Drying and Curing Cannabis
If you’ve just started growing cannabis you may think that the important part is over once you harvest. Unfortunately, one of the most important processes in the entire cycle starts as soon as you’ve harvested; drying and curing cannabis flowers, which can make or break an entire harvest. Novice growers may attempt to dry out their cannabis faster than they should, which can lead to lackluster flowers that hardly have any aroma or flavor at all, while also producing a less intense effect.
So, why does it matter? The speed at which your flowers dry has quite a large impact on the curing process, which is necessary if you want to achieve maximum aroma and flavor from your flowers. This is usually most growers’ objective; there’s no point in spending months growing beautiful plants just to ruin their flowers at the last second.
Curing Cannabis Flowers – Why You Should Be Doing It
Curing cannabis flowers can actually have a wide range of benefits other than simply making its aroma more intense, which is what many people believe it does. One major benefit of properly drying and curing cannabis is the fact that it can increase the potency of your flowers.
While it’s true that most of the THCA (the acidic form of THC) in cannabis is produced when it’s flowering and alive, when dried and cured at the right temperature and humidity level, the other cannabinoids in the flowers actually have a transition period in which they begin turning into THCA. If dried too fast, this transition period is dramatically decreased.
Curing cannabis also greatly affects flavor and quality of the final product; the terpenes in cannabis (compounds that make up its unique aroma and flavor) can actually degrade in temperatures that are too warm, which can leave them odorless and with very little flavor.
How to Dry Cannabis
Before you can begin drying and curing cannabis, you first need to harvest it. The best way to know when you should harvest is to use the seed bank’s indications as a general guide. This, combined with close inspection of the trichomes (resin droplets), should give you a good idea of when your plants are ready. When inspecting trichomes, use a magnifying glass and check for white trichome heads; if most of the trichome heads are white and cloudy, that means it’s at the perfect time for harvesting, with maximum cannabinoid concentration.
Once you’ve harvested, you’ll need to trim the larger leaves off and keep your plants hanging by branches or full plants. The ideal drying temperature is around 21°C (70°F) at 50% humidity, as anything higher than that can degrade terpenes.
If you seem to be drying your buds too fast even with the right parameters, you should trim less leaves or hang your buds on the plant itself in order to increase humidity within the plan, allowing it to dry out slower. If the opposite is happening, trim more leaves & remove the buds from the plant entirely if needed – if you do this you won’t be able to hang them, so we recommend using a drying rack.
Depending on factors such as how the buds were trimmed, the size of the buds themselves and if they’re being hung or placed in a rack, they’ll take less or more time to dry. The general rule of thumb is that they should take 7 – 12 days to dry before they should be cured. Drying cannabis too fast is a big mistake – water isn’t the only thing that evaporates during the drying period; many other components like chlorophyll have to evaporate too, so if you try and dry it too fast those elements will still be present in the buds and trust me, you’ll be able to taste them.
Don’t try to rush the process as buds that have been dried too fast lose almost all of their taste as the resin degrades quite a bit when exposed to heat or strong winds. The chlorophyll will also stick around, because it has to evaporate with the moisture. This will leave you with a leafy taste that you won’t be able to get rid of, and wherever you store it will probably smell a bit strange.
The way you’ll be able to tell if they’re done drying is when the buds feel dry and crispy but when you bend them the branches bend rather than break. When this happens, it’s time to take your buds down and begin the curing process.
Now that your weed is almost completely dry, you’re going to need to cure it properly. To do that, you’ll need to get hermetically sealed containers, preferably made of glass or wood; there are some handy accessories out there such as airtight glass jars with hygrometers. Curing is an extremely slow process that can take two to three more weeks depending on the conditions. With time, the cannabinoids slowly transform until they manage to increase the potency of the effect and flavor as the days go by.
Curing is basically the process of eliminating the chlorophyll in the buds so they don’t taste leafy when you smoke them. Chlorophyll is what makes the plant green, and the way we get rid of it is by rotting it with the rest of the humidity in the buds. The day after putting your bud in the container, open it up again for a few minutes and you’ll notice that the buds are slightly soft again, as if you’d harvested just a few days ago. Open it every day for 5 to 10 minutes to ventilate some of the humidity while still allowing it to kill the chlorophyll. Once the buds are fully dry and crunchy again, you can close the container for another month and when you open it up again you’ll be surprised by the smell, taste, and extremely potent effect.
How to Cure Over-dried Buds
Unfortunately, if you’ve dried your flowers too much there’s not much to be done for curing them, but there is a way to get rid of the chlorophyll which can cause a harsh flavor. You can rehydrate using a number of things – damp paper towel, fruit peels or by spraying. However we highly recommend using Boveda for the best results – it’s much easier to control, and with the other methods you need to keep a constant eye on your jars in case of mold.