The ultimate guide to curing and drying cannabis
Before you can smoke your homegrown weed, you need to complete the final steps of the harvesting process: curing and drying cannabis. The former prevents mold and ensures a smooth smoke, while the latter extends the shelf-life and enhances the terpene profile.
If you want to become an expert on drying and curing weed, you’re in the right place. We’ll delve into the details of these techniques and give you top tips to produce premium smokable marijuana.
Let’s get started!
Why do you need to dry and cure cannabis?
The process of cultivating cannabis doesn’t end at harvest time. Correctly drying and curing marijuana is a crucial part of the growing process that can mean the difference between toking on top-quality buds or tasteless and weak nugs.
Wet marijuana is difficult to ignite and delivers burning hits with minimal flavor. By drying cannabis, you remove excess moisture, which tones down the harshness and enhances the terpene profile. Another advantage of drying marijuana is that it lowers the risk of mold.
Properly curing cannabis can increase the longevity of your weed while ensuring it retains its distinct flavor and potency. After harvesting, marijuana contains various starches and sugars that are prone to pathogen attacks. By knowing how to cure cannabis correctly, you can degrade these nutrients and guarantee a smoother and better-tasting toke.
Preparing your room for drying cannabis
Before you cut down your marijuana plants, you need to prepare your surroundings.
First, decide on the area that you want to use for drying and curing cannabis. Choose a spot with plenty of ventilation and make sure it’s hidden from nosy guests and neighbors.
Next, clean every part of the room, paying extra attention to the windows, walls, ceilings, and floors. Remember to remove any clutter.
Consider buying and installing a cannabis drying rack to hang your buds, or use a railing with some hangers. You need something that easily allows you to check the moisture of your nugs.
The right temperature and humidity are critical to the cannabis drying process. Too much heat dries your weed out faster, while too little increases the chances of mold. On the other hand, excess humidity means your buds take longer to cure, while a lack causes overdrying.
A digital thermometer and hygrometer are handy tools that help you regulate the temperature and humidity of your cannabis drying room.
How long does it take to dry cannabis?
The cannabis drying time varies depending on the bud size and drying techniques you use. As such, it’s important to stay patient and trust the process.
Large and dense buds generally take longer to dry than smaller ones. Since the plant’s branches contain the most water, hanging bigger branches also tends to take more drying time than smaller ones.
The temperature, airflow, and humidity for drying cannabis are paramount and can enormously impact the total drying time.
With the above factors in mind, you can expect your buds to dry within 3–10 days. Remember that they’ll lose plenty of water during this time (about 10–15%), resulting in smaller-looking nugs.
What’s the best temperature and humidity for drying cannabis?
An optimal environment is crucial for drying marijuana, so you need to make sure you select the best temperature and humidity for drying cannabis.
Aim to keep your harvested weed in a dark room with a temperature between 60–70℉. A room heater or fan can help you maintain the right environment.
The best humidity levels for drying cannabis are around 55–65%. Consider using a dehumidifier and make sure you have ample ventilation to eliminate excess moisture. A fan works too, but remember to face it away from your weed plants.
How to dry weed
Once your flowering cannabis plants are ready for harvest, it’s time to start the drying process. If you’re not sure how to dry weed, we’ve got you covered. Follow these detailed steps:
Step 1: Cut down your plant
First, make sure you know when to harvest cannabis plants. Once you’re certain your crops are ready, you need to decide between keeping them and reintroducing the vegetation stage or removing them entirely.
If you opt to keep your weed plants, make sure you only cut down the top two-thirds. Avoid removing the smaller bottom buds and focus on getting rid of the dead and damaged foliage. Remember that single-cycle marijuana crops need to be cut at the base.
Step 2: Remove excess leaves
Next, it’s vital to trim your marijuana crops while they’re still wet to reduce the cannabis drying time and lower the chances of any foliage sticking to the colas.
Cut the large fan leaves and remove the smaller ones between the buds. When you’re done, make sure there are no excess leaves left. Unnecessary foliage increases the marijuana drying time.
Step 3: Hang your buds to dry
You can use a cannabis drying box or rack for your trimmed buds. Lay the nugs down with at least an inch of space between each one. Alternatively, you can hang the branches up on a railing.
