Drying and Curing Marijuana Guide
Curing Weed – Drying Your Harvest
Finally, your flowers are ‘ripe’ for harvest- or already have been harvested. Now you’re most likely anxious to try them out, but you need to get them dried up first.
Most growers, particularly first-timers, are eager to get their products ready, hasty. So they take the shortest route to dry their buds. Curing is a highly recommended process to avoid inferior quality cannabis. This practice distinguishes the Pros from the newbies and the outcome of their products as well.
What is Weed Curing?
Curing refers to an extensive process of well-conditioned removal of moisture from your cannabis flower. This practice, if done correctly, enhances the quality of the end product.
Why is the Curing Process Essential?
Let’s take a quick look at some key benefits of curing your cannabis harvest:
Cannabis contains tetrahydrocannabinolic acid – commonly called THCA – and several other cannabinoids. Biosynthesis is the process of production, where specific properties turn into new blends.
THC, for example, becomes the psychoactive ‘high’ causing property in the herb.
The process continues even after harvesting your buds. After cutting down the buds and keeping between 45 – 55% humidity and 60 to 70 °F temperature, non-psychoactive compounds in the herbs will continue to convert to THCA and, in turn, enhance the herbs’ potency.
Contrarily, fast-drying under dry and warm conditions stops this conversion process real quick, offering a relatively reduced potency level.
The flavor and Smoke Quality
Most of the cannabis’s aromatic properties – terpenes are somewhat volatile and may lose quality and evaporate if exposed to as low as 70°F. Terpenes should be allowed to cure through a slow process at low temperatures; The terpenes are better preserved rather than in a fast, hot drying process.
These moderate conditions also offer a suitable environment for aerobic bacteria and enzymes to break down the remaining minerals and unwanted sugars deposited in the drying process.
These components produce flowers with a foul sensation and an undesirable taste.
Proper curing enables you to store your plants for long periods. Your buds should be well preserved without fears of mold or loss of valuable compounds. Properly cured cannabis flowers may be kept in an air-tight jar and placed in a cool dark spot. In this condition, your plant may last, stay fresh and potent for up to two years.
How to Cure and Dry Cannabis Buds
Curing cannabis buds can be done in different ways. However, some methods are relatively common. While you may use either of the freeze-drying process, water cure, or the dry-ice alternative, this article explores the most natural and most effective curing approach.
This step, to a large extent, determines your harvest. One common approach to this is to cut off between 12 to 16-inch branches from the cannabis plant, get rid of undesirable leaves, and hang them on a line.
Some farmers hang the entire plant on a wire or string, while others cut off the buds and place them on racks to dry.
You can either manicure your buds wet or wait till they dry. Regardless of your preferred option, ensure you place your harvested herbs under a 60 to 70°F temperature with between 45 to 55% humidity.
Put in a dark room with a small fan to help support air circulation. This practice helps preserve the aroma and flavor of your finished product. We recommend you get an A/C unit, dehumidifier, or any related device, tools, or method to keep the atmosphere within this designated range.
Examine the flowers regularly to see if you’re good for the next step.
You are good to go if the branches snap and the flowers get somewhat snappy on the outside. Based on the flower density and environmental factors, this first drying process may take 5 to 15 days.
If you have checked and confirmed your buds are dry, you can proceed to curing. Here is a seamless step-by-step guide to curing your buds:
Step 1. If you haven’t already done the manicuring, it’s time to trim and separate the buds from their branches.
Step 2. Put the manicured buds in an air-tight jar. While big-mouthed canning jars are often used, metal, ceramics, plastic, and wooden vessels will do as fine. Farmers even stock in oven bags, which isn’t a bad idea either.
However, certain plastic bags are not ideal for curing as they tend to degrade when in contact with terpenes in the plant. Put the buds into your chosen container and fill it to the top. Do not press down or crush the buds.
Step 3. Cover the containers and leave them in a dry, dark, cool place to complete the curing process.
After the first day, you may notice that the flowers are no longer as dry and snappy as it was. The moisture that remained in the flowers has rehydrated the dried outer part. If you don’t get this result, it means your cannabis was over-dried.
Step 4. Within the first seven days, check on the plant often, times daily. This will help the flowers get some air for a couple of minutes. This act removes moisture and supplies oxygen.
Suppose you detect an ammonia odor when opening the jar. In that case, you haven’t dried the herbs well enough, so they are not yet suitable for curing. At this stage, they become consumed by anaerobic bacteria, and they will soon get moldy and rotten.
Following the initial week, you may reduce the jar opening to once every two days.
In the second to the third week inside the container, your buds must have been well-cured for a quality experience. However, you may still wait 4 to 8 weeks for the best experience. Amusingly, some strains may do better with six-month curing or more.
Difference between Curing and Drying
It’s straightforward – drying involves reducing moisture for better vaporizing or smoking. On the other hand, curing involves bud storage in air-tight containers for at least two weeks. This practice helps preserve the aroma, flavor and increase the herb’s potency.
The cannabis growing process goes beyond harvesting time. Many farmers go through the whole buds’ production process without curing. This practice was the norm when the black market was the sole option.
Thanks to the increasing awareness and fierce competition in the cannabis market, more farmers are giving deserved attention to this highly important process.
If you followed these steps, your cannabis buds would have a better taste, smell, visual appeal, and even higher potency.
- Cannabis Seeds
- Marijuana Growing Room
- Pots and Soils
- Hydroponic Weed
- Light for Growing
- Smell Control
- Temperature & Humidity
- Watering Weed Plants
- Germinating Weed Seeds
- How to Scrog Cannabis
- Transplanting Cannabis
- Cloning Marijuana Plants
- The Vegetative Stage
- Cannabis Flowering Stages
- How to Spot a Male Plant
- Fertilizer for Hungry Plants
- Pest Problems
- When to Harvest Cannabis
- Trimming the Buds
- Curing Weed
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