Before you start drying your buds, most growers will trim away extra leaves. At the very least, you should trim away all your big fan leaves, though many growers also trim down the little leaves that grow on the buds. This improves the appearance of your buds, and will provide a smoother experience.
The amount of leaves you trim off is due to personal preference. However, like the last step, you want to leave more if you live in a very dry area. You want to cut off as much as you can if your area is humid, to help speed up the drying process and prevent mold. If it’s very humid where you live than you may consider removing buds from branches while drying. If Your Humidity Is… Dry (Under 30% RH) – You might consider leaving more leaves on your plant while trimming to help slow down the drying process. The more plant matter left behind, the lower the buds dry. For example you could trim your buds but leave extra fan leaves, or possibly even not trim at all until after drying.
Average Humidity – If you never really notice the humidity where you live chances are it’s perfect for hanging your cannabis upside down to dry 🙂 Humid (Over 60% Humidity) – If it’s very humid where you live, you might consider actually separating buds from branches after trimming and put them on a drying rack or mesh to help them dry in the high humidity without running into problems with mold (here’s how one grower dried in high humidity) I recommend trimming your buds while wearing disposable gloves, to prevent your hands from getting covered in sticky resin. You may want to save your trim (resin-covered leaves or larfy buds you’ve trimmed off). These extra leaves are not good to smoke by themselves, but after being dried, the trim can be processed to make marijuana butter or other cannabis extracts. Right after you harvest your plant, it’s important to start drying your buds slowly, over a couple of days to a week or more. Drying your buds is the first part of the curing process, and important! Optimal Drying Environment: Room Temperature – Around 70°F (21°C) 50% Humidity. Here are some ideas to adjust your environment: Air Conditioner – Cools Air & Lowers Humidity Evaporative Cooler – Cools Air & Raises Humidity Dehumidifier – Heats Air & Lowers Humidity Humidifier – Heats Air & Raises Humidity Heater – Heats Air & (Usually) Lowers Humidity. Buds which are quick-dried in a dehydrator/stove, via dry ice, or in a microwave taste terrible, smell even worse, and often leave you with a migraine or paranoia. When you quick-dry your buds, you are completely skipping over the most important part of the curing process! In fact, even drying your buds in mildly hot temperatures, like 85°F (30°C), can burn off valuable smells (terpenes) & possibly certain cannabinoids. Curing you cannabis properly makes up almost 50% of your final bud quality! You can take the best cannabis in the whole world but if it’s not cured it’s going to be mid-quality at best! Hanging buds upside down to dry is considered the “standard” way of drying. You can get creative when coming up with ways to hang plants upside down. You can dry buds by hanging them upside down from clothes hangers, string, almost anything you can think of. Personally, I prefer to hang buds upside down for the drying process. However, you can dry your buds via many different ways! Some growers place their freshly harvested buds on a drying rack as pictured to the right. A drying rack will dry your buds faster than most of the other methods because the stems are removed from the buds (and the stems contain a bit of water). Using a drying rack is the preferred drying method if you live in a humid area where mold is a problem, if you’re drying a lot of buds in a relatively small space, or if you have huge colas or buds that you’re worried might mold. You can leave as much or as little stem as you want. Some growers dry their buds in paper bags or even by laying them out on cardboard. I usually dry my newly harvested buds in my grow tent, or a closet. If you’re laying your buds on something flat like cardboard, it can create wet spots, and will leave an imprint on the sides of your buds where they touched the flat surface. That being said, cardboard can be a way to help people dry buds if they live in a humid environment because it will quickly pull the water out of the buds.
If buds are creating wet spots, you may need to rotate them every few hours so they dry more evenly. This is one of the reasons I prefer to use a drying rack if it’s humid, or hanging buds pretty much any other time. If buds start to seem wet/soggy, or if you live in a very humid environment, you may need to use a small fan to create extra airflow in the drying area to prevent buds from getting too wet and causing mold. Never point a fan directly at your buds, only point it at a nearby wall. Even then, be careful of drying buds too fast with a fan!
You should avoid using a fan unless it’s absolutely necessary because it can easily overdry buds.