Curing weed increases its shelf life and potency. It’s an important yet overlooked part of cultivating weed, which significantly affects the end product. Curing eliminates the moisture from the weed and allows the plant’s terpene and cannabinoid-rich oil to completely mature. You might be tempted to use your harvested weed immediately, but knowing how to cure weed will help you get a more flavorful and potent final product.
Benefits of Curing Weed
Preserve the bud’s potency
Curing weed preserves the natural constituents and compounds of the buds. Cannabis produces cannabinoids such as THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) through biosynthesis, a process wherein certain compounds are converted into new ones. THCA is converted into THC during the curing process. CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) becomes CBD (cannabidiol).
This process will continue if you store freshly harvested buds in a room with humidity levels between 45% and 55% and temperatures between 60°F and 70°F. The buds will become more potent, as well. If you dry the buds quickly in a warm environment, this process ends much faster.
Extends shelf life
Uncured weed becomes moldy quickly. Properly curing your weed is necessary if you want to store it for future use. Well-cured buds can stay fresh up to 2 years, provided that you store them in airtight containers in a cool, darkroom.
Improves aroma and flavor
Curing weed improves its smell and flavor. It preserves the bud’s aromatic compounds, which give weed its unique aroma and taste. These aromatic compounds, known as terpenes, become more pronounced when the buds are cured. Uncured buds have a hay-like or grassy taste.
Many of the terpenes in cannabis can fade at a temperature as low as 70°F. Curing the buds slowly at lower temperatures will help preserve these aromatic compounds. It also allows aerobic bacteria and enzymes to break down the undesirable sugars and leftover minerals produced by chlorophyll decomposition during the drying process. The leftover minerals and sugars cause the throat-burning sensation that’s often felt from using improperly cured weed.
Curing Process: Duration
The curing process usually takes 1 month. It involves two phases – the drying process and the final curing process. The drying process can take up to 2 weeks. It all depends on the humidity level of the area where the buds are placed to dry and how the plants were grown. The final curing process takes around 2 weeks. Extending the curing process for another 4 to 8 weeks provides better results.
How to Cure Weed
There are different ways to cure weed, but most people use the dry and cure process as it’s known to regularly produce a high-quality end product. Here are the steps on how to cure weed.
Initial Drying Process
The initial drying process prevents the weed from drying out too fast.
- Cut 12″ to 16″ branches from the cannabis plants. Get rid of unwanted leaves. You can also hang whole plants or cut buds from the branches and put them on drying racks. If you want only the branches, you can hang them from a wire or string.
- Regardless of the method you choose, you have to keep the weed in the dark place. Keep humidity levels at 45% to 55% and the temperatures at 60°F to 70°F. There should also be a small fan to circulate the air inside the room. This will help preserve the smell and taste of the buds. Consider investing in an air conditioning unit or dehumidifier to maintain the humidity and temperature in the room.
- The drying process can take 5 to 15 days. You can proceed to the next phase when the smallest branches break, or the flowers feel a bit crunchy.
Actual Curing Process
- Get airtight containers. Consider using tinted jars because they prevent UV light from infiltrating and destroying the compounds found in the flowers. Remove the flower buds from the branches and pack them loosely in the containers. Fill about ¾ of the containers. Take care not to crush the buds.
- Cover the containers and keep them in a cool, darkroom. Make sure that the room is dry. The buds won’t be dry and crunchy because the moisture within the buds rehydrates their outer portion.
- Open the airtight containers 5 to 10 times every day during the 1st week. This will allow the moisture escaping from the buds to replenish the oxygen within the containers. If it smells like ammonia or mold, it means that the buds aren’t dry enough for curing. Remove them from the containers and air-dry them for a few days.
- After the 1st week, things will get a lot easier because you only need to open the jars once every few days to allow the buds to breathe. Shake the containers to move the buds around. This will prevent the buds from sticking together.
- The buds will be cured enough after 2 to 3 weeks. You can also extend the curing process to improve the quality of the final product.
You may want to invest in a hygrometer to accurately measure the humidity level inside the containers. Humidity should be kept at 60% to 65%. If it’s too low, don’t open the containers for longer periods. You can also put a humidity pack inside the containers to increase humidity. If it’s too high, open the containers for at least 3 hours to allow excess moisture to escape.
How to Store Cured Weed
Keep the cure buds in airtight jars to avoid exposing them to the air. Consider using a vacuum sealer if you want to store the cured buds long-term. Exposing the buds to the air can degrade the compounds they contain, so you have to store them properly.
Knowing how to cure weed is definitely worth your time and effort. Curing will reduce the risk of mold and greatly improve the shelf life of your weed. If properly cured and stored, your harvest will stay fresh for 6 months to 1 year or even longer. The best thing about it is that you won’t notice any difference in the weed’s strength and taste.