The 7 most common errors drying cannabis
After months of giving our plants all the care they require, the time to harvest finally arrives. Whichever variety of cannabis you cultivate, you’ll probably want to dry it before consuming it. While to many it may seem the least important phase (the hardest part is over!), the correct drying of our plants is essential to enjoy the best possible quality, if we don’t take the necessary care with drying, we can ruin our efforts… and our entire harvest!
In our post about drying and curing cannabis, we gave you the basic information to dry your flowers perfectly. In this article we will focus on the most common mistakes made when drying our precious buds, mistakes that as we say can ruin the flowers we have been caring for months. Let’s see what the typical errors are when drying marijuana.
Hanging the buds to dry the is standard practice
Not checking the colour of the trichomes
Closely observing the colour of the trichomes is crucial to enable us to harvest the plants at the optimum time, with the maximum possible content of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc. During flowering, this colour changes from transparent to milky as the glandular heads of the trichomes fill with compounds, ending with a lovely amber colour.
Normally, the best time to harvest is with a large proportion of milky trichomes, and a small number are already showing amber tones. At this time the cannabinoid and terpene content is at its highest, so the flavour, aroma and effect of the buds will also be at their peak. This is the first step to achieve a quality product, which we will finish off during the drying process.
Harvesting with wet substrate
Once we see that we’re at the optimum point of harvest, it’s time to cut the plants. A common mistake, which can delay drying for several days, is harvesting the plants when the substrate is wet, or to put it another way, when the water content within the plants tissues is at the maximum. So if we want to properly dry our buds in the shortest time possible, it’s best to harvest the plants when the substrate has been dry for at least one day and their internal water content will be therefore lower.
In the same way, if we want to accelerate drying, it’s best to trim cannabis thoroughly before hanging them to dry, and also removing as much stalk and stem as we can. In this way less vegetable mass must be dried, and the bud drying process will be faster.
Keep an eye on the colour of the trichomes to harvest at the best moment
Handling the buds too much
Both when we’re cutting the plants or during the trimming process (and also when hanging them to dry), it’s very important not to handle the flowers excessively. Trichome heads – where the various compounds that give cannabis its flavour and high are produced and stored – are very delicate, and can easily break off if we touch the buds too much.
In fact, charas is made by manually rubbing fresh flowers to get a thick layer of resin (hash) attached to the hands. This is precisely what we want to avoid here if we want to keep our buds in perfect condition!
Not removing infected parts of the plant
Once we’re ready to trim, or to directly hang to dry if we want to trim the dried flowers, we must carefully check each bud looking for infection, in particular fungi such as botrytis or powdery mildew. If we hang a plant up to drywith some type of fungal infection, the infection may spread during drying, leaving uswith the unpleasant surprise of an infected and spoiled harvest.
It’s very important to remove any mouldy parts of the plant before drying
Incorrect humidity levels in the drying room
We already have our flowers cut, trimmed, and ready to dry. However, we must bear in mind that the relative humidity level inside the drying room will determine both the speed of the drying and the quality of it. We want a slow and uniform drying, without peaks in temperature or humidity inside the drying area, which should be kept as constant as possible.
The ideal humidity to dry cannabis is 50-60%. Any lower and the plants will probably dry too quickly, while if it’s higher, problems with fungi can arise and the drying process can also take forever.
Inadequate ventilation while drying
As we already mentioned, in addition to maintaining an adequate level of humidity, it’s important to avoid the air inside the drying room becoming stagnant. Many growers use their grow tent as a dryer, leaving the ventilation system on during the drying process. In this way, a correct air circulation is achieved inside, and if a carbon filter is installed, the intense smell of the plants is avoided.
You can also install a small fan to help the air circulate and avoid the formation of air pockets or moisture, although we recommend not to point it directly at the flowers we’re drying. This could cause them to dry too quickly in some areas of the plants, and as we know, what we want is slow and uniform drying.
It’s important to control the temperature and humidity in the drying room
Temperature and light in the drying room
As with humidity, an incorrect temperature can ruin our flowers, as can drying them in full daylight. Temperatures over 25 degrees can dry the plant too fast, the ideal temperature being about 18-20 degrees celsius. On the other hand, if we dry the plants in the light this will degrade part of the content of the trichomes, reducing the final quality of the buds.
