Growing weed takes time and patience. You spend many long months planting, growing, and caring for your precious plants. Naturally, when your plants are mature, you’re probably super stoked to dig in and give those fragrant buds a try. But hold your horses! You need to cure and dry your weed first.
Drying and curing your cannabis crop ensures that it stays healthy, smokes nicely, and produces a great high. Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start or what to do. We’ve created this easy-to-follow guide that will walk you through each step of the drying and curing process.
In the end, you’ll be glad you followed this guide. Your weed will be strong in potency, full of flavor, and provide you with a smooth and enjoyable smoke. Plus, drying and curing will prevent mold from developing on your buds. If they were to get moldy, you could become seriously ill due to mold inhalation. So it’s super important to be patient and follow all the steps.
Equipment You’ll Need to Dry and Cure Weed
While growing your weed, it’s likely you found a few common cannabis leaf problems and fixed them. You should be commended for tackling these problems. Because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t have many buds to dry and cure.
Now it’s time to gather the gear you’ll need to dry and cure including:
- Drying rack or drying net
- Small garden clippers
- Hygrometer (optional, for testing humidity)
- Humidity control packs (in case your buds are too dry or too moist)
- Airtight containers like wide mouth mason jars.
(You can use containers made of plastic, wood or ceramic if you like. Just don’t use plastic bags because they’re not completely air-tight)
Drying Your Weed, Step-by-Step
Once you’ve got all your equipment on hand, it’s time to dry your weed. Here are the steps to follow.
- Cut down your plants and lay them on a protective sheet until hanging time.
- Trim the extra fan leaves off the stalks.
- Using a drying rack, hang your stalks upside down to dry. Do this is a darkened room with low humidity. A closet or attic is ideal, as long as there’s some good air circulation present. You can use clothes hangers to hang your stalks, a laundry line, or any common household item that keeps them upside down.
Alternately, you can dry your plants on a drying net, which is actually a mesh screen. However, many growers prefer hanging the stalks so they can dry and still look nice. Hanging also allows for better airflow and cuts down the risk of mold. Hanging will also result in nice round buds. If you were to dry your buds on a flat screen, they’ll be flat on one side.
Consider a Freestanding Wardrobe as a Drying Rack
Many growers head to their local department stores for freestanding wardrobes to use as drying racks. This type of furniture is available in all sorts of sizes and has ready-made hangers. They’re sturdy too and can hold the weight of several freshly harvested stalks.
Make sure your drying room is kept at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21°C) and between 45 and 50 percent humidity. Monitor the humidity with your hydrometer if you have one.
Let the Weed Dry Out
The drying process takes around 10 days. You’ll know when your weed is dry when the smaller stems don’t bend. These stems should snap off easily. Once you’re sure it’s dry, use a pair of garden clippers to remove the buds from the stalks. Then place them immediately in mason jars, or whatever airtight containers you’re using.
How to Cure Your Buds
The importance of the curing process can’t be understated. A proper curing process takes time and is kind of boring. But its a must-do in order to get a potent, flavorful, and smooth smoke.
Curing can be done by hand or with a weed curing machine. The instructions in this guide use a common and popular hand-curing method. You can read more about weed curing machines in our FAQs below.
Your crop starts to degrade right after you harvest it. There are enzymes and bacteria in the plant that work to break down excessive amounts of sugar and starch. When you cure your weed, you’re forcing the plant to use up those sugars, starches, and excessive nutrients before they dry up and remain in the plant.
Now that you have your buds in the airtight mason jars, place the jars in a cool and dark location. You’ll have to be around to visit your buds several times a day for the first week to open or “burp” the containers. This is done to remove the excess moisture. When burping, the excess moisture is drawn out through the bud at a slow pace, while keeping the oxygen inside the jar fresh.
Note: If you detect a moldy aroma or the smell of ammonia when you first start burping the jars, it means the bud isn’t dry enough to cure. To avoid getting a big mold problem that can destroy your crop, take the buds out of the jars and air-dry them for a few more days.
Check Humidity Regularly During the Cure
If you’re using a hydrometer, check the humidity inside the jars each time you open them to let in some fresh air. The ideal humidity level is 60 to 65 percent. If you’re not using a hydrometer, feel the buds with your fingers to check for dryness or wetness.
