Growing your own marijuana is a rewarding task. Not only is gardening is good for the soul, but the finished product is profitable – and something truly remarkable to behold.
However, before you can savor your crop, you need to take the time for curing cannabis plants first. You might feel tempted to cut corners here, but don’t – if you take the time to properly cure the plants, you’ll have a much better product.
Here’s why curing weed is important- and here’s how to dry and cure weed at home.
Why Drying Marijuana is Important
As marijuana grows, it produces chemicals such as tetrahydrocannabinol acid – also known as cannabinoids. These compounds are converted to other chemicals over time, eventually becoming the main psychoactive compounds that are responsible for marijuana’s euphoric effect. For example, THCA eventually becomes THC.
And the process doesn’t stop once you harvest the plant. Curing weed under warm conditions continues the development and conversion of these cannabinoids, allowing your buds to gain potency. However, if you are drying weed under warmer conditions – and are doing so more quickly – the process will end more quickly.
Improved Flavor and Smoke Quality
Marijuana contains terpenes, which are the compounds responsible for the unique flavor and smell of the plant. These are relatively volatile, meaning they can evaporate in relatively high temperatures (generally 70 degrees and above). If you start curing cannabis at low temperatures, you can help keep the terpenes intact for a better flavor profile.
Another reason for drying and curing marijuana is that you can create the ideal environment for aerobic bacteria and enzymes to develop and begin breaking down minerals and undesirable sugars. These sugars and other minerals are responsible for that unpleasant, too-harsh sensation you can experience while smoking cannabis that has not been cured (or been cured incorrectly).
Improved Ability for Long-Term Preservation
Unless you plan on smoking that pot immediately, you need to dehydrate it. If you don’t, you’ll have to worry about mold and a decline in cannabinoid content. Just as you can dehydrate food products to help them last longer without refrigeration or other processing, so, too, can drying marijuana makes it possible for you to store your flowers for up to two years.
How to Cure Marijuana
Luckily, knowing how to dry weed is not rocket science and it’s easy to learn the ropes. once you’ve had a bit of practice and training in how to dry marijuana, you will be a pro.
There are several different methods of drying cannabis, but most people rely on one tried and true method. Technically, buds can be freeze-dried, dry-iced, or water cured, but this is the easiest way to do it.
Start by harvesting your cannabis plants. Cut anywhere from a foot to 16” off the plants, removing any unnecessary leaves before suspending the branches from wire. You can cut the whole plant if you’d like, but this is not necessary.
Keep the cannabis in a dark room for several days. You will need to maintain temperatures within a range of 60 to 70 degrees and keep humidity between 45 and 55%. Use a fan to circulate air and prevent fungal buildup. This will also help preserve the aroma, flavor, and longevity of your plant.
How long to dry weed in this manner will depend on your environment. It’s recommended that you use an air conditioner or another mechanized unit to keep temperatures and humidity consistent. Then, depending on the density of your flowers and the other environmental conditions, it will take anywhere from five to fifteen days for the process of drying weed to be completed.
After the buds are nice and dry, you can cure them. Keep in mind that they don’t need to be 100% free of moisture – this is next to impossible. But they should be mostly dry and feel crunchy to the touch.
Now it’s time to cure the buds. Clip them and manicure them if necessary – you can also do this earlier in the process. It’s up to you.
Then, place the buds into an airtight container like a quart-size canning jar with a wide mouth. You don’t have to rely on glass, though – plastic, wood, metal, or ceramic are also acceptable. Try not to use plastic bags.
Pack your flowers into the containers. Do this loosely and don’t press down or compact the buds.
Seal your containers and place them in a dark, dry, and cool spot so they can finish curing. After a few days, the buds will lose that crunchy texture because moisture in the flowers has begun to rehydrate the rest of the buds.
During the first week while you are curing weed, make sure you check on the bus several times a day and let the flowers breathe. This will replenish some oxygen and let moisture get out. If there’s a strong ammonia smell, your buds were not dry enough to be cured and you are going to have some rotten marijuana pretty soon!
You will need to cure your weed for about eight weeks. This depends on the strain. Some need more than six months of curing while others only need four. Generally, the longer you cure it, the better – but pay attention to the strain for the most accurate idea.
How to Dry and Cure Weed: A Few More Tips
When you are first learning how to cure marijuana, you might feel overwhelmed by all the information out there. Here are a few more tips to help you learn how to dry cannabis without all the stress.
First, know that drying and curing are not the same things – these two terms are often used interchangeably, but as you now know, drying involves simply drying buds so moisture is removed while curing involves storing buds for at least four weeks to develop their flavor and aroma.
Another common question you might have when learning how to dry and cure weed is how to trim your buds. You can wet trim, which is done immediately after harvest, or you can dry trim, which occurs after drying but before curing. Wet trimming is easier so you don’t lose resin, but dry trimming can make for a truly top-notch product.
Finally, if you’re wondering how to store your pot after it’s been dried and cured, here are some tips. Put them in a cool, dark place where moisture is limited. You don’t need to check on them often, but if you have a lot of weeds, you might want to spend the extra money on humidity packs.
Many cannabis producers ignore the fact that curing is one of the best ways to improve (and preserve) the quality of your weed. Pay attention to this process and remember that the more experience you gain, the easier and more seamless the task of drying weed will be.