The ideal is to dry the plants in a relatively cool, well ventilated and dark place. This way, we will avoid many of the factors that can cause drying to reduce the quality of our harvest.
We hope this article helps you to get finished buds of the highest quality. A last and useful advice: if your buds have got too dry, you can put them in a hermetic jar with a few fresh weed leaves (or some other vegetable). In this way, the buds will recover moisture, which they absorb as the leaves release it. When they are at the ideal point, we just need to remove the leaves and begin the curing process.
Feel free to leave us any doubts or observations you may have, we’re always happy to answer you!
Comments and questions about The 7 most common errors drying cannabis
I am drying in a grow tent i have 1 plant can I hang that upside down and put extractor fan at the top and circulation fan pointing down wiĺl that dry my plant ok . bearing in mind my room that tent is in is pretty cool ..around 15c i have no way of warming up my room that my tent is in …apart from central heating / radiator …could I have heating on really low like 20c or will it still dry around 15_18 c
The important thing is to reduce humidity, provide ventilation and raise the temperature it is good to dry the plant. In these cases, a dehumidifier can be a great help.
i used to dry in my grow tent , i wasted 2 weeks waiting for it to finish.
than used dry net , but i had to put an industrial fan or else your weed filled with mold , and the smell was so strong . now i use wedryer and all my worries are over , and there is no smell . the day i trimme , i start a new cycle .
the electricity is minor and the product quality is the best i had until now.
With my house heater running, the humidity is low, can I dry in garage at 45f-55f degree because humidity is better? It’s dark , cool, and more easily able to move air.
hey thanks for this articale i have a question if im drying in 27-28 c and 40% humidity (i have no way to change that) how long shuld i dry them and what is the demage that im doing to them?
Well, while your conditions are not ideal, they’re not too bad. You should have your buds ready in about 2 weeks (just check the texture of the buds with your fingers until you feel like you’ll be able to grind them without problems). Still, you can improve the quality of the buds with proper curing, leaving them in sealed jars which should be opened just a few minutes once a day. You should have better buds after 3-4 weeks of curing.
I was reading that it’s ok to harvest some buds on your plant before others. They also say you can use your grow room as your drying area also. Mine is in a closet. My question is if I have some of the buds drying and the rest of the plant still in the flowering cycle will the light mess up the drying process? My closet isnt very big, like 8’×12′
That’s correct, although harvesting some buds before others is usually done when growing outdoors, where plants get really big and – normally – the tops are ready when the lower parts still need some extra days. Almost 100% of indoor growers harvest their whole plants on the same day.
As you say, trying to dry the buds with the lights on will definitely speed up the process, although quality will be lower. It’s always better to dry the buds in complete darkness.
Hope this helps!
That’s a solid article about growing cannabis, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of growing marijuana if you want to grow the super nice flowers, thank you for the hard work you put into gathering all of this great info. Have you heard of the new RSPEC Niemi Deep-Red grow lights are designed to enhance flower while still being a great full cycle grow light from seed to flower?
Thanks for your comment. Didn’t know about those lamps, will check them asap!
my dry room is a walk in closet temp is 72 degrees , what can I use to get temp to 20 degrees , just started 2 days ago… please help
Hi, your best bet would be a small, portable air conditioning unit/room chiller. If the walk in closet isn’t very large then you shouldn’t need a big, expensive model. Calculate the cubic footage of the space and find one that can comfortably cope with that capacity.
Also, presuming the temperature in the closet is 72º Fahrenheit, not Celsius (which would be insanely hot!), you only really need to reduce it to around 60ºF for a good drying temperature. Any lower than that and the air won’t be able to hold enough moisture to dry the plants. Getting the room temp down to 20 degrees as you suggest would be below freezing.
also I just put dehumidifier in today & set at 60 % & waiting to see if that will effect the temp 72 degrees , trying
to get room temp to 20 degrees or 30 , 40 , 50 anything closer to the correct room temp
In my experience, de-humidifiers will actually work to increase the temperature of a room. The air-con unit will have some dehumidifying effect, although it may not be enough to dry your crop, in which case you’ll have to alternate between the two units to maintain the ideal conditions.
