Spotting Mold on Cannabis
Mold is a problem that can occur throughout any marijuana crop. But this risk is higher after harvest, during drying and while curing. You think your plants are safe in their pots, but under your nose, mold can occur and destroy your reserve. Use the advice below to learn how to avoid moldy buds while drying and curing.
What Causes Mold?
Mold is the bane of all cannabis growers. It can affect your cannabis crop during the last stages of cultivation, due to humidity caused after exposure to rain, for example. What increases the risk of mold is humidity. And not only during cultivation but also after harvest. Indeed, the risk of mold spreading on your buds is at its height during the crucial final stages of their preparation. Therefore, it is essential to get rid of any excess moisture to reduce the slightest risk of a potential problem.
What are the Symptoms of Gray Mold?
All parts of the plant can be affected: roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, etc. The first visible sign will be a change in color and texture on the plant. On the leaves, this will result in necrosis, followed by the rapid drying of the foliage. If the fungus attacks the stem, it will turn brown, fragile, and ulcerated. But it is very often on the buds that the mold is most easily noticed. Their color becomes pale gray, their texture quickly becomes dry and crumbly, and the interior is filled with a thick cottony down.
Finally, it’s harvest time. After spending months keeping your cannabis plants healthy, battling pests, and fighting disease, you can finally reap the rewards of your hard work and investment. The buds are at the top of the plant; large and juicy, their aromas already attracting you, but you know very well that it is not yet time to take advantage of them. Before you can finally taste your herb, you will first need to dry it and have it cured. For this last step, you will have to be extremely careful and not let impatience take over. When drying and curing your weed, it is essential to prevent the development of mold. Otherwise, your entire reserve could be ruined before you even can enjoy it.
Harvest your plants when they are thirsty to limit the risk of mold during drying. Perform this step in a space with a minimum of ventilation to avoid stagnation of air and humidity around the buds. However, ventilation should not be used directly on the crop otherwise the drying will be too fast, which will create poor quality buds (green taste of chlorophyll and hay).
How to Dry Weed Properly
The key to properly drying your cannabis is to allow it to dry slowly. Allow plenty of time for the process and do not use “quick dry” methods. It is important to note that all quick-drying techniques are capable of destroying the precious cannabinoids and other active compounds of the plant.
Many cannabis growers hang their weed to dry it or place it on clothes racks in a suitable environment. The ideal place to dry your cannabis should have low ambient humidity and be away from direct sunlight. This will not only help prevent the appearance of the mold but also help prevent your precious cannabinoids and terpenes from degrading. An excellent place to dry your heads is an unused dark room or closet. If you don’t have a suitable room to hang your heads, you can always place them in a large cardboard box.
To set up your drying room, you can use a clothesline, a rope, a cable, or a wire. If you want to transform a room in your house into a drying room, it is advisable to block the light from the windows with insulating curtains. You will also need to ensure adequate air circulation. This is another factor that reduces the risk of mold. A simple standing fan could be more than enough to bring a gentle draft into a room. Just make sure the fan is not directly over your buds, as it will dry them out too quickly. Remember, the longer your weed dries, the better.
Use a hygrometer or thermometer to check the conditions of your drying location. For optimal values, the relative humidity should be around 50%, and the temperature around 60°F. If the humidity isn’t right, and you can’t find another place to dry your weed, consider using a humidifier or dehumidifier. As your plant dries, be sure to inspect it frequently for signs of mold.
Most of the time, drying your weed will take between 7 and 9 days. There is an old trick to check if your buds are ready for curing. Take a head and bend the branch slightly. If it breaks, then your weed is dry enough to cure. If the branch remains soft, leave your pot for a few more days of drying.
Tips for a Successful Curing
Now to the curing stage. Curing is the process in which your cannabis develops its aromas and potency. Curing ensures that the smallest amount of moisture remaining in your buds is evenly distributed throughout your reserve. Too much humidity will result in the appearance of mold, but too little will make your weed hard on the throat, too dry and brittle. Let’s take a look at the different ways to cure your weed correctly.
The most common way for many cannabis growers to cure to their buds is to place the dried flowers in glass jars with lids. To provide your buds with the right amount of moisture while curing in the pot, simply “degas” your weed. To “degas,” you will have to open the jar for an hour or more a day to let the humid air escape. At the start of the curing phase, you will need to degas 3 to 4 times a day. Note that this is not extremely precise. This method requires that you inspect your cannabis and degas it manually. And it’s not always reliable. Especially in very humid conditions, for example, degassing can reintroduce more moisture into your weed.
Tip: During degassing, shake your buds carefully to allow air to circulate as much as possible.
The curing stage typically lasts between 2 to 4 weeks. Once you consider that your weed has undergone sufficient curing, you can start to enjoy it at your leisure and you can keep the jars closed for long-term conservation. Open the jar for about an hour or more each day to let the stale and moist air escape. This process is sometimes referred to as “burping” your buds.
Curing using Moisture Regulating Bags
To make things easier and to eliminate challenges while curing your weed, you can use humidity-regulating sachets. Just add them to your jar in addition to the grass, and they will help maintain relative humidity perfect for curing. The classic brands of moisture regulating sachets are Boveda and Integra Boost. These sachets are available at different HR maintenance levels, such as 72% RH, 62% RH, and 55% RH. The optimal type of sachet for curing will depend on the herb and your personal preferences, but 62% humidity is generally an excellent value to start with cannabis. You can find these sachets online, in culture stores or in cigar stores.
Curing in a Paper Bag
While glass jars with lids are arguably the best way to cure your herb, you can also do this in a paper bag. Paper bags can remove moisture from your weed, minimizing the risk of mold. Just make sure you don’t use a plastic bag. To cure your herb in a paper bag, place your buds inside it, but do not overfill. This curing method is not very precise. You will need to inspect your weed regularly so that you can quickly detect any mold if it does arise.
What to Do if you Spot Moldy Buds
First of all, never smoke dank buds under any circumstances. Mold is harmful, and you don’t want to ingest it. If you spot moldy plant material at any point during drying or curing, get rid of it immediately. With any luck, the mold will not yet have reached your entire reserve. Examine your buds carefully for other signs of mold in other places. If you don’t see anything suspicious but still have doubts, it’s always best to get rid of your entire reserve. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a safer option than risking your health.
Growing cannabis plants successfully is the first step to gaining access to great buds. A lot can happen, from insect infestations to cannabis diseases and nutrient concerns before you can reap a great harvest. But the drying and curing process after the yield is just as important so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you stick to the tips in this guide, you won’t lose your precious buds due to mold at any stage in your harvesting, drying and curing process.