’t know, the pleasant and unique smell and flavor of cannabis you experience are due to its terpene content. However, these volatile and fragile compounds are in danger of evaporating and degrading even at very low temperatures. Companies that mass produce low-grade marijuana often use a rapid-fire hot cannabis drying process.
When marijuana is poorly cured, it creates the ideal environment for enzymes and bacteria to break down unwanted materials. It also results in the breaking down of the unhealthy sugars formed when chlorophyll decomposes. These sugars and minerals are what cause the unpleasant throat-burn you sometimes get from smoking.
Curing Preserves Your Cannabis
If you intend to store your cannabis for a long time, high-quality curing of the weed is essential. When you cure the plant correctly, you can store it in an airtight container for approximately two years without a significant loss in potency. Otherwise, it will lose its cannabinoid content and become more susceptible to mold growth.
How to Dry and Cure Your Cannabis
Learning how to dry and cure cannabis buds is an art form. If you live in a coastal region, it is hard to dry cannabis quickly. This is because of the high nighttime humidity in such areas. Marijuana in these locations is at high risk of mold attack. So, the best time to try and dry weed quickly is in winter or fall.
If you live in a warmer climate or an area at high elevation, e.g., Denver, it’s a different situation. In Arizona and Nevada, the temperature can range from 28-115 degrees Fahrenheit during the year, with mainly low humidity levels. Denver is located at 5,000+ feet elevation with a temperature range of 0 degrees Fahrenheit (and lower) to over 100 degrees in summer. For residents of such areas, particular attention has to be paid to the drying and curing process.
Ideally, a cannabis bud will react similarly to a marshmallow when squeezed between your fingers. If it is excessively dry, it will fall apart and become a dry powder. While it is relatively easy to dry and cure small amounts, there is a greater challenge associated with commercial quantities. Don’t assume that there is a particular temperature, elevation, or humidity level you need to aspire to.
Even so, your drying room must be well ventilated with lots of filtered, fresh air coming in from outside. You will also need to take measures to ensure correct odor control for exhausted air.
Dry at temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit to preserve terpenes. Combined with poor airflow, an excessively low temperature results in cannabis with a high chlorophyll level.
Growers like to water cure, freeze-dry, or dry ice cure their plants. However, in this guide, I will focus on a tried and trusted drying and curing method.
Final Thoughts on Drying and Curing Cannabis Buds
Back in the days of illegal weed sale, there wasn’t much attention paid to the drying and curing process. The goal was to sell as much cannabis as possible, which meant that a crucial process was neglected. This helps to explain the low-quality of the ‘brick’ weed that was on offer back then.
Today, the sheer level of competition in the industry means that marijuana producers have little option but to spend the extra time and money on drying and curing their products. Fortunately, no specialized equipment is needed, which means you can do it at home with the cannabis you grow.
Make sure you begin the process as soon as possible after harvesting. Otherwise, you risk reducing the quality of the plant. There is a fine line between over-drying and not drying enough. This is something you can only learn with practice.