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How to Dry Weed Buds - Best Way to Dry & Cure Cannabis

How to dry your freshly harvested Cannabis plants correctly, the optimum drying room conditions and 6 things to consider
09 May 2022
13 min read
How to Dry Weed Buds - Best Way to Dry & Cure Cannabis

Contents:
  • 1. Trimming your cannabis
  • 1. a. Wet trimming
  • 1. b. Dry trimming
  • 2. Placing your buds in the drying room
  • 3. The dry room
  • 3. a. Temperature
  • 3. b. Humidity levels
  • 3. c. Air flow
  • 3. d. Light or dark?
  • 4. How long should buds take to dry?
  • 5. Speed drying
  • 6. Smell proof the dry room
  • 7. What to consider when drying cannabis buds
  • 8. Most common mistakes when drying cannabis
  • 9. What to do right after the buds are dry?
  • 10. Curing your dried cannabis flowers
  • 10. a. What exactly is cannabis curing, and why do we do it?
  • 10. b. Factors to consider when curing cannabis
  • 10. c. The curing process explained
  • 11. In conclusion

The process of drying weed consists of evaporating most of the water in the buds, to do this you need to maintain the temperature around 20°C and humidity ranging from 45-50%. Even though it sounds easy enough, there is a right way and wrong way to do it and each can be the difference between chunky, incredible-smelling flowers with the ultimate bag appeal, or a flat-looking flower that has a minimal aroma with a fresh chlorophyll taste.

 

Sebastian Good talks about the best way to dry Autoflowering Cannabis.
 

In this article, we explain how to dry bud properly, the correct dry room scenario, and our top tips for drying buds to perfection.

1. Trimming Your Cannabis

When harvesting your plants, you will have to decide on whether to trim the excess foliage before or after drying them, now this isn’t a problem at all but depending on your drying room, you should wet trim rather than dry trim.

Wet trimming

Wet trimming consists of trimming your plants before the drying process, this is the most preferred methods by several growers because the moisture in the leaves can end up affecting the humidity level in your drying room, also, you’ll be able to use the fresh trimmings to make extracts, lotions, oils or even edibles.

 

How to dry cannabis: wet trimming

Wet trimming consists of trimming your cannabis before drying them.

Dry trimming

Dry trimming on the other hand consists of trimming your flowers after the drying process, a lot of growers prefer this way because it can get quite messy when cutting leaves from fresh plants. 

 

How to dry cannabis: dry trimming

Dry trimming consists of trimming your bud after drying it.
 

But you should have in mind that it’s recommended to dry trim only if you are able to control the conditions in the drying room because the excess moisture can end up molding your buds.

2. Placing Your Buds In The Drying Room

So, after trimming (or before if you’re dry trimming) you will have to hang up the branches in your drying room, this consists of just hanging the flowers to dry and you can do it in a rack, or on a rope similar to a clothesline, but first, you need to know how you’ll harvest your plant.

 

How to dry cannabis: dry trimming

Cannabis plants after harvest all ready to start drying.
 

There are several ways to chop your plant, you can harvest your plant and hang it whole, cut each branch individually or cut each individual bud, and depending on which one you prefer, the way you hang them will differ a bit.

Hanging the branches on a rope

If you harvested your plant branch by branch or you cut the plant whole, you will need a clothesline or a similar rope to hang them, this is usually the preferred method because the branches still have water inside them, so it will prevent your buds from speed drying. Obviously, you will still have to control the conditions (if possible) but this could be used as a safety precaution in case you’re worried.

Pros and Cons of Hanging vs Drying racks

 HangingDrying rack
Pros

- Cheap;

- Slower drying.

- Better organization;

- Dry faster.

Cons

- Slower drying can result in mold;

- Needs a lot of space.

- Can lower quality if not controlled;

- Can be expensive.

 

Drying the buds on flat racks

Flat racks are vertical racks that came with several flatbeds, these racks are mainly used when drying individual buds and are a great way to save space because some of them come with up to 5 flatbeds, meaning you can dry more flowers in the same amount of space that you would when hanging the branches. Obviously, this comes with a downside, due to the flowers not having branches, it is possible for them to dry faster that you would like to so it’s essential to have the drying conditions controlled to avoid problems.

