Curing cannabis is a crucial step in the cultivation process, as it helps preserve the buds’ aroma, flavor, and potency while reducing harshness when smoked or vaporized. Here’s a step-by-step guide on the proper way to cure cannabis:
Harvest: Timing is important when harvesting cannabis. Generally, you want to harvest when the majority of the trichomes (the small, resinous glands on the buds) are milky white, with a few starting to turn amber. This is usually the peak time for THC content.
Trim: After harvesting, trim the excess leaves surrounding the buds. Some growers prefer to do a “wet trim,” which involves trimming the buds immediately after harvesting. Others prefer a “dry trim,” which involves trimming after the initial drying phase. Both methods have their pros and cons, so choose the one that suits your preferences.
Dry: Hang the trimmed branches or buds in a dark, well-ventilated room with a temperature of 60-70°F (15-21°C) and a humidity level of 45-55%. You can use a fan to ensure good air circulation but avoid pointing it directly at the buds. Drying usually takes 7-14 days, depending on the conditions. The buds are ready for curing when the smaller stems snap rather than bend when you try to break them.
a. Prepare the buds: Once the buds are properly dried, remove them from the branches and sort them according to size if desired. This can help ensure a more consistent curing process.
b. Place the buds in jars: Use airtight glass jars, like mason jars, to store the buds. Fill the jars about 75% full, leaving some space for air. Avoid packing the buds too tightly, as this can cause mold or mildew growth.
c. Store the jars: Place the jars in a cool, dark, and dry place with a stable temperature of around 60-70°F (15-21°C) and humidity levels between 55-65%. Avoid exposing the jars to light, as this can degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes.
d. Burp the jars: During the first week of curing, open the jars at least once a day for 15-30 minutes to release the built-up moisture and allow fresh air to enter. This process, known as “burping,” helps prevent mold and mildew growth. After the first week, you can reduce the burping frequency to once every few days.
e. Monitor humidity: Using a small hygrometer inside the jars can help you monitor humidity levels. If the humidity is consistently above 65%, leave the jars open for a few hours to let the buds dry out more. If the humidity is consistently below 55%, the buds may be over-dried, and you can try rehydrating them with a humidity pack or a small piece of lettuce or fruit peel.
f. Duration: The curing process usually takes 2-4 weeks, but some growers prefer to cure their buds for several months to further enhance the flavor and aroma. The longer the curing process, the smoother and more complex the final product will be.
Remember to check the buds periodically for any signs of mold or mildew during the curing process. If you notice any issues, remove the affected buds immediately to prevent the spread of mold or mildew to the rest of the batch.