New growers often think the hard work is over when they cultivate and harvest their precious marijuana plants. Not quite! Unfortunately, you need to wait a little longer to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You have to trim, dry, and cure your harvest before it is ready for use.
The trimming and drying aspects of cannabis preparation are essential. However, not everyone proceeds with the curing process, primarily because it isn’t 100% crucial. Also, it means waiting even longer to sample the crop. Expert growers recommend going through the full curing cycle, though. The process increases potency and boosts the flavor and quality of your smoke. It also enables you to store your weed for longer.
It is up to you to decide whether to cure your marijuana or not. However, there is no question that you have to dry it properly in the first place. That topic is the basis of this guide: How to dry marijuana flower… the right way!
A Few Things to Consider When Drying Weed
There are several sophisticated methods to dry marijuana flowers, including freeze-drying. As it happens, the simplest way to do it is arguably the most effective. The drying (and curing) process begins the second you cut down the cannabis plant. First and foremost, it is imperative that you are patient during the drying process because you must dry it slowly.
However, you must ensure it doesn’t happen too slowly, or else you risk mold growth. Impatient individuals make the mistake of using ovens, microwaves, and hot air fans in a bid to speed things up. You are welcome to try any of these tactics, but don’t blame us when your pot is ruined.
Experienced growers know that drying should take place in a dark environment since exposure to sunlight reduces the cannabinoid content of weed.
Darkness also reduces the level of chlorophyll in the plants. This is good news because too much of it results in a harsher smoke. However, no matter what process you use to dry buds, you have to trim the plant first. It is a tedious process that feels as if it is taking forever. Nonetheless, you must complete the process to end up with a more aesthetically pleasing bud.
You can skip trimming and risk keeping leaves on the plant. You’ll regret it when the weed burns your throat and lungs! Also, the sugar leaves on the bud have a lower THC concentration. Therefore, if you don’t trim the plants, you are cheating yourself out of a damn good high.
Drying Marijuana Old School Style is STILL One of the Best Methods
One of the best ways to dry marijuana is first to cut 12-inch branches from the plants. Next, trim away the unwanted leaves, and hang the branches from coat hangers or even pieces of string! There is no need to invest in expensive equipment as long as you have enough space to hang the plants.
The most crucial aspect of proper drying is to ensure your storage room is at the right temperature and humidity levels. Keep the drying room between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit and ensure the humidity stays in the 45-55% range. It is okay to use a small fan to circulate the air; don’t point it directly at the weed.
Are you having problems keeping the temperature and humidity levels at the recommended ranges? If so, purchase a humidifier (or dehumidifier if necessary) or an air-conditioning unit.
Hanging your buds upside down is the best method when trying to dry weed. However, you can also lay them down flat on a surface such as cardboard if space is an issue. If you do this, make sure you turn the buds every few hours to avoid wet spots. Also, as you have to check on your buds daily, make sure your grow room is easy to access.
If you have the extra cash, you can purchase a specialized drying rack, which will dry your buds faster than the clothes hanger method. This is mainly because you remove the moisture-laden stems from the buds. If you live in an excessively humid area, mold is going to be a problem. In this scenario, it is wise to invest in a rack.
How to Dry Weed: Feel the ‘Snap’ of Dry Buds
Depending on the conditions of the storage room, you should have fully dry buds in between five and nine days. If they are dried faster, you can still cure them, although that particular process will take longer. Once the buds are ready for curing, you can snap off the smallest buds by applying minimal pressure.
You may feel slightly bendy larger stems, which means there is still moisture inside. That’s okay because the curing process causes the hidden water to work its way to the outside of the buds. If you have a large crop, you can place the branches in bins with the lids left off overnight.
Every day, slide your hand to the bottom of the bin. If there is more moisture than on the top, flip the branches over. Once the bottom feels the same as the top, you can put the lids on the containers.
How to Dry Marijuana… A “Pressing” Matter
In most cases, you won’t need to ‘press’ the cannabis. However, if you grew weed nuggets outside that look bushy, pressing them will improve their appearance. It is best to perform this practice 5-9 days after hanging them because you want slightly moist marijuana. Place the buds in plastic bags, roll them up, and squeeze the weed. Place the bags beneath pillows or something similar for a few hours.
Be careful when pressing marijuana. If you’re too forceful, the trichomes will burst and reduce the overall quality. After a few hours, take the weed out of the bags. You’ll notice that the buds are sticking to one another. Separate them and return them to the hangers to complete the drying process. You can repeat the trick every two days until you’re satisfied with the aesthetics.
To Cure or Not to Cure your Weed?
Once the buds are dry enough for your liking, remove them from the branches and store in wide-mouth mason jars. You are free to use your marijuana at this stage. However, bear in mind that its potency and flavor is nowhere near optimal. Experts believe that proper curing of cannabis makes up almost half of its final bud quality. Having the patience to cure your weed correctly could double your enjoyment!
There is nothing complicated about curing marijuana; it just takes time.
It involves placing the buds into mason jars until the containers are 75% full. Make sure the lids are tightened, then store the buds in a cool and dark spot in a room with a temperature of 70 degrees and a humidity level of 60-65%.
Open the containers several times a day for the first week for a few minutes at a time to ensure the weed breathes. This action replenishes oxygen in the jars and allows more moisture to escape. After a week, you only need to open the jars once every couple of days. In most cases, 2-3 weeks of curing is enough to enhance the quality and potency of the herb significantly. However, it is best to keep the strains in the jars for up to 8 weeks.
Final Thoughts on Drying Marijuana Flower
Ultimately, you have to dry your marijuana buds if you wish to enjoy them later on. It is an easy, albeit slow process. All you need is patience and a storage room at the right humidity and temperature. It is up to you whether you wish to wait a few more weeks or months for curing. You can try your weed immediately after drying it, but we recommend curing it for better flavor and a more potent high.
Here is a quick recap of the process:
- Cut the marijuana plant down at harvest time.
- Remove extra leaves.
- Hang the buds to dry; wait 5-9 days until the small stems snap.
- Store the buds in mason jars once fully dry. Jars are for curing, not drying!
- If curing, open the jars daily for the first week, followed by every few days for several weeks.
You can gauge how dry your buds are by feel, or by relying on relative humidity (RH):
- 70+% RH: The buds are too wet to go into a jar. At this humidity level, put them outside the jar for a few hours.
- 65-69% RH: You can put the buds in a jar. However, keep the lid off for at least two hours.
- 60-64% RH: This is the ideal humidity level for curing.
- 59% or Less: Your buds are ‘okay’ in the high-50s. Once the RH dips to 55% or below, your weed is now too brittle. You can buy a Humidipak to increase the humidity level.
Happy growing! As always, feel free to get in touch with us via our Facebook page if you have any questions!