Top Tips To Successfully Dry And Cure Your Fresh Cannabis Buds
The process of growing cannabis does not stop at harvest time. Properly drying and curing your fresh cannabis stash is paramount to prevent mould contamination from taking place. These procedures will also result in buds that taste better and offer a superior high.
Get the answers to 9 of the most frequently asked questions about drying and curing cannabis.
Ahhh, harvest time. After watching your ladies grow and flower, it’s finally time to collect your hard-earned buds. But before you can enjoy a toke of some homegrown Kush, you’ll need to dry and cure your freshly harvested weed. Below, we’ll share our answers to some frequently asked questions on the drying and curing process, so you can maximise the flavour and potency of your stash.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DRYING AND CURING?
Drying, as the name suggests, involves drying fresh buds so they contain less moisture and can be smoked or vaporized properly. Curing, on the other hand, involves storing your buds in closed containers over a period of at least two weeks. This helps develop the flavour and aroma of your buds as they mature.
WHY DO I NEED TO DRY AND CURE MY CANNABIS?
Drying your cannabis flowers serves several important functions that ultimately increase the quality and shelf-life of the end product.
Freshly harvested cannabis buds contain a significant amount of moisture, which needs to be dealt with before smoking. Why? First, smoking fresh buds serves up harsh hits with little flavour—if the buds are able to ignite at all. Removing moisture helps to tone down the harshness and let the terpene profile shine. Second, fungi thrive in dark and moist conditions. By drying your flowers correctly, you’ll dramatically reduce the chances of mould striking your stash.
By placing individual buds on a drying rack—or hanging entire branches in a drying room—you’ll reduce the water content of your buds by 10–15%. This process removes water from the outer layers of each flower, but you’ll need to cure your stash to rid moisture from deeper within the buds.
Curing is super important because it helps preserve your weed so it can be stored over time—while still retaining its unique flavour and maximising potency. When you harvest your buds, they contain excess sugars and starches that eventually come under attack from airborne bacteria and enzymes. By curing your buds, you actually encourage the degradation of these nutrients, making for a smoother, better-tasting final smoke.
Properly drying and curing your fresh cannabis harvest is essential to decrease the risk of mould, and to enhance the taste and high that your buds offer.
Best Conditions For Your Drying Room and How To Dry Cannabis
The final stage of the entire growing process requires harvesting and drying the buds out. It sounds easy enough, however, there is a right way and wrong way to do it and each can be the difference between chunky, incredible smelling buds with the ultimate bag appeal, or a flat-looking flower that has a minimal aroma with a fresh chlorophyll taste.
In this article, we explain how to dry your buds properly, the correct dry room scenario, and our top tips for drying your buds to perfection.
1. The Dry Room
For those new to growing Cannabis, have a clear understanding of exactly what occurs in the drying room is essential. The aim is to slowly dry the flowers according to the temperature and humidity levels present.
Sometimes it is not possible to control the temperatures of your drying room, however, if you aim for 15 degrees Celsius then this will be the ideal temperature. It is much better to dry the buds slowly at a lower temperature and spend the extra 2-3 days patiently waiting until the grow room reeks of terpenes.
Top Tip: If you have a temperature fan controller, then setting it to 15 degrees Celsius will allow the drying room to stay consistent.
If the goal is to reduce the wet flower down to the point it is ready for curing jars, then it is necessary to do this process slowly. Keeping humidity levels at 40-50% will encourage the flowers to air out in their own time, and once the flowers are close to dry, then they can be placed in an airtight curing jar, from where they will reduce down further.
Top Tip: Use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity levels in the air if you suffer with high humidity and use a humidifier to add moisture if required.
A very important part of the drying room that can dry out too quickly. You should never have a fan blowing directly at the buds, and the airflow in the room should be very light and fresh. If using a fan, point in the direction away from the buds and have it blowing on the floor.