Hey great read thanks fir the tips. Say one has a 4x4x6 tent. Temps range from 24-26 daytime and 20-22 at night. Between 40-55 rh. Is it possible to dry some stems in the tent at night while the plants are still in flower then move them to a small closet during the day? In order to get airflow the closet must remain open. Will get a little indirect light but less than the tent during lights on time. Finally is it important to get fresh air into the room containing the tent and closet? Room has a dehumidifier and a wall mounted ac/heater with dehumidifying function. Tent has carbon filter and intake and exhaust fan but the room is a closed system. Exhaust fan vents into the room. Thanks in advance.
I don’t see the problem. If your closet was closed, then perhaps RH would raise too much during the night period. But if I understood correctly the closet is open, so there should be no problem. What concerns me is that you say plants will get some light during the night period? You should avoid that!
Apart from the light issue, your temp and RH ranges are optimal, so you should have no problems.
Thanks for such a informative article ! Good read and helps us newbies learn the are of cultivation. I live I’m melbourne Australia and my grow was outdoors . The weather has turned and I’ve harvested my plants even though I probably could of left them but with the rains starting to take more occurrence I didn’t however the dry room is my shed which has plenty of ventilation but has a skylight that’s shines light during the day and temps here in Melbourne are 15 degrees Celsius in the day and 9 degrees Celsius at night obviously depending on weather patterns but float at around 12 degrees Celsius at night . Humidity 71%
1. Do I need to put a temp tarp over my roof to make it completely black
2 . Is it too cold at night
I’m 3 days into drying. I hung most everything up on a line but hung some in a cardboard box. I found that in the box I maintained a good environment ie. 68-69 and 50-54% rh. So today I boxed the entire crop into another box. My rh shot up to 58%rh. Good air circulation and temperatures are within range. Second box is my concern being that it has gone up as high as it has. Dehumidifier and carbon filter is running to no avail. What to do? Thanks.
Is this ready to dry
I live in Thailand.Its 30 c most days.I don’t have access to a cool area? What are my options.
I love living in the tropics but this is a challenge.
Hey I’m new to growing, but old school stoner, got 4 girls in a 3×3 gorilla tent with 600 watt HPS, hortilux super bulb of course, and 2 6in intake fans with both carbon filters. I thought this would give me a good setup.. Everything is going amazing, im only using technaflora nutrients 8 different kinds, with royal gold basement mix for my medium, my question is about Flushing I heard so many different things that I can tell what’s best but I was told since I was using this kind of soil and the organic nutrients that I wouldn’t have to flush more than 7 days and another say two weeks and what happens if I go three weeks will that kill my plants or what cuz I’m trying to get the timing down perfectly cuz I would like to attend a flush or the best tasting flush I can do? What would you recommend also drying its 100 degrees where I live going to dry out in closets maybe bathroom with air conditioning vent but can keep it at 70 degrees during the day but overnight it gets up to 75 is that going to be okay or is that going to try it too fast I’m looking for a good 10-day dr14 and does it really make a difference if you drive trim or trim after you dry because I heard if you trim it all before you can dig rate the THC on the buds?
I just harvested my plant and drying my lady under my GAZEBO outside…she is hanging. The TEMPS are in the 50’s at night and in the 60’s – 70’s during the day….
Can I dry in a garage with lows at about 5 or 6 degrees Celsius
I was wondering how important is it to leave your plants in the Dark full time they are drying
Hey. Last year I pretty much wasted my first ever crop. I dried my bud in the basement washroom, with doors closed, lights off and a fan indirectly blowing against the wall circulating the air. Also had the exhaust fan from the washroom running non stop. The skunk dank smell disappeared after the first day of drying. Turned into an awful hay/grass/earthy smell. Curing didn’t bring back the skunk smell. They buds also turned brown and tasted like absolute $&it.
I feel like my problem was I couldn’t control the humidity in the room. It was naturally around 39%-40%. Room temperature about 20c. I’m not sure and I’d like to know if the humidity is the problem. All the homework and research I’ve been doing is saying it’s my humidity
Just plucked my 1st auto flower and this time I have –
In Basement washroom
Washroom exhaust fan going
Indirect fan blowing upwards
Humidifier set on low
Room temp 20.4c
The scary part is that it’s been drying a little over a day now, it still has the skunky smell, but I feel like it’s transforming into the hay/grass/earthy smell.
Wtf am I doing wrong?
