Drying and curing cannabis is an essential step in creating high-quality buds. Properly drying and curing marijuana preserves the cannabinoid and terpene content while reducing the chlorophyll content, resulting in a more potent and flavorful yield. However, if not done correctly, the dry and cure process can lead to poor taste, reduced potency, or even mold formation. To ensure a successful dry and cure, it's important to understand the process and follow best practices. This guide will provide you with all the information needed to dry and cure your marijuana plants correctly.
Drying and curing cannabis are two separate stages in the post-harvest process, although they are often performed consecutively. The goal of drying is to remove moisture from the surface of the buds while curing aims to eliminate internal moisture while avoiding over-dryness. When done correctly, drying and curing not only remove unwanted moisture but also improves the taste, aroma, and potency of the buds.
Removing moisture from cannabis is crucial before smoking or storing it. Freshly harvested cannabis plants contain water that is necessary for growth, but it is not suitable for smoking or storage. Damp buds are difficult to ignite and have little flavor, and moist buds can attract mold and bacteria, which can be dangerous.
Top growers understand that drying and curing can also greatly enhance the quality of the buds. Proper drying and curing methods preserve terpenes, which add flavor and aroma and reduce chlorophyll, which can cause an unpleasant vegetal taste. Additionally, expert drying, curing, and storage methods can preserve the cannabinoids in the buds, ensuring that valuable THC and CBD content is not lost.
There are two methods for trimming cannabis flowers from harvested marijuana plants: dry trimming and wet trimming. In the dry trimming method, the plants are dried first before the buds are trimmed, while in the wet trimming method, the buds are trimmed from the "wet" or un-dried plants and then dried. The drying technique used may vary depending on the preferred method, but the general drying process remains the same.
Whether dry trimming or wet trimming, the cannabis plants should be dried in a dark room with a temperature of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity between 55 and 60 percent. A hygrometer can be used to measure the temperature and humidity levels. To adjust the room temperature and humidity, an air conditioning unit, heater, humidifier, and/or dehumidifier can be used. Additionally, promoting airflow in the room using a small fan is important to ensure that the buds dry evenly without drying out too quickly.
Timing is crucial in the drying process, and the ideal drying time may vary depending on whether dry trimming or wet trimming is being used.
The dry trimming method involves hanging cut branches upside down on a drying line. Hanging the branches upside down helps maintain the shape of the buds while they dry. To ensure proper airflow, avoid overcrowding the branches and leave some space between them.
The branches should be left to dry slowly in a temperature and humidity-controlled room. Drying cannabis branches typically takes 7 to 10 days. It is important to avoid rushing the drying process by using high heat and low humidity, as this can degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes in the buds, affecting the overall quality of the final product.
Some growers choose to remove all fan leaves before hanging the branches to dry, while others leave some fan leaves on the branches. Leaving fan leaves on the branches can slow down the drying process. It is recommended to check the dryness of the buds periodically throughout the process, and the drying process is considered finished when the buds feel dry on the outside and the stems snap when bent.
After the buds are dry, final trimming can be done. This includes removing the remaining fan leaves and sugar leaves. Sugar leaves should be kept as they contain trichomes and can be used to make concentrates or infusions. Once the buds are trimmed, the curing process can begin.
The wet trimming method involves drying the already cut buds on a flat drying rack. There are specialized drying racks designed specifically for cannabis buds that are typically circular and have mesh racks to promote proper airflow. Alternatively, you can create a DIY bud-drying line using one or more hangers.
Drying cannabis buds using the wet trimming method is faster than drying buds still on the branches. It usually takes around 2 to 3 days for wet-trimmed buds to dry. To check if the buds are dry, touch them and see if they are still wet. If they are not dry to the touch when lightly squeezed, check for dryness again the next day.
After your marijuana buds are dry on the outside, it's time to move on to the curing process. To cure cannabis, you will need airtight jars and a hygrometer for each jar. Glass jars, such as mason jars, are commonly used for curing, but other materials like metal, ceramic, or wood can also be used. However, plastic containers, especially plastic bags, are not suitable for curing cannabis as they are permeable to oxygen.
To begin the curing process, place the dried and trimmed buds in the airtight containers alongside the hygrometers. Fill each container about three-quarters full and do not compact the buds, they should sit loosely in the container. Seal the containers tightly and store them in a cool, dark, and dry place.
Monitor the moisture content in the jars by checking the hygrometers the next day. The humidity level should be between 55 and 65 percent to create a controlled environment that slightly rehydrates the outside of the buds without promoting mold or mildew. If the humidity level is too high, open the jars for a half or full day and reseal them. This process is called "burping" and should be done once or twice a day during the first week of curing to replenish oxygen and release excess moisture.
After the first week, burp the jars every several days and continue to monitor humidity levels. Watch out for an ammonia smell, which indicates the presence of anaerobic bacteria caused by excess moisture. If an ammonia smell is detected, leave the jar lid off for a full day before resealing.
Curing buds takes longer than drying them, but the length of the curing process is a matter of personal preference. Some people find that curing cannabis for 2 to 4 weeks produces a quality final product, while others prefer to cure it for 4 to 8 weeks. Ultimately, the length of the curing process will depend on the strain and personal preference and may require some experimentation.
Once cannabis is dried and cured, it is ready to be used or sold. Professional cultivators can send their dried and cured flowers to dispensaries for sale, while home growers can store their dried and cured flowers in well-sealed containers for personal use.
Dried and cured cannabis can be stored for approximately two years in the right conditions. Just like fine wine, cannabis flower is best stored in a cool and dark place. A cool environment preserves the terpenes, which adds to the aroma and taste of the cannabis. Exposure to heat can cause the terpenes to dry out and create harsh smoke. Additionally, the warmth causes THCA to convert to THC and then degrade into CBN, reducing the potency of the flower. Ultraviolet rays also promote the degradation of cannabinoids, which is why storing cannabis in the dark is ideal. UV rays can also create heat, which can dry out or overly humidify the cannabis flower, neither of which is desirable.
If you plan to store a significant amount of dried and cured cannabis for a long time, it may be beneficial to invest in equipment to maintain and monitor humidity levels. A hygrometer or Boveda humidity pack can help keep the flower fresh and prevent mold.
Lastly, when storing multiple strains, it is important to label them with their strain name and packaging date to avoid confusion. This will save you from any mix-ups and uncertainty.
In conclusion, drying and curing marijuana is an essential step in the cultivation process that can significantly impact the quality, potency, and flavor of the final product. By following the proper techniques and procedures, such as trimming the buds, controlling the temperature and humidity, and allowing the buds to cure slowly, growers can produce high-quality cannabis that meets the standards of discerning consumers. At DC Collective, we take pride in our commitment to producing top-notch cannabis products, and we hope that this guide has provided you with valuable insights and tips for achieving the best possible results in your own cannabis cultivation endeavors.
⚠️WARNING: Products sold on this site can expose you to chemicals including marijuana smoke, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer. For more information, go to http://www.P65Warnings.ca.gov
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