Using fans in a warm environment is the number one culprit for flowers that have been speed dried.
Top Tip: It is better to have very low airflow, however a fresh circulation of air in the dry room. Using grow tents and hanging plants inside in darkness is ideal.
Light or Dark?
The drying room should be a cool and dark place, that does not have an intense light or direct sunlight entering. As plants are left to die on the vine and hang up in the dry room, keeping them in darkness will guarantee the chlorophyll aroma and taste are totally removed, leaving behind terpene-rich, aromatic buds.
Top Tip: Once the harvested plants are inside the drying room, there is no need to return until the two-week mark, so keeping the room in total darkness is not an issue.
2. How Long Should Buds Take To Dry?
When harvesting the flowers off a Cannabis plant, their buds should be left in a dry room that meets the optimum conditions. It is during this time that the moisture levels are reduced from 100% down to 30-40% depending on curing criteria. Buds should be left to dry for a minimum of 10-day and ideally 14 days, until the point of being hard to touch with the twigs and branches being able to cleanly break with an audible snap.
What To Remember
• Freshly harvested plants should take a full 2 weeks to be fully dried.
• Smaller-sized buds or wet trimmed buds may be ready in 10 days.
• The dry room will slowly reduce the moisture content of the buds.
• This is where the chlorophyll will die off and the fresh smell will go.
3. Speed Drying
We have all probably been guilty of this at some point, and there is nothing worse than speed drying a crop. If intentional or not, the end result always lacks a full aroma and flavor. Speed drying basically means the crop has been rushed and dried in 3-5 days maximum due to high temperatures and excessive airflow directly on the buds.
When a flower is dried so quickly, it will not have a chance to kill the chlorophyll that was present only a week prior. The color of the buds will also have a darker shade of green than normal and the smaller leaves wrapped around will be bone dry and when grinding the buds, the majority will become dusty.
4. Smell Proof The Dry Room
Drying your freshly harvested Cannabis plants in a smell-proof environment should be a growers main concern for a number of reasons. The main one being to prevent neighbors from catching a whiff of your high grade, and it also allows you to place the buds inside your grow tent for the next 2 weeks and benefit from using the carbon filter and extraction unit.
Top Tip: Avoid placing your flowers inside a cardboard box or leaving them hung on in an old cupboard, and treat them with extreme delicacy.
5. What To Consider When Drying Your Cannabis Buds
1. Be patient and wait until the buds are ready. It can be extremely tempting to keep on taking flowers as the buds are drying, and sometimes the only choice for some growers have. However, patients will reward you with the best tasting, smelling and looking flower possible.
2. The way to test if your buds are dry enough to be cured, is to take a bud and snap the inner twig. If the twig feels hard and snaps easily then you are good to go. However, if the twig does not make a clear-snapping noise and feels soft, then it will need more time.
3. For the sake of smell proofing your drying room, use a grow tent that is equipped with a carbon filter. Grow tents are cheap and converting it into a permanent drying room is well worth the investment in the long run.
4. The chlorophyll and fresh smell will disappear once the buds have been properly dried. If the buds contain a fresh, hay aroma then the leaves have not been trimmed correctly, or the flower has been dried too quickly.
5. If you are going to use an oscillating fan, turn the fan away from the buds so the air is blowing around the room, and off the floor. The key is to have a soft, freeze cool breeze circulating the room, as opposed to warm air blowing around at a fast rate.
6. Buds that were infected with mold should not be dried and are not suitable for consumption. Smoking contaminated flowers or extracts can cause serious health issues.
6. In Conclusion
If you follow the right steps and have plenty of patience, then it will only take 2 weeks to have cup-winning flowers. There are many ways during this time things can go wrong, so take the extra steps necessary to turn the crop you have spent the last 10 weeks growing into the finest cured flowers around.
The final stage of the entire growing process requires harvesting and drying the buds out. It sounds easy enough, however, there is a right way and wrong way to