Só i have mines drying in 31/34 celsius and humidity 49/64 whats the damadge that can happen?
Also im drying in my closet its a 3 door closet só o have fans Doing air circulation in One SIDE só theres always air movement
What souls i worried about and can the cure revert thoes damages??
So for about 30 hours I used a fan to dry my plants, which were hanging. I had it on the lowest temp, but the plants were swinging a bit. I ended up reading that you shouldn’t do this, and quickly took the fan off them when I figured this out. I’m hoping I haven’t done too much damage. It’s in my basement, and they don’t seem to dry yet, but im scared I ruined my harvest… 🙁 ?
My plants have been drying for a week. Stems don’t snap yet. I am leaving on vaca tomorrow for 2 wks, what do I do? Will it hurt them if I leave hanging for 2 more weeks or should I clean and put in jars before I leave. Please HELP ASAP
Bruv your plants are going threw it’s own process if u bk noticed if you go in b4 ya go to bed it will be all dry to touch bud u go bk in. early mmorning the plant will damp again. It’s the just the process of the cambium still goingbthrew the cycle of bring that water up to your epi bud nd back down to r/s . If u gtbthem.hanging in a dark room sitting round 50 percent to 60 percent and as long it above 15 degrees c ull be sweet . Have your fan turned towards the wall so it’s still oscillating but nt directly onto plants . They shud not be waving around. … I’d recommend having ya cabin filter remain on low on 20 degrees . The darkness is key for taste nd aesthetics
Juatbfijished drying 48 in 3 .2 by 3.8 room that I built takes me 6 to 8 days to dry the lot with 4 or 5 days curing. Running strawbury kish and banana strawbury.
My bad cnt spell fornshit hope this makes more sense
Temperature: In the first 3 days the best temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius. This way the buds will dry quick, but not too fast. After 3 days the temperature should be lowered to about 17-18 degrees Celsius to slow down the process.
Humidity: In the first 3 days the relative humidity should be around 50%. After three days the relative humidity should rise to about 60%, again with the reason to slow down the drying process.
Air circulation: It’s very important there’s enough air circulation in the room, so it’s advisable to use an electric driven fan. A ventilation fan can also come in handy to control the temperature and humidity. Don’t point the fan directly on the buds though, this will dry the cannabis buds unevenly.
Darkness: The room should be relatively dark as light, especially direct sunlight, degrades THC
Just harvest drying in tent door open temperature 73 degrees humidity 63 is this good or do i how to drop both .
U curing after drying…
If so wrong matter much you can chuck fresh shade leaf on the jar with ya buds dont stuff them in. Just fi and have them lose not compact chuck a shade leaf .or if you have none abit of lettuce and that will hydrate it a bit . .
If not curigbi oeraonly wouldn’t worry bout 3 percent 60 percent is good humidity after day 3 4 . B4 the day 1 to 3 want to b round 55 percent as a average . Low 50s first 3 days after tht high fiftys.
Should be 20°c (68 °f) first 3 days and lowered to 17 18°c (64.4 to 66.2°. Im.a kiwi so I’m in °c ur in of chur hope this helped
Tht wht gets ur smell nd flavour and really thts were it at . We not 16 smoking hay weed no more. Do it for the love
@Terri if they been hanging longer than five days all gud snap a nug off break it in half nd put it on ur lip g. Ul be able to fell it if its dry or not if dry chuck in jars.
(DO NOT OVER FILL JUST NICE LOSE ND FLUFFY . FILLED … NOT PACKED CHUR )
each to there own . But have. Never failed me and always turns .out gud with abeutufull aroma . Chur
I’ve been growing 15 years and I quit hang drying a long time ago after realizing it just doesn’t work. What I do is fill grocery paper bags loosely with fresh cut and trimmed nugs. Roll the bag closed with a safety pin. Then put it in the produce drawer in the fridge then adjusting the humidity control of the drawer to 55% with a wireless hygrometer. The buds will up the humidity slowly so keep adjusting to 55%. In about a week and a half or two weeks, the humidity will drop to 45-50, then put it in jars and burp it 2 times daily for 10 minutes for 3 days, then burp 1 time daily for 3 days, then 1 time every other day for a week, then set and forget. Hope yall that have problems with hang drying and losing smell will come to their senses and try this method. Its what many cannabis cup winners do. I believe this secret is held onto deeply. You’re welcome
CAJ – You seem so have a problem understanding degrees Celsius and degrees Fahrenheit 🙂
You state your room is 72 degrees – if this is degrees F you are fine …. if it is degrees C then you are in an oven!
