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How To Correctly Cure Your Cannabis

How To Correctly Cure Your Cannabis

Growing quality cannabis is not as easy as it seems. The process doesn’t simply involve planting a seed and letting it grow freely. Several stages need to be completed to develop high-quality buds which one can be proud to possess. This article describes the last stage in detail, the curing stage. Everything that happens between harvest and consumption of dry buds is considered the curing stage. Many concentrates don’t require that buds go through the meticulous curing process, however, if one wishes to have quality dry herb, it’s necessary. Let’s get through the curing process to unveil the secret that separates shwag from dank.

WHY DO WE CURE NUGS?

Why can’t we simply harvest the aromatic cannabis plants and smoke the buds fresh like they do in movies? Well, in the real world, the buds must be dried before smoking. The curing process unlocks flavour and potency while drying moist buds out over a period of time. This ultimately culminates in a far superior smoke. Cured buds:

  • are less likely to produce headaches.
  • generate smoother effects; anxiety and paranoia often occur after smoking uncured or improperly cured buds.
  • are less likely to produce harsh smoke.
  • comprise matured terpenes and cannabinoids, providing more flavourful experiences.
  • are less likely to develop mould when stored correctly.
  • contain lower levels of chlorophyll.

CURING STEPS

Here we provide the steps to curing based on expert conclusions from expert breeders. It’s important to note that every grower will have their own style of doing things. Environmental conditions vary greatly between operations, as well as one's equipment and physical space. There are hundreds of different ways to cure our beloved cannabis buds. Below, we’ll narrow down the most frequently used techniques, which are applied in most curing sessions.

STEP 1: CUTTING THE PLANTS

The plants have received all the love and nutrients they need. They've been flushed, and the buds are fully mature and ready to be chopped. There are three main ways of harvesting the plants to prepare them for curing. Some cut the entire plant from the root stem, some cut every branch independently, and some prefer to cut the top part of the branches, leaving the lower buds on the plant to let them mature for an extra week or so.

Chopping the entire plant from the root stem can be beneficial in dry environments to retain a maximum amount of moisture. In humid environments, one could chop the entire plant and separate the branches from one another, or independently chop branches directly from the plant.

STEP 1: CUTTING THE PLANTS

STEP 2: PREPARING THE NUGS FOR DRYING

Now comes the stage when the fan leaves are removed for the curing process. Depending on the humidity levels of one’s drying area, the plants will have to be prepared in different ways. If you’re dealing with a dry environment (below app. 40% RH), it’s recommended to leave the fan leaves on the branches because they contain moisture and can prevent the buds from drying too fast.

In a perfect environment (app. 60% RH), the branches should be stripped of their fan leaves. In super humid environments (above app. 70%), it’s best to separate the buds from the branches to minimise moisture levels.

STEP 2: PREPARING THE NUGS FOR DRYING

STEP 3: DRYING YOUR CANNABIS BUDS

Now the plants are prepared for the specific drying environment. The temperature of the drying area should be around 20°C. The drying area constitutes a closet, growing tent, outdoor area - virtually anywhere. One can hang the branches on hangers, strings, or place the buds on mesh/wire drying racks. Creativity is encouraged. The buds shouldn’t dry too fast, or too slow. The perfect time for the nugs to dry during this stage is about 3-10 days.

This stage comes to an end when the buds are quite dry on the outside, and they’ve greatly diminished in size due to evaporated moisture. At the end of this stage, the buds can decrease up to 75% in size. The branches filled with buds are ready for the next stage when the smaller branches snap off easily, while the main branch simply cracks and bends.

At this point, the buds should be dry on the outside, but perfectly moist on the inside. If the buds have been removed from the branches and placed on the mesh drying racks, one simply needs to feel the outer dryness of the buds. Once they’re ready, it’s time to separate the buds from the main branches and place them in containers.

STEP 3: DRYING YOUR CANNABIS BUDS

TIP: There are different ways to control the temperature and humidity of one’s drying area.

  • Air Conditioner - raises/lowers temperature and lowers humidity
  • Evaporative Cooler - lowers temperature, raises humidity
  • Dehumidifier - raises temperature, lowers humidity
  • Humidifier - raises humidity
  • Heater - raises temperature, lowers humidity

STEP 4: CONTAINER TIME

This step allows the buds to dry over a longer period, which greatly improves the quality. The buds are placed in containers, boxes, jars, basically any environment which can be closed and opened for venting. However, some materials are better than others. Plastic should be avoided, while glass is usually encouraged.

You can purchase special mason jars here at Zamnesia, which are perfectly suited for curing cannabis. The old-school method, which is still used today, employs medium-sized, wide-mouthed jars. When a jar is too large or the buds are tightly packed, they can easily develop mould. When the jars are too small, it can become inconvenient. Medium-sized mason jars do the trick.

Once the buds are inserted, during the first week or so, the jars should be opened for at least an hour per day to let the humidity escape the jar. When placing the buds into the jars, the outside of the nugs will feel quite dry. Although, once the buds have been sitting in the jars for a while, the moisture from the inside of the buds will travel to the outside, leveling out the moisture levels.

During the first days of placing the buds in the jar, when the jar is shaken, the buds will stick to each other in a clump. This means that the buds are still moist and need to be separated from each other by hand in order to not develop mould. Once the buds begin moving in their own direction, the curing process is moving in the right direction. If the buds are too dry and brittle, it will take them much longer to cure properly.

In this case, special humidity packs such as Boveda Humidipak can be placed inside the jars to restore the humidity equilibrium. One could purchase a hygrometer, which measures humidity levels inside the jars. For the hygrometer to provide the accurate measurement, it needs to sit in the closed jars for a couple of hours. One should aim for 62% humidity in the jars. After about 2-4 weeks of this stage, the buds should be fully cured and ready to consume. To test whether the buds are ready, one could simply smoke a small nug and check the quality differences from day to day.

CONTAINER TIME

LONG-TERM STORAGE

If one wishes to store the cured nugs for an extended period of time, beyond 3 months, one needs to prepare them for long-term storage. Vacuum-sealing the nugs and placing them in a cool and dark area is a great way to preserve the dank. One could also place the buds in jars with humidity packs under a controlled environment to preserve the weed.

CANNABIS CURING

Cured cannabis provides our senses with nuanced aromas and flavours. Skipping this stage will result in low-quality weed. This stage is completely underrated in grow bibles, which focus mostly on the growth of the plants. The curing process takes some time and expertise to master, but with these provided steps, one can begin the process of developing even tastier and more potent buds.