The Importance of Curing and Drying Your Cannabis
So, you’ve harvested your first batch of cannabis flowers. Now what?
If you are hoping to consume the flowers themselves, as opposed to processing them into concentrates, edibles or tinctures, you need to understand the importance of properly drying and curing your crop!
Why Curing and Drying is Important
Properly drying and curing cannabis is crucial for achieving a high-quality final product. It not only prevents mold growth but also helps to preserve the potency and flavor of the cannabinoids and terpenes. In addition, curing allows the buds to develop a smoother and more enjoyable smoke by allowing enzymatic processes to continue in the buds.
Improperly dried or cured cannabis can result in harsh, unpleasant-tasting smoke that lacks potency and therapeutic benefits. So, whether you are a recreational user or a medical patient, taking the time to properly dry and cure your cannabis is well worth the effort.
The Primary Drying Stage
Drying and curing cannabis flowers is done in a two step process. The “primary drying” stage and the “secondary drying” stage (or “curing”). During the primary dry, the majority of the moisture is removed and at a quicker rate than during secondary dry. During secondary drying, the process slows down significantly as you attempt to gently wick the moisture from the interior of the buds towards the perimeter and eventually into the ambient surrounding air. As you open the containers you are curing in, the moist air from the inside of the containers is replaced by fresh, dry air and the process is repeated.
The primary drying process should be done in a controlled environment with proper ventilation. The ideal temperature for drying cannabis is around 60°F with humidity levels around 50%. Lower temperatures can be used but it will significantly slow the process as less moisture can be transferred to and held in the cooler air. Traditionally, the buds are hung upside down on a line or wire, allowing air to circulate around them. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the buds to dry, depending on the humidity, temperature, cultivar and density. A common milestone that indicates the flowers are ready for secondary drying is when the stems snap when bent but don’t completely break. The exterior of the buds should be dry to the touch, though the centers will still contain moisture.
The Secondary Drying Stage
When your flowers are ready to move on to the secondary drying phase, it is time to transfer them into airtight containers. Most of the time, taking the buds off the stems will help this process and reduce the amount of space and containers needed. The ideal conditions for curing cannabis are in airtight containers, such as glass jars, with a humidity level of around 60-65%. It is important to note that the humidity inside of the jars will not be the same as the humidity of the space you are storing the jars in. Managing the ambient conditions around the jars is more so about temperature regulation than it is about humidity control. Your containers should be opened and aired out regularly for the first week or two to prevent mold growth. After that, the jars can be opened less frequently as the curing process slows down.
The curing process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on the desired level of potency and flavor. Some cannabis enthusiasts even prefer to cure their buds for a year or more to achieve the smoothest and most flavorful smoke possible.
Preserving Your Cannabis
In conclusion, drying and curing cannabis is a crucial step in the cultivation process. By following the tips in this blog post, you can ensure that your cannabis is dried and cured properly, resulting in a high-quality product that is both enjoyable and potent.
Here are some additional tips for drying and curing cannabis:
- Use a clean, dry environment for drying and curing.
- Monitor the humidity and temperature levels closely.
- Trim the buds before curing.
- Burp the jars regularly during the curing process.
- Be patient! Curing takes time, but it is worth it in the end.
- Store your cured cannabis in the Curidor to ensure the flower maintains its potency and terpenes are preserved