So, presuming (ahem), you are talking about degrees F … then taking it down to 20 degrees would make it well below freezing.
LOL. Don’t mix and match your units: that’s how they got into trouble with the Hubble Space Telescope … did the conversion wrong between millimetres and thousands of an inch 🙂
If i was to dry in a cardboard box with plant hung full with a small fan at the back of my tent while I still have plants flowering how would this affect the end product
He first time grower will my buds be ok hanging up in my cubord overnight without a fan my who house stinks of it Getting fan in morning so 12 hours will they be ok ?
The 7 most common errors drying cannabis After months of giving our plants all the care they require, the time to harvest finally arrives. Whichever variety of cannabis you cultivate, you’ll
Dry & Cure Cannabis Buds Like an Expert!
Table of Contents
Harvest: Harvest cannabis when the white hairs have darkened and curled in. Too early can sometimes trigger anxiousness or headaches for some people. When do I harvest? The most common way to harvest cannabis is: cut down branches, trim off unwanted leaves, then hang branches upside down in a ventilated area.
Drying: Dry buds slowly for 3-7 days. The amount of drying time will vary depending on your local temperature and humidity. Don’t let buds touch each other during drying, especially in high humidity. Watch buds closely to make sure they’re not drying to a crisp overnight (drying too fast), or parts of buds feel wet and don’t seem to be drying (drying too slow). Drying is finished when small stems start to snap instead of bend.
1st Level Curing: Put buds in quart-sized glass mason jars for at least 2 weeks. Curing for 2-4 weeks will reduce “harshness,” the fresh-cut-grass smell of newly dried buds, as well as help prevent headaches and anxious effects. Open jars at least once a day for a minute or two. The outside of cannabis buds should never feel wet; if they feel wet then leave lid off jar for an hour or two until they feel dry again, and go back to curing.
2nd Level Curing: Continue curing buds for 2-6 months to further increase smoothness and potency (while buds “feel stronger,” it’s unknown whether 2nd level curing has any effect on the medical benfits of cannabis)
Long-Term Storage: After 6 months, you should prepare your buds for long-term storage
It takes a lot of patience to wait for your buds to mature until they’re ready for harvest. Many cannabis growers (especially first-time growers) have a tendency to harvest their cannabis too early out of excitement.
To test your patience even more, after you’ve harvested your cannabis, buds still need to be dried and “cured” to achieve the proper taste, smell and potency most growers are looking for in high-quality buds.
Drying and curing your buds improperly (or not drying and curing at all) will result in buds that are harsh, taste/smell bad, and actually seem less potent. Improperly dried and cured buds can also give you a headache or increase your chances of feeling anxious or paranoid during use. This article will give you hints and tips to achieve the perfect dry/cure every time so you produce the best buds possible with every harvest.
Note: Read the full article with step-by-step instructions on how to dry/cure your cannabis buds here. This article provides extra tips and hints for the best cannabis curing results, but the above link will give you detailed step-by-step instructions.
Why Do Growers Cure Buds After Harvest?
Here’s what drying and curing cannabis will do for you…
Dramatically improves taste of buds after harvest
Gets rid of the unpleasant “fresh hay” or “cut grass” smell which is common on newly harvested buds
Brings out the subtle flavors and unique smell of your cannabis strain
Reduces “harshness” in buds; you’re less likely to start coughing or get a headache
Buds that are dried/cured properly are less likely to cause anxiety, racing thoughts, or paranoia
Increases storage time; you can store properly dried/cured buds for years and buds will retain a lot of their original potency
Reduce the chance of mold growing on your buds
Curing increases the perceived “potency” of your buds. Buds actually produce stronger effects!
Detailed Breakdown of the Dry/Cure Process
Harvesting your cannabis at the right time will dramatically increase the quality of your buds. When do I harvest? The first step of a great dry/cure is to harvest your cannabis the right way at the right time.
During harvest, you will cut the buds from your cannabis plant. How do I harvest the buds from the plant? For most growers, harvesting plants means cutting stems with buds on them away from the main plant.