3. The Dry Room

For those new to growing Cannabis, have a clear understanding of exactly what occurs in the drying room is essential. The aim is to slowly dry the flowers for around 15 days which happens so it’s a matter of experimenting with different temperatures and humidity levels to get to that sweet spot, which can differ depending on where you live.

Temperature

Sometimes it is not possible to control the temperatures of your drying room, however, you should aim for 20°C which is the ideal temperature in most cases. It is much better to dry the buds slowly at a lower temperature to prevent the cannabinoids and terpenes from evaporating.

If you have a temperature fan controller, setting it to 20°C and humidity around 50% will allow the drying room to stay consistent.

 

How to dry cannabis: best conditions

Ideal conditions to dry your cannabis properly.

Humidity levels

If the goal is to reduce the moisture in the flowers down to the point it is ready for curing jars, then it is necessary to do this process slowly. Keeping humidity levels at 40-50% will encourage the flowers to air out in their own time, and once the flowers are close to dry, then they can be placed in an airtight curing jar, from where they will reduce down further.

Use Boveda packs or something similar to ensure your buds are kept at an optimal humidity while curing.

Air Flow

A very important part of the drying room is that you cannot let your harvest dry out too quickly. You should never have a fan blowing directly at the flowers, and the airflow in the room should be very light and fresh. If using a fan, point in the direction away from the buds and have it blowing to the floor or the ceiling. Using fans in a warm environment is the number one cause for harsh-tasting flowers because they’ll have a similar flavor and aroma as they would have if speed dried.

It is better to have very low airflow, however a gentle circulation of air in the dry room is ideal, as well as maintaining your plants in complete darkness. 

Light or Dark?

The drying room should be a cool and dark place, that should not have any light entering or hitting the buds. As plants are left to die on the vine and hang up in the dry room, keeping them in darkness will guarantee the chlorophyll aroma and taste are totally removed, leaving behind terpene-rich, aromatic flowers.

 

How to dry cannabis: darkness

Your plants should be in a cool place and in completely darkness when drying.
 

Once the harvested plants are inside the drying room, there is no need to return until the two-week mark, so keeping the room in total darkness is not an issue.

4. How Long Should Buds Take To Dry?

When harvesting the flowers off a Cannabis plant, their buds should be left in a dry room that meets the optimum conditions. It is during this time that the moisture levels are reduced from 80% down to 25-30% depending on curing criteria.

 

How to dry cannabis: how long?

Flowers should take a minimum of 2 weeks to dry to allow them to get rid of chlorophyll.
 

Buds should be left to dry for a minimum of 15 days until they’re relatively hard to the touch and the twigs and branches bend but do not crack completely.

What To Remember

  • Freshly harvested plants should take a full 2 weeks to be fully dried. 
  • Smaller-sized buds or wet trimmed buds may be ready in 10 days. 
  • The dry room will slowly reduce the moisture content of the flowers. 
  • This is where the chlorophyll will die off and the fresh smell will go.

5. Speed Drying

We have all probably been guilty of this at some point, and there is nothing worse than speed drying a crop. If intentional or not, the end result always lacks a full aroma and flavor. Speed drying basically means the crop has been rushed and dried in 3-5 days maximum due to high temperatures and excessive airflow directly on the flowers.

 

How to dry cannabis: speed drying

You should avoid speed drying because your flowers will end up tasting like hay.
 

When a flower is dried so quickly, it will not have a chance to eliminate the chlorophyll that was present only a week prior. The color of the buds will also have a darker shade of green than normal and the smaller leaves wrapped around will be bone dry and when grinding the flowers, the majority will become dusty.

6. Smell Proof The Dry Room

Drying your freshly harvested Cannabis plants in a smell-proof environment should be a grower's main concern for a number of reasons, the main one being to prevent neighbors from catching a whiff of your high grade.

