How Long Does it Take to Properly Cure Cannabis Flower?
Monday August 12, 2019
A nything worth having is worth waiting for. A smooth, flavorful, cannabis smoke sesh is a great example of that. In fact, a slow and steady curing process is often the difference between a simple sack of weed and some premium kind bud. But how long should cannabis be cured after harvest to provide the perfect smoke? To answer this question, we have to dive a little deeper into the fundamentals of curing marijuana.
Why Wait to Cure Your Cannabis?
Curing cannabis is a slow, controlled drying process that allows excess moisture and other harsh compounds to escape the plant without compromising the integrity of important compounds like terpenes and cannabinoids. Properly cured cannabis is more potent and flavorful, and easier on the lungs thanks to the slow release of unnecessary sugars and starches.
To be sure, curing cannabis does not mean just drying it out. Simply hanging weed out to dry without properly curing it afterwards can cause the buds to dry unevenly, trapping harsh chlorophyll and ceasing cannabinoid production. Indeed, the very best weed is always tended to well after harvest with a careful trim and a slow, steady cure. When properly cured, cannabis buds are not only more potent and flavorful, but they also have a longer shelf life. That’s because curing cannabis removes moisture and bacteria that may cause the cannabis to spoil or develop mold. In fact, well-cured cannabis is safe for consumption for up to six months or more. Weed that has not been sufficiently cured can develop mold in as little as a few days. Once buds show signs of mold or mildew (usually noticeable by the scent), they must be tossed lest they cause health problems.
When discussing curing, it’s important to note that not all cannabis strains are created equal, nor are the environments in which they grow. Factors such as these can alter standard cure times and must be accounted for when determining time to market (or time to smoke for personal grows). For example, an average cure time could only take a few weeks, it could take a few months, or it could anywhere in between. Furthermore, the only one who gets to decide how long a cure will take is the bud itself, not the facilities eager to turn a profit.
Cannabis Curing Best Practices
There are many variables that determine how long a cannabis cure will take – the density of the bud, the humidity of its curing environment, the steps taken in the curing process – so there is no definitive answer to the question “how long should a proper cannabis cure take?” In fact, the curing process could take anywhere from three or four weeks to three or four months. Though buds are “smokable” after a short two-week cure, holding off for at least a few more weeks is totally worth it.
To learn more about the cannabis curing process including the history of curing and step-by-step instructions for curing cannabis like a pro, check out this article.
Essentially, when curing cannabis, the longer, the better. That’s because the curing process helps bring out the flavors, scents, and cannabinoid profiles of the flower. Essentially, the longer the buds cure in their controlled environments, the better quality they will be. When in doubt, give it another week at least. It’s also important to only cure cannabis that is sufficiently dried. Attempting to cure wet cannabis can cause mildew. If the stems snap instead of bending, they are ready to cure. If not, don’t try it.
How to Tell If Your Weed Has Been Properly Cured
Cannabis legalization has brought about an array of premium cannabis products, but it has also inspired “quantity over quality” mentality among many marijuana distributors. Companies eager to turn a profit may rush the curing process or use sub-par production. Though most dispensaries will swear up-and-down that their bud is the best bud, it is up to you, the consumer, to decide for yourself.
One great way to tell if cannabis is cured correctly is by its texture. Quality cannabis should be sticky and spongy and should break apart easily without crumbling. Buds that feel wet or those that need to be pulled apart likely contain too much moisture suggesting that the flowers were not sufficiently cured before hitting the shelves. Conversely, bud that crumbles between your fingers is too dry and likely the remnants of last season’s stash. If your budtender shows you weed like this, don’t buy it.
Additionally, cannabis should have a pleasant scent. Good weed is often fruity or floral (and largely determined by its terpene profile), whereas bunk weed may smell like musk or mildew (an indication that it is too wet) or else it may smell like hay (indicating it is too dry). Buds like these can cause excessive abrasion along the airways due to trapped chlorophyll, residual nutrients, or mold spores. Next, take a look at the bud’s color. Deep greens could mean that excess chlorophyll is still present in the flowers while brown buds could mean they were over dried or dried out too quickly. Instead, premium cannabis should be bright green and feature many various color hues including reds, purples, oranges and blues.
They always say not to rush a good thing. Turns out, “they” were totally right. Rushing the cannabis curing process can drop the quality of cannabis to a harsh, flavorless level. In fact, improper curing is not only unpalatable, but it can be downright dangerous considering the risk of mildew and other unhealthy components.
If you grow and harvest your own marijuana, always cure your cannabis properly before smoking it. If you purchase from a dispensary or other source, though, you’ll have to do a little detective work to determine if your bud was cured properly or not. But once you learn how to distinguish quality buds from those that are rushed out the door, you’ll set yourself up for a premium cannabis experience every time.
Do you have any tips to determine if buds are properly cured? We’d love to hear them.
Abby is a writer and founder of Cannabis Content, a marketplace designed to connect cannabis writers and creatives with businesses in the industry. She has been a professional cannabis writer since 2014 and regularly contributes to publications such as PotGuide and M&F Talent. She is also the Content Director at Fortuna Hemp, America’s leading feminized hemp seed bank. Follow Abby on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.