At this point, most growers will trim the extra leaves off their newly harvested buds. Leaves do not contain as much THC and other cannabinoids as the buds themselves, and leaving too many leaves on the buds will contribute to “harshness.”
Don’t worry, you can still use the extra leaves or “trim” to make hash or edibles (like Canna Caps, Cannabis Extract Oil or Dry Ice Hash). These processes extract the “good stuff” from the leaves of the plant, while getting rid of the inert matter in the leaves that can cause harshness.
Some growers choose to trim leaves off the buds after the drying process, but please note that trimming after drying is much more difficult! I only recommend waiting to trim if you live in a very dry area (extremely low humidity), and absolutely need the leaves to help slow down the drying process. Otherwise it’s recommended that most growers trim their cannabis buds immediately after harvest.
Here’s some examples to help show you what I mean.
Drying before trimming (not recommended unless you live in a extremely dry environment)
The buds still have all of their leaves because they were not trimmed before being hung to dry
Drying after trimming (recommended)
Notice how the leaves have been mostly trimmed away before the buds were hung up to dry
Drying: Dry buds slowly, for 3-7 days
While “drying” and “curing” are usually thought of as two separate events, the “curing” process actually starts as soon as you cut your buds from your plants. Drying your cannabis buds slowly is a part of achieving the best cure.
It’s important to leave just the right amount of moisture before taking buds down. If you dry the buds too quickly, or too much, it can actually halt the whole curing process so you don’t get as much benefits or improvement from jarring your buds.
When deciding when to pull buds down during the drying process, it’s better to err on the side of leaving buds too wet than too dry. You can always dry buds more, but the curing process will not go as well if you’ve dried your buds too much.
Some growers like to use mesh racks for the drying process. I personally believe most growers, especially small-scale growers, will get the best results by drying their buds hanging upside down with buds still attached to their stems.
When using mesh racks, buds will dry quicker because you cut the buds off the stems (which contain moisture and help the buds dry slowly). Being horizontal (as buds will be on a mesh rack) also seems to make buds dry more quickly. Additionally, buds tend to flatten on the side that’s lying on the mesh due to gravity and the softness of buds.
Racks will help your buds dry faster (and prevent mold), so they are a great choice if you live in a high humidity area, and/or if you’re drying a LOT of buds in a small area. If you’re drying a pound or more of buds in a small space, you may want to invest in a mesh rack to make sure buds don’t mold.
Remember how we had to trim the buds earlier? Racks are also useful for those who have huge harvests because it is easier/faster to trim buds when they’ve been separated from the stems. Some growers even use trimming machines to trim buds, but machines need the buds to be separated from their stems. Trimming buds while still on the stems can be time-consuming. A rack allows you to dry buds no matter how they’ve been trimmed, even if they’ve been separated from the stems.
That being said, I highly recommend trimming your buds while still on their stems, then hanging them upside down if possible. You want your buds to dry relatively slowly to achieve the best cure, and I’ve always achieved the best results by drying my cannabis buds by hanging them upside down by their stems. When I’ve used mesh racks to dry my buds, they’ve always tended to dry too quickly.
Whether your hanging your buds or drying them on a mesh rack, don’t let buds touch each other during the drying process! This increases the likelihood that your buds will get mold. Throughout the drying/curing process, it’s a battle between drying too fast and the possibility of mold. One of the best things you can do to prevent mold is to never let buds that feel wet on the outside touch each other.
Never let buds touch each other during the drying process
(arrange them so buds don’t touch)
When it comes to drying slowly, it’s good to aim for a drying process that has your buds ready to put in jars after about 7 days. That being said, growers have dried buds for only a few days, and up to a few weeks and still gotten great results.
The most important thing to remember is to always take buds down and put them in the jars before they’re too dry. If they’re too wet, there’s still a lot you can do to dry them out more, but you can’t fix overdried buds.
When are buds done drying? Your buds are ready to be placed in jars when the outsides of buds start to feel dry to the touch. At this point, some of the small stems will snap, though the thicker stems should still have a small amount of flex when you try to bend them in half. This flex indicates that there’s still moisture contained inside the stems, which is what you need for the curing process.
