- Why dry marijuana plants?
- How to dry marijuana
- What comes after drying the buds?
- What does curing do?
- 4 factors that affect the curing process
- Equipment and tools needed to cure cannabis
- How to cure weed: 4 steps to master the art of curing cannabis
- How long does it take to cure cannabis?
- Proper cannabis bud storage
- Key takeaways about drying and curing weed
- FAQs related to drying and curing weed
Drying and curing weed properly are critical steps when it comes to producing quality buds.
By employing my techniques, you increase the chances of producing decent, smokable bud.
I will take you through it all step by step and have you smoking a tasty, full-bodied joint in no time.
You’ll discover why you should be drying and curing weed, the equipment you’ll need, and how to best store the finished product.
Are you ready? Let’s nail drying and curing cannabis here!
Why dry marijuana plants?
Drying weed may seem like an unnecessary task, but it comes with a range of benefits.
By drying your cannabis plants, you help them retain the flowers’ flavor, potency, and quality.
The main aim of the whole process is to rid the plant of its chlorophyll. This green pigment will not only make for a more difficult smoke but a bad-tasting one too.
Drying marijuana breaks it down into sugars and brings out all the unique tastes and smells your cultivar has to offer.
How to dry marijuana: the ins and outs of drying weed
The time has finally come, you’ve just harvested your plants, and now all you need to do is smoke them, right? Wrong!
Knowing how to dry marijuana effectively is crucial.
Before we continue, check out my Beginner’s Guide to drying and curing cannabis:
Once you’ve got the process down, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your hard-earned harvest.
Here are some tips:
How long to dry cannabis?
One of the essential parts of drying weed is the amount of time it needs to hang. We’d advise you to string your colas upside down in a climate-controlled area for 7–10 days, with the longest time being 14 days to make sure they don’t dry out too much.
How to set up a cannabis drying room
Cannabis drying is best achieved in a climate-controlled room. A dark room with consistent air circulation, controlled temperatures, and humidity is ideal. Choose a room you don’t regularly use, so you don’t risk light entering it too often.
Cannabis drying room equipment
How do you set up your drying room?
You’ll need a rack or string for hanging, a fan, a hygrometer, a dehumidifier, and perhaps an AC unit. Depending where you live, it’s possible you could utilize a humidifier and rather than dehumidification and AC.
The point here is to create a climate suitable for drying marijuana.
A dehumidifier will remove excess moisture in the room, and a fan circulates the air, preventing the development of mold and bud rot.
Try to keep temperatures between 60–70°F and humidity levels of 55–65%; the hygrometer will make this possible.
To reduce the chance of mold growth, always allow free air movement between the buds.
How to know when your marijuana is dry enough
I can’t stress enough the importance of giving your cannabis adequate time to dry. The quality of your smoke, as well as the effectiveness of curing, depends on it.
If you aren’t too sure how long your colas need to dry you can perform the below tests. They’ll help you decipher how long to dry your marijuana before moving on to the next step.
- Bud check. If you press into your flowers and they feel dry but still have a slight springiness to them, you know they’re most likely ready to be jarred.
- Smoke test. As the name suggests, you need to light up a joint. If it remains lit, your heads are ready to progress into their jars, if it has trouble staying alight, you’ll need to let your flowers hang a little longer.
- Snap test. Flower stems can tell you a lot about cola readiness. If you flex your stems and they snap, creating a small crack rather than bending or breaking in half, then you know your buds are dried out enough.
What comes after drying the buds?
When my weed’s dry I can smoke it, right? Not quite.
Once your flowers are dry enough, you can move onto the next step; preparing your colas to smoke or for storage.
Curing weed delivers the very best in quality, taste, and longevity.
What does curing do?
Why do you need to cure your cannabis?
The goal of curing is to get your buds to reach their full potential. That’ll help you preserve terpenes, potency, flavor, and aroma.
In essence, you give yourself the best smoke possible from your nugs.
Why is curing buds important?
Some of the reasons why curing cannabis is so important:
- The chlorophyll breaks down. This process begins with drying and ends with curing cannabis. Although it’s vital for photosynthesis, chlorophyll makes for a harsh tasting smoke.
- Preserves terpenes. Terps are responsible for aromas, flavors and, at least partially, effects.
- A smoother smoke. Moisture plays a massive role in harshness. Curing buds means you’ll be less likely to cough when inhaling the finished product.
- Increase potency. The effects and overall strength of nugs may increase when they’re jarred.
4 factors that affect the curing process
Factors such as oxygen, light, humidity, and temperature all play a significant role in curing weed.
How do these factors affect the process?
Oxygen exposure increases the speed of weed degradation.
Air-tight jars are a must to prevent marijuana from being exposed to too much air.
Open the containers only to burp them.
It’s important to keep your pot in a cool, dark place with few temp/humidity swings.
UV containers made from purple or amber colored glass have shown to be particularly effective during this phase.
I highly recommend you maintain humidity levels of 57-62% for the best results.
Any higher and you’ll run the risk of buds being affected by molds, powdery mildew, bacteria, and fungi.
Levels that are too low will allow the buds to dry out and end your curing session. Buds without moisture don’t cure, they age.
When curing marijuana, some warmth is required to turn THCA into THC.
The perfect temperature is around 70°F (better a little colder than hotter) If it gets too much warmer than that, you’ll be creating a breeding ground for mold.
If you’re after potency, we suggest you keep your heat levels in check as if it gets too hot around your pot, THCA will convert to the CBN cannabinoid rather than THC. Not to mention create awful tasting flowers.
Equipment and tools needed to cure cannabis
So what will you need to preserve your nugs?
When it comes to curing weed, there are a few items you’ll need to buy to make sure you’ve set up an ideal environment.