A slow curing process is often the difference between unpalatable, unhealthy weed and premium bud. But how long should cannabis be cured? Click to dive deeper into the fundamentals of curing marijuana.
- Escrito por : Ciara
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Drying cannabis is an extremely important step that determines the quality of your weed. If you don’t dry it properly you could end up ruining your entire harvest that took you months to complete, so you’ll need to take care when drying your buds.
Everyone wants to have their harvest dry as soon as possible, but patience is needed in this lengthy process; why would you spend months taking care of a plant to speed up the drying process? Usually, to get top quality product you should dry it for a week to a month, no more and no less. If it dries before then, then the place you’ve chosen to dry it isn’t adequate; it might be too hot, or there might be a breeze (something you need to avoid) and this will make your weed end up tasting green, like chlorophyll. If it takes too long to dry there might be too much humidity in the area, and your buds might end up full of fungi and rot.
Honestly, the best way to dry your buds properly is to work from experience; you need to know what space to use and how many days it takes to dry in that particular space so that you can pick the exact spot where to hang your bud and know exactly when to put them in glass jars to cure them. It’s honestly easier than it looks; you just have to follow some simple steps and you’ll have top quality buds once they’re dry! Keep in mind that the process of drying and curing should take about a month, although it can be accelerated if you’re desperate to smoke but the quality and taste will be far inferior, so if you’re going to do that don’t do it with the entire harvest, just enough to tide you over until it’s all dry and ready to smoke.
To do this right you’ll need to trim your plants and take away the leaves so that the plants can dry properly and look nicer once they’re dry. If your plant is very big, you can cut the branches off and hang them like a washing line or in a drying sock, somewhere where there isn’t any light and the temperature doesn’t go above 25º. Make sure there’s no heavy air flow, but at the same time no pockets of stagnant air that can create humidity. Once a few days have gone by and depending on the outdoor
atmosphere, you’ll notice that the buds are drying a bit, then you’ll go and it’ll be a bit humid again, then you’ll think it’s ready but the stems are still green… the best thing is to wait 15 days to make sure.
The perfect time to take your buds down and stick them in hermetically sealed jars is when you can bend the buds on their stems and they bend, kind of crispy like, but they don’t break. This is when you’ll need to put the buds in jars or wooden boxes so the chlorophyll can rot correctly and the plants don’t taste like green leaves. This works because the excess humidity in the stems slowly rots the chlorophyll, but you need to open the jars for about 10 minutes every day to let some fresh air in; this will allow the humidity to escape a little bit. Rotting the chlorophyll is known as curing cannabis.
Once you’ve put your buds in their final containers you’ll need to keep an eye on them every day until they’re completely dry. Every 24h you should open the jar at least once to let the air filter out and to check if it’s still too humid or if the process is going nicely. The first day that you put the buds in the jar the weed should be almost dry, but the next day when you open it you’ll know if you got the timing right:
- If you put it in too early, your buds will be extremely soft as if you just harvested them. If this happens to you, you might need to put the buds back in the drying sock for them to dry properly. It gets so soft because you took it down too early and there’s still too much humidity in the trunk.
- If you’ve taken them down too late, your bud will be much too dry and the humidity won’t be able to rot the chlorophyll and the weed will still be green looking and green smelling, so you’ll be left with weed that tastes like leaves.
- If you’ve done it at exactly the right time, the weed should be spongy, not completely dry but not completely humid either, just a bit soft. After a few days of opening it up for 5 mins a day, your cannabis should be completely dry and you can close the container for as long as you want.
Don’t forget to open it up for a few minutes every day to make sure it’s drying properly and let some of the humidity out. If you detect any sort of mildew of fungi, remove it immediately from the container as it could end up completely rotting your bud. Once it’s completely dry you can keep it for years in the container, as long as you’d like.
Things to keep in mind when drying cannabis:
- When you harvest your plants the soil needs to be completely dry, and you run the risk of rot.
- When you’re drying your cannabis, you should never use dehumidifiers; only use them in particular cases when you know there is a lot of humidity and you’ve checked that your weed won’t dry there even in a month. Be careful though, as you’ll end up heating up the area and your weed might dry too fast.
- You shouldn’t use fans in your drying area, as it will dry your weed too fast just like a dehumidifier and you won’t be able to cure it properly.
- Never use cardboard boxes or drawers to dry your cannabis because it will probably end up covered in rot and mildew.
- Make sure that the branches aren’t touching each other when you hand them up, because this creates more humidity which can lead to rot, and rot can easily spread from one plant to another if they’re touching.
- Do not harvest your plant if you’ve just used any product on it, especially if it’s a fungicide or pesticide, as the flavor will stick around in the final product and could end up ruining your entire harvest.
If you have any other questions don’t hesitate in leaving a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Author: Javier Chinesta
Translation: Ciara Murphy
When drying cannabis a certain level of patience is needed if you want to get the best out of your weed in as far as aroma, taste and effect.