1st Level Curing: Keep buds in glass mason jars for 2-4 Weeks
When buds have just finished drying, they tend to have a “fresh cut grass” smell instead of the skunky or sweet scent they carried during the flowering stage. If smoked, newly dried buds which haven’t been cured tend to be “harsh” and are more likely to cause headaches, racing thoughts or anxiety.
1st level curing will reduce harshness and bring out the natural taste and smell of your cannabis. It will make your buds smoother and can actually increase the perceived potency compared to newly dried buds.
The first step of 1st level curing is to place buds in quart-sized, wide mouth glass mason jars for at least 2-4 weeks.
Use glass mason jars that are quart-sized with a wide mouth, like this:
Never leave buds closed in jars for long periods of time if they feel moist or wet! You need to open your jars at least daily and monitor your buds closely for the first few weeks, and this gives you a perfect chance to check on the moisture levels of your buds.
If you ever notice that buds feel moist or wet, you should leave jars open for 20 minutes to an hour (or until the outsides of the buds feel dry to the touch). If buds ever are left in jars while they feel wet on the outside, they are much more likely to get mold! Buds should feel dry on the outside every time you close them in your jars.
During the first few weeks of the curing process, it’s normal for buds to periodically feel wet as the moisture from the inside of the buds works its way to the outside. That’s a good thing because it means you didn’t overdry the buds, but this is also part of why it’s so important to open jars at least daily for the first few weeks – you need to check on them and control the moisture levels.
2 weeks of curing is generally considered the “minimum” amount of time for acceptable curing. 4 weeks of curing is a great goal. I personally do not start sampling my buds until they’ve been curing for at least 4 weeks.
It’s crucial to open jars daily for at least the first 2-3 weeks of curing, and to continue to open jars regularly throughout the rest of the 1st level curing process. Even if you’ve overdried your buds, it’s still important to open jars daily for the first few weeks to achieve the best results.
Almost all growers agree that there are additional benefits to curing your cannabis buds past 4 weeks. In my experience, buds will continue to improve from additional curing for about 6 months.
When I say “improve” I mean that buds subjectively seem to get “stronger” or more potent. Buds seem to get “smoother” after a long cure. The smell continues to change during the curing process, and most growers seem to agree that the changes in smell are a big improvement that brings out the natural taste and smell of your cannabis.
That said, buds are good to go after 2-4 weeks. Getting to the end of the 1st level cure is the most important part of the drying/curing process, and the remaining benefits of further curing are all gravy as far as I’m concerned.
2nd Level Curing: Continue keeping buds in mason jars for 4 weeks – 6 months
Continue curing buds for up to 6 months to further increase smoothness and potency (though it’s currently unknown if 2nd level curing has an effect on medical benefits of cannabis). Yes, buds actually seem to get more potent if you continue curing past 4 weeks. The exact process is not well understood, but it’s true. I encourage you to test your buds at all stages of curing so you can see for yourself!
Once you hit 2+ months of curing, buds will begin losing some of their color. Bright greens and purples will become darker and less vibrant, though potency continues to improve. There is a common misconception that brighter or more vibrant colors indicates more potent buds, but that’s not the case. This myth may have started because buds that have actually turned brown (not just muted green or purple) usually have been harvested at the wrong time, overdried and/or not stored properly. You don’t want brown buds. Yet muted greens and purples do not mean the bud has lost any potency.
What do medical cannabis dispensaries do? I’ve noticed that dispensaries around here (in California) do a very short cure, only 2-4 weeks. I think this is because it’s easier and cheaper to have a fast turnaround as opposed to doing a long cure. A fast cure allows businesses to get rid of their stock sooner, so they don’t need to store buds for as long. A quick cure also allows dispensaries to sell buds that are still bright green or purple. People like bright colors in their buds, even if the colors don’t necessarily indicate a better product.
After about 6 months of curing, I haven’t really noticed more improvement in potency. Buds may continue to get smoother, but they stop getting stronger. So with a long cure, you gain potency and smoothness but lose some of the color. I recommend preparing your buds for long term storage after 6 months of curing to maintain the most potency.
After a very long cure (12+ months), the buds begin to lose their potency and smell unless you’ve prepared them for long-term storage. Over-cured buds will tend to make you feel sleepy. Unfortunately, buds don’t continue improving forever.
After 6 months, you should prepare your buds for long-term storage. If it’s just going to be a few months, this means storing your jarred buds in a cool, dry place. If you plan on storing buds for longer than that, it’s recommended that you use a vacuum seal.
