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Top Tips To Successfully Dry And Cure Your Fresh Cannabis Buds

The process of growing cannabis does not stop at harvest time. Properly drying and curing your fresh cannabis stash is paramount to prevent mould contamination from taking place. These procedures will also result in buds that taste better and offer a superior high.

Get the answers to 9 of the most frequently asked questions about drying and curing cannabis.

Contents:

Ahhh, harvest time. After watching your ladies grow and flower, it’s finally time to collect your hard-earned buds. But before you can enjoy a toke of some homegrown Kush, you’ll need to dry and cure your freshly harvested weed. Below, we’ll share our answers to some frequently asked questions on the drying and curing process, so you can maximise the flavour and potency of your stash.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DRYING AND CURING?

Drying, as the name suggests, involves drying fresh buds so they contain less moisture and can be smoked or vaporized properly. Curing, on the other hand, involves storing your buds in closed containers over a period of at least two weeks. This helps develop the flavour and aroma of your buds as they mature.

WHY DO I NEED TO DRY AND CURE MY CANNABIS?

Drying your cannabis flowers serves several important functions that ultimately increase the quality and shelf-life of the end product.

Freshly harvested cannabis buds contain a significant amount of moisture, which needs to be dealt with before smoking. Why? First, smoking fresh buds serves up harsh hits with little flavour—if the buds are able to ignite at all. Removing moisture helps to tone down the harshness and let the terpene profile shine. Second, fungi thrive in dark and moist conditions. By drying your flowers correctly, you’ll dramatically reduce the chances of mould striking your stash.

By placing individual buds on a drying rack—or hanging entire branches in a drying room—you’ll reduce the water content of your buds by 10–15%. This process removes water from the outer layers of each flower, but you’ll need to cure your stash to rid moisture from deeper within the buds.

Curing is super important because it helps preserve your weed so it can be stored over time—while still retaining its unique flavour and maximising potency. When you harvest your buds, they contain excess sugars and starches that eventually come under attack from airborne bacteria and enzymes. By curing your buds, you actually encourage the degradation of these nutrients, making for a smoother, better-tasting final smoke.

Properly drying and curing your fresh cannabis harvest is essential to decrease the risk of mould, and to enhance the taste and high that your buds offer.

Benefits of Controlling Humidity When Curing and Storing Cannabis

You put in the time to select the perfect species of plant. You weathered a complete growing season; full of perfectly timed feedings, watering, UV care. You pulled off a seamless harvest. Now you are ready to cure and store your cannabis plants, so where do you start?

This stage is very important and can be the defining factor in the final quality of your finished product.

Curing

The focus of curing cannabis is to remove as much moisture from the cut plants as possible. Curing must be done at a rate that is quick enough to prevent the plant from molding.

The trick is getinng the timing perfect. It must also be slow enough to allow the full development of cannabinoids. You also want to prevent the decomposition of as many chlorophyll particles as possible in the buds, which quick drying can sometimes do.

In curing, the buds develop their full potential of THC and THCA. Curing also allows their unique, full-bodied aroma of terpene to develop. Curing allows the buds to be stored for prolonged periods of time with no loss in quality.

Curing is most commonly done in two stages:

  • Preliminary Drying
  • Final Drying

Mold/Mildew

The majority of problems in the curing process come from not being able to remove moisture from the plant quick enough. When moisture is trapped in the material, mold and mildew begin to develop making the plant void of any further use in production.

There are numerous ways you can combat mold and mildew in your curing process. Follow our helpful tips for preliminary and final drying to avoid the development of mold and mildew.

Preliminary Drying

Hanging Style

The most common reason for moisture build up in curing plants come from improper hanging.

If the whole plant is hung from the main stalk, then the branches and leaves fall closely together. This allows for a high concentration of moisture and no room for air flow within the plant. The plant will mold near the center and no longer be of use.

A more labor intensive, yet drastically higher success rate, method is to cut each branch from the main stalk and hang upside down from clips or drying wires.

If the branches are cut and hung from clips/wires, the remaining mineral content in the branch is pulled down into the buds by gravity, and can increase the amount of cannabinoid development. This results in a better final product.

Some growers prefer to remove the bud directly and store them in a hanging drying basket for curing.

Branches/buds should be hung for 8-14 days until they are noticeably dry and crack when bent.

Adequate ventilation

From here, airflow and ventilation are necessary to complete the process at a reliable consistent rate.

Airflow in the drying area is paramount. It can be accomplished by the use of small fans, a natural cross breeze, A/C Unit, or dehumidifier.

The drying location should be kept between 55-75°F and 45-55% humidity with some form of gentle air circulation from the choices above.

Temperature & humidity should both be monitored by the use of a thermometer and hygrometer, which can be purchased at your local hardware store.

Final Drying

Now the buds should be clipped from their branches and moved into individual air tight containers. These containers should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place for the rest of curing.

Buds can cure as fast as 2-3 weeks, but will yield a higher quality product if they are allow to cure for longer (6-8 weeks). Glass or BPA-Free plastic are prefered for durability and ease of use.

After the first day, you will notice that moisture has been pulled from the buds, making them slightly more moist than when they were when originally placed in the jar.

This is normal.

For the first week of curing the containers should be opened once a day to allow the buds to breath. This will make sure that moisture doesn’t build up in the container and allow mold to grow.

If you notice any ammonia like aromas coming from the jars, bacteria or mold is eating the bud and they are no longer fit for distribution.

After the first week of venting daily, the jars will only need to be vented once a week depending on their individual moisture content. If you do not notice the buds are slightly more moist, then they were over dried in Primary Drying.

[CAUTION] If you notice any water droplets of humidity condensation on the inside of the jar you have not waited long enough before final curing. That jar is now high risk for mold and should be monitored, wiped dry, and allowed to vent for 30 minutes minimum. If this happens a failed cure is probable.

Timing and monitoring each pant based on it’s unique size and species is advised as some plants may take longer to dry and cure than others.

Storage

Once the bud has completed the first week of final drying, a drying RH (Relative Humidity) packet may be used to ensure a consistent level.

These packets work by removing specific amounts of humidity from the air as indicated by the label of the individual product.

For example, RH 55: means that the humidity will be regulated to 55% in a given storage container.

These are not necessary, but can give some peace of mind in more humid climates. The containers should remain in a cool, dry, dark place until ready to be distributed.

The focus of curing cannabis is to remove as much moisture from the cut plants as possible. Curing must be done at a rate that is quick enough to prevent the plant from molding.