The process of growing cannabis does not stop at harvest time. Properly drying and curing your fresh cannabis stash is paramount to prevent mold contamination from taking place.
These procedures will also increase the quality and shelf-life of the end product. Removing moisture helps to tone down the harshness and let the terpene profile shine.
What is the best way to trim my weed?
There are two main methods for trimming your buds at harvest time:
- Wet trimming involves trimming your buds straight after harvest.
- Dry trimming, on the other hand, involves trimming your buds after drying and before curing.
It is widely recommended to trim your buds while they are still wet, as it is easier, more precise, and you do not risk losing resin from agitation as you do when handling dry buds. That said, dry trimming can make for an exceptionally manicured product worthy of a top-shelf position on looks alone.
Properly drying your trimmed buds will reduce the water content by 10–15 percent. This process removes water from the outer layers of each flower, but you will need to cure your stash to rid moisture from deeper within the buds.
The difference between drying and curing
After cutting down your weed plants, a proper dry and cure are crucial. This helps retain terpenes and cannabinoids, preserving and accentuating the flavors of weed, while diminishing chlorophyll, and getting rid of the vegetal taste of the plant.
Drying flower is a process that should not be too quick or too long. Too quick and the outsides of buds will appear dry but the insides will not be. Too long and they could dry out too much and as a result will smoke harshly and lose all of its wonderful aromas and flavors.
The drying and curing processes are similar but with a subtle difference. Drying happens before or after trimming and occurs when the initial amount of moisture comes out of buds. Curing happens after this initial removal of moisture and after buds have been trimmed. It involves storing finished buds in containers to preserve the optimal amount of moisture at about 62 percent and to preserve flavors and aromas.
The process of curing can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months. The specific amount of time depends on your storage conditions.
Best setup for drying
Keep harvested weed in a dark room with temperatures between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity between 55-65 percent. A cheap hygrometer will help you monitor these numbers.
The equipment you may need to build a premium drying setup includes:
- Drying rack or line to hang buds for drying
- AC unit (optional)
- Dehumidifier (optional)
The fan circulates air which helps each bud dry consistently, and you may need to add a dehumidifier or air-conditioner as well depending on the conditions of your drying space. If it is taking too long to dry the buds, you may need to adjust the temperature or humidity to help the drying process.
How long does it take to dry cannabis?
The best way to dry weed is by hanging the branches on a line of sorts. This helps for an even dry and it prevents buds from getting flattened or misshapen as they dry. If dry trimming, check your branches after they have been hanging for 3 days. A good test is to bend a branch with buds—if the stem snaps, that means buds are dry and ready for trimming.
If they do not snap, leave them and check the next day. Drying usually takes 3-7 days but could take longer.
How to dry buds without hanging
If for some reason you are not able to hang your weed branches to dry, then you could consider getting a drying rack. These are simply circular, flat racks made of mesh, and are great for airflow. Usually, they come with multiple layers so you can dry plenty of weed at a time. Be sure to leave the buds on the branches even for rack drying as it is still crucial for even drying.
Weed on a drying rack takes the same amount of time to dry as it does hanging on a line.
Methods for speed drying
Patience is ideal when drying and curing your buds. The importance of even moisture distribution in the flower is not to be understated. However, if for some reason you need to speed up the drying process, you are not out of options. While this may diminish the quality of your final product, it is still very possible.
Electric or gas-powered heater
This method is suitable for drying large amounts of cannabis. You will need either an electric or gas-powered heater. Before you start, make sure that the room you are using is dry and well ventilated. Inspect your buds and confirm that they are not sitting too close together, as this could result in mold growth.
Mold spreads very fast, and it spoils the weed, making it nearly unusable. A heater is a good method for drying buds fast; however, be careful not to go too fast. You could end up with harsh-tasting weed.
If you are running low on your current stash and want some bud quick, this method should help shorten the drying process to a few days, instead of weeks. If your buds are small (popcorn-sized), you can use brown paper bags to dry your weed. Place a few freshly harvested buds in the bag and leave it in a cool place for three to six days.
Bake the buds
Baking weed is often done for the purposes of decarboxylation. Except here, you are not trying to decarb the buds, you just simply want to dry them enough. This is one of the fastest ways to dry weed. For this method, you will need an oven tray such as a cookie sheet. Place your buds on the tray and put them in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Set the temperature between 125 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Flip them every 5 minutes for even drying.
This method is very effective at removing the bud’s moisture. However, the taste cannot be compared to that of slowly dried buds, and you will definitely taste the harshness.
It is important to be mindful of your oven’s temperature during this process. Cooking your buds at a higher temperature may seem like it would get the job done quicker, but it will most likely just degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes, making it potentially unusable.
Use a microwave
This method is appropriate for small amounts of weed. Set your microwave at 50 percent power and place your weed inside. Set the cook time for 15 seconds and when the time is up leave it to cool for a minute. Repeat the process until your weed is dry.\
Dry your weed in the sun
This is a traditional method for quick drying cannabis, although it may not be the fastest way. Before placing your cannabis in the sun, put it in a brown bag. Placing the weed in the sun helps remove humidity. The paper ensures that your weed dries completely.
This process is most effective when it is hot outside. Your weed will be ready after a couple days assuming the air is not very humid. The downside to this method is that the sun destroys the terpenes that give your weed its scent.