There are no secrets behind top quality cannabis. Apart from premium genetics, you’ll need to be patient and focus on every step of the way; from keeping your environmental conditions ideal during cultivation, to pruning and harvesting on time and finally to curing your plants.
Surprising as it may sound, the very last part is what most growers get wrong. Although curing is the most crucial step in bringing out the best qualities of your harvested bud, doing it correctly takes some trial and error. The hardest part of the process is patient enough. However, if you do want your weed to have the best effects, curing is an art you have to master.
Why Cure Weed?
Curing is used for enhancement and preservation purposes and is by no means a recent discovery. Since ancient times people have been using this practice to store their food for long periods while retaining their flavors and vital nutrients. Though some plant and meat-based products are cured with salts, nitrites, and sugars, in the case of cannabis the only thing you’ ll need is patience and persistence.
When you cure your plants, you slow the degradation process down so that volatile compounds such as terpenes and cannabinoids don’t evaporate. Degradation starts the moment you harvest your buds, as aerobic bacteria together with enzymes start deconstructing starches and excess sugars.
With the correct temperature and humidity, you essentially allow your buds to continue generating THC. Not properly cured cannabis tend to be harsher, bitter, less flavorful and yes, less potent! So stay alert, your previous efforts might go to waste if you do not fully follow through with curing.
How To Cure Weed For Best Effects
Curing weed is an art in itself; you need to care about your buds, to love and enjoy growing cannabis. Often, growers fail just because they do not pay enough attention to details, not to mention that a big part of commercial growers does not even go through the curing process; they sell as soon as they are done with drying.
Curing Your Weed Step By Step
1. Find a dark room to dry out your cannabis. Your room should be ventilated at all times, with fresh air. You should be able to regulate the area’s humidity and temperature as necessary. Hang your bigger buds upside down using a simple laundry line, or whatever comes handy, and place the smaller “popcorn” ones on screens.
2. Prepare yourself for a good two weeks of drying. Bear in mind that there is a very fine line between rapidly over drying your buds and losing all that terpenes. In ideal circumstances, most of the moist will evaporate within the first three days. Then the process will slow down.
3. Create the proper environmental conditions. To preserve your buds’ terpene profile, you should keep the room’s temperature between 60 and 70° F (15,5-21° C). More specifically, during the first three days, it should be 68° F (20° C) to speed up the evaporation process somewhat, while later on it should be dropped to 64° F (18° C). The humidity levels should be around 50 and 55% but do not let it drop below 50%. Otherwise, your buds will dry too fast and will lose in potency!
When Is Curing Completed?
After curing your cannabis for one to two weeks, the stems should be gently breaking when you bent them (the resistance should resemble that of a marshmallow when squeezing it between your fingers), while the exterior of the flower should be somewhat crispy. That’s when you’ll know you have to remove the buds from the stems and place them in sealable containers.
In the next month or so you should be opening these containers frequently to remove excess moisture and keep the oxygen fresh. While in the beginning, you will have to do this routine several times daily, after a couple of weeks you’ll just have to do this once every few days. However, if you notice a smell of mold or ammonia, chances are your buds are not dry enough. If that’s the case go back to step 2 for some more days.
Two to four weeks in the containers are about enough for you to start rolling your well-deserved cannabis, however, if you do have the patience to go for at least another four weeks of curing you will be rewarded. Your buds will be richer in flavor and much more potent! So if you are going for strong results, prepare to be extra patient.
Storing Your Cannabis
If you cure your cannabis correctly, you will be able to store it in the containers for up to six months. You can prolong this time frame to up to a year or so if you go for vacuum sealed storage.
Do Cannabis Retailers Cure Their Weed?
Although the best flavor is achieved when buds contain about 8% of water, most commercial growers stop the drying process when their buds reach 15%. As mentioned before, the majority of these producers do not even think about curing their plants. The next step for them is packaging and selling.
This results in heavier cannabis, that is, more money. However, it’s only fair to mention that when it comes to consuming the buds with tobacco, it’s preferable to have more water, about 10 -12%, it does burn better. What is more, when vaporizing weed should be even higher in water content, 12-15%, this hinders the combustion of smaller particles when vaporization temperature is reached.