Once the first week has passed, you’ll only need to open the jaws once every few days or so to let in some fresh air. After 2 to 3 weeks in jars, your weed will be cured enough to provide you with a good quality smoking experience. However, it’s best to leave the buds in the jars for 4 to 8 weeks. This way, you’re sure to get premium weed.
Fixing Humidity Issues with Weed
It’s not unusual to run into issues during the curing process if your jars are too dry or too wet. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to fix humidity problems when curing, if you catch them early.
If your buds become too dry during curing, they will feel dry and crumbly to the touch. If this happens, use some humidity control packs like those made by Boveda. These small packs contain a mix of salts and water to naturally regulate the humidity of a closed container. If your buds feel a bit moist inside the jars, leave the tops off a little until they feel dry again.
Proper Storage of Your Weed After Curing
Once your cure is finished, you can keep your buds in the same jars, in a cool, dark, dry location. You don’t have to constantly monitor your buds, but you should make sure the jars are closed tight to prevent over-drying. You can store your buds for up to two years, without decreasing quality.
You don’t have to be a cannabis guru to dry and cure weed. However, producing high-quality bud at home takes love, attention, and some basic understanding of the drying and curing processes.
When you take the time to dry and cure your weed the right way, it’ll pay off big time! You’ll have some premium buds to smoke and share, and you’ll be able to boast about your weed growing and processing skills!
We know that no ultimate guide to drying and curing weed would be complete without answering some of the most commonly asked questions. Here are some of these questions, along with our answers. We hope you find the information you need!
Why is it necessary to dry my weed?
The main reason you should dry your weed before curing it is to ward off mold. If your weed develops mold, it will rot it sooner or later. When first harvested, most of the THC in the weed is inactive. The only way to make it active is to dry it for around 10 days.
Why do I have to cure my weed?
Curing is vital because it maximizes the weed’s potency and flavor. It also helps preserve your weed so it can be stored over time. Curing provides you with a smoother, finer, more potent smoke.
What’s a hydrometer and is it necessary to use one?
A hydrometer is a small gadget that measures water vapor or humidity in the air. While it’s an optional piece of equipment to use, it can really help you determine the exact humidity levels inside your jars.
How do humidity control packs work?
Humidity control packs are simple little packages used for two-way humidity control. They help you manage the relative humidity (RH) of your buds while stored in airtight containers. They can both add and remove moisture to deliver the RH you want.
I don’t want to hang my stalks. I want to use a drying net instead. Is that OK?
Yes, a drying net typically has about 8 sections, meaning they’re good for drying large quantities of weed.
What kind of drying rack should I use?
Many growers dry their stalks on ordinary, upright laundry drying racks. The taller the better, especially if your stalks are long. Of course, you can buy commercial-grade drying racks if you like, but they’re costly. Just find something to use that’s sturdy and tall enough to accommodate your stalks.
Do most first-time growers succeed at drying and curing?
That’s a tough one to answer. However, we can say the following with confidence: The newbie growers that are successful at growing, drying, and curing are those who do some research. That’s why we wrote this guide! 🙂
What’s a weed curing machine?
A weed curing machine is a rather simple device. It’s a metal storage container with a snap-down tight-fitting lid. The lid has a silicone seal to ensure the pot is airtight. A curing machine is specifically designed to seal in freshness and keep moisture out.
What’s the best curing time?
While most growers tend to cure their weed for around a month, it’s best cured for 4 to 8 weeks. This way, you’ll get the most potency, flavor, and aroma out of your buds.
We hope we’ve answered any lingering questions you may have about how to dry and cure weed. There’s lots of information out there to tap into. Consider joining a few online weed growing communities. This way, you can ask experienced growers for some tips if you run into any issues you don’t know how to solve.
It’s very rewarding to plant, grow, nurture, and harvest your own weed. Even though you’ll be eager to nip off some buds after harvesting to give them a try, don’t give in to temptation! You need to properly dry and cure your weed so it provides you with the ultimate smoking experience. Have fun and do that drying and curing right!
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