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. After all of the hard work and energy growing your plant, now is not the time to get lazy.
What is the best way to trim my weed?
There are two common methods for trimming your flower at harvest time:
- Wet trimming involves trimming your buds straight after harvest.
- Dry trimming involves trimming your buds after drying and before curing.
Dry trimming is much easier to accomplish because wet nugs are just so sticky and unforgiving. After drying buds, they lose water which means they also lose density. This makes the process easier because the sugar leaves that you want to trim will start to curl up making it easier to identify the material that should be discarded.
Good luck wet trimming and not getting resin all over your hands! This is a problem because the resin is potent stuff and you do not want to lose it. When the buds dry, the resin is less sticky so your hands will pick up less of it.
On the note of appearances, dry trimming is the way to go for an exceptionally manicured product that is certainly picture-worthy.
If you are in a time crunch and need to trim your wet buds, then it is certainly possible. Just make sure to wear gloves and to have isopropyl alcohol around and some extra scissors because they will get gunked up to an unusable state.
The difference between drying and curing
A proper dry and cure are imperative after you harvest your plant. This technique allows for the retention of cannabinoids and terpenes, highlighting and preserving the flavors of your cannabis while degrading the vegetal taste of the plant via chlorophyll.
Drying weed is a precise practice and needs to be given proper time. If done too quickly, the insides stay wet while the outsides of the nugs will become dry. Too much time will result in dried-out buds that are going to be harsh to smoke and with grassy, stale flavors.
The curing process is similar to drying but with certain differences. The drying process occurs before or after trimming and happens while the initial moisture amount leaves the buds.
You will reduce the water content of your buds by 10-15 percent if you appropriately dry your buds. Water is removed from the outside layers of the buds, curing your buds will further remove any excess moisture from within the nugs.
Curing begins after the buds have been dried and trimmed. To successfully cure buds, you need to store them in containers to preserve the ideal moisture level of around 62 percent. This also helps to preserve aromas and flavors.
Curing your buds can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on the conditions of your storage.
Best setup for drying
When you cut down your plant, you want to leave the buds attached to the branches because it makes the drying process so much easier. You can either hang them from string/wire or rest them on a drying rack. Moving several branches is easier than transporting hundreds of flower buds.
To design a legitimate drying setup you will need the following equipment:
- Line to hang-dry buds or drying rack
- Dehumidifier (optional)
- AC unit (optional)
You will want to circulate the air in the room with a fan to make sure each bud dries consistently. Depending on the climate of your drying room, you might need to put an air-conditioner or dehumidifier in there. An adjustment might be needed to the humidity or temperature if the process of drying is taking longer than normal.
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
When you are drying and curing your weed you must apply patience. It is important to achieve ideal moisture distribution for your buds because it allows them to reach their full potential. Of course, in some instances, growers simply do not have the time to wait for this process to come to fruition. Luckily there are ways for you to speed up the drying process, but keep in mind that this may diminish the quality of your final product.
Gas-powered or electric heater
First, you will need either a gas or electric heater. You can potentially dry large amounts of bud with this method. The room you plan to use should be dry and well ventilated to avoid any potential hazards with the heater. Make sure your buds are not placed too close to each other so that they get consistently dried.
A heater is effective at speed drying your weed but make sure you do not overdo it or else you could ruin your beautiful buds.
This method can help speed up the drying phase to just a handful of days, rather than weeks. If you have small, popcorn buds, you can dry them using a brown paper bag. Throw a handful of nugs into the bag and set it in a cool place for 3-6 days. Throwing too much weed into a bag will hamper this method so either use multiple bags or only expect to dry enough to get you by for the week.
Bake the buds
The fastest way to dry weed; baking bud is more commonly done to decarboxylate weed for edibles. It can also be done to quickly dry weed. Get out a cookie sheet and spread out a layer of weed onto the tray. Set your oven to around 125 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit and put the tray in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Flip them halfway so that they dry as evenly as possible.
Baking your buds will result in a poor flavor and harsh smoke, so be warned. This is the fastest method on the list but also the most volatile. It would be so easy to ruin the potency of your weed by baking them for even a minute too long so only use this method if you absolutely need weed immediately.
Use a microwave
The same warning for oven baking your weed applies here. Microwaves get hot so in order to properly dry weed in them you must set your microwave at 50 percent power. Microwave your buds for 15 seconds at a time. Allow them to cool down before inspecting them to see if they need more time.
Dry your weed in the sun
A more forgiving and natural way to speed dry weed, though it definitely is not the quickest. Put your buds in a brown bag and place them in a sunny spot outside. The paper bag helps to absorb the moisture while the sun slightly bakes them.
Obviously, this method is predicated on it being hot or at least warm outside. After a few days, the buds should be sufficiently dry unless humidity levels in your area were particularly high.