How to Cure Cannabis
Curing cannabis is not essential, but it will improve the quality and longevity of your buds. As such, anyone who grows cannabis should learn how to cure the plants. Curing comes after drying the cannabis and will be worth the time and effort you put into it.
Why Cure Cannabis
Curing cannabis will improve the quality of your buds.
It can take cannabis plants that were previously harsh and make them delicious and smooth. When you cure cannabis for a prolonged time, the byproducts from the drying products will degrade. This is a crucial step as the molecules from those drying products can give an unpleasant, harsh taste. Via curing, you get rid of the compounds so you can enjoy a smooth smoke.
The increase in smoothness associated with adequately dried and cured cannabis is partly due to the breaking down of chlorophyll that occurs during this process.
The process of curing cannabis can also do wonders when it comes to preserving the flavors you want to keep from the cannabis. To understand why this is the case, consider that terpenes are the molecules responsible for the flavor and aroma unique to cannabis strains. Terpenes are volatile and quickly degrade when exposed to high heat. Curing protects the terpenes, especially when it follows gentle drying. The result is buds that are tastier and smell better for a longer time.
By preserving the flavors, curing can help bring out the subtle flavors that make your strain unique.
While preserving the flavors you want, the drying and curing process will also get rid of the smells you do not want. Those include the common cut grass or fresh hay smell associated with newly harvested buds.
Curing your cannabis can even increase the potency of your buds. That is because THC degrades over time, becoming CBN. THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, and while CBN is mildly psychoactive. CBN’s psychoactive effects do not compare to those of THC. Curing cannabis helps preserve the THC, so it does not degrade into CBN rapidly. The result is more potent cannabis and a better “high.”
Curing cannabis is also associated with reducing the harshness associated with the buds. This results in a decreased risk of getting a headache or coughing when you smoke the buds.
Improve the Effects
Some even say that properly drying and curing cannabis can reduce the risk of paranoia, racing thoughts, or anxiety.
Boosts Shelf Life
In addition to all of the other benefits associated with curing cannabis, the process will extend its shelf life. This lets you take your time enjoying it, without worrying about it starting to go bad. Curing can also minimize the risk of mold. When you properly dry and cure your cannabis buds, they can easily last over a year without any changes in strength or taste.
How to Cure: The Steps
The process of curing your cannabis involves strategically opening and closing the jars that you used to store the plant.
You create a controlled environment by storing the cannabis inside glass mason jars. The humidity inside the jar will rehydrate the exterior of the plants. At the same time, that humidity remains controlled, so the buds are not overly wet.
Separate the Flowers
Before you can start curing your cannabis, you need to prepare the flowers by separating them. Every bud should be by itself, and they should not have any sugar leaves. If you already did this before drying the buds, then you can skip this step. However, if you dried the flowers divided into branches, you should take the time to separate everything.
Place the Buds in the Containers
Now, you are ready to prepare your airtight containers and put your buds insight. Mason jars are a popular option because they are sturdy, sealed, and transparent, the last of which makes it easy to monitor the buds. Quart-size canning jars are also very popular for the same reasons. Alternatively, you could use any plastic, wood, metal, or ceramic container as long as it provides the proper conditions, including an airtight seal.
You should typically avoid plastic bags for curing since most can degrade when exposed to certain cannabis terpenes. Most are also not impervious to oxygen, which hurts the curing process.
You should loosely put the buds in the containers, filling them up to around 75 percent. Leaving this much room ensures that there is enough space for air, which is crucial for curing. Before you get too far along, ensure the buds are dry enough to be cured. To do this, gently shake your jar. You want the buds to rattle freely in the jar. If they clump together when you shake the jar, you need to keep drying them, as their exteriors are still too wet.
Close and Store the Containers
Once you are sure the buds are dry enough, fill the jars to the proper levels, close them up and store them. Place the containers in a dark and cool location so you can avoid high temperatures, light, and uncertain humidity. Ideally, you should put the jars in a storage space that has a temperature of around 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
Set it up so that the relative humidity in the jars is between 60 and 65 percent. You can confirm the humidity with accuracy by placing hygrometers in every jar. These are small and should not take up much room.
The First Few Days to a Week
Over the first few days, check the buds twice daily. Start each check by looking at the buds through the glass. This way, you can check them for potential mold formation without opening the jar and exposing them to the air for too long. You will want to open the lids several minutes at each of these checks. This allows for the exchange of fresh air.
