Read our guide on how to dry weed for beginners to learn the basics of harvesting your plant after a rewarding growing season. After months of tending to your cannabis plant’s water, nutrient, and pH levels, you finally get to reap the fruits of your labor.
But, the work isn’t quite done yet.
Drying and curing marijuana plants are the two main processes essential to a successful harvest. Under or overdrying could lead to moldy weed or harsh-tasting buds, respectively. Not to mention the time you’ve wasted that can be ruined by a drying mistake.
Learning how to dry your weed effectively is the final leg of the race you need to complete to produce resinous and flavorful buds. Like with any other process, practice makes perfect. You may not get it right on the first try, but our drying guide can help you get as close as you can.
Dry Trim vs. Wet Trim
Before you can begin the cannabis drying process, you must trim your cannabis buds from the plant. Gloves are essential to facilitate working with the adhesive flowers. Growers can choose to either perform wet or dry trimming.
Wet trimming cannabis occurs when you immediately begin to trim your plants when the buds are ripe and remove leaves and buds from the branches. It is relatively easy and can reduce the risk of developing mold.
Dry trimming is the connoisseur’s method of trimming due to the improved flavor of the end product. The branches may be a bit more difficult to trim, but the process preserves the best aroma and taste.
Growers can choose to both wet and dry trim depending on their preference, growing conditions, or strain. Some growers choose to remove some fan leaves after trimming but leave the buds on the branch to dry.
Watch Out For Mold
Drying cannabis is an integral part of the cultivation process because the moisture loss in the buds, branches, and leaves reduces the risk of developing mold and mildew. After trimming your plants, your fresh-cut buds will likely be very sticky and wet.
You don’t want to spread a mold infestation in your drying space, so it’s important to weed out any mold formation before beginning the drying process. If you forget this step, you could possibly ruin your entire yield.
A black-light can help you spot the black, white, grey, or brown spores that have a web-like appearance. Mold can have a musty and stale odor. Plants with discolored roots may be affected by mold and mildew.
How to Dry Your Weed
Drying weed is a slow and methodical process that ages your buds like a fine wine. The process can take between 10 and 14 days. Begin by separating your buds on a well-aerated surface. Avoid placing them on moisture-retaining materials such as paper.
Ideally, place your buds in a pitch-dark room or as close as you can to one. Give your buds enough room to completely dry by spreading them out over your chosen area. Cramped buds can increase the chance of developing mold.
Buds that are raised up can dry better than ones placed on a flat surface. Room temperatures should be between 68º and 70º F. A room’s relative humidity (RH) should be about 50 percent. Cut your branches between 12 to 16 inches long and hang them from a sturdy string or wire.
Growers can use dehumidifiers, heaters, and other temperature control equipment to compensate for environmental factors. Hot and dry climates won’t require as much equipment compared to cooler climates where drying can take longer.
Drying isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it task. Check your flowers regularly for mold and dryness. Some growers opt for the “snap” test to determine the perfect level of dryness. Branches that bend under your fingertips are dry enough. A sharp snap of the branch, however, is a good sign.
Testing the pliability of the branch is a good indicator of the water content inside the branch. Some branches may take longer than others to dry depending on the bud size and branch length size. When the bud is dry enough, cut the buds from the stem.
Drying cannabis should be done as naturally and slowly as possible to avoid over-drying plants. If you’re short on time and want to experiment with a blazing-fast way to dry your weed, check out our blog post on how to cure weed fast. Keep in mind, your weed won’t have that top-notch flavor and aroma of slow-dried weed.
How to Cure Your Weed
Curing cannabis is similar to drying, except it happens inside an airtight weed jar. Begin by putting your dry and cut buds inside an airtight jar. Leave about one-third of the jar empty to leave enough air and avoid excess humidity. Keep your buds in temperatures around 70º F.
Curing your weed can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to over two months depending on your buds. Check your flowers every week or so to ensure no mold is present. If you do find mold, take out the affected buds and keep checking your flowers for more mold.
As you gain more experience, you can begin tinkering with your drying and curing processes. For instance, using opaque and UV-protected mason jars can help prevent cannabinoid and terpene degradation.
Humidity packs inside your mason jars can help you maintain a consistent humidity level within the jar. Humidity packs add or remove humidity as needed using a salt-saturated solution. Marijuana humidors can extend the shelf-life of your buds and keep them flavorful for longer.
Master Grower Certification
Perfecting the drying and curing process takes time and patience, especially if you’re a beginner. Paying close attention to your plant from the moment it’s planted to the moment you consume it is crucial to producing high-quality flowers.
Sign up for CTU’s online cannabis cultivation training to learn tips and tricks from the biggest names in the cannabis cultivation field. Our online cannabis college gives you the fundamentals to take your cannabis grow and career to the next level.