After you have one succesfull grow and harvested your cannabis, your still not done. The next phase will make or break the quality and taste/smell of your product. Yes, drying your cannabis is a very important and challenging job.
It’s possible to simply let your buds dry in a dark growroom with a little wind and check them every now and then untill it’s dry. But drying it very slowly, with the right temperature and humidity will make a world of difference in the final product.
The right moisture content is very important for cannabis users and patients. Compare it with the right year of a good wine. Too much moisture will leave you with a bad taste, negative smoking experience and the possibility of mold. However too dry will result in a sharp smoke with a lost of taste. The trick is to find the right balance!
Lots of beginner growers don’t think about the drying process at all. They think it shouldn’t be hard compared to growing itself and won’t focus enough on it. I mean whats hard about securing your buds and taking them of when they are dry? Well, a lot! The moisture level in your buds will make or break the quality/taste and could make a very good grown nug, taste very bad.
How do I dry my cannabis in a proper way?
We can’t just give you a time on how long your buds should dry because that has to do with multiple aspects like: Temperature, humidity and the density of the nug. It speaks for itself that a bigger nug will have a longer drying time and will dry quicker in a warm room then a cold one.
Also take in mind that some buds on your plant are more fluffy then others. Keep a good look on them every day because they could dry faster then dense buds! On the other side, A big compact nug grown with 600W HPS lightning could take dubble the time to dry (around 10 days).
Experts say: The slower you dry your cannabis, the better. Why? Well because once you start drying, you also start the curing process of a nug.
Never quick-dry your buds in a microwave or above a heater. This will result in very nasty tasting nugs that’s really unpleasant to smoke because it burns terpenes and even cannabinoids that you’ll need for a proper taste.
The perfect temperature to dry is around 70°F (21°C) as this temperature improves the curing processes. Next to that, keep the area at a humidity of around 50%. You can adjust these levels by using fans, heaters and (de-)humidifiers.
If your buds looks soggy/wet and it stays that way, you need to add some air flow by placing a fan. However don’t aim them directly on your buds because this might cause them to dry too quickly. So use fans with caution!
You are able to leave as much stem as on the nugs you want, the more stem the slower it dries because of the moist in it. Depending on this you can use a robe or net to dry them but make sure to never place them on something flat like a piece of cardboard for example. This will cause wet spots around your nugs which could result in mold.
Now keep drying untill the outside of your nug feels dry enough and the stemps easily snap off. This could take up to +-7 days depending on your environment. When your buds already feel dry after 3 days, it means you have been drying to quicky but don’t worry: Your stuff could still benefit from the curing process (it might take a little longer).
Once you are able to easily break the nugs of the bigger branch, they will be perfect to start curing. Sometimes they might seem to look/feel overdried but as long is these bigger branches are still bendy, there is still enough moist in the nugs to cure. This moist is required for the curing process but make sure the outside of all the nugs are dry enough as this is where molds will form.
This is the moment some growers say they are finished and try their product. However there are still some compounds in your buds that you want to get rid off. This is why we cure cannabis. Curing helps to decrease the amount of sugars and chlorophyll in the cannabis which improves the smell/taste massively.
Before you start the curing process, you need to make sure the humidity of your stuff is at the perfect level.
Testing the humidity of your cannabis
Luckely you can test yourself when it’s time to cure or smoke your cannabis. There are 2 simple ways to test the level of dryness:
This is the test you should try first wich gives you the first signs of your material being dry enough. Take some small stems close to the nugs and bend them until they snap. If they really “snap” easily with a soft snapping sound, your stuff is probably dry enough to take it from the line. If they bend and you have to twist/pull to get them off. Keep them drying!
Don’t forget to try different sizes of stems so your sure that it dried equally!
This test will be a little more fun and shows you if your cannabis is ready to cure in a glass jar. Simply roll a pure joint of your material and watch how it burns. Dry cannabis will stay lit and makes your joint burn equally.
If you need to re-light your joint every few seconds it’s probably still to wet to cure. Also wet cannabis often leaves dark and hard ash on your joint. This would be another sign of too much moist.
Moist cannabis isn’t only bad for it’s taste. Next to that it can cause molt when stored in a jar or bag. When this molt is being smoked it could eventually lead to nasty diseases, so be very carefull with this! A nug could feel very dry but still contain lots of moist inside so don’t hesitate to pull it apart and research it.
Curing your cannabis properly
As finishing touch you could cure your cannabis after it’s being dried well. This will increase the taste and aroma’s of your cannabis massively and makes it a way better smoke. But also curing is an art and should be done perfectly to get the most of all your growing effort.
To begin with curing, you could start put putting your buds in a brown-paper bag and leave it for a day or two (Important to use paperbrown back, other bags can cause molt!). Now take some jars with good lids that will close them air-tight and put your buds in them untill they are 2/3 full.
In the first stage you don’t want to close the lids hermetically because there is one proces that requires a little fresh air. This proces is the breakdown of sugars and Chlorophyll (one of the terpenes). Breakdown of suger will lead to w a much smoother smoke. The breakdown of the terpene Chlorophyll will take away the grassy, raw taste most smokers dislike.
Now check your buds everyday on mold, moist or dark buds and take them all out for research. If you find one that looks wrong, take it out! Also check the jar for mildew because this could also lead to molt once you leave it there. After a while your cannabis wil be cured properly and ready to smoke.
Using a hygrometer while curing cannabis:
A hygrometer is a very helpfull tool while curing your cannabis. These show moist percentages of your buds and can be placed inside the jar. These percentages tell a lot about your material and the time you should take it out, close the lids or do something else.