Below is all the equipment you may need:
- Mason jars. Make sure you buy airtight containers large enough to be filled to 75% capacity.
- Disposable gloves. Gloves will ensure you don’t rub off too many trichomes or infect buds with bacteria from unwashed hands.
- Humidipaks. These will keep humidity levels within the required range. Make sure they are silica based, not salt.
- Hygrometer. A device used to measure humidity levels. Although this isn’t necessary, it is recommended.
How to cure weed: 4 steps to master the art of curing cannabis
Are you ready to find out how to cure cannabis?
Mastering this art enables you to produce high-quality, potent flowers that leave all your senses tingling with every whiff or toke.
Step 1: Trim and prepare your buds
If you choose drying weed as individual buds already trimmed and stripped from their branches, then you can move on to the next step.
If you dried your plants whole, the first thing to do is snip and separate colas.
Be gentle and use your disposable gloves for this as you don’t want to lose or damage trichomes.
Step 2: Place the buds in a glass jar
Now is the time you’ll put those mason jars to good use.
Fill up containers to 75% of their capacity, seal them and give them a light shake.
If flowers stick together, they need further drying. If they move freely, go to step 3.
Step 3: Store the jars
When you cure cannabis, make sure the jar lids are tightly secured.
Keep your temperatures at or below 70°F and humidity levels between 57 – 62% for the buds in the jars.
Be sure to keep conditions consistent throughout this phase.
Step 4: Regularly inspect the jars
I suggest first timers leave the lids off, or cover loosely with the cap but don’t screw on the ring for the first 24hrs. Then screw all the lids on tightly.
24hrs later open one jar and check for sweet smell, or ammonia. Any detection of ammonia means you jarred too early with too much moisture. Empty all the jars and completely dry the flowers. You can try to cure again next time.
If you smell sweet candy, then you may leave the other jars. Check a second jar 24hrs later for the same criteria. If it’s good, then you’re good.
Now wait 2-3 days before checking another jar.
The idea is to get the flowers into the jar with just the right amount of moisture (around 10%) in them. Then you don’t need to burp the jars and it’s the curing gases you want to capture to achieve that INTENSE CURE.
How long does it take to cure cannabis?
Curing isn’t a quick process but it’s a worthwhile one.
After about 2–4 weeks, your flowers should be cured enough to provide quality smoke.
If you have A-grade heads and you want truly awesome products, flowers can easily be cured for 30-60 days. With practice and dedication you can learn to cure weed for up to 6 months. A curemaster has the expertise to go a year or more.
This may seem like a long time, it’ll be worth your while when you get to light up some high grade bud.
Proper cannabis bud storage
If you’ve spent the time curing your marijuana properly, the cannabinoids can be stable for up to two years without showing signs of degradation.
It’s best to store your weed in a cool, dark place because the light will speed up the deterioration process, and high temperatures can lead to mold growth.
Oxygen will also cause damage, so choose airtight containers made of glass or ceramic instead of plastic.
Key takeaways about drying and curing weed
If you’re looking for a successful harvest you’ll need to remember it doesn’t end with crop collection.
Drying and curing weed is a crucial part of growing cannabis when the end goal is consumption. Without these last two steps, your plants may lose quality and make for a less than average smoke.
By simply exposing your plants to the correct temperatures, humidity levels, oxygen, and lighting, you can create a smooth, rich, flavorsome smoke.
If you aren’t drying and curing weed properly, you can end up destroying all the fruits of your hard labor.
Plant profile, potency, and smokability are all directly affected by the way they’re preserved after collection.
By following our advice, you can guarantee your produce will give you all it’s got.
FAQs related to drying and curing weed
We’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions and answers to help guide you on your cannabis growing journey.
How often to burp weed jars when curing?
For the first 1–2 weeks, you should burp your jars by removing their lids for a few minutes one to two times per day.
After this initial stage, you can open your bottles every other day. It’s important not to open them too frequently or leave them unopened for extended periods.
What is the optimal temperature for curing weed?
A controlled climate is necessary to ensure weed quality. When curing marijuana, a temperature of 65–70°F is ideal.
Terpenes can degrade as low as 50°F, and molds, powdery mildew, bacteria, and fungi can destroy your crops if they get too warm.
Does curing increase weed potency?
In short, yes, it does. Cannabinoid acids decarboxylate into psychoactive ones when you cure cannabis, increasing its potency.
THC molecules need to lose their moisture to become psychoactive, meaning the longer nugs undergo the process, the more potent they’re likely to become.
Does curing preserve your cannabis?
Drying and curing weed is the best way to preserve cannabis for storage. Curing can retain marijuana’s sought-after elements such as terpenes, cannabinoids, taste, and smell by eliminating byproducts.
This process allows for ganja to be stored for up to two years without breaking down.
Does curing increase smell?
Have you ever noticed that some weed tastes and smells fantastic while others resemble lawn grass? As a matter of fact, it does.
Proper vs. improper preserving methods may be the reason. Curing weed retains and accentuates cannabinoids and terpenes, ensuring flavors and aromas are in full force.
When does weed stop curing?
Weed stops curing when you remove it from the ideal conditions. The goal is to slowly bring the humidity levels down from 65% to 55%. Once this is done, your job is technically complete.
There is a threshold though, after about 6–8 months, marijuana is believed to no longer benefit from being cured.
About the Author: Kyle Kushman
Kyle Kushman is a legend in the cannabis community. He is the modern-day polymath of pot: cultivator, breeder, activist, writer, and educator. After winning no less than 13 Cannabis Cups, there’s nothing this guy doesn’t know about indoor growing – he’s been there, done it, and is still doing it to this day!