 

How to dry cannabis: carbon filter

A carbon filter is the best way to eliminate the strong smell during the drying process.
 

This will allow you to place the buds inside your grow tent for the next 2 weeks without worrying due to the carbon filter and extraction unit.

Avoid placing your flowers inside a cardboard box or leaving them hanging on an old cupboard, and treat them with extreme delicacy.

7. What To Consider When Drying Cannabis Buds

Step 1

Be patient and wait until the buds are ready. It can be extremely tempting to keep on taking flowers as the flowers are drying, and sometimes the only choice for some growers have. However, patience will reward you with the best tasting, smelling, and looking flower possible.

Step 2

The way to test if your flowers are dry enough to be cured, is to take a bud and snap the smaller twigs. If the twig feels hard and snaps easily then you are good to go. Remember that the bigger branches should not snap, they should bend easily but the fibers should not rip completely, this is when you should cure your flowers.

Step 3

For the sake of smell proofing your drying room, use a grow tent that is equipped with a carbon filter. Grow tents are cheap and converting it into a permanent drying room is well worth the investment in the long run. 

 

How to dry cannabis: what to consider

The process of drying cannabis.
 

Step 4

The chlorophyll and fresh smell will disappear once the flowers have been properly dried. If the buds contain a fresh or hay aroma then the buds are not dry yet or the flower has been dried too quickly. 

Step 5

If you are going to use an oscillating fan, turn the fan away from the flowers so the air is blowing around the room, and off the floor. The key is to have a soft, freeze cool breeze circulating the room, as opposed to warm air blowing around at a fast rate.

Step 6

Flowers that were infected with mold should not be dried and are not suitable for consumption. Smoking contaminated flowers or extracts can cause serious health issues.

8. Most Common Mistakes When Drying Cannabis

Make sure no light reaches your buds

Strong light can end up evaporating the terpenes and cannabinoids, and your flowers will end up tasting and smelling like hay so make sure your drying room is light-proof.

What to do if your buds are too dry?

If you’ve let your flowers dry for too long or dried them too fast, it’s possible some of the terpenes and cannabinoids evaporate and if this happens, there’s no way to get them back. If you want to moisten your buds before curing them, you can spray a bit of water, this will allow the flowers to absorb the moisture and go back to normal.

Leave space between the hanging branches, especially in high humidity.

If you’re not able to control the drying conditions, make sure you leave space between the branches, especially if you didn’t trim your flowers before hanging them, this will prevent your buds from getting mold by allowing air to flow in between them.

9. What To Do Right After The Buds Are Dry?

Once the 15 days have passed (if everything goes as it should), you should quickly transfer all of the buds to an airtight glass jar because you don’t want your flowers to continue drying.

 

How to dry cannabis: dry buds

The best way to cure weed is to place your dry weed in an airtight glass jar to cure your cannabis for around 2 weeks.
 

When you’re 100% you have dried the flowers properly, transfer them to a glass jar with a boveda pack if possible and let the curing process begin.

10. Curing Your Dried Cannabis Flowers

Ok, so you have made it through the 15-day drying period, and you are ready to smoke up some of those delicious homegrown nuggets. And sure, who are we to tell you to wait any longer? But, if you really want to get the best out of all that hard work, you 100% need to wait a bit longer. Their general consensus these days is that cultivating the crop is really only about half the work, with the drying and curing process being much more important than once thought. The old saying ”good things come to those who wait” could not be more true than when it comes to curing your precious buds.

What Exactly is Cannabis Curing, and Why do We do it?

It's pretty simple really. Curing cannabis is the weeks to months-long process of slowly but surely removing all of the tiny amounts of moisture still left in the bud after the drying process is finished. This is done under controlled environmental conditions, and when it is done properly it allows the terpenes and flavonoids to mature correctly and fully. When cured correctly, the process can turn undesirable, rough on the throat flower into a bud that offers a deliciously smooth and nuanced smoke.

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What Is CBN?

