Drying and curing cannabis
After months of hard work, your plants are ready to harvest. The buds are fat and full of beautiful trichomes that are glistering in the light. The smell is totally intoxicating and you can’t wait to smoke your buds. But wait, it won’t be ready to smoke until it’s been correctly dried and cured.
How to dry your cannabis
There are many different methods for drying cannabis, but we are going to assume that you have grown your cannabis for personal consumption. Therefore the method explained is for a small harvest, not large-scale commercial harvesting. This method is used by most private growers.
Preparing the plants for drying.
Not all of the plant is smokable of course, you really only want to smoke the buds, but that does not mean that the rest of the plant should be discarded. The trim can be used for other cannabis products like cannabis oil or butter, so it’s always worth saving this plant material for use at a later date.
Do you trim before drying or after drying?
The two ways of trimming the buds are known as a “wet trim” and a “dry trim”
The plant is dried with all of its leaves intact. Once the plant has been through the drying process the excess leaves are removed, the buds are then trimmed and manicured.
The plant leaves and excess foliage are removed to leave only the buds before the plant is dried. The plant dries out quicker using this method.
Hanging your plants out to dry
Many growers cut the plant at the root and hang the complete plant upside down on a line. This is a tried and tested practical method. It allows the plant to have good air circulation and reduces the possibility of mold.
If you have grown your plants indoors, you can make use of the grow room or the grow tent to dry your plants. This process can take anywhere from 3 to 7 days (or longer), depending on the size of your buds, airflow, humidity, and the temperature of the environment.
The environment needs to be consistent to avoid issues of mold and rot in your buds. Ideal conditions would be a dark environment that is temperature-controlled at around 65 degrees, with a humidity level of around 40%.
Use a fan to circulate the air. Do not aim the fan directly at the buds as this will dry them out too quickly.
When drying outside there are a few things to consider.
The temperature and humidity always play a large part in how well your cannabis drys, it is impossible to control outside (unlike indoors). You may find that your cannabis drys too quickly leaving you with a dried-out bud that could taste harsh.
It’s important to make sure that the buds have shelter from the sun and rain, direct sunlight will degrade the THC values and will also dry out the cannabis too quickly.
How to tell when the buds are dry enough
It is important to check your buds in the drying process daily, The ideal consistency is for the buds to be dry on the outside and they should feel a little soft when squeezed on the inside. You do not want the buds to be so dry and crispy that they crumble when you squeeze them.
A good indication of when they are ready is known as the branch test, If you can snap a branch of the plant cleanly, the buds will be ready. If you try to snap the branch off and bends, or it does not break cleanly, it is too soon.
When you are happy with the drying results, it is time to cure your cannabis!
Time to start Curing your Cannabis
Curing is not completely necessary, most commercial growers dry their cannabis and then sell it straight away, but the best cannabis is always cured. Curing enhances the flavour of your buds and also prolongs their storage life.
The best method of storing and curing your cannabis is in Mason Jars. These handy jars are air-tight and are purchased at most good retail outlets. Fill the jar three-quarters of the way full, this will give enough space for some airflow
Open the Jar every day for the first week, making sure that you leave it open for a least 30 minutes. You can gently shake the jar to move the cannabis around or remove it by pouring the contents on some paper and then pouring them back into the jar.
This process of opening the jar is known as “burping the jar”. It releases the air inside that contains the moisture which is slowly releasing from the buds.
Repeat this process every 2 days in the second and third week, reducing the time the jar stays open to approximately 20 minutes.
By the fourth week, the buds should be almost perfect, you can burp the jar 2 or 3 times a week if necessary.
Your cannabis should then be good for at least 4-6 months in the jars, remember to check on it from time to time and move the contents around. Always store the jars in a dark place that is not too warm, this will prolong the life of your cannabis.
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