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.
How To Dry Cannabis Quickly
You want the truth about quick drying cannabis? We think you can handle it. So in this blog, we’ve compiled the best methods to get you a fast stash post-harvest. We can’t promise perfection but these methods will put a rush on the drying process and give you a decent bud to toke on.
OK, so you have cannabis plants close to harvest and insufficient marijuana reserves to see you through the typical 30+ day period between harvest and cured finished product. Perhaps you don’t even have a stash to make it through the average 1–2 weeks it takes to dry buds conventionally? Or perhaps you are just curious whether or not your flowers are ready to harvest? Regardless of your personal motivations, you have plenty of options when it comes to quickly drying cannabis. The problem is, the most popularised quick-dry methods will degrade buds so much in the process, they are hardly worth the effort.
Our readers deserve better. Not only will we break down simple ways to speed-dry Sinsemilla without ruining your reefer. We have also included a sticky surprise in the text for those cannabis concentrate lovers seeking more flavoursome extracts using the fresh non-dried material.
BROWN BAGS AND COMPUTER FANS
Simple brown paper bags, like the kind you get from the bakery, are perfect for drying buds. Especially popcorn buds. If you place a handful or two of freshly manicured smaller nuggets into a paper bag and leave them to dry for 2–3 days your halfway there. Ideally, you should leave them another 3 days to dry completely. But if you’re in a hurry, proceed to the next step.
Next, turn on your laptop and figure out where the fan is. Modern laptops all have fans expelling warm air to keep the internal workings of the device cool. Place the small half-dry nuggets on a paper towel on the keyboard. Or on a paper towel directly in front of the fan vents, if you have a model that vents a different way. Turn buds over every 10 minutes or so, until they feel dry to the touch. This may take an hour or longer, but the buds will still pack a punch. Don’t expect a full bouquet of aromas or mouth-watering flavour, rather an acceptable if a little harsh tasting smoke.
CONVERT THE BOILER ROOM INTO A DRYING BOX
Most private homes have a boiler room. The water boiler inside keeps the boiler room temperature pretty cosy and relative humidity is minimal. This is a great place to quick-dry cannabis. It’s best to place all small buds in brown bags, but you can use string to hang bigger buds as you usually would when drying. The big difference is that you are going to turn up the heat by switching on the hot water heater. You can completely dry huge harvests in 3 days if you leave the hot water on for most of that time. That’s sure to spike the utility bills. With normal use, expect the small buds to be dry enough to smoke in just 3–4 days, with thicker hanging colas requiring 6–7 days. This method has a lower impact on quality than most, but the buds still won’t taste fantastic.
ALTERNATIVE: GO LIVE
The dabbing trend of 2018 is live resin concentrates. Even the most potent extracts like wax and shatter have some room for improvement. Using fresh frozen flowers rather than carefully dried and cured buds is the breakthrough US extract artists have made to produce gourmet concentrates with far more terpenes. Something is definitely lost in transition with the standard BHO extraction methods. Live resin boasts the same skyhigh potency with a vastly improved flavour profile. Unfortunately, this is probably out of reach to the average ordinary home grower. The cannabis must be kept at subcritical temperatures for the entire extraction process and you really need lab conditions and equipment to accomplish this. Nonetheless it’s a top-shelf treat coming to all good cannabis clubs, coffee shops, and dispensaries in 2018. Be on the lookout for names like “sauce”, “sap”, and “syrup” popping up on the menu.
Outdoor ganja farmers have dried marijuana placed on rocks in direct sunlight for thousands of years. It’s certainly not the most efficient method to dry cannabis, but it works. Both heat and sunlight will degrade quality. However, if you want to dry small buds fast and it’s hot and sunny outside, you could do worse than tossing a handful of popcorn buds in a brown bag and sun-drying them. Best use a rock to weigh down the bag of buds in direct sunlight, you don’t want a gust of wind swiping your weed. Then you play the waiting game. After a day or two of warm dry sunny weather, you should have some crispy buds to toke on. Again flavour and potency will have deteriorated, so you are not getting the most from your marijuana with this method.
Baking buds in the oven is a horrible idea. Just don’t do it. It really is a waste of weed. Oven temperatures are far, far, far too hot for cannabis. Even on a low setting—still too hot. Sure the buds will dry out in minutes, but you’ll also have cooked off most of the cannabinoids. These buds will taste like burnt plant material and won’t get you high.
Microwave marijuana is another guaranteed disappointment. Nuking buds with 10-second blasts in the microwave is a disastrous way to dry weed. These methods likely origins are “the big book of bad ideas” and are to be avoided.
We all know that you really ought to slowly dry and cure marijuana. Sometimes you need to test for potency or just need a stash. Let’s talk quick drying weed.