It takes a lot of time and a lot of care to grow weed. When you smell those fragrant buds, it is time to harvest your marijuana plants. However, your work is still not finished. Drying marijuana is just as important as cultivating it. How you go about curating your buds can have a strong impact on the weed. You cannot wait to try the high of your newly grown weed but you have to be patient.
Why do you Need to Dry Marijuana After Harvest?
As you know, marijuana plants produce cannabinoids. This process is termed biosynthesis, in which different blends of these cannabinoids are produced. The compound you are concerned with is THC. The conversion of non-psychotic cannabinoids into THC may continue well after you have cut the plant. However, the weed needs to be in certain conditions for this to happen.
The temperature of 60-70° F and humidity of 45-55% is ideal for this process to continue. As a result, the weed is more potent as there is more THC content. The process of drying is a slow one and if you try to quickly dry it, your weed will not be as potent.
After you have cut the plant, the terpenes which are aromatic compounds of the plant start to evaporate and degrade. Obviously, you want the plant to retain them in order to have a better flavor. They can evaporate at a temperature as low as 75°. The only way to preserve them is at low temperatures.
Under these conditions, the enzymes of the plant which are still active break down minerals. Additionally, it can also help break down any sugars left because of the chlorophyll decomposition. You do not want this sugar left in the buds as it can make it harsh. Harsh weed would be difficult to smoke and will burn the throat.
The sunlight is not good for the weed when it is drying. Light can reduce THC too so it is best to dry it in dark even though sunlight might seem a quick way to dry it. Properly drying marijuana can increase its life. No matter how good your weed is, there is always the threat of mold. Dry marijuana can be stored for long periods and would not be susceptible to any harm from mold or bacteria. In fact, many weed growers have been able to store their weed in air-tight containers for even a whole year.
Choosing the Right Method to Dry Weed
The internet is filled with many methods about how to dry pot. There are methods that involve freeze-drying then there is the method that involves water. Getting into complex methods is no good. Most weed growers use one simple method or perhaps their own variation of it.
This good old method is basically how you dry clothes: hang them from a wire. It involves cutting your plants and hanging them from wire or string. Instead of hanging from a wire, some growers also use a drying rack for the buds. You basically let the buds dry on their own by providing the right conditions.
If you are thinking about quick fixes like microwave or heat fans, stop right there. Using anything that accelerates this process will dry it but the product you will get would be absolute garbage. You do not want months of hard work to go to waste.
How to Dry Weed Properly: Step by Step Guide
1. Cutting and Trimming
Once your plants are ready to be harvested, it is time to start the curing process. I find cutting a foot long branch from the bud the best. Even though you can manicure the branch after drying, it is better to just do it before as you do not want any leaves hampering the drying process. You will need the best bud trimming machine at this point to get rid of all unwanted leaves in the bud.
If you are using a drying rack instead of a hanging line, you can directly cut the buds and trim them. You can fully manicure even after drying. You do not have to spend a lot of time manually trimming them. This is why you should opt for the best bud trimming machine instead.
2. Move the Marijuana into the Dark
Once you have manicured the buds, move them to a dark room. Now, you do not need any sunlight or grow lights at all. This darkroom needs to meet the temperature and humidity requirements. You can use a dehumidifier to keep humidity within 45-55%.
The temperature needs to be between 60° F (15.5° C) and 70° F (21°C). If the room already has this temperature then you do need to do anything. Otherwise, use an air conditioner to maintain the temperature in the said range. You can use a small fan to improve the circulation of air.
3. Check for Dryness
Usually, it can take anywhere from 5 to 15 days for the buds to dry a bit. You can tell just by looking if it has dried provided you have been growing weed for a while. When the flowers are a bit crispy and the branch snaps, the buds have dried enough and are ready to be cured.
4. Store in an Airtight Dry Container
Now, to complete the curating process and to completely dry the buds you need to store them in an airtight container. You can store them in canning jars of plastic or glass. You can even store them in plastic bags; however, it is a bit risky. Do not pack too many flowers in one bag.
You will need to open the jar for a bit several times at least for a week. This allows any remaining moisture out and let some fresh air in. From the second week, you can open every few days. After 2 to 3 weeks, the weed will be fully cured. The more time you spend drying marijuana the better the result is.
If at any point after storing you get an ammonia smell, know that you did not properly follow the steps of how to dry pot. Chances are that bacteria have already gotten to them, hence the smell. Make sure to check if it has properly dried before storing them.
Overall about Drying Marijuana
The proper method of drying marijuana is time-consuming but delivers the result you want. If you know how to dry marijuana on your own you will always grow high-quality weed. Honestly speaking, this one aspect of growing weed that is overlooked pretty easily. Every grower is so focused on growing marijuana that they forget how to properly dry weed after harvesting it.
There are so many domestic growers of weed in addition to commercial marijuana dispensaries that you have to do everything you can to stand out. The whole drying and curating process can take 4 to 8 weeks. Some even expand this process to 6 months to get even better strains. In the end, it is up to you how you go about drying your own weed.