Harvest time is here! Your marijuana buds are all set and ready to be harvested – however, you can’t take off your grower hat, not just yet. Newly harvested buds need to go through a process known as cannabis curing.
Why is this necessary? Well, even though weed can be harvested, dried and smoked without curing, this typically leads to much harsher and denser smoke. Not only that, you will most likely experience a ‘funny’ green taste as you smoke your weed, which is attributed to poorly dried leaves and lack of proper curing.
Drying and curing your weed the right way is critical when it comes to making it consumable; drying removes unwanted moisture from the buds while curing removes starch and sugar. When you dry and cure your buds slowly in a controlled environment, your buds will not only smell better, but the effects will be more potent and the smoke will not be as harsh.
Expert growers always cure their buds because they know for a fact that without this process, those delightful buds will not reach their peak potency. Curing is, in fact, what separates your marijuana from being just average to trophy-worthy.
Ever wondered why buds sold at medical weed dispensaries are considered ‘extra special’? They’ve been expertly dried and cured. Regular weed smokers will tell you with unwavering confidence that buds prepared this way provide for a far more pleasant and smoother experience.
How Drying and Curing Buds Post-harvest Affects the Overall Experience
Put those buds through a proper drying and curing process and you will observe the following:
- Subtle flavours and a unique smell starts to emanate from your cannabis strain
- After smoking, you are less likely to experience racing thoughts, paranoia or anxiety typically associated with uncured marijuana
- No more “green” taste reminiscent of freshly cut grass which is common in newly harvested buds
- Reduced smoke harshness which may otherwise lead to coughing or induce headaches
- Proper breaking down of chlorophyll which significantly improves the taste and overall smoothness of buds
- Improved potency
- Reduced likelihood of bacteria or mould growing on the buds
- A good curing process changes the subjective effects of your marijuana – it changes the very composition of terpenoids and cannabinoids in your stash. It pretty much changes how you feel afterwards. To truly appreciate what we’re implying, you must understand the difference by smoking directly off the plant versus smoking after a proper drying and curing process. It’s almost night and day. Almost.
Seasoned growers have reported that drying buds gradually and putting them through the proper curing process boosts potency up to a certain limit. They also claim that cured buds vaporise more easily, are more pleasant to smoke and can even be turned into edibles, probably due to how the makeup of terpenoids and cannabinoids is changed during the process.
So, this brings us to some interesting questions:
- What’s the best way to slowly dry that weed?
- What are the best drying methods and how long should you dry them?
- How can the buds be cured to the point of perfection, without any chances of a hotchpotch?
All the answers are right here in this article – let’s get to it then!
Best Ways of Drying and Curing Your Weed
Brown Paper Bags
As long as you have popcorn buds, you can use simple brown bags to dry them – these can be found at your local bakery.
Place 2-3 freshly harvested buds in a brown paper bag and tuck it away in a cool and dry place for 3-6 days. This ensures that you have a stash that lasts at least a few days or weeks at best until a larger stash can be cured.
You can also use dissipated heat from your laptop to quick-dry that weed. While still keeping the buds in the brown paper bag, place them right up against the laptop vent where heat is being kicked out. You’ll need to turn the buds over every 10 minutes. Keep doing this until those buds feel completely dry to the touch. You may need to do this up to an hour, but it totally pays off.
Since this is one of the most basic methods of drying weed, don’t expect a tip-top flavour – you may still experience some of that harsh smoke we talked about earlier.
Gas or Electric Heater
You can dry a fairly large stash using either a gas or electric power heater. Make sure the room where you’re going to dry it is well ventilated. Be careful though – if you dry the buds too close together, this could lead to mould growth. So you’d want to do the opposite because mould cannot only spread but can prove fatal if that weed is consumed.
Also, an important thing to keep in mind when using a gas or electric heater to dry your weed is that it should not be dried too quickly as this will lead to a less than satisfactory taste.
Now find a dark room and hang your buds upside down. The temperature in the room needs to be at least 32° C. From time to time, you must make adjustments to your harvest – e.g. if the air is too humid, give the airflow a little boost without decreasing the room temperature. In addition, ensure that the heat in the room properly “engulfs” all parts of your harvest; airflow and uniform heat transfer is, therefore, important.
You may need to keep the weed in the heated room overnight or for a few hours at least.
Most homes are equipped with a boiler room. The water boiler happens to be a very useful “gizmo” for drying buds as it provides for the necessary and consistent temperature to get the job done. And the fact that relative humidly is low always helps.
You can either put your buds in brown paper bags or leave them in the boiler room for 3-4 days, or you could hang them up using strings, leaving them to dry for 3-4 days. This method is particularly useful for drying a big harvest.
To be honest, this may not be the most practical method on our list as you can expect to get noticeably higher utility bills. Furthermore, the taste may not be the best, although potency will not be adversely affected.
The Baking Method
If you need to quick-dry your buds for immediate consumption, this method works great.
Take an oven tray or cookie sheet and place your buds on it. Bake them between 51°C and 60°C. Keep the buds in the oven for at least 10 minutes – remove them for 5 minutes, turn over and repeat once.
Even though water and moisture will be effectively removed from your buds, the taste won’t be any better than slow-cured buds. The smoke will also be harsh, although this does not have any adverse effects on the potency.
It’s important to remember that if your buds get burnt, then they are pretty much useless. Additionally, never set your oven higher than 65°C.
Place your buds on a baking tray and put them on top of the toaster. Make sure your buds are neatly cut up into small pieces before placing them on the tray. The heat from your toaster oven is enough to get the job done, so don’t place those buds inside the toaster by mistake!
Turn the buds around after every 5 minutes. In about 20-30 minutes, you should be done and there’s more than enough THC left to retain the potency. Just so you know, placing them inside the oven by mistake would decarboxylate a lot of that THC.
Silica Gel/Desiccant Packs
These are designed to get rid of moisture and keep it away from all places where it can thrive. Place your bud right alongside a desiccant pack and it will help suck up all that moisture.
Desiccant packs or silica gel are both easily available in stores and auto shops or any place where items are sold in a bag such as a pair of shoes. Just pay heed to the warning “toxic, do not eat”.
For several thousand years, ganja farmers have dried weed by placing them on rocks under direct sunlight.
This may not sound like the most practical method for drying your cannabis, but we assure you it works like a charm. However, bear in mind that this method may deteriorate the overall flavour and potency to a certain extent since natural heat and light can degrade overall quality. Still, it’s worth a shot if you don’t want to give the other methods a try.
Heat-drying small buds this way is quick, thanks to the warm and sunny climate. Put the buds in a paper bag and pin it down using a rock or paperweights, under direct sunlight. After a day or two of exposure to the warm and dry weather, your buds will be nice and crispy, ready to be consumed.
Final Touches – The Curing Process
Now that your buds are nice and dry, you need to cure them using a couple of airtight jars, which need to be stored inside your place, anywhere really, where it’s cool, dark and dry.
Proper curing may take anywhere from two weeks to even two months. All the while, the last few traces of chlorophyll that could not be removed during the drying process can now be removed. Don’t pack the buds too tightly into the jars though – a maximum of three buds per jar is what we’d recommend.
Check on the jars once a day at least to make sure there’s no mould or mildew. Every two weeks, open the jars once to twice a week as this improves the flavour and provides for a smooth, lingering taste.
There you have it – all the weed drying and curing advice you need. Now remember, patience is a virtue. Don’t try anything we wouldn’t – attempting to dry and cure your weed any faster will most definitely not provide the best results.