So you’re ready to pull down the harvest and feel that special excitement that only the cannabis plant can give you. Now it dawns on you that the hard work is not yet over. You need to start the drying process, the curing process and then trim the flower before you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.
I’ll share some of my experience with drying and how to cure cannabis for the best flavor, potency and taste. It’s not difficult but it’s important to get things right or you’ll hurt the quality of your buds.
Why Is It Important To Dry And Cure Cannabis?
After harvesting marijuana plants, it’s important to properly dry and cure the buds because it helps retain the plant’s flavors by preserving terpenes and cannabinoids. It also reduces the chlorophyll which removes the plant-like taste that poorly cured cannabis flower sometimes has.
Drying should be done carefully to avoid mold or uneven drying where mold can grow in the future. Once dried, the buds should be cured in airtight containers to enhance the flavor of the buds.
If you don’t dry and cure cannabis the right way, you can ruin all the hard work you put into your harvest.
What Makes for a Good Cannabis Drying Room?
Before you cut down the plants, you should make sure that you have a plan for your drying room. Ideally, you have a separate room with a controlled environment where you can dry your plants without worrying about contamination.
- Temperature — Aim for a temperature of around 60-70°F. If it is too hot, the terpenes start to evaporate and if it is too cold you may end up with mold.
- Humidity — Keep the humidity levels between 55-66% to prevent mold growth and over-drying. Use fans if necessary to keep both temperature and humidity down.
- Light exposure — Maintain a dark environment because light (especially UV) degrades THC by turning it into CBN which decreases the potency of your flower. Keep the room as dark as you possibly can!
Equipment You’ll Need Before You Start
You will need a couple of basic tools to keep your drying room working.
- Dehumidifier for humidity control.
- Thermometers and hygrometers to monitor room conditions.
- Oscillating fans for air circulation (but never directly on the buds!).
- Something to hang the plants on (can be strings or even coat hangers)
Dry Trim vs. Wet Trim
Before you dry the flower you first need to decide whether to do a dry trim or a wet trim. Both methods have benefits and drawbacks which I will cover below but I would recommend starting with a dry trim if you are not sure which method to go for.
Wet trimming is when you trim the buds right after they are harvested while the plant is still “wet”.
- Easier to Trim — Fresh, wet leaves are stiffer and stand away from the bud, making them easier to cut away.
- Reduced Risk of Mold — By removing excess foliage, you’re eliminating potential spaces where moisture can get trapped, reducing the chances of mold developing during the drying process.
- Speeds Up Drying — Less plant material means faster drying. Great for those in humid environments or if you are impatient 😉
- Space limitations — If you have limited space in your drying room, trimming the trees before drying will make the plants take less space.
- Trichome Loss — Handling wet buds can lