I have often noticed marijuana growers spend an entire season nourishing their baby marijuana seeds, and show signs of outright impatience when they need to display their genius.
While there’s no better feeling than dragging weed cultivated by your hands, you should understand that a little wait can make your toking experience out of this world.
So, why should you wait after harvesting marijuana?
You should wait after harvesting marijuana because harvesting is not the last process— there’s something vital left to be done.
And it’s called the drying and curing of marijuana.
So, what is drying marijuana?
Well, the name is self-explanatory.
Drying marijuana is a process where you dry marijuana buds before smoking or vaporizing sessions.
Why do marijuana leaves get wet?
Plenty of factors can make your marijuana wet, which includes environmental reasons and your negligence too.
When marijuana gets in contact with moisture— it gets wet.
Your negligence, such as storing it in the wrong place, could well make these marijuana buds soggy and soft.
Challenges Related to Wet Weed
Smoking a wet marijuana leaf can dilute your experience. Here are the challenges you face when you try to smoke wet weed:
Difficult to Grind
It’s difficult to smoke wet weed because you cannot grind the wet weed into a fine powdery state. It gets stuck to the spokes and makes the grinding process difficult.
Does Not Burn Well
Wet weed is a pain in the neck when you have to burn it. Because even if you manage to light the bud, it doesn’t burn for a long period. Chances are that the presence of excess moisture doesn’t allow the weed to burn.
When you smoke wet weed, it tastes just like a weed bud that hasn’t been cured. It gives you an unpleasant taste. This happens when excess moisture mixes with smoke and results in bad taste.
Now, let’s understand how to dry cannabis.
How to dry cannabis?
Before we learn how to dry marijuana— you should know the scale of your produce.
Your drying methods may change depending on the amount of produce you harvest.
Here’s how we go about drying marijuana.
Light trimming right after the harvest
Marijuana harvest has two types of leaves— fan leaves and sugar leaves.
Fan leaves are bigger in size— also termed as the primary leaves in cannabis, and sugar leaves are the small leaves that protrude out of the cola— also termed as the secondary leaves.
Our first step should include removing the fan leaves and trimming bigger sugar leaves so that cola looks semi-naked.
You can use a general or spring-loaded trimming scissor to trim down the leaves.
This process is wet trimming, where we prune the size of the leaves before they are dried.
Drying the bud— depending on the method you choose
You can choose an “n” number of ways to dry your buds. We’ll state some of the great techniques to dry them up:
Hanging the bud upside down
It is the most practiced drying technique when you have a considerable marijuana stock.
Hang down the buds on clothing hangers or laundry ropes and lines at your house or under any shed.
Keep it away from the interceptors.
Here’s what you need to know about how to dry marijuana:
- Keeping the room temperature below 23 degrees Celsius, i.e., 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It is done to prevent the terpene content.
- Try to maintain the humidity at 50%. In fact, it can range from 45 to 55 degrees.
- Dry the buds for almost a week in a dark room.
- Space out the branches for easy air ventilation to and fro from the buds.
- Dry it until it feels crispy on a delicate touch. Be as gentle as you can.
- A little gentle press will tell if the bud has dried out.
- It’s smarter to over-dry them. Under-drying will keep the moisture level up that may promote mold formation despite storing them.
The rice drying method requires patience since it takes a significant time to extract the moisture from the bud. In this method all you need is a container and rice to execute the drying process. Ideally, a mason jar would be the best option.
Follow these steps to implement the rice method.
- Put the bud in the mason jar.
- Next, pour rice into the jar.
- Choose a dark dry place with a fan that has good ventilation. Proper airflow will help prevent mold.
- Put the uncovered rice jar in that place.
- Rice, known for its sucking capabilities, will suck down all the moisture in 3 to 4 days.
You’d like to use this method when you have a small number of weed buds.
Like rice, paper towels are effective in soaking the moisture off the cannabis produce. Steps you should follow using paper towel:
- Grab some paper towels.
- Use the paper towel to wrap the weed buds.
- Choose a dark dry place and set the towel there. Ideally near a fan. A good ventilated room and a fan prevent mold from breeding on the buds.
- Replace the paper towel every couple of hours until the buds get dried.
Finally, check the weed bud for mold before using it.
You will see the result in 3-4 days.
Dehumidifiers need a bit of investment from your side, but it is one of the quick and effective ways to dry your buds.
By merely placing your marijuana buds in front of the dehumidifier— you can get the dry cola within a span of a few hours.
We don’t recommend this method because we believe that natural drying will give your plant more time to build its portfolio.
If you’re not in a sense of urgency to smoke the weed, then air drying the weed buds is something that you can ponder on.
You need to pick a place which has good ventilation and let the marijuana buds dry there. Or place them near a fan to dry. Simple isn’t it?
Methods to Avoid When Drying Buds
When drying buds, your first instinct would be to get it dry as quickly as possible.
Using a blowdryer or a microwave may quicken the process but in doing so it over-dries the buds and brings down its quality.
Even when putting it in the sun, the heat and light may ruin the quality of the marijuana buds.
All these degrade trichomes, rob the terpenes and even reduce the THC cannabinoid count which can give you an unpleasant smoking experience.
Instead, follow one of the above methods, preferably rice or paper method. Avoid shortcuts especially involving heat and light.
#3 Time for detailed trim
Unlike the first trimming— the detailed trimming is more about manicuring the already dried-up marijuana.
Contrary to wet trimming, dry trimming needs more attention, and if you and if you do it successfully— your product will be worthy of the top-shelf position.
Remove the stems that are attached to the bud and discard them.
Unfortunately, many marijuana smokers want to try stem; however, the results haven’t been in their favor yet as they induce severe headaches and other unwanted side effects.
Once you have gotten rid of the stem— try to trim the remaining sugar leaves.
Make sure that you only have the flower.
*You can avoid trimming sugar leaves at this stage as some draggers prefer the less harsh smoke. Sugar leaves dampen down the intensity of hit, thereby making it the right choice for novices.*
Once you have attained dried weed content— it’s time that we start our curing procedure.
What’s curing marijuana?
Curing marijuana is like adding soul to your cannabis harvest— the soul that adds essence and full-fledged potency in it.
The process deals with sampling the fruits of your labor that you have spent months and seasons growing and harvesting your baby.
It is done by storing the harvest in a closed container for a few weeks.
You can store them for a month or two (if your patience allows)— because the more time you give your leaves to break down chlorophyll— the more optimized and flavorful cannabinoid profile you will have.
Why should you cure your marijuana buds?
Our civilizations have taught us to cure food for future use. And the same civilization teaches us to make our marijuana output future-ready.
So, here’s why you should cure marijuana:
- To remove bacteria and microbes for long-term use. In simple terms— curing is nothing but preserving the marijuana produce from microbes so that you can enjoy its features properly in the future.
- To allow natural manifestations of flavor and aroma. You don’t want to be working for months only to have marijuana that tastes and smells terrible. If you can’t cure cannabis buds— you should really think about buying them. Curing will strengthen the marijuana profile, increase its potency, and make it worthy of smoking.
- The freshly-harvested cannabis flowers, when stored in the ideal temperature and humidity, will keep converting the non-psychoactive cannabinoids into THCa. And if you are a weed legend— you might know how vital THCA is. It’s the precursor to psychoactive THC. Hence, it makes the leaf more potent.
- Terpenes and cannabinoids are highly volatile. They are actually the soul of your product. Once they spirit away from your strain— the quality of your stock degrades. To cure weed leaves is to prevent evaporation of these compounds or to subdue these compounds to transform into less favorable and likable compounds.
- As soon as you harvest the weed produce— the quality starts to degrade, and the leaves start losing sugars, nutrients, and starches. Forcing the output into the closed jar, ensures that they use up these essential nutrients, sugars, and starches before finally drying up completely.
Note: A lot of ill-informed marijuana growers like to interchange the concept of drying and curing even though they are two different processes.
How to cure marijuana buds?
Place them in sealable containers
Put the ultimate marijuana content in sealable containers such as mason jar (air-tight).
Place these containers in a cool-murky location— far away from pets and kids.
Check the sealable jar and open it multiple times daily.
The purpose of opening and closing the jar is to let the container burp the moisture out that’s caught inside.
Repeat this continuously.
Make sure that while container burping— your olfactory senses don’t catch the smell of ammonia or mold.
If you smell it— it’s a dangerous sign. Your marijuana hasn’t dried enough to be cured.
Get them out of the container and re-dry it in the air until you feel it’s finally settled.
After a few weeks— let’s say 3 or 4 weeks— you can reduce the frequency of container burping.
Maybe, once a week will be enough.
To build a really brilliant weed-portfolio— ensure that marijuana gets cured for six to eight weeks.
There have been a few other suggestions, such as curing it in zip locks and plastic bags— but they don’t manifest a compelling profile as much as glass jars do.
Here’s a quick look through the ideal curing tips:
- Maintain the curing temperature around 70° Fahrenheit (20° Celsius).
- Try to update the humidity level in the jar around 60%. You can buy humidity packs and place them inside to regulate the humidity level.
- If you are longing for perfect buds— cure for at least 6-8 weeks, for milder potency— you can choose 4-5 weeks.
- Make sure that your jar burps moisture every 30 to 45 minutes to belch out the moisture and get fresh air.
- Don’t let it come close to direct light. Direct light is dangerous for weed as it can break down the critical cannabinoid chemicals, thereby manipulating the profile.
Let’s toke on… finally
No! Get over those myths that say you have to be an experienced weed cultivator to flower high-quality buds at your home garden.
You just have to pay a little love and attention during the drying and curing process, and the results will follow.
Make up your mind— have some patience— maintain love for your plant from initial to the final stage— stay honest to it.
Your time and efforts will bear fruits and flowers too.