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If you think that the process of growing cannabis stops at the harvesting point, you are mistaken. Generally, that’s where the process starts. You can’t expect to commercially sell your medical-grade cannabis if you don’t even dry and cure the freshly harvested leaves. Not doing so will eventually end up damaging the leaves and putting all your invested money down the drain.
Also, drying and curing your buds can prevent the risks of contamination and eventual damage, something that several beginners have a hard time grasping. So, if you are starting your cannabis farm and you want to harvest and grow the best quality products, you must master each step as it comes.
Generally, once you have seeded your cannabis and you are growing it in a controlled room with an ideal temperature and other settings, waiting for the right time to harvest them (you don’t want over-rip cannabis buds), you need to be prepared for the process that follows. However, before you can enjoy some of your grow stash, you need to dry and cure them the right way to enhance the taste and flavor of the cannabis.
What is the difference between drying and curing?
While the process of harvesting is simple and to the point, the concept behind drying and curing can be confusing to some people. The process is extensive, not to mention that you need to be mindful of several influencing factors behind the same.
The last thing you want to do is end up damaging all your harvest just because you went overboard with the process of drying and curing.
Drying and curing are two very different procedures with differing objectives.
Drying your harvested cannabis is nothing but drying out the leaves after you have harvested them. This ensures to get rid of all the excess moisture out of the leaves and keeps them dry enough to be lit in the future.
Curing, on the other hand, is a procedure where you store your buds in a closed container and leave it be for at least 2 weeks in the jar. Doing this enhances the flavor of the buds, making them more valuable and worthy.
Why is it necessary to dry and cure cannabis?
This is a question that will come into every beginner’s mind. Is it necessary to even cure and dry the cannabis buds after harvesting them? And, to answer your question, yes. It is extremely important if you want to retain the viability of the buds and keep them of the best quality.
Drying and curing the cannabis flowers help enhance the flavor and the shelf life of these buds so you can use them for extended periods without complications.
However, the primary reason why every cannabis grower has to prioritize the drying process is due to the moisture content in the buds. If the moisture is persistent, it will end up causing a ruckus while someone is trying to smoke it.
If the buds can ignite, you can’t get much flavor from the freshly harvested buds. This is one of the primary reasons why the growers tend to harvest them, dry them and lastly cure them to enhance the overall flavor and smell. The drying process gets rid of up to 15% of the moisture in the leaves, making them a lot more flammable too. However, the quality of the harvest will depend on the seeds, so try to buy from the top 10 seed banks instead of random sellers.
While drying makes it easier to smoke, curing makes your cannabis last longer so you can use it for extended periods. When you are storing it in a jar, you are enhancing its potency and flavor over time. The reason curing is important is that it reduces the risks of infection or contamination on the buds that are relayed via the excess sugar and starch found in the leaves.
How to Set up a Cannabis Drying Room?
Now that you are aware of the basic purpose of drying and curing, let us walk you through the process. Keep in mind that the setup is not as easy as it might look. Like the plants, you need to have proper environmental settings in the cannabis drying room for optimal results.
Once you have harvested your cannabis leaves and buds, you need to store them in a dark room with temperature settings between 60-70°F and 55-65% humidity. If you can’t keep an eye out on the temperature settings or the moisture level, try placing a hygrometer inside. This should keep a check on the buds for you.
Also, if the drying process isn’t happening quickly enough in the room, place a dehumidifier inside or a low-speed circulating fan to expedite the process. In case that doesn’t work as well, you can easily switch out your temperature and humidity settings further to ensure optimal drying.
How long does it take to Dry Cannabis buds?
Most of the users tend to dry the cannabis buds by hanging the leaves and branches upside down on a hanger line. This is one of the most commonly used methods. The reason why this process is considered optimal is that it prevents the risks of damage to the leaves and buds. It prevents them from getting misshapen.
If you are dry trimming the buds and leaves, it is also better to check back on them after you leave them hanging for around 3 days. Start by snapping a smaller stem from the branch to check if the drying process is done or not. If the branch breaks apart easily, chances are that it is done drying.
In case they don’t snap, it means that they need to dry a little more. So, make sure that you leave them be instead of playing around with them.
If you don’t have the means to hang the leaves and buds, your next best option is to trim them and lay them flat down on a surface to let them dry. Try to opt for circular mesh racks because those help with the drying process a lot better than the covered bottom ones.
How to Cure Cannabis buds?
Now that you know how to dry cannabis, it is time for us to move on to the curing part. Unlike drying, curing takes a lot more time since you are doing this to enhance the flavors. However, keep in mind that the curing process should only be done after you are done drying them.
If you end up storing the non-dried cannabis buds with moisture in them, the lack of air circulation will decompose the leaves and buds, destroying them in the process.
For the curing process, you need to take your dried cannabis buds and leaves and store them in airtight jars and containers to stop any kinds of moisture loss. This also enhances the flavor and smell of the cannabis so you can enjoy it to the fullest.
The overall curing process can take somewhere between 2-4 weeks, depending on how much flavor you want to intensify.
Also, when you are curing your cannabis, make sure that it is done in a room with constant temperature and humidity. This ensures optimal results. The room temperature should be constant throughout and ensure that the level of humidity in the room is low. Also, like the drying room, even the curing room should be dark since the light can react with the terpene in cannabis.
However, unlike drying where you can leave the buds be, for curing you need to check up on them now and then. If the buds are too wet, you can go back and keep the lid opened for half or full days and then reseal them at night. If you smell an ammonia-like odor when you open the jar, it is likely due to the moisture. This means that they are not done curing. So, leave them be.
What is the ideal humidity level for drying cannabis?
If you are drying cannabis, maintaining optimal temperature and humidity settings is important. Generally, it is better to keep the humidity levels between 45-55% in the darkroom for a quicker drying process.
How do I know my buds are dried and ready to be cured?
The easiest way to check whether your buds are dry enough is to check by snapping a small stem in the branch. If the branch snaps off easily, it is dry enough. If it bends but doesn’t snap, you need to leave it further to dry before curing.
What is the ideal temperature for drying cannabis buds?
After harvesting your cannabis, you must store them in a closed and dark room with an optimal temperature of 60-70°F, while the humidity level should be 55-65%. If you can’t keep a check on the moisture level or the temperature settings, use a hygrometer inside. This will do the job for you.
How long does it take to cure cannabis buds?
You should store the buds in containers for two to four weeks. After this duration, your cannabis should be cured enough to give you an aromatic, flavourful, and quality experience. Some people cure it for four to eight weeks. Some strains are needed to be cured for six months.
Why is it important to dry and cure cannabis?
Drying and curing cannabis flowers is important because it helps extend the shelf life and enhance the flavour of the buds. This means you can use them for extended periods without any issues. People also dry cannabis to take out the moisture stored in it.
Are drying and curing cannabis the same?
No, drying and curing cannabis are two different processes. Drying is the process of drying the leaves and buds of the plants. But in curing, you store the cannabis buds in a container for 2 or more weeks.
Harvesting, drying, and curing are the three quintessential steps to the optimal flavour and smell of cannabis buds. If you aren’t doing it the right way, chances are that you will end up repenting everything in the end. So, be patient every step of the way. If required, you can get professional help and guidance to ensure that the results are what you have been looking for. Most of the time, all you need to do is follow the guidelines mentioned and that is it.
I’m an avid gardener and cannabis enthusiast. You can usually find me in my garden caring for my plants or at my computer crafting helpful blogs for my readers.