Drying and curing are an extremely important step of the cannabis growing process, and one which plays a key role in the final taste of your harvest. Whether you’re new to cannabis cultivation or have been doing this for years, there’s always something to learn! Read on to find out more about how properly drying and curing cannabis can enhance your entire taste experience!
Why Growers Dry & Cure Cannabis Buds
Drying cannabis is essential, as cannabis flowers taken straight from the plant have too much water content to be effectively smoked. Furthermore, if your cannabis is stored wet after harvest, it’s almost certainly an invitation for mold growth. Drying buds is the first step in ensuring your cannabis buds taste great to smoke. When wet, cannabis had a grassy/hay-like taste which leads to a harsh smoke, while the excess water levels can result in coughing.
Curing buds takes them to the next level – by bringing the humidity in your buds down to roughly 60% over a period of at least 2 weeks, you can boost both the taste and aroma of your buds.
Strains With Highest THC Levels
Cannabis Curing Increases Potency
Not only does curing lead to improved flavor, but by reducing the water content in your buds, you can also eliminate the possibility of water-mediated degradation of their cannabinoid/terpene content over time, giving you sustained potency in the long run. There are two key things in play here:
While buds can feel dry to the touch after a week or so of drying, their internal moisture content is still too high. Your buds will be perfectly fine to smoke (bar a slight tickle in your throat), but they still might:
- Have a grassy/hay-like smell.
- Not grind as well as you would like.
- Lack a strong cannabis odor.
- Not have a well-defined terpene profile.
Follow our tips below to get the perfect relative humidity (RH) every single time!
While THC and CBD are the most well-known cannabinoids, the average cannabis plant has a wide range of compounds in its full cannabinoid profile. While many of these are non-psychoactive at the point of harvest, these can be converted into their active forms through natural enzyme-mediated processes that occur in the plant after being cut. Given enough time, and enough of a non-psychoactive cannabinoid concentration to start with, curing can lead to an increase in potency.
How Curing Affects The Flavor And Quality Of Smoke
If you’ve ever had properly cured cannabis, this is something that really shines through in both the taste and effect of the buds. Curing helps break down the chlorophyll in your buds, helping them lose their fresh/grassy smell and improving the quality of their smoke over a period of 2-3 weeks.
Our Way To Dry And Cure Cannabis
Once you’ve harvested your cannabis, hang your buds up either on some twine or by using a drying rack. You want to maximize air flow around your buds and allow them to dry evenly at a slow, steady pace. You’ll need the following to prepare your buds for effective drying:
- Clothing pegs
- Mesh drying rack
- Cardboard box
- Fan/AC (optional)
- Plastic tray (optional)
The first step in getting perfectly cured cannabis buds is the initial dry after harvesting your plants. Depending on whether you’ve gone for a wet or dry trim, you’ll need to wait varying amounts of time before beginning the next step. There are pros and cons to both methods – you can read our article on wet vs. dry Trimming here! Those opting for a dry trim will be waiting a couple of days longer than their wet trim counterparts.
Days 1-3: Aim to reduce bud moisture down to 30-40%. To achieve such a rapid water loss, ensure ventilation of your drying space using a circulating fan or air conditioning system. Note: It’s possible to dry your cannabis flowers without a fan – in fact, some people swear by it – but it does take significantly longer, so factor this when drying your plants.
Use the following conditions to dry your buds in the first three days:
Temperature: 20˚C (68˚F)
Relative Humidity: 55%
Days 4-14+: Slow and steady! Drop the temperature of your grow space by a couple degrees, which will help slow down the drying process and give your buds a smooth taste and flavor.
Use the following conditions to completely dry your buds before curing in jars:
Temperature: 18˚C (64.4˚F)
Relative Humidity: 45-50%
2-6 Weeks: Final Cure!
Once your buds are crispy to the touch, the smaller branches snap clean off and the larger branches bend with a slight crunch, your cannabis flowers are ready for the final cure! This is best done in wide-mouth mason jars or any airtight glass container that’s easy to empty and fill. Cut your buds down into their final size and fill jars to 70%, leaving a little air to allow for effective curing. Now you’re at this stage, all the hard work has been done and it’s just a matter of time before you can tuck into potent, fragrant, freshly-cured cannabis buds.
After 24 hours of curing, empty out your buds into a plastic tray/paper bags to allow any internal moisture that’s been drawn out to evaporate away. If there’s any condensation on the inside of the glass jar, clean this with a dry towel before refilling with your buds. You should only need to do this once, but it’s an essential step to prevent your buds from growth mold or mildew over the curing process.
Your Drying And Curing Questions Answered
Odds are you have a question or two about drying and curing cannabis. If these don’t cover what you want to know, let us know in the comments!
How long does it take to dry weed?
Depending on the approach taken, cannabis can take anywhere from 6 to 14 days to dry. It’s possible to accelerate this, but the best cannabis is one that’s dried slow and steady and given a lengthy cure! Factors such as the size of your buds, whether you’ve wet or dry trimmed, and your drying conditions will heavily influence the time it takes to dry weed, so it’s best to keep a constant eye on your buds as they dry!
Fast Flowering Cannabis Seeds
How to dry weed fast?
Drying cannabis should be a long and slow process, but it’s sometimes necessary to dry weed fast! Whether your stash is running low or you just can’t wait to try out your most recent grow, there are a number of approaches for drying cannabis fast:
Drying weed in an oven isn’t the best way to fast-dry cannabis but it’s certainly the quickest! Using the lowest temperature setting, spread out some freshly-cut flowers on parchment paper and dry in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Keep a close eye on your buds, as they can very easily go past the point of no return and you don’t want to be left with chargrilled buds! While this method is quick, there are other methods that preserve more of your buds’ cannabinoid and terpene content.
Microwave Oven Method
Place a handful of buds in a ceramic bowl/container and blast your buds with 5 to 10-second bursts at low-medium power. After a couple of rounds, your buds should be getting drier and drier. While this method preserves potency, the harsh temperatures generated within your microwave oven break down the delicate, volatile compounds in your plant’s terpene profile.
PC Tower Method
This is probably the best compromise between speed and quality. Using a low-energy heat source such as the cooling fans from your PC tower above your central heating radiators, you can accelerate the air drying of your cannabis buds. Doing this in small batches can have your buds dried out within 24 hours!
How do I store buds after they’re dried and cured?
Once dried and cured, your buds are best kept in an airtight jar and stored in a cool, dark place. It’s important to keep monitor storage temperature as temperatures above 27˚C (80.6˚F) to avoid causing degradation of your cannabinoid and terpene content, which will lead to a poorer taste over time. If properly cured, you shouldn’t need to check on your buds frequently, but a look every couple weeks won’t do any harm! Two-way humidity control solutions such as Boveda humidity packs are a great way to ensure your buds stay perfectly crisp for months on end!
We hope you’ve learned a thing or two from this article about drying and curing cannabis. Growing cannabis is a very rewarding process, and giving your plants a good cure is the best way to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Let us know your preferred method of drying and curing cannabis in the comments section!