How you choose to dry and cure your cannabis (and the amount of time and effort you dedicate) can dramatically affect the quality of your final product. It can take up to two months, and sometimes even longer, to properly dry and cure marijuana for high quality buds. This article is all about how to get the best out of the drying and curing process.
After months of looking after your marijuana plants in the garden, it feels good for it to be harvest time. But being ready to harvest doesn’t mean that the job is done. For some growers, there are still months after harvest to wait until those buds are ready to smoke. In order to ensure getting the best-quality buds out of your plant, it is necessary to dry and cure the buds properly.
This can take anywhere between 2 weeks and 2 months, and for some growers, even longer. You can consider drying and curing weed something like aging a very good-quality wine. If you have the patience, you can make your buds better with time and a little bit of hard work. It is after all, worth it, for having a good-quality smoke, or a really good-quality weed for making other marijuana products. This article contains all the details you need to know about drying and curing your marijuana in a way that ensures you get the most out of your plant. Remember that the more you put into it, the more you get out of it, and it always pays to pay attention to the finer details when it comes to marijuana.
Drying your marijuana
When you pick the buds off your cannabis plant at harvest time, they are still containing up to 75% water. This is, of course, far too much moisture for it to be smokeable, and so in order for it to be used, some of the water has to be evaporated from it. It is usually recommended that the level of moisture drops to about 10-15% water. For most growers, this takes about two weeks.
Different ways to dry cannabis
There are different methods that growers use to dry cannabis, although some methods are better than others. Although putting the buds in the microwave might sound like a very fast, effective way to dry your cannabis, it’s a very bad idea. The idea with drying is to have it dry slowly to ensure the best-quality smoke at the end. If the drying process happens too quickly, some of the chemicals such as chlorophyll remain in the buds, and this produces an unpleasant taste and colour.
Most growers dry their marijuana by hanging the plants upside down in rooms or cabinets. They are usually hung on strings, something like a clothesline. It is important not to hang them too close together, and definitely not touching, to ensure that they dry evenly and avoid mould. The more space they have to dry, the better it is for the final product and for managing humidity.
Buds can also be dried by being laid out on screens. However, for this process, the buds must be removed from the stems. This is a time-consuming process and can make the buds dry out a little bit too quickly. When the buds are removed from the stems to be laid out on screens (which can be stacked on one another like in a food dehydrator), water is not being drawn from the stem. This effectively causes the buds to dry out very quickly.
Important things to consider for your drying environment
The temperature is an important factor to consider for creating the perfect drying environment for marijuana. The most water will evaporate from your buds in the first three days, and so it is best to ensure a temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius. After that, the temperature should be lowered to between 17 and 18 degrees Celsius to slow down the process.
It is also important that the room is more shadowed than it is light. Light, especially direct sunlight, degrades THC. To ensure that your marijuana plant retains the most THC as possible, try to keep it dark in the room you are drying in.
It is important to maintain a balanced humidity in the drying room, because your buds can get ruined if this is not done correctly. Your buds can collect mould and mildew during the drying process, and this would be absolutely disastrous. Make sure you check for mould and mildew every day, and remove any buds that become infected from your drying room. In the first three days, the relative humidity should be about 50%. After three days it can be raised to 60%, again for the reason of slowing down the drying process.
Good air circulation is also recommended. You can do this by using a fan or an air ventilation system. If you have something with which you can control the temperature, this would be ideal. Just make sure you do not put the fan directly on the buds so that they do not dry too quickly.
You know your buds are ready to be taken out of the drying room when all the water has left the stems. During the drying process, the buds will continue to collect water from the stem as it leaves the stem. When the stem snaps instead of bends, then you know it is ready to pick your buds off of. Remove as much of the stem as possible when taking your buds off. This does not usually take longer than two weeks.
Curing your marijuana
The final stage is curing your marijuana. Some growers do not think this is an important step, but if you care about the quality of your weed, make sure not to skip this step. You should be storing your buds in glass jars during the curing process, so make sure you have some handy towards the end of your drying process.
The idea behind the curing process is that there is still some water that needs to come out of your buds. It is also the process by which the water on the inside and outside of the buds balances. You should put your buds in glass jars with the lids loosely shut. Every day you should check to make sure that they do not have mould or mildew on them. You will notice that more moisture will come out of your buds. When they are exactly where you want them to be, they are ready. Some growers will cure their buds for a long time before using them, because this ensures a very good-quality weed. It can be likened to the icing on the cake, because it’s the final step in having an extremely good smoke!