Drying and Curing Marijuana BudsThe Ultimate Resource for Drying and Curing Cannabis Buds.
In the growing process, drying and curing marijuana buds is essential. The way that you dry and cure weed will add or take away from the taste, scent, and potency, so it is important to know the different techniques. Use this resource to learn more about how to get juicy buds that meet your needs.
What is the Purpose of Drying and Curing Cannabis Buds?
After the initial drying is done, the buds still have some moisture in them, particularly in the center. For this reason, the curing stage comes next, which distributes any remaining moisture throughout the bud. Curing is a slow process in an environment that you control in such a way that you can get top-quality buds rather than simply average ones.
Also, when you dry and cure cannabis buds, the chance of mold growing on them decreases, and you get a more pleasant smoking experience, with less opportunity for headaches or coughing. Instead, the marijuana strain is more likely to have a unique smell (not the hay odor that often comes with fresh weed) and a subtle taste, making for a more enjoyable smoke.
Perhaps most importantly is that how you dry and cure the marijuana buds can increase its potency. It can even change the CBD and terpenoids composition.
Why You Have to Know What You Are Doing
When marijuana buds dry and cure, the plant can remove sugars and chlorophyll (but only if you are not a fan of the taste of the chlorophyll and instead prefer a smoother smoke). Unfortunately, if you do not go about the drying and curing process of weed correctly, its potency can lower, and mold can develop, which damages the plant.
Contact with light, air, and heat can reduce potency while certain handling procedures can increase its strength. Ultimately, you want to be patient when growing weed seeds, including the drying and curing process.
Once you cut down the plant and trim the buds, it is time to dry and cure the cannabis. Ideally, you want to dry the buds in a dark space at room temperature. Here are different methods of going about it.
Ways of Drying Cannabis
This method is the most popular one; for many growers, air drying is the “standard” method as it typically leads to a smoother smoke. By controlling airflow, you can regulate how long the marijuana buds take to dry. To achieve better airflow, for example, hang the marijuana buds upside down in a room with a rotating fan going underneath it, though not blowing directly on the plants.
Usually, air drying takes 3-7 days and helps keep away the mold. Remove extra leaf matter before hanging to help reduce chances of developing mold during the drying process.
Try hanging the buds from clothes hangers, string, or anything else you have handy. Wire or rope lines, which you can run from wall to wall, is an easy design. Some people use wire cages, standing each cage on one end and hanging the buds at different lengths from its exterior. While you can hang the whole plant upside down, most people prefer just to hang the bud.
Also, you might want to consider getting a space heater instead of a fan if you want to keep humidity low in the room. Warm air holds evaporated water, which means your buds will keep their moisture; so, a heater can reduce room humidity levels and speed up the drying time.
Other people choose to lay the buds in a half open drawer in a location with circulating air. As the drying process goes on, close the door a bit more to lower the amount of airflow.
Alternatively, you can place the buds on a drying rack right after you harvest them. Drying will happen faster than the air drying method as the stems are removed from the buds, and often the stems hold moisture. If you worry about mold, perhaps because you live in a humid area, then you might prefer to use a drying rack rather than air drying the buds.
A variation on the drying rack is screen drying. Remove the screens from your house’s windows and lay them down, then put the buds out on them. Stack the screens as you would with a food dehydrator. This method is great if you are primarily using the hanging method but have some buds that are too small to hang; simply put them on the screen instead.
Paper Bags / Cardboard
Other marijuana drying methods involve laying your buds in paper bags or on cardboard. If you notice that the buds are creating wet spots on the bag or cardboard where they touch the flat surface, then you need to rotate them every couple of hours. The intention is to get evenly-dried buds. It can be a chore to do so, which is why many people prefer a drying rack or hanging the cannabis buds instead after you’ve grown them from seeds.
Microwave / Oven Drying
You can also use a microwave or oven to dry marijuana. In both cases, heat dries the weed. In a microwave, cover the buds with layers of paper towels to help protect them from too much direct heat. In an oven, use the lowest setting and keep the door open a bit. Be wary though that heat can reduce the potency of your cannabis and negatively impact the taste. For that reason, many people prefer the slower method of air drying instead.
Using Dry Ice
Did you know that you can use dry ice to dry the marijuana you’ve grown from seeds? Just buy dry ice, which is simply frozen CO2, from a supermarket but be careful not to touch the dry ice directly. A big advantage of this method is that you will not risk damaging the weed by exposing it to heat, air, or light.
Use equal amounts dry ice to plant for the correct ratio; put down the layer of dry ice first, cover with a kitchen towel, then lay the buds overtop. Ensure the towel is made of a breathable material though so that gas has somewhere to escape. Wait for the gas to evaporate totally and that is likely when the buds will be dry.
Be cautious though when using the dry ice method as some people say that it creates bad-tasting weed and can give you headaches or paranoia when you smoke it.
Now that you have dried the marijuana buds, the next step is to cure them. When you notice that the buds are dry on the outside when you touch them but not brittle, it is curing time. Smaller stems will probably snap while bigger stems will be bendable. At this point, the curing process begins! If you dried your buds too quickly (it took less time than the expected 3-7 days), the curing process may take longer than usual; don’t worry too much as you can do better next time. Live and learn, as the famous saying goes.
Different Techniques of Curing
Slow Cure of Buds
The slow curing method is the most traditional one. It involves putting the cannabis buds into a sealed container, such as a plastic container or a glass jar. Many people consider wide-mouthed glass mason jars as the ideal storage unit. Jars that hold 1 quart, also known as “quart jars,” can hold about 1 ounce of dried buds each. If you go for bigger jars, you risk developing mold. Fill each jar ¾ full so there’s still some air in them, and aim for air humidity of about 60-65%.
You will know the buds are totally dry when you shake the jar and they separate. If you shake the jar, and the cannabis buds stick together, they are not yet done curing. Be patient.
During the first few days, check the buds every 24 hours. Open the jars once a day for about an hour to help keep mold away and prevent too much moisture; you are airing out the marijuana buds. Then put the lids back on them. Repeat this process for the first 1-2 weeks of curing.
Also, once a day, shake the jars to move the contents around for an even dry. You will get the best curing process when you follow these steps. It is likely worth getting a hygrometer so you can see the relative humidity and make sure it doesn’t go above 65%.
Once you get to the 2-3-week period of curing, scale back your activity to just opening the jars once a week. Regarding long-term storage, you can plan after several weeks to just open the jars about once a month. Keep the jars in a dark, cool environment. Curing can be beneficial for up to 6 months at improving bud quality. After the 6-month period, curing no longer has an effect as they are as potent as they can be at this point.
After 6 months, if you want to practice serious long-term storage, one option is vacuum seal your buds. Some people do so as a way to maintain the potency longer and also create a more mellow effect with time. If you find the buds going brittle, you can refresh them with a Humidipak.
When you water cure, the idea is that all water soluble properties of the plant are imperfections. The process involves submerging dried marijuana into room temperature water (not chlorinated water). Switch out the water daily for fresh water, continuing the process for at least three days and up to two weeks.
In Columbia, you will likely find sweat curing. It is a popular technique in third-world countries. Put the buds in alternating layers and move them around now and then. The issue with this technique is that it uses heat, which can damage the buds if done too long, and can lead to the development of bacteria and fungus.