Curing and drying cannabis is a very crucial part of the plant’s growth process. In this stage, the important elements of your overall harvest can be at risk. These include flavor, aroma, and potency. Flavor and odor should be carefully preserved and cultivated.
This process is highly essential because it allows the marijuana plants to purge sugar or even chlorophyll. Incorrect curing and drying of cannabis flowers will eventually lead to the reduction of its potency. As explained by the Wikibooks.org, four things reduce cannabis potency are air, exposure to light, plant tissue damage and heat.
Furthermore, improperly stored and dried marijuana may contain a huge percentage of mold growth and moisture in its surface. Take note that most rapid cannabis flower drying techniques often dry the compact flower’s external part only. Thus, this slow kind of slow technique can be crucial in drawing such moisture to its surface.
In other words, it takes a lot of patience to cure and dry cannabis plants.
The Essence of Curing Cannabis Flowers
For several months of taking care of your plants, you have finally reaped the fruit of your labor. However, your cannabis plants and flowers must be dried before anything else. In the first place, you might get tempted to do this process quickly.
But you should not skip the process of curing as it removes moisture from its flower. This is done in a controlled environmental condition to obtain a great product for various purposes.
So, what you need to know further is how curing helps in terms of preserving and increasing flower, potency, and aroma.
1. Proper Marijuana Curing Enhances Potency Levels
Marijuana plants can produce THCA or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid and some cannabinoids under the process known as “biosynthesis”. This is the process where such compounds are slowly converted into a new blend. For instance, THCA turns into a major psychoactive compound found in marijuana plants, THC.
Bear in mind that this process will not stop from the moment that your plant has been cut down. Keeping your freshly-harvested plants with temperature 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 45 to 55 percent humidity level means that converting non-psychoactive cannabinoids to THCA goes on. Thus, cannabis buds gain potency. Drying in warm conditions can halt the process faster.
2. Curing Preserves the Cannabis Flowers
With proper cure, you can store the cannabis flowers for a long time without thinking about cannabinoid content loss and mold. Moreover, well-cured plants and flowers may be kept in air-tight containers. Make sure to store them in a cool and dark place for a maximum period of 2 years without losing potency.
3. Curing Can Affect the Quality of Smoke and Flavor
Most aromatic compounds (or terpenes) that have unique flavor and scent are fairly volatile. They can also evaporate and degrade at a lower temperature such as 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Slow curing process at a low temperature preserves the terpenes even better rather than a hot and quick drying process.
Such condition creates a good environment for aerobic bacteria and enzymes to get rid of the remaining minerals and those undesirable sugars coming from chlorophyll decomposition during the cannabis drying process.
These leftover minerals and sugars are causing a harsh and throat-burning sensation when smoking such poorly cured cannabis.
Drying and Curing Cannabis Flowers – The Process
There are various ways of curing marijuana buds or flowers. However, many people prefer only one method. Even if your buds can be cured on dry ice, freeze-dry, or water, some only focus on the most certain and easiest way to obtain an impeccable result from their harvest.
Steps in Drying Buds
Before taking the first steps in drying your cannabis, the first thing you want to know is how long it will take to dry them. The most ideal timeline and conditions for drying are listed below:
– Day 1 (55 percent humidity; 3:65 degrees)
– Day 4 (50 percent humidity; 6:70 degrees)
– Day 7 (45 percent humidity; 10’ish: 73 to 75 degrees until passing the snap test)
The data above tells that you need to continue letting the buds dry until the snap test has been passed. You need to get a stem and bend it. When it audibly snap, crisp and nice, then your buds are completely dried and ready for trimming.
Cutting 12 to 16 inches of branches from cannabis plants is the most renowned method. This involves removal of big leaves and hanging of branches from a wire or a string upside down.
The cutting time of the buds depends on the humidity level of your environment and your target harvest. It is due to the reason that you are trying to observe the 7 to 10 days of the drying process. Always remember that bigger buds take more time to dry.
Your goal must be focused on keeping the process the right way – not too slow or too fast. To do so, you should pay attention to the environment’s humidity including the water level in the plants. For example, having a completely dry environment makes some marijuana cultivators cut their whole plants and hang them. This method is increasing the total span of the drying process. It is because of the branches and stems that hold water in the buds.
On the other hand, having a humid environment makes the plants dry too long. This is also the time when you worry about some things such as the occurrence of mold. To resolve this issue, you can cut those buds from their branches and leave only a few inches. Then, you can put them on the drying rack as they will dry quicker.
