To properly dry and cure cannabis, you need the right information and tools. From the importance of drying and curing to specific environmental parameters, this article will run through all you need to know to produce a high-quality finished product.
Drying Cannabis: Why?
Properly drying and curing cannabis is crucial for achieving optimal flavor and potency. It serves two main purposes: reducing the humidity and moisture content of the plant material and breaking down certain compounds to create a more enjoyable product.
To achieve optimal results in the drying process, it is important to control both temperature and humidity levels. If the humidity is too high or too low, it can cause mold to grow. Additionally, extreme temperatures can negatively impact the delicate terpenes. Many cultivators tend to maintain a consistent temperature between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 45% to 55% relative humidity during the drying process.
Key Points to Keep in Mind
– Drying cannabis involves managing temperature and humidity levels to decrease moisture content and break down certain compounds. For optimal results, maintain a temperature range between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity between 45% and 55%.
– When cannabis is cured, its moisture content is reduced, and additional chemical reactions occur. This process produces a stronger aroma and a more refined, smoother flavor.
It is important to monitor temperature and humidity levels during the drying and curing to prevent mold and mildew. For optimal storage of cannabis, it is recommended to use airtight containers with temperature and humidity sensors.
After drying, cannabis goes through a second stage called curing, which also helps mellow out harsh flavors in freshly harvested flowers. The curing process should take place in a low-light area at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit with 50% humidity.
Drying and curing are different processes. Drying removes moisture, while curing starts after the flower is dried. Curing can take two to three weeks, depending on moisture levels.
The Importance of Drying and Curing Cannabis
Numerous advantages are associated with dedicating time to the proper drying and curing of cannabis.
– Improved flavor: Properly dried buds have a fuller aroma and flavor due to terpene development that isn’t present in uncured flower.
– Higher potency: Proper drying and curing allow for natural processes in the plant to increase its potency.
– Longer shelf life: Correctly dried and cured buds stay fresh longer, so you don’t have to worry about spoilage.
A Guide to Properly Drying Cannabis
A full understanding of the drying process is essential. Whether you choose to wet or dry trim your buds, it is important to adjust temperature and humidity levels accordingly, avoid over-drying, and learn when the cannabis is ready to be packaged.
When getting your cannabis ready for drying, there are several things to remember to ensure a top-notch final product.
– Employ prudent harvest timing: A seasoned cannabis cultivator understands the value of the right harvest time. Analyzing the color of the trichomes will give you an indication of cannabis maturity and its potential psychoactive effects. Clear trichomes indicate an early stage, while milky white suggests peak THC content. For higher CBN content, which induces a more sedative effect, you may wait until trichomes turn amber.
– Maintain optimal ambient conditions: It is critical to control the environment — a slightly cool room with low humidity aids in the slow-drying process that preserves terpene profiles. As we all know, the flower with a richer smell and flavor will stand out. The room should also be adequately ventilated to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
– Handle with care: Approach the flower with the gentle respect it deserves. Remember that the trichomes containing the plant’s precious cannabinoids and terpenes are incredibly fragile. Avoid crushing the flowers or touching the buds more than necessary, as this can damage trichomes.
After harvesting, the process is far from over.
Cut your plants into smaller branches and hang them in a cool, dark space with plenty of ventilation.
Keep the room dark to prevent degradation or discoloration of cannabinoids.
Ensure that there’s enough space between each branch and buds so airflow can pass through them easily.
Monitor humidity levels daily and adjust accordingly.
Immediately remove any buds that show signs of mold.
Let the cannabis dry until it reaches an optimal moisture level of 9% to 13%.
Cannabis Drying Temperature and Humidity Requirements
To ensure your cannabis is dried to perfection, it’s important to regulate the temperature and humidity of the drying environment. The ideal temperature for drying cannabis should be between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Maintaining a consistent and controlled temperature during the drying process ensures that all water content in cannabis is evaporated properly, preserving its taste and potency. The recommended relative humidity for drying cannabis is ideally 45% to 55%.
It typically takes between five and 15 days to dry cannabis flower depending on humidity and temperature levels.
When drying, it is important to regularly monitor the environment to ensure that factors such as temperature and humidity remain consistent.
How to Cure Cannabis
To cure cannabis properly, you’ll need a few basic items: airtight containers, humidity packs and dried buds. Some cultivators use humidity packs to ensure a balanced environment, while others prefer to avoid them and control the environmental factors themselves.
The process of curing cannabis can vary in length, usually lasting between one and three weeks, depending on the specific strain. The process is complete when it produces a smooth smoke and has an earthy scent.
Maintaining a clean environment is crucial in post-harvest production to ensure successful cannabis drying and curing. Controlling factors such as temperature, humidity levels and light exposure is essential in preventing the growth of microorganisms. It is also important to avoid cross-contamination between different batches.
Common Issues During the Curing Stage
Over-curing cannabis can lead to an array of problems, from increased chances of mold growth to a significant loss in potency. Under-curing cannabis leaves too much moisture in the flower, creating an environment where mold and mildew can thrive.
If your buds have become too dry, there are steps you can take to restore their moisture and flavor. Some growers have been known to add fresh herbs, citrus peels or other items to impart their moisture into the dry cannabis.
Here’s what you need to know:
– Temperature: Excessive heat will dry out your buds too quickly, so keeping the temperature low when adding moisture back in is important.
– Humidity: You’ll want to aim for a relative humidity level of 55% to 65%. This is ideal for preserving terpenes and cannabinoids and preventing mold growth. Use a hygrometer or humidifier/dehumidifier if necessary.
Place the cannabis in an airtight container like a bag or bin. Burp the container once or twice over the next couple of days by opening and resealing it.
By following these steps, you can effectively rehydrate your cannabis without compromising its flavors and potency.
By following the recommendations above, you’ll gain confidence in your drying and curing processes. You’ve worked hard to grow the perfect cannabis crop; now it’s time to dry and cure them properly. Oftentimes overlooked, these post-harvest activities are critical for a high-quality finished product.
Ella Alpina has worked in the cannabis industry since 2014 when she founded 7 Rays, a marketing agency serving the exploding market. She’s the marketing director at Trym, a cannabis cultivation software custom-built for growers. She received her MBA from Santa Clara University, where she focused on marketing and entrepreneurship. She’s passionate about the cannabis industry’s positive impact on our world.