You’ve built out your grow, bought your Homegrown cannabis seeds and followed the guides from pop to crop. You’ve even dried your marijuana plants and they look perfectly ready to smoke. It’s been a long process and all you want to do is blaze up a bowl. Sure, you can do that, but it misses out a vitally important step: curing your cannabis.
Uncured cannabis is like unseasoned food, an immature wine or a couch with no cushions. It’s like dropping out of college a week before graduation. It’s unfair on your nostrils and torture for your tastebuds. Why would you want to miss out on the rich, smooth flavor of well-cured cannabis? Why would you want to swap punchy for plain? Why would you want a Plymouth when you could drive a Porsche?
This article will take a look at why we cure cannabis and how we cure cannabis. It will explore why curing cannabis should be considered a vital last step and not simply an extra mile.
What is cured flower?
Curing is how we describe the aging of marijuana, usually inside sealed mason jars. It produces a drier bud and cleaner, smoother smoke. It replaces the unpleasant dry ‘hay’ smells with the whiff of ripe resin and cannabinoids. Cannabinoid acids decarboxylate into psychoactive cannabinoids, terpenes become polyterpenes. The chlorophyll and other pigments break down and the result is massively improved flavor, smell and potency.
How do you increase cannabinoid production? Does curing increase potency?
Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) is the building block of cannabinoids. It’s created in a process called cannabinoid synthesis. In a series of reactions, CBGA eventually transforms into the acidic precursors of the three main cannabinoids – THCA, CBDA, and CBCA. They will become THC, CBD, and CBC during the decarboxylation process.
Cannabinoid synthesis can continue even after the plants are trimmed. If you expose the freshly-harvested flowers to the right temperature and humidity, CBGA will keep on turning into THCA and CBDA. An increased level of the acidic compounds essentially means higher THC and/or CBD concentrations later on. Curing entails keeping the dried buds in a cool, dark, and sealed place. These conditions are not only optimal for cannabinoid synthesis but also prevent the deterioration of THC and CBD. All this results in higher potency weed.
How do you increase your terpenes?
Proper curing allows you to preserve the terpenes. These aromatic compounds not only give cannabis strains their distinct smell and flavor, they can also amplify the medicinal effects of the cannabinoids.
Terpenes, though, are highly volatile and can evaporate quickly in warmer temperatures. A rapid, hot drying process can be damaging. Curing at low temperatures for a longer period will delay the degradation of terps, meaning better taste and higher-quality cannabis.
Does curing increase smell?
By preserving the terpene profile, you get better-tasting, more aromatic smoke. The minerals and sugars responsible for harsh, irritating and cough-inducing smoke are also broken down in the cure. So, not only does cured cannabis taste better, it’s far smoother, too.
Does curing preserve your cannabis?
Proper curing extends the shelf life of cannabis. It also helps prevent the formation of molds and bacteria. If stored the right way, your buds can last for up to two years without significant loss in potency or flavor.
Curing cannabis: things to consider
Light, oxygen, heat and high humidity can interfere with the curing process. Be sure to keep an eye on these elements to keep the buds as fresh as possible.
Do you need to cure cannabis in the dark?
Of all the factors, light can degrade cannabinoids and terpenes the fastest. This is why your buds need to be stored in a dark place. Mason jars are suitable as storage containers because they’re inert and won’t affect the flavor or smell of your cured marijuana.
For best results, choose UV glass containers. These specialized jars are designed to block sunlight and UV light, helping preserve the freshness of stored food products – they work great for your weed, too.
Is oxygen important when curing cannabis?
Aside from light, too much oxygen can hasten the degradation of valuable compounds. This is why your cure takes place in airtight glass jars.
Is heat important when curing cannabis?
Heat is needed to activate THCA into THC, but you should stick to a temperature around 70°F (21°C). Higher temps can be a breeding ground for molds, mildew and bacteria.
Heat exposure is counterproductive if you want potency, because it speeds up the breakdown of THCA into CBN. Although CBN is not a bad thing if you’re in for relaxation. Rather than a mind-bending high, this compound produces sedating and sleep-inducing effects.
Is humidity important when curing cannabis?
During the curing procedure, an RH level between 60% to 65% is recommended. If it’s excessively high, the buds will become damp and clump together, inviting molds, mildews, fungi and bacteria. Too dry and your buds will grow brittle, causing the trichome heads to break off.
Your guide to curing cannabis buds
Step 1: Prepare the buds
How did you dry your cannabis? If you’ve already fully bucked and trimmed, proceed to step 2. If you dried the plants whole, as advised by Kyle Kushman, now’s the time to buck and trim. Don’t be too rough when you do, you don’t want to lose your precious trichomes.
Step 2: Place the buds in a glass jar
Ready the storage container. An airtight, wide-mouthed mason jar is going to be perfect.
A 32 oz. (1 quart) jar is ideal for curing – anything larger size will only encourage molds. Fill it until to 80% capacity, leaving some breathing room.
After filling, shake the jar gently. If the buds move around freely, proceed to the next step. If they stick together, they’re still damp and need further drying. Leave the jar unscrewed and let it sit for 1 to 4 hours. If the buds still clump up, they’re still too wet. Carefully remove them and allow them to dry for 12 to 24 hours.
Step 3: Store the jars
Close the glass jars securely. Keep them in a cool, dark place like a kitchen cupboard, but a rarely-used one. Again, the temperature should sit at around 70°F with an RH level between 60% and 65%.
Step 4: Regularly inspect the jars
During the first couple of weeks, unscrew the lid once or twice a day, leaving it open for a few minutes. This helps aerate the buds and allows excess moisture to evaporate.
Examine for mold and take a deep whiff – it should smell fresh. Any ammonia-like odor indicates the presence of anaerobic bacteria, meaning your buds are probably too moist.
Check the RH. If it’s too high, leave the jar open for up to four hours. If the RH level is too low, keep the jar closed and don’t open it as regularly.
Step 5: Continue checking the buds
After a week, you can start inspecting the jars every other day. If you can, extend the curing period for six to eight more months. Trust us, it will take the quality, flavor and aroma of the buds to the next level. When you finally get to smell that brilliantly cured cannabis, you’ll realize it has all been worth it. The first step into a larger world.