Every cannabis cultivator’s goal is to produce flower that is aesthetically appealing, potent, and durable. The best way to set yourself up for success after harvest is to focus on proper cannabis drying and curing.
These final steps to the growth process are arguably the most essential, as they leave you with a stronger terpene profile, minimized contaminants, and overall more potent and desirable bud for consumers. Drying cannabis is affordable and relatively low-maintenance, as long as you’re equipped with the knowledge and tools you need to succeed. Here’s how—and all of the reasons why!.
The first step to a proper dry and cure is knowing how to dry weed in the first place. You can do this before or after trimming cannabis—a.k.a., wet trim versus dry trim. Wet trimming tends to be a messier and more damaging of a process, but every cultivator has a preference, and a justified method behind the chosen madness.
Whether you’re trimming wet or dry, there are a few reasons drying cannabis has come to be regarded as essential for high-quality product. The main ones to note are: cannabinoid and terpene preservation, mold and bacteria growth reduction, easier handling and storage, better visual appeal, and an enhanced smoking experience for the consumer. Properly dried and cured cannabis helps eliminate the issue of dark, resulting in a cleaner smoke that burns evenly, with white ash and without harsh, off-putting smell.
Popular drying methods
When it comes to picking a drying method that works best for you, there are a few available options that can be effective. It all depends on what you’re looking for and what sort of drying room you’re working with.
Essentially, your final decision will boil down to how much space you have—a.k.a., hanging whole plant to dry vs. branches only. Hanging whole plant to dry requires a good amount of space; on the other hand, breaking your flower down into single branches to hang dry can be quite labor-intensive. If you have the dry area space, we recommend the former.
Another less popular method for drying weed involves hanging your cannabis plants on a drying rack. Some growers prefer this approach as it provides good airflow and is great for preventing mold. Commercial options are also available for companies with bigger budgets or larger yields. The major drawback to this method is your buds will tend to be flattened in one side and be harder to trim.
No matter the method or you budget, weed drying is most successful in a controlled environment that allows for optimal conditions: a.k.a., between 55-65 percent humidity and around 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. This maintenance will help you ensure you reach your cultivation goal of strong flavors and aromas, potent cannabinoids and terpenes, and an overall amazing final product.
How to build a drying room
When it comes to finding a space to dry your cannabis in, there are a few different ways to approach it. The bottom line? Maintaining that 55-65 percent humidity and around 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your drying room will vary in size depending on what’s available to you, but in general, aim for a space that is cool and dark. Think: wine cellar, except in this case, you’re finely-aging flower, not vino.
The most important factor is to make sure your space won’t be vulnerable to major fluctuations in humidity and temperature. You want your plants to receive consistency during this stage. To help keep things under control, you may also want to invest in a small fan for air circulation, or even an air conditioner or dehumidifier. Air Conditioners are especially critical when drying cannabis in the tropics.
So, you’ve successfully dried your flower, and you’re thrilled with the results. Next on the checklist is cannabis curing:
Think back to that fine wine comparison. Knowing how to cure marijuana is crucial when it comes to carrying out the optimized flavor and aroma you were aiming for when you started the drying process. It plays a significant role in product quality, enhancing the consumer’s experience down the line and also improving a plant’s chance of maintaining efficacy throughout long-term storage.
There are a few good options when it comes to curing cannabis. From glass jars and plastic containers to vacuum sealers and bags specifically designed for curing weed, just make sure to pick a vessel that best suits your environment—and always keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to maintain humidity and temperature.
Should you burp your jars?
Many cultivators who opt for glass-jar curing also believe those jars should be “burped” throughout the process—a.k.a., periodically opening your jars to release your flower’s excess moisture and Unwanted aromas.
However, the Guru of Ganja Ed Rosenthal says no, and we tend to agree. Still, other cultivators swear by it as a trusted method for success.
The nay-sayers shake their heads at burping because of the risk it tends to come with: over exposure to oxygen leads to browner lest smelly weed. On the other hand, bud-burping yes-men champion the approach because they believe the opposite: burping cannabis prevents mold and mildew, prevents overdrying, and allows your buds to enjoy healthy airflow. Whichever way you choose we do recommend checking on your dry flowers 24-48 hrs after bucking and placing it into its airtight container. This will ensure no excess moisture from the stems have dehumidified your flowers.
6 most common drying and curing questions:
What is Bucking Cannabis?
Bucking is removing the bud from the stem of the cannabis plant before or after it is dry.
Why is it important to dry out weed?
So it can be Smoked easily. Pot drying is an essential step for curing; you simply can’t have one without the other. It helps get rid of excess moisture and nitrogen, which improves your plants’ taste and smell.
How can you tell when your buds are dry?
It’s important to pay close attention to drying times, as you can run the risk of both under- and over-drying if you aren’t careful. If you have the budget, investing in an automated pot dryer is a surefire way to ensure that your plant dries evenly and efficiently. If not, you can still figure it out by look and feel.
Start by snapping a stem from your plant material; if the stem snaps cleanly and with an audible sound, your plant is dry enough. You can also keep an eye on trichome color—which should be mostly amber—or smell, which should be deliciously dank, not grassy or hay-like.
How dry is too dry for weed?
Over-drying your weed is a risk, and something you’ll want to watch out for. Too-dry weed will be brittle, less flavorful, and harsh to smoke, which is less-than-ideal when it comes to appealing to consumers.
Thankfully, there are a few ways to combat this issue, from the more-commercialized humidity packs to old-school methods like throwing an orange peel or moist paper towel in your curing containers.
How long to dry buds before curing?
At least seven days, but this will vary depending on your environment and/or the type of strain you’re working with. When in doubt, defer to our cannabis drying checklist and rely on the plant to tell you when it’s ready. All you have to do is pay attention to what it’s saying.
What happens when you cure weed?
Nitrogen and other not so tasty elements off gas from the plant. Curing weed is a great way to optimize your plant’s terpenes and cannabinoids, resulting in the best possible product for you to bring to your consumers. Although the process isn’t mandatory, it’s increasingly popular among cultivators, especially in a highly-competitive industry where brands are consistently battling each other for the top spot in the global game.
What is the ideal moisture level of Cannabis?
Generally moisture levels between 8-12% are ideal for flower. The weed should crumble with little effort into small chunks. If the flower breaks down into sandy powder consistency it is too dry but will still get you high.
How to rehumidify weed?
Cannabis will quickly absorb moisture from the local environment within 2-3 hrs. If your weed is to dry you can simply open its container on a humid day or place a small lightly moistened paper towel in the container for 1-3 hrs.
How long should you cure weed?
Curing marijuana takes anywhere from 1-3 months. Your product will likely peak at that three-month mark; from there, keep it contained and store it in a wine cellar-like environment. We recommend maintaining around 54 degrees Fahrenheit with little-to-no humidity fluctuation. Depending on the strain and local conditions cannabis can remain fresh for upto 12 months.