Trimming, drying and curing
Since you have already spent months on growing your cannabis, you need to be patient about the drying and curing stage to make sure that it’s done under the right conditions. Afterall, with all of that hard work put in, you want to get the possible output.
Don’t give in to the temptation of a quick dry. Doing this step the right way will get all of the moisture out of the flowers and and give you a really nice finished product.
Properly drying and curing gives your product better smell and flavor, reduces harshness and maximizes potency.
Here are the steps we go through to properly dry and cure marijuana in our professional grow greenhouse:
This stage obviously depends on the method you employ for harvesting, but the most common procedure is to cut branches from the plants (about a foot to foot and a half long), remove the leaves and then hang them from a line (string, wire, rope, etc.). Some cannabis growers elect to cut the whole plant and hang them from the line. Others choose to clip off buds and put them onto drying racks.
Keeping your harvested marijuana at humidity levels of 45-55 degrees and the temperature in above 60 degrees and below 70 is essential to keeping your aroma and flavor intact regardless of what method you utilize to dry. Using an A/C or a humidifier along with a circulating fan to push air around is a good idea to make sure everything stays within the recommended settings.
You’re going to likely spend one to two weeks waiting for the initial drying phase to finish. You will know you’re there when try to bend the tiny branches and they now snap where they were just folding before. At this point, the flowers should feel kind of crunchy.
To summarize the most important parts of the cannabis drying stage:
- Clip off branches between a foot and a foot and a half.
- Hang the branches from a line.
- Maintain humidity levels in the 45 to 55 range.
- Keep the room temperature of your drying room at between 60 and 70 degrees.
- Use a rotating fan and an air conditioner or humidifier to keep your drying room in the proper humidity and temperature ranges.
- Be patient and wait until the flowers are crunchy and your branches have a snap to them.
What is the Optimal Drying Environment for Cannabis?
Room Temperature – Around 70°F (21°C)
You have done a good job drying. Let’s get that weed cured!
Curing Your Marijuana Harvest
Everything along the way needs to be done right for a truly great grow, but the curing process is quite important to get that delicious smooth output.
Why Cure Cannabis?
Since the beginning of time, people have cured their foods whether it was a mammoth after a kill or more recently, a nice beef jerkey or bag of dried fruit from the supermarket.
With meats and some other foods, we rely on sugars, nitrites, salt and other preservatives, but with marijuana, we just need to keep our cool and be patient.
The objective of curing, while the process might change up, is the same: keep the product fresh while maintaining flavor and nutrition. Long term storage is possibly by removing the bacteria that will cause degradation.
In the case of cannabis, we want to retain the cannabinoids while preserving the product.
When you go through the cure process of your marijuana harvest, you’re basically forcing the cannabis to eat up the remaining excess nutrients, sugars and starch before they get trapped inside the plant.
Curing the plants properly eliminates the degradation of the volatile compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes.
A degradation of your harvested crop starts immediately due to excess starch and sugar being broken down by aerobic bacteria and enzymes.
Have you ever smoked weed and thought that it wasn’t as flavorful or perhaps tasted a bit harsher than usual? It’s because curing process was not done right and the plant retained residual components that cause it to taste less smooth and probably also have a weaker effect.
If you keep them at the right levels of humidity and the correct temperature, our non-psychoactive cannabinoids in our fresh harvest can properly go through their transformation into THCa, which is what comes before psychoactive THC.
Once your buds have been carefully dried off, you’re ready to move on to the curing stage of the process. Our favorite is one of the easiest as it is a method that doesn’t involve too much equipment, but here we will run you through a few of the other options available to you if after reading the easy method it doesn’t appeal to you.
Easy Way to Cure Cannabis Like Pros Do
- Put them in a good jar.
We generally recommend using some Kilner jars (the air tight ones), canning jars or you can even repurpose some jam jars. We generally like the Kilner jars which aren’t that hard to find. If you end up going with recycled items, make sure the seals are good and that they are properly cleaned before using. You don’t want bacteria in there messing with your product.
Since you’re starting the curing process, the drying is done, and your harvest has pass the snap test with flying colors. The jars should be filled to about 60 to 70% full (roughly 2/3rds). At this point, your buds still need to breath so don’t screw the lid on too tight or clamp down if you’re using the Kilners.
Keeping the air supply open initially helps break down the sugars so that it won’t be harsh. It also helps make your weed more potent since it helps the transfer of the non-psychoactive compounds into THCA.
Store the jars in a cool, dry place.
- Check on your product a couple times each day to make sure there is no mold or mildew forming. After the first week, you should be mostly in the clear and can check it once a day. You can pour the buds out of the jar to check them for any moldiness and remove any parts that are molding.
We like to cure for at least 3 weeks to get it really nice and tasty, but you can add or subtract a week based on your needs. We have seen some growers even go a month or two with specific strains that just needed more curing to get right.
Tips for Curing Marijuana:
- If it feels kind of moist inside your container, take the top off and leave it off for a little while until they go back to feeling dry. Usually about 2 hours is enough.
- When you’re taking the buds out to check them for mold, try to replace the ones that were against the glass so they are all in different positions. This kind of naturally happens, but it helps to cut down on mold that tends to form on the buds that are pressed against the glass.
- Opening your jar every day helps get fresh air into it which you really need especially in the start. Since you’re doing the checks, this is going to happen anyways.
- During the curing process once it’s about ready, assuming it’s legal in your area and you personally smoke, take samples from your stash to smoke so you can see where you are in the process, if it needs to be cured longer, or if it’s ready. Usually, the longer you cure, the better the taste.
If you do the drying and curing process right, a sealed jar in a dark room can last a few years without losing potency.