Review: Timeline for Drying & Curing
Harvest: Cut down your buds
Drying: Dry buds for 3-7 days
Start Curing: Put buds in glass jars and open daily for 2+ weeks.
Continue to cure buds (while opening jars occasionally) for as long as you want, up to 6 months.
After 6 months, you should prepare your buds for long-term storage
After 12+ months, buds will begin to lose their potency and smell unless they’ve been stored properly
Tips to Take Away
Trim your buds to prevent harshness (leaves left on buds tend to be harsh). I recommend trimming leaves immediately after harvest (before drying) unless you need to leave them on to help buds dry slowly, for example if you live in a very dry area. It’s much more difficult to trim buds properly after drying.
Don’t over-dry buds or dry them too quickly – remember that drying is actually part of the curing process, and it’s better to dry buds slowly. Mostly importantly, never dry buds in an oven, a dehydrator, or in the microwave. These fast-drying methods will ruin the taste and smell of your buds, and prevent them from ever being able to cure properly.
Mesh Racks (or any way to dry buds horizontally) will help your buds dry faster, so they are a great choice if you…
- live in a high humidity area (faster drying will help prevent mold in high humidity)
- if you’re drying a LOT of buds in a small area, or
- if you just can’t make the time to trim buds on the stem. Otherwise…
Trim buds on the stem and dry them by hanging upside down for a long, slow cure. It’s the best way to do dry your buds!
Never let buds touch each other while drying! When buds that feel wet on the outside are touching, it increases the likelihood of mold. Throughout the drying/curing process, it’s a battle between drying too fast and the possibility of mold. One of the best things you can do to prevent mold is to never let buds that feel wet or moist touch each other. This goes for drying and curing. During drying, make sure you arrange your buds so that there is always some amount of air between buds that feel wet on the outside. During curing you will monitor your buds closely to make sure they never feel wet (more info below).
Notice how none of the buds are touching each other in these pics
(click for closeups)
5.) Do yourself a favor and get quart-sized glass mason jars for the curing process. Don’t get larger or smaller sized jars. Paradoxically, jars that are too large or too small will both increase the chances of mold showing up. The specific seal you get from mason jars seems to consistently get the best results when it comes to curing. It’s also important not to completely fill up your jars with bud; try to leave at least 1.5 – 2″ of air space at the top of your jars.
6.) Cure your buds for at least 2-4 weeks (1st level cure) – trust me it’s worth it! You can always sample buds along the way to see for yourself how big a difference it makes.
7.) Open all the jars daily (at least) for the first few weeks of curing, even if you’ve overdried your buds. This is an important part of the curing process and will also give you a chance to check on the buds.
8.) Never place anything wet in your jars during curing to try to “fix” overdried buds. I’ve heard of people sticking a piece of potato or other things like that to try to get more moisture to the buds. It doesn’t help the curing process, can negatively affect bud flavor, and may even cause mold. Even Humidipaks, which can help re-hydrate buds, will not improve the curing process for the first few weeks. If you’ve overdried you buds, just continue the curing process as normal for the first few weeks to achieve the best results.
9.) It’s normal for buds to occasionally feel wet or moist during the curing process as moisture from the inside of the cannabis buds works its way to the outside. This is actually what you want because it means that enough water was retained during the drying process for a great cure! Because you are opening all your buds daily for the first few weeks of curing, you will be able to identify this quickly. If buds ever feel wet or moist when you open the jars, you need to leave the jars open for 20 minutes to an hour (or until buds feel dry on the outside again) before closing jars again. You should also check buds (by opening all the jars) a few times a day when buds have recently seemed moist. This will help dry out the buds so they never feel moist on the outside while inside the jars. This will prevent mold while allowing the curing process to continue perfectly.
10.) 2 weeks of curing is generally considered the “minimum” amount of time for acceptable curing. 4 weeks of curing is a great goal. Letting buds cure for even longer is better, Yet after 6 months of curing, you won’t really see further gains. That’s why it’s recommended to prepare buds for long-term storage once you hit 6 months.
Dry & Cure Cannabis Buds Like an Expert! Table of Contents Harvest: Harvest cannabis when the white hairs have darkened and curled in. Too early can sometimes trigger anxiousness or