Last Updated February 19th, 2023: Drying and curing is an important stage in the production of cannabis. The buds have to be properly dried and handled. Only when this happens will the end-product be of high quality.
There are different ways of drying cannabis buds. Two popular methods are – tray drying and hang drying.
Why Dry and Cure Your Buds?
The first step to drying and curing cannabis is harvesting. It has to be done at the right time. Once you harvest your product, you’ll need to dry and cure it properly.
Proper bud drying increases their potency.
Below are some of the benefits of drying and curing buds correctly:
- Increases shelf life – When properly dried and cured, cannabis can last for many years. Put it in an air-tight container placed in a dark and cool place.
- Prevents chances of mold and bacteria – Drying prevents bacterial or mold growth ensuring your product retains quality.
- Ensures retention of taste, flavor, and aroma – Buds preserve aroma, taste, and flavor when cured at optimum temperatures. Terpenes and aromatic compounds are not destroyed thus quality is maintained.
- Raises potency – The curing process increases potency just like alcohol whose potency increases with the fermentation process.
- Reduces harshness while improving smoothness – This happens as minerals, some sugars, and chlorophyll is broken down to remove undesirable qualities.
How Long to Dry Buds?
Two factors play a big role in how long it takes buds to dry. They’re environmental conditions and time.
Use the following information as a guide;
- Day 1 – 55% humidity and 3:65 degrees
- Day 4 – 50% humidity and 6:70 degrees
Day 7 to 10 –
- 45% humidity and 73-75 degrees. Let it last until the snap test.
Note: Let your buds dry until the snap test. During the snap test, bend a stem until it snaps. The snap test passes when the sound produced is crisp, nice, and audible. Once this happens, it means the buds are completely dry indicating it’s time to trim your buds.
Benefits of Drying Buds Without Hanging
Correct drying of buds calls for isolating them from several things – wind, high humidity, and heat. High humidity causes the rotting of buds making them useless. Light destroys trichomes which in turn affects the psychoactive ingredients.
An appropriate drying room should be dark and airy without any breeze. Temperatures should not be too warm. A high-quality drying rack would come in handy because it increases the efficiency of drying and storage.
Below are the benefits of drying buds without hanging;
Having a predictable yield is important for cannabis growers. Not only is a high yield important but quality matters as well. A good racking system ensures air flows freely around the buds and plants.
Drying racks prevent bud damage and contamination thus allowing you to predict yields as no losses are made. Again, the final product is even across the yields.
Allows Air Circulation
One of the major problems in drying is the growth of molds and mildew. This leads to a loss of yields. They usually occur when the drying process takes a long time.
A drying rack prevents this from happening by enabling circulation of air and maintaining low humidity levels.
The use of wire shelving is an effective solution to rotting. Wire shelving discourages dust accumulation and allows the circulation of air. Compared to rivet or still, wire shelving keeps your buds in good shape while maintaining quality.
Provides Enough Space
Drying racks allow drying without overcrowding. Because they are spacious, the buds dry without coming into contact with each other. Overcrowding during drying has many undesirable effects including the spread of microbes and inhibition of the drying process.
Two Places To Never Dry Cannabis
Avoid drying your cannabis in these two places;
Never dry in a room with growing plants
The conditions for growing plants adversely affect the drying of cannabis plants. The temperature and humidity levels will not allow drying to take place resulting in loss of terpenes and growth of mold.
Never dry in jars or closed containers
The use of closed jars and containers for drying or curing is a bad choice because humidity builds up in the container as the buds dry. Eventually, water droplets appear on the container sidewalls from condensation.
All these happenings cause mildew, mold, and bacteria to start to grow.
Mold and mildew cause rot (botrytis). The ammonia odor they produce is a tell-tale sign of their presence. Molds and mildew affect flavonoids (molecules of taste) and terpenes causing marijuana to lose its distinctive taste and smell.
Some people may prefer to “burp” the jars during the drying process. Burping is to open the jars to release humidity. The drawback of this is that humidity is trapped until burping takes place causing the growth of molds.
How To Dry Buds Without Hanging
Hang-drying is the best method to dry cannabis. However, the issue of space makes it quite a challenge. For growers without enough space, flat-drying is the best method. This method is easier than the hang-dry method.
The flat dry method requires little space. The drying period is less but requires diligence.
Here are the steps to take dry buds without hanging;
- Cut branches off the plant.
- Place them on a mesh board or any other flat surface. Ensure the flat surface allows circulation of air. While you can use cardboard, make sure you rotate the buds regularly to prevent any spots from wetness.
- Ensure the room has the correct environmental conditions. The humidity levels need to be friendly to allow proper drying to take place.
- Let the buds dry for a period of around five to ten days.
- Carry out the snap test after seven to ten days. If the snapping is clear and crispy, the drying is done.
Note: Larger buds may still feel damp. However, the little remaining moisture goes away during curing.
- Pull off the buds from the branches and place them in a mason jar for the curing process.
Note: Only plants that pass the snap test are ready for the curing process. The branches must snap easily and produce a crisp audible sound.
Is Hang-Drying Your Cannabis More Preferable?
Hang-drying marijuana plants preserve their aroma. The aroma lasts longer compared to other drying methods. However, if those around you do not like the smell, it is prudent to consider alternative methods.
Hang-drying is a fast-drying method compared to other methods. You can hang several hemp branches with several buds at the same time. When using the flat drying method, you would need a lot of space for a few branches.
It is important to note that the hanging branches should not be overcrowded. Overcrowding increases the moisture levels in the room which may cause the growth of bacteria and molds. Additionally, the room should not be used for any other activities.
Unlike other methods, hang-drying does not require much supervision. It takes around 7-10 days for your buds to dry completely.
Final Thoughts On Drying Buds Without Hanging
Weed is a sensitive plant. Any small changes in growth and drying conditions affect the final product. Flat-drying and hang-drying processes are the best methods to use for drying because these two methods allow the drying process to take place slowly. Another reason is they add no extra cost or work.
With advancements in technology, plenty of new drying equipment is finding its way into the market. They are available for both large and small-scale production of marijuana.
The equipment is fairly affordable. Kindly note that the use of the equipment does not increase or reduce the quality of marijuana. They also do not interfere with the drying time.
Other than drying racks, you can also use high and dry kilns and cannabis humidors.