Curing will also greatly enhance the shelf life of your harvest and further minimise cases of mould. If cured and stored correctly, your buds can last for a year or longer without any decline in taste or strength.
Now that we’ve discussed these vital factors, keep them in mind as you proceed to cure your stash. In reality, curing is simply a matter of opening and closing jars at the correct time. By placing your dried cannabis flowers into airtight glass mason jars, you’ll be creating an optimally controlled environment. These enclosed vessels allow humidity from within the flowers to rehydrate the exterior, without buds becoming overly wet. The end goal is a stash that smokes smooth and offers superior tastes.
Curing is a straightforward process considering you start with properly dried buds. If your stash is too wet before curing, buds will clump together and there’s a good chance that mould will take hold. Increased moisture will also encourage anaerobic bacteria to start breaking down your stash. A telltale sign this is happening is the smell of ammonia emerging from your jars every time you open them.
Harvest time might seem like the final stage in the growing process, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. After you’ve harvested the fruits of your labour, it’s time for the most vital steps of them all: drying and curing.
On the flip side, curing bud that is too dry will create a crumbly and harsh stash that isn’t pleasant to smoke. Ideally, cannabis flowers should be dried in a room with a humidity of between 45–55%. This will result in a dry and slightly crumbly exterior and a more humid interior. Once it comes time for curing, humidity is increased slightly to an ideal reading of around 62%.
During the first couple of days, you’ll need to check on your buds around twice per day. Inspect them through the glass and keep a careful eye on any mould formation. You’ll also need to open the lids for a couple of minutes each time you check to allow for fresh air exchange. Keep an eye on your hygrometers. If the reading displays 60–65% humidity, continue as normal. If things are getting too wet, leave the lids off the jars for around 3 hours to let excess moisture escape. If humidity is too low, leave the lids on for longer periods without breathing sessions. If you still don’t notice any increase in humidity, place a small humidity pack inside the affected jars.
Taste isn’t the only thing that curing can accomplish. The process can also enhance the high itself. THC, the active psychotropic constituent in cannabis, degrades over time into a cannabinoid known as CBN. CBN is thought to be mildly psychoactive, but is associated with different effects than THC.
Curing also preserves desirable flavours. The molecules that give cannabis strains their intense and unique flavours are known as terpenes. These volatile compounds can degrade easily under high heat, so gentle drying followed by prolonged curing is the way to go for tasty buds.
After carefully cultivating your crop for months, an additional few weeks of curing is nothing. It will transform harsh and damp buds into smooth flowers loaded with taste.
Curing is a long and tedious process for many growers, but results in a buttery smooth smoke and enhanced flavour. Learn how to do it properly here.
Many people start by removing branches from the main plant. Often people find it easiest to remove (or ‘trim’) the leaves off at this stage before they get dry and crispy later. If you have grown from good quality feminized cannabis seeds or autoflower seeds you should find plenty of resin on the leaves and trim material. Many growers save the trim and use it to make hash or cannabis concentrates later. Some larger growers have invested in automatic trimming machines. These are a great convenience, though they are often several thousand Dollars/Euro’s. They are used as a labor-saving device by large legal growers.
Curing removes the last traces of moisture. This is important if the buds are to last several months, or even a year or two, without going moldy. During curing the buds develop the full aroma and taste which adds so much pleasure to the eventual consumption. Proper drying and curing of cannabis is one of the most over-looked aspects of cannabis supply. Black market producers in particular pay very little attention to drying/curing. That’s one of the main reasons people prefer to grow their own cannabis, they can easily exceed the quality levels of local street weed.
Drying your cannabis will cause a powerful aroma which can be smelt from some distance away, so be sure to take proper precautions and always have a carbon filter to clean the waste air. To allow the slow control which comes from an un-rushed drying process many people use air conditioning to maintain temperatures around 20ºC (70ºF). Humidity should be kept from getting too high, around 50% allows a steady drying process.
Usually the drying process takes around a week, sometimes longer. In order to slow the drying process down a little, some people removes the buds from the branches and put them into brown paper envelopes for a few days. They use brown paper because it is unbleached yet permeable enough to allow moisture to slowly escape. When the smaller branches are dry enough to snap, many growers decide the residual humidity is low enough to start curing the buds. At this stage the outside of the buds will feel a little bit ‘crunchy’.
As the cannabis buds approach curing they have lost most, but not all, of their moisture. The final curing stage is the final, and arguably the most important part of cannabis supply. Often people use glass jars. Plastic is less preferred since it can be softened/dis-colored by the sticky resin on the buds. The well trimmed buds are placed in the glass jars leaving a centimetre or two at the top of the jar. The jars are sealed, and left in the dark. The jars are then unsealed once (or perhaps twice) a day to allow any moisture to be released. Some people refer to this as ‘burping’ the jars. Two or three weeks is considered a minimum cure time. Many connoisseurs feel that curing is complete after around a month or two. The cured buds will vape with a clean flavor and no ‘chlorophyll’ taste. Once your buds are fully cured you may prefer to store them in a freezer to fully preserve potency and ensure no degradation. Don’t store them in a high temperature environment (e.g. a warm loft space) if you want the best long term storage.
How quickly the cannabis dries depends on local ambient humidity and temperatures. Cannabis connoisseurs never rush the drying and curing. A mindful, slow and measured approach delivers the best results. Only an inexperienced grower would dry their cannabis on a radiator or in a microwave and hope for high quality results.
One drying tip is to start at 60% for the first few days, slowly working your way down to 55% again for a few days. After a week (max 10 days) set your dehumidifier to 50% to dry the buds a little further. As soon as the branches start to snap (or almost snap) this is a sign that the buds on those branches are just about ready to put into the jars. Check for similar sized branches, remove buds and place in the jar. Note that the biggest flowers often take a day or two longer to dry. Some cannabis growers use drying racks to dry their buds. They remove all the buds from the branches and spread them out to dry on shelves made from netting.
One of the most underrated aspects of cannabis cultivation is the importance of drying and curing your cannabis well. Many passionate cannabis home growers work hard to identify the best cannabis seeds, the best LED grow lights and nutrition regime only to let themselves down with a substandard dry and cure. This can make the whole experience of vaping/smoking a great disappointment. Read on to find out more about the best ways to improve your cannabis drying and curing techniques.
No-one wants to open their jars to find that the buds have mold because they were put in the jar before being sufficiently dry. Likewise, you don’t want to open your jar of prized buds to find that they are too dry and crispy, with poor taste and aroma. Buds that are too dry can feel like they are several years old and can have a harsh effect when vaped/smoked. When you open your jars you want to have premium quality buds, with optimized potency, a well cured aroma and a fresh taste. One way to achieve this is with humidity control sachets from companies like Boveda or Integra. These sachets release moisture if your buds are too dry, or they absorb moisture if the buds are damp. You can select different products from these companies. From Boveda we recommend the ’58% Humidity’ sachets. From Integra we recommend the ’55% humidity’ packs.
Read on to find out more about drying and curing of cannabis. Find out some tips from the professionals and avoid the most common rookie mistakes