If you opt for cannabis drying racks or boxes, remember to flip the buds periodically to avoid them flattening unevenly on one side and developing mold. It’s also crucial to keep your drying weed in a dark room with plenty of air circulation.
Step 4: Continue drying until buds feel crispy
Marijuana starts to dry on the outside and then continues drying inwards. When it feels crispy but retains its sticky resin, it means it’s ready to be cured.
Some growers also test the dryness by taking a small branch and bending it. If it breaks, your buds are dry and ready for curing, but if it doesn’t, your weed needs more time to dry.
Step 5: Move your buds to jars to begin curing
Once the cannabis drying stage is complete, it’s time to start the curing process. Glass jars are the best place to store your dried weed. Plastic and cardboard containers aren’t recommended and come with several disadvantages, including not being leak-proof or airtight.
How to cure weed
Once your buds are moisture-free, it’s time to figure out how to cure weed. Luckily, this is a straightforward and highly rewarding process that promises top-quality nugs and a smooth smoke.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to curing cannabis:
Step 1: Air out buds regularly
Place your dried nugs in glass jars and fill them to ¾ of their capacity. When you’re curing weed in jars, it’s essential to expose your buds to fresh air regularly. Moisture can escape from the innermost parts of the nugs, creating condensation and possible mold. Open the lid once or twice a day to let the excess moisture escape.
Step 2: Check on the buds
Frequent check-ins are vital to the overall health of your buds when you’re figuring out how to cure marijuana. Watch out for any issues, and make sure you air the jars every day. Never leave your containers unattended for more than a day.
Step 3: Remove buds when they are in-between moist and brittle
The curing stage typically lasts for about 2–3 weeks. If you have patience, you can leave them for longer. When your marijuana buds are sticky yet dry, it means they’re ready to be smoked. At this point, you need to separate them from any other nugs that aren’t quite ready.
Place any buds that are still wet into a different jar to avoid moisture absorption while curing cannabis. This method also helps you avoid consuming uncured weed.
Step 4: Long-term methods of storing buds
Store your freshly-cured buds in airtight glass jars and keep them in a dark spot. If you don’t smoke the weed for a long time, make sure to air it out now and then to avoid mold development.
How to prevent problems when drying and curing weed
The biggest problem with curing and drying cannabis is mold. It’s crucial to take your time and properly trim, dry, and cure your buds.
Before placing your dried weed in jars, make sure it’s completely dry. The buds should be firm, sticky, and dry. Avoid brittle, wet, and crumbly nugs. As such, you need to be patient and stick to the correct cannabis drying time.
During the curing stage, you must air your jars regularly and keep an eye out for potential problems. Some growers use humidity regulator packs to maintain the moisture level. These handy tools absorb excess water particles that would otherwise be a breeding ground for mold.
Rehydrating overdried buds
If you discover that you’ve left your buds for too long during the cannabis drying and curing stage, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to remedy crumbling and brittle nugs.
Overdried weed typically has a dull taste and causes a cough, but it’s usually an easy fix if you haven’t left it for too long or used extreme techniques.
Here are some ways to rehydrate overdried buds:
Add a slice of lime, lemon, or orange peel to the container if you’re curing weed in jars. It contains plenty of moisture that easily seeps into the marijuana buds. However, it can affect the flavor, so avoid adding organic items you don’t like.
Adding some humidifier packs re-adjusts the humidity and increases the moisture levels in your jars. If you don’t have access to one of these packs, you can wet a cotton ball and cover it in aluminum foil. Then, make holes in it to release added moisture to your curing cannabis.
If you have some wet buds from the same strain, you can add them to the jar. This way, the excess moisture from these extra nugs escapes and feeds the overdried ones.
The lowdown on drying and curing cannabis
Whether you’re a beginner grower or a seasoned professional, it’s essential to know how to trim, dry, and cure weed.
By knowing how to dry cannabis correctly, you can remove excess moisture and ensure a flavorful and mold-free toke. It’s equally as important to know how to cure marijuana, which increases the shelf-life of your weed and guarantees a smooth smoke.
Stay tuned to i49 for more expert tips on growing cannabis, and don’t forget to head over to our seed bank to purchase your pack of cannabis seeds.