Look at the hygrometer during your check. If the humidity is too high, keep the jars open for around three hours, as this should eliminate excess moisture. If the humidity is low, reduce the breathing sessions. If that does not do enough, you can add small humidity packs to the jars.
The Next Few Weeks
The following two weeks will change the process slightly. At this point, open the jars just once a day instead of twice. Continue to monitor and control the humidity levels.
How Long to Cure Cannabis
Your cannabis buds should be sufficiently cured after around three weeks. At this point, you can enjoy them when smoked via your favorite method.
If you are patient and have time, however, then let the buds cure even longer. The longer you cure cannabis, the more you will notice an improvement in quality. This holds true for cannabis cured up to six months. At that point, continuing to cure the cannabis will not make a difference.
Avoid Light While Curing
As you cure your cannabis, make sure that you do your best to avoid exposure to light. The stash should be in a dark location during the entire process. This is because light can encourage degradation of terpenes and THC, both of which you want to keep as they are responsible for the aroma/flavor and potency, respectively.
The best way to avoid light exposure ruining your cannabis as it cures is to store your jars in a dark box or cupboard. Another option is to place them in Miron glass jars, as this type of glass filters out all visible light. Ideally, you should combine both of those steps.
Avoid Heat While Curing
Another factor to avoid while curing cannabis is heat. This is particularly important if you live in a warm climate. Unintentionally exposing your buds to heat can lead to degradation of the cannabinoids. This, in turn, reduces the potency of the buds. Ideally, you should keep the room where you cure the buds at around 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 degrees Fahrenheit). In addition to preserving the cannabinoids, avoiding high temperatures will minimize mold formation on the buds.
Pay Attention to the Humidity
You also want to pay attention to the humidity levels as you cure cannabis. Moisture is bad for cannabis, as it will encourage mold to grow. It can also encourage anaerobic bacteria to begin breaking down your plants. You can tell that bacterial breakdown is underway if the jars smell slightly of ammonia when you open them. While moisture can encourage anaerobic bacterial activity and mold, a lack of moisture can lead to your stash being too harsh or crumbly, making it unpleasant to smoke.
Ideally, you should dry your cannabis flowers in a room that has a humidity of 45 to 55 percent. This should give you a humid interior for drying to a slightly crumbly exterior on the plant. When you reach the curing stage, increase the humidity slightly, up to about 62 percent.
Opt for Slow Drying and Curing
Do not let impatience get the best of you when curing (or drying) cannabis. There are ways to speed up the process, but they will hurt the quality of your buds. You will get the best benefits and the highest-quality cannabis if you dry them slowly. Ask anyone who has tried to speed dry their buds via an oven, microwave, or another method, and they will tell you that the buds tasted very bad.
Always Dry Cannabis Before Curing It
It is important to remember always to dry your cannabis before you cure it. Otherwise, mold may grow due to the moisture content of the cannabis.
Prepare the Cannabis for Drying
There are two main options for preparing your cannabis for drying, along with some gray area in between. The most popular method will be to harvest the cannabis by trimming branches of 12 to 16 inches off the plants. Take off the leaves that you do not want. From there, you can hang your branches from wire or string.
If you prefer, you can also cut the buds off the branches and then place each bud on your cannabis drying racks. This will take more time, but it will save you time later. You can even fully manicure the flowers before you dry them.
To some extent, you should decide how much to trim off based on the humidity in your area. If you live in a dry climate with relative humidity typically under 30 percent, consider leaving more leaves in place as you trim. This can slow down drying. You could either wait to cut until after you dry or leave some extra fan leaves.
If your area has high humidity of over 60 percent, you should strongly consider separating the buds from the branches and using drying racks. This will dramatically reduce the risk of mold. If you live somewhere with average humidity, then you can follow your personal preferences.
When drying your cannabis, you should always place it in a dark room that has temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit along with humidity of 45 to 55 percent. Place a small fan in the room, so the air circulates gently. You should also set up an air conditioner, dehumidifier, or other similar items to ensure the conditions stay in the appropriate range. Drying in these conditions will help you preserve the aroma and flavor of your buds.
When They Are Dry
You can tell that the buds are dry when they feel slightly crunchy on the outside. The smallest branches should snap if you bend them. If the plant is not dry enough, these small branches will fold instead.
Drying will take about 5-15 days. This depends on the environmental conditions as well as the density of the flowers.
Curing cannabis improves its shelf life, boosts its potency, enhances its flavor, and preserves its scent. Curing cannabis requires minimal effort, but you will need the patience to get the proper results. You can finish curing cannabis in a few weeks, although you will get better results if you cure it longer.