Let your flowers get dried under an ideal condition until they have passed the snap test. This is the stage when you cannot rush every step you make. If you dry your buds on a drying rack, make sure to leave a couple of inches of stems attached. Most growers prefer to dry until the buds’ external portion is dry when touched. However, this is often a risky step to take.
You might have been mistaken with the way you judge how the buds feel. This is because the cannabis buds or flowers hold most of the moisture in the core of their structures. The buds may feel like perfectly dried once touched and some would even crumble right in your hands. But in only a matter of days, they get ruined in the jar since they are still wet.
One of the simplest tests you can perform is taking the biggest buds in your plants. Place it in a small bag or jar. After an hour, come back and see if there is moisture on the container or if the bud becomes damp when touched. This is how you determine if it takes more time to dry.
In other words, if you have some doubts about how your buds will get dry, allow one extra day for them.
Know When It Is Time To Cure
once the cannabis buds become dry with a crispy outer layer, you are ready to cure. Those smaller stems break under pressure while the larger ones flex a little bit. Such fact that a large stem does not break implies that they remain partially hydrated. This is good since you need a small amount of moisture in the stem for a successful curing process.
Step-by-Step Guide in Curing Cannabis Buds
The next step after drying your cannabis buds is to put them in the turkey bags. As mentioned earlier, you can use these turkey bags or the Mason jars.
Regardless of the tool you use, you should only fill your container around 75%. Leave space for air since it helps split those byproducts and sugars from breaking down of chlorophyll as a part of the curing process. Thus, it makes the final product smoother.
Important Note: Don’t stuff your buds in if you are trying to make them loosely stacked. Of course, you do not want them to get crushed or deformed. You must provide a little bit of space or air around them.
Leave about one quart of the container empty to follow such a tip. Do not forget to place your sealed bag or jag in a cool and dark space.
If you are utilizing hygrometer, you may put the buds inside the bags to check the temperature and humidity. The best environment for this process should be around 50 to 60 percent humidity and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (or 21 degrees Celsius).
Operating above moderate climates means that you should measure humidity and temperature in this way.
For the first two weeks, check the buds daily for mold and mildew. Furthermore, you may also “burp” the cannabis plants. Burping the buds means you take them out of the jar or bag for inspection. Then, put them back inside after removing some problems.
Making slight changes in their positions in the jar or bag should give a more unified cure. This only means that you do not have to wait for a long time for inspection.
See to it that after 2 weeks, you must open your containers at least once weekly, not daily. Please bear in mind that the longer period you cure the buds like this, the better the results will be even up to 6 months.
If it takes longer, you will not enhance the important qualities such as the flavor and aroma. The safest thing to do is to have small amounts as samples during this curing process. This way, you can see check if the product can be introduced to the local market.
The process of curing cannabis buds is often an overlooked part of marijuana production. Because of tough competition in the recreational and medical cannabis markets, more producers focus on this process that makes a typical product into a remarkable one. This time, you can achieve the same success with your beloved homegrown cannabis flowers.
Tools and Equipment Used in Curing and Drying Cannabis Buds
You will need some apparatus and main necessities to perform drying and curing of your cannabis flowers. These include the following:
• Dry Rack – The drying rack will be necessary depending on the way you want to dry the marijuana buds. Although it is not the most commonly used method, it makes misshaping the buds easily. However, it will be applicable in a high humidity environment.
• Environmentally Controlled Area for Plus Wiring, String or Dry – It is paramount to find a spacious spot where you take control of the humidity and the temperature. Otherwise, you cannot control the period of the drying process. The string or wire is used to hang your marijuana plants, which is a preferred way to get them dried.
• Humidity Packets – These packets are optional materials when drying and curing your marijuana flowers. These things can generally control around 62% of the humidity in the turkey bags.
• Turkey Oven Bags (or Mason jars, 1-quart size) – Although most marijuana cultivators are using Mason jars when curing, some consider turkey oven bags are the best one. Primarily, they are cheaper compared with Mason jars. Plus, they can hold more than a pound of buds.
Furthermore, they are not 100% airtight which only means that they can breathe well for a better cure. This means that mason jars are used by most dispensaries and display their finished products on their shelves. You can have this tool but it is trickier in terms of getting proper curing process since they are too airtight.
• Hygrometer – Hygrometer is a small gadget designed in measuring the water vapor present in the air. This is another optional tool but it helps a lot to determine the level of humidity inside the curing jars or bags. This is the reason why you need to guarantee that it is optimal.
Source: YouTube Published: February 10, 2018, by Lex Blazer
Proper curing and drying of your cannabis flowers are like the finishing stroke of your painting to make a masterpiece. It will enhance the overall value of the final product. It takes planning ahead of time and being patient. Take it slow and harvest the best marijuana products in the market.