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Freshly harvested cannabis must go through a drying and curing process in a controlled environment to reduce moisture and improve its flavor and aroma. If you are interested in learning how to cure cannabis the right way, our complete guide can help.
Curing cannabis means storing the buds in an airtight container for a few weeks or months and allowing the moisture inside to escape to reduce the risk of moldy cannabis. Best of all, the release of moisture allows the dry cannabis buds to have a better flavor, aroma, and potency.
Before the curing process occurs, growers must perform a drying process on harvested cannabis flower. Growers cut cannabis flowers from the marijuana plant. Trimmers prune the excess leafy matter such as sugar leaves and stems.
Trimmed buds are dried by hanging buds upside down or placed on a drying rack in a temperature-controlled drying room. When the plant’s branches snap instead of bend, the buds are properly dried and ready to be cured.
Curing cannabis is an often neglected aspect of the growing and refinement process. In fact, “how to cure weed fast” is one of the most popular search phrases. We recommend taking your time to properly cure cannabis flower buds to have a better experience.
During the drying and curing process, the biosynthesis process involves converting the tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) levels into its parent compound, delta-9 THC, the compound that causes intoxication and produces euphoria.
Improperly cured cannabis results in lower cannabinoid levels. Maintaining the buds in an optimal temperature and humidity can ensure the biosynthesis process transfers your buds’ THCA into THC.
Cannabis flavor and aroma come from the plant’s terpene profile. These heat-sensitive compounds can evaporate quickly with prolonged exposure to heat and light. Curing cannabis fast can destroy much of its flavor and aroma.
Improperly cured cannabis produces the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and enzymes. In addition, poorly cured cannabis can contain a high amount of sugars, starches, and chlorophyll, creating a harsh and off-putting weed taste when smoked or vaped.
Curing is critical for those interested in storing cannabis flower for a long time. When cured correctly, the plant can be stored in an airtight container for up to two years without losing too much of its potency. If it is not stored correctly, it can lose potency and increase the risk of mold and mildew growth.
Curing cannabis buds is a simple process that does not require much equipment. One of the most critical aspects of the curing process will be its environment. Make sure you cure your buds in a dark and cool location.
Here are the supplies you will need to cure cannabis:
- Glass Mason jars or airtight and opaque container
- Hygrometer (optional)
- Humidity pack (optional)
The curing process should ideally happen in a cool and dark place. The relative humidity of the space should be between 55 to 65%. A relative humidity meter (hygrometer) in the container can determine if your levels are appropriate. If the meter reads higher than 65%, remove the container lid for about an hour to reduce the humidity levels or use humidity packs.
How to Cure Cannabis?
After the drying process is complete, the curing process can begin.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can cure cannabis buds:
- Put the dried buds in an airtight container. Flower can be cured in glass Mason jars with screw tops or larger containers for higher yields.
- Place the glass jars in a cool, dry, and dark place.
- Open the containers a few times each day for 15 to 20 minutes. The burping process lets moisture escape and introduces fresh air.
- When you open the jar, inspect the marijuana buds for mold. If you notice mold formation, remove the affected flower. Mold on your buds means they were not dried enough. Do not consume moldy buds, which can be harmful.
Opening the containers a few times each day for about 15 to 20 minutes is essential to release the excess moisture and introduce fresh air during the curing process. This process is known as burping.
If you smell ammonia, the buds are too moist, which can increase the risk of mold and mildew. If you notice an ammonia smell, keep the lid off your container for longer and reseal. After the first week of curing, burping can be performed every few days instead of daily.
The curing process timeline varies depending on the strain's genetics, growing environment, and individual preferences. Generally, two to four weeks should be enough to cure most cannabis buds. However, many growers can cure their buds for a month or up to six months for a more refined flavor and aromatic profile.
Once your cannabis buds are properly cured, they can last for a couple of years without losing a significant amount of potency. We recommend storing your buds in a cool, dry, and dark place to improve their shelf-life and reduce the risk of mold and mildew, which thrives in the heat.
Too much heat can leave your buds dry and crispy and degrade their cannabinoids and terpenes, a significant loss if you have spent months trying to grow weed. Lower levels of these compounds can also make for harsh smoke or vaping.
Store your cured buds in an airtight and UV-protected container for best results. Hygrometers and humidity packs can help maintain optimal relative humidity within your storage container. Keep each cannabis strain separate and labeled to avoid mixing their oils, aroma, and flavor.
Over time, prolonged exposure to natural or artificial light can degrade cannabis’ cannabinoids and terpenes. To protect your cannabis from light damage, store buds away from direct light, which can also prevent exposure to heat.
Excess humidity allows anaerobic bacteria to thrive and increases the risk of mold and mildew formation, which is harmful to consume. Keep your cannabis buds in 55 to 65% relative humidity to improve their longevity and preserve their aroma and flavor.
Extreme hot or cold temperatures can damage the plant’s trichomes. Prolonged exposure to heat can evaporate terpenes, diminishing their flavor and aroma. It also degrades the THC compound into CBN, its mildly intoxicating and sleep-inducing analog.
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