Harvest time has arrived and drying, and curing cannabis buds is the next step in your processing. For good quality bud the drying and curing process is critical. Completing the following steps properly means your buds will smell better, may have a higher potency and will have reduced harshness when they are used. Drying and curing cannabis will make the difference between good buds and great ones. Good cannabis gets a good price.
Benefits of Proper Drying and Curing
- Breaks down the chlorophyll to improve the taste and smell of the bud
- Brings out any subtle flavor or smell of the strain you have grown
- Reduces the chance of giving people anxiety or paranoia when using it
- Reduces the incidence of mold or bacteria appearing during storage
- May increase potency
Steps to Drying and Curing Cannabis
This process of drying and curing cannabis starts as soon as you are ready to cut down the plants at harvest. The first steps of drying the buds should take anywhere from 5-7 days depending on the level of humidity present. The outside of the cannabis bud should feel somewhat dry to the touch before they are trimmed but not completely brittle. Follow these steps for the best drying and curing cannabis.
1. Get a drying room ready and then cut down the plant and hang it upside down. You can hang the whole plant by the stalk or just branches that are taken off individually. Some people prefer to dry smaller portions with a drying rack. This tends to be helpful if you have high humidity and need a bit of a faster dry. Use a fan to help airflow but never put the draft from the fan right on the buds. Check on the cut plants every day for their level of dryness.
2. When the marijuana buds feel dry on the outside, take them down and get rid of stalks and sticks where possible. The small buds should pop off easily if they are dried properly. This should happen at approximately 5+ days. If this happens sooner, then they may have dried a little too fast.
3. Trim off the bigger fan leaves from the stalks.
4. Trim buds so little leafy parts are removed and only buds remain.
a. Hint 1: Wear disposable gloves when trimming to keep resin off your hands.
b. Hint 2: Keep the parts that are trimmed off for making marijuana butter and extracts.
5. Now it is time to jar the plants, so they are in a controlled environment. The humidity should be between 60-65% in the jars and temperature around 70° when they go into the container. The best container is wide mouth mason jars that are 32oz. They should hold around 1oz of bud. Fill the glass jar 75% full so there is still some air at the top. Make sure they are not sticking together as that means they are still too damp. Give the jar a gentle shake to keep buds apart and to circulate air.
6. Now the curing begins. You MUST open all the jars on a regular basis not only for inspection but to make sure the air circulates around the buds. Check on them at least once per day for the first two weeks and open the jars for 30 minutes so the air circulates around them. Maintain humidity at 60-65%. This can be checked with a hygrometer. Measuring the relative humidity in a jar is important to ward off mold and any type of mildew. When the lids are put back on, shake the jars gently to make sure there are no moist spots or clumping.
a. If buds feel wet then take buds out of the jar and let them dry for a couple of hours so mold does not grow. Taking a lid off for longer can help get rid of the excess moisture.
b. If the buds are not wet but also not brittle, then they are curing properly, and hygrometer will consistently say 60-65%.
c. If buds get brittle or crumble, then moisture is too low. Lids can stay on a little longer. You can try to rehydrate buds if you are desperate with hydra packs.
d. Once buds are in the cure zone for two weeks then you do not have to check them as often.
e. If they are too dry and you need to re-hydrate buds you have to be careful. Re-hydration puts the buds at risk of mold, especially if you use anything organic such as an orange peel. Try to buy something that is specifically designed to do the re-hydrating.
7. Your buds should now be ready for longer-term storage. If the buds have been in the cure zone consistently for several weeks, then their water content should be good and they are ready to be consumed from a bong or a pipe. You can cure your buds for as long as 6 months in your jars if you wish. After that time, any further effects on the buds will be minimal.
The cured buds now need to be put into longer-term storage for safekeeping. Cured buds should be stored in containers that are airtight and then placed in a cool dark area for the best storage. Some people also like to vacuum seal their buds if they are going to be kept for longer than 6 months and then put them in the freezer. Before you do this make sure they are completely dry, or you will get mold and/or mildew.
Final Thoughts on Drying and Curing Cannabis
Make sure not to take the final steps of drying and curing your crop lightly. It takes a lot of work to attain a good harvest so do not spoil it by ignoring the final steps or speeding through them. Drying cannabis and proper curing will make sure your buds are high quality and have no mold or mildew that will taint the final product. It will also make sure the smell, flavour and potency are the best that they can be. Each step in the cultivation and finishing process is important to your product.