The floor and aroma profile is not the only factor that goes through a metamorphosis during curing. The improvement in smokeability also comes from the degradation of sugars and chlorophyll, and over time THC will turn into CBN - a less psychoactive cannabinoid that aids in sleep, pain relief, and offers some neuroprotective properties not found in THC or CBD. Curing your buds will also greatly increase their shelf life, and reduce the chances of any mold issues. Properly cured and stored weed can last more than a year without the flavors, aromas, or strength being negatively affected.

Factors to Consider When Curing Cannabis

There are a couple of important factors to keep in mind when you are getting ready to cure your weed. These factors can be the make or break between curing success and failure, so pay close attention to these during the entire curing process.

  • Keep a close eye on the humidity levels - First thing to remember is you can not start the curing process until the buds have dried to the correct level. If the weed still has too much moisture trapped inside, mold will develop and ruin everything. If you smell any hints of ammonia when opening your curing jars, get them out immediately and back into the drying room. You also do not want bud that has been dried too quickly, as this will create a horrible smoking experience. The correct humidity levels for drying are 45 to 55%, with curing being a little higher at more like 60 to 65%.

 

  • Keep it cool, but not too cool - The perfect curing temperature sits at about 21C or 70F. Higher temps will lead to the breakdown of terpenes and cannabinoids at an accelerated rate, which can lead to a reduction in potency and flavor.

 

  • Cure your weed in the dark - Sunlight (or artificial light) is what we try to get the most of during the cultivation process, it is what allows the plant to produce those gorgeous, glistening trichomes containing all of the terpene and cannabinoid goodness we love.

 

But, as soon as you cut your crop it needs to be kept in the dark as much as possible. Light leads to cannabinoid and terpene deterioration, which is the exact opposite of what we are trying to achieve with curing.

The Curing Process Explained

Curing cannabis is a simple, straightforward process that does not require any previous experience or special knowledge, just dedication, a hint of self-control, and a bunch of patience. Once the buds have been trimmed, it's time to start the curing process. Place them into an airtight container. The airtight part is important, so we usually suggest going for a sealable mason jar or the rubber sealing ring. Carefully place the nugs inside without squishing them, and do not fill the jar further than about 75%. Air exchange is the most important part of curing, so make sure there is enough room for the weed to “breath”. Give the whole jar a little shake - if the buds clump or stick together then they are still in need of more drying time. For the first week or so it is important to check how the process is proceeding a minimum of twice a day. There is a chance that you may see very slight signs of condensation on the inside of the jar.

 

How to dry cannabis: what to consider

Flowers can get too dry, in this case, you can spray them with water to increase the moisture in them.
 

If this is the case get the bud out and let it dry for a few more days. If everything is going smoothly, leave the jar open for a minute or so each time you check on it. This allows for the fresh air exchange that is so important to the curing process. If you have a hygrometer (if you don’t, get one) then check the humidity percentage. If it is reading 70% or higher, leave the jar open for a few hours to allow this level to drop back down to the desired 60 - 65%. If it's lower than expected, burp the jars less often. Continue with this twice daily burning routine for the next 10 to 14 days, then reduce it to once a day for the next week after that. Once you hit the three-week mark you can consider your weed to be cured, but for the best results, you will need to continue this process of twice-weekly burps for the next 5 to 6 months. It’s only at this point that your weed will reach its true peak.

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How to Cure Buds

11. In Conclusion

There's no such thing as a weed dryer, if you follow the right steps and have plenty of patience it will only take 2 weeks to have cup-winning flowers. There are many ways during this time things can go wrong, so take the extra steps necessary to turn the crop you have spent the last 10 weeks growing into the finest cured flowers around. Also, have in mind that the curing stage can also affect how your buds taste and smell, despite no being a best way to cure cannabis, the glass jar method works great so you should always leave them for at least 2 weeks in a glass airtight jar for the best results. There isn't a quick way to dry weed, it’s not worth ruining your harvest in the very end so make sure you do everything as you should, if you have tips or tricks to help fellow growers dry their flowers properly, please leave a comment in the comment section below! 

09 May 2022