So, you bought your seeds, survived all the hazards of the grow, and made it to harvest time, but now what? There’s still one crucial step to perform before you are able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Before that bud can be smoked, it must be dried or “cured”. This step helps develop your buds flavors, and removes water content from the plant, enabling a cleaner burn.
How you choose to dry and cure your cannabis will have a huge impact on the overall effect of your herb; fortunately, drying marijuana requires much less practice than growing the plant itself. So, if you have reached the harvesting stage, you’re just one step away from enjoying the fruits of your herb.
Check out these tips for the best ways to cure your green, and don’t forget to share them with friends.
Dont Adjust Drying Room Climate
Just like during your grow, in order for marijuana to dry properly, it is important to maintain the optimal conditions, a steady humidity level and temperature are important. Temperature and humidity swings can effect the time it takes to cure your buds and can even risk mold.
Key Tip: Aim for a constant temperature of 21 degrees Celsius (or 70 degrees Fahrenheit)
Temperature is a crucial factor in the curing process. Keeping the environment too warm can dry your buds out too quickly, while low temperatures won’t drive enough moisture out of the flowers to accomplish the task.
Fortunately, modern homes all come with thermostats and so keeping a constant temperature is not difficult.
Keep Marijuana Humidity Around 50%
To little humidity can lead to over-drying of your bud, and too much humidity can slow the drying process, and even cause mold. Humidity can also be tricky because as your plant loses water, the surrounding air becomes more humid.
There are two approaches to take in managing humidity levels. If you live in an environment where the average humidity is near 50%, then a fan and good air circulation may be enough to allow your buds to cure. If you live in a dry or wet climate though, you may need both a humidifier and de-humidifier to keep levels in the optimal zone.
Prep a Drying Location
Whether you’re rocking a grow tent, have pot on the patio, or have turned your basement into a replica of the amazon rainforest, growers always have a plan for their garden setup, but your drying space can be just as important. The first stages of drying will require your colas to be hung spaced apart from each other to guard against the development of mold. It is possible to use your grow location for this chore, but you won’t be able to start new plants this way, it is better to have another space set aside for drying. This is something you want to think about long before harvest day. Also, if you have a room available for drying, you can measure its humidity level ahead of time and figure out how you will move it up and down if necessary.
Prepare Your Plant for Drying
Once you harvest your plant you need to prepare it for drying. First trim off all of the fan leaves. Second, if it is particularly bushy, separate it into a couple of sections. You want air to be able to circulate around all the colas so that they can dry evenly. Using clips or wire, attach the base of the plant to lines that can be hung so that the plant is upside-down. Again, you will need to insure that there is enough space between each hanging plant that air can circulate and moisture can evaporate out of your buds.
This initial drying process will typically take from three to seven days. The slower you take this process, the more even dry you will achieve, this will lead to better flavors. You can judge moisture levels through the snap test, if you can easily snap a stem in half then it is time to move on to the cure, but if it only bends, then there is still to much moisture left in the plant and you should leave it to hang longer.
Cure Your Buds
Once the initial drying is complete, you’ll move from drying too curing. The difference in this stage is that much of the initial moisture has been removed from the bud, and you are now preparing it for longer term storage. Because THC degrades in the presence of oxygen, you now want to limit your buds exposure to fresh air. The best way to control humidity and oxygen levels during the curing process is to place your bud in sealable containers. Glass mason-jars are commonly used. Glass is an inert substance, and they can be easily sealed. At this stage you should try and keep humidity levels around 60%, the initial moisture loss has already taken place and now you are giving the remaining moisture a chance to evenly distribute within your buds. The curing process also allows substances such as chlorophyll to breakdown. This chemical is necessary while the plant is alive, but is harsh to smoke.
During the first week of the cure you should open your curing containers once or twice a day to allow excess moisture to escape. You should also stir the buds so that material at the bottom of the container has a chance to dry out as well. This process will take anywhere from two to four weeks, but can be extended to produce a smoother smoke.
While it can be tempting to go from bud to bowl the minute your plants are harvested, a proper dry and cure will increase the quality and flavors of your buds and actually increase their shelf-life. Don’t skip this important step if you want a truly high quality smoke.