When it comes to growing your own weed, it is vital that you understand not only how to grow and rear the plants for the best possible yield but also that you know how to look after the crop as well. As part of this, you need to know how to dry and cure weed in order to allow the crop to be preserved and used at a later date.
Don’t get us wrong—it can be incredibly hard to resist trying a little of the crop immediately after harvest. However, unless you have only a single plant, you’re going to be rewarded for your time with more weed than you can use in a single sitting. In these cases, you’ll want to ensure that your crop has been perfectly dried out and preserved so that it can still be enjoyed at a later date, thereby allowing you to make the best use from every gram of yield.
The Importance Of Crop Preservation
Many people who have only just started out in their weed growing journey will fail to realize the importance of properly drying and curing their weed after harvest. This can actually be a relatively common newbie mistake and is one that you should always try to avoid when growing your very own weed.
Some people will make the mistake of thinking that the weed doesn’t need to be dried in order to allow it to be stored, and these individuals will then find themselves disappointed when their crop begins to turn bad (after all, cannabis is an organically derived, natural product and can go off in the same way that fruits and vegetables can, as well).
Alternatively, some people might make the mistake of trying to dry and cure their weed—but doing so by not following the correct method, thereby meaning that the “dried” weed has not actually been preserved as well as it should have been. Weed that has begun to go moldy, when consumed, can result in a number of potentially serious side effects including debilitating migraines or paranoia.
In addition to this, you will also want to cure and dry your weed properly in order to ensure that the quality of the cannabis isn’t affected. Poorly cured and dried buds will give you a very weak high compared to fresh crops, and this can be something of a let down; instead, if you take the time to learn how best to cure and dry your crop, you will be rewarded with a crop that will retain (at least most of) its original potency, thereby helping you to enjoy the strength of high that you would expect from your seeds.
As such, the importance of crop preservation by utilizing effective drying and curing strategies cannot be stressed highly enough.
There are a number of drying mistakes that many new cannabis growers make when it comes to drying their buds.
Dry Ice Drying
One of the commonly made mistakes that people make is trying to dry buds through the use of dry ice. Dry ice is a rapid means of drying many products, however, it is not a suitable method for drying weed for two primary reasons: not only will doing so rapidly dry out the buds, but the buds will also not be allowed to develop their potency to their fullest potential as the slow drying process allows.
Using mason jars is critical for ensuring that the weed that you have grown is dried properly. Many people try to cost cut by using other jars that they already have on hand, but only mason jars have the right humidity and conditions to properly cure the buds; other jars will likely lead to the buds becoming brittle and unpleasant.
How To Dry and Cure Weed Step By Step
If you are looking to dry and cure your weed then you should always make sure that you follow a highly rated strategy in order to ensure that you will be doing so effectively. We recommend the following strategy as a means of preserving cannabis.
The first step in any good weed drying strategy is to hang the plants. If you do not have any facilities at the time of harvest to hang the plants then they need to be spread out carefully on a protective sheet. Any extra leaves should be removed from the stalks at the time of doing so.
Hang the stalks up in a room that is dark and well ventilated, but ideally also humid. Most closets are a great place for the stalks to be hung up. The humidity in the room should ideally be around 45-55% and the temperature needs to be able 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Leave the stalks hanging to dry over time. The process of drying the crops will usually take about ten days; you can test whether the crops are fully dried by attempting to snap off one of the smaller branches on the plant, which should snap (instead of simply bending against the pressure) if the plant is dried out.
If the stems are still flexible then this indicates the fact that there is still water within the plant; in this case, leave the seeds for a little longer, as this moisture will result in mold later on if not properly allowed to dry.
Step four represents the first step in the bud drying and curing process. Once the buds are ready to harvest from the dried stems, place each individual bud into a mason jar—leaving approximately a quarter of air space above the top of the bud—and seal these up. The mason jar should be between 60 and 65% humidity in order to allow the buds to retain their potency and any remaining moisture, without risking the buds from going off.
Now, you need to ensure that the buds themselves will be able to move around. In order to do this, gently shake each mason jar; if the buds cannot move and are stuck together, leaving the lid off of the mason jar for a few hours will usually do the trick.
Burp the buds—no, seriously. The sixth step in the bud drying and curing process is to allow the buds to breathe and allow mold out of the container that might have begun to accumulate, otherwise referred to as burping. By opening the lids on the jars every other day, you will release any mold spores into the environment and outside of the mason jar.
This step is also a chance for you to monitor the drying of the buds and, in the event that any of the buds are not drying as well as they should be, they can be pulled out so as not to contaminate the remaining buds.
This process will generally take about 8 weeks to complete. Leaving the buds in the mason jars for this length of time will allow them to reach their optimum strength and potency, while also properly drying them so that they will not easily go moldy.
Once you have successfully dried and cured your cannabis buds come to the act of “sampling”, of course, in order to ensure that the process worked effectively. Assuming that the weed buds are adequately dried and cured, you will then need to consider how to store the bud for future use.
There are two different options for long term bud storage. For buds that are to be used within the next six months, leaving them in the mason jars will be fine—just open up the jars about once a month in order to allow the buds to breathe. These mason jars should be well sealed and should be kept away from light; a cupboard is the ideal (and most practical) storage solution for dried and cured buds.
If you have a surplus of buds and will want to be using these for longer than the previously mentioned 6 months, you will need to consider alternative storage solutions. Buds can only be kept for up to 6 months in mason jars before they will begin to lose their potency; as such, for longer-term solutions, you should consider getting the buds vacuum wrapped in order to allow them to retain their THC and CBD concentrations for as long as possible. When vacuum packing, though, you should always note that the vacuum packing process can crush the buds if not done with care.