If you’re reading this article, I hope you’re smiling over a heap of your freshly trimmed cannabis buds. Congratulations on your marijuana harvest! Now you’ve reached a crucial stage in growing your own weed: drying it. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. And it’s super-important to get it right. Correct drying and curing can increase the potency of your product. Here are 7 tips on how to dry weed perfectly every time.
Four Phases To Dry Weed
To make the most out of the following tips for drying weed, you’ll need a little knowledge first.
There are essentially four phases for drying out cannabis. And actually, you’re not just “drying” your buds, you’re also curing them. Drying and curing are two different things, but many people don’t know the difference.
The Harvest Phase
Hopefully, you’ve waited long enough before you trimmed your plants. Like, until the white hairs on the buds darkened and curled inward. Sometimes, trimming too early can lead to weed that causes headaches or anxiousness. Patience is the virtue here.
Anyway, this is when you dry weed by hanging the cut flowers. This leads us to the first tip.
Tip #1: Hang the trimmed cannabis upside down in a very well-ventilated area.
Fresh air flow is critical for avoiding mold and rot on your very wet cannabis.
So how do you know when they’ve hang-dried long enough? Typically, somewhere in the range of 5-15 days. This depends on temperature and humidity in your location. Here’s some advice for knowing when your buds are dry enough to begin curing.
Tip #2: Especially in high humidity, leave plenty of space between the hanging branches.
Make sure to never let the buds touch each other during drying. And keep an eye on them that they’re not drying up too fast or too slow.
Tip #3: Indoors, aim for room temps between 65 and 75 degrees (F) and around 50 percent humidity.
Environmental conditions are hard to control, but you’ll have an easier time indoors. If you can get your hands on a dehumidifier, air conditioner, and some fans, you’ll have the tools to help you dry weed correctly. You can also pick up a cheap hygrometer, for measuring humidity in the air, at your local garden or home store.
Tip #4: Your weed is dry enough to begin curing when the small stems begin to snap and break off instead of bend.
First Level Curing Phase
After this initial drying phase, your cannabis is ready for first-level curing. As mentioned above, curing is crucial for obtaining potent, flavorful buds. It also affects the quality (e.g. harshness) of the smoke.
It’s really impossible to overstate the importance of this step in the process. If the cure happens too fast, the weed can lose crystal and turn brittle and powdery. If it takes too long, the weed will lose terpenes and thus its flavor profile and overall quality. To dry weed like an expert, follow these tips.
To begin curing, thoroughly trim the buds off the stems and branches. Next, place the trimmed buds into an airtight container
Tip #5: Use a truly airtight container, and make sure no sunlight will pass through it.
Materials like glass mason jars are common containers, but you can also help avoid light contamination with ceramic, metal, or wood containers. Just don’t use permeable plastic bags! Pack the buds loosely, but fill the jar all the way to the top.
Overall, the first curing phase takes about 14 to 21 days. During this time, there’s some important diagnostic work you should do to check up on the curing process.
Tip #6: Especially during the first week, cycle the air in your container(s) several times a day.
Curing is a delicate dance of moisture and oxygen. Opening the containers several times each day, but just for a few minutes, lets excess moisture escape and refreshes the oxygen in the vessel.
If you begin to notice an acrid, ammonia-like smell, that’s a sign your buds are too wet and bacteria are starting to break them down. Not good!
Tip #7: Make sure to “sweat out” the excess moisture.
Cannabis plants hang on to their moisture, and that’s what makes it so difficult to dry weed well. Even if you reach the perfect moisture level before you begin the cure, moisture trapped in the buds will re-hydrate all the material in the jar. If you reach in and feel that the outside of the buds are wet, you should sweat out that moisture.
The best way to do that is to “fluff” the buds by dumping them out into a larger container and tossing them around gently. Wait a few hours before putting them back in their curing container. This will rearrange the buds and help the moisture get out quicker.
If things are going well, you only need to cycle the air once every couple of days after the first week.
Second Level Curing Phase
At this point, your probably salivating every time you look at your buds just curing there, all crystal-covered and green. But if you can stand the wait for a second-level cure, you’ll end up with a truly excellent product.
A second-level cure can last anywhere from an additional 2 to 5 weeks on top of the other phases. Some strains really transform into ultra-potent beasts with curing phases of 4 to 6 months.
Time is Your Friend When You Dry Weed
We’ll end this short guide with a bonus tip that sums everything up.
Tip #8: The longer you can maintain a good curing environment and the longer you let the buds cure, the more potent and flavorful the end result will be.
Buds that are cured this long are also capable of surviving long-term storage, like up to two years, without losing any potency or flavor. Pretty incredible.
Adam is a staff writer for Green Rush Daily who hails from Corvallis, Oregon. He’s an artist, musician, and higher educator with deep roots in the cannabis community. His degrees in literature and psychology drive his interest in the therapeutic use of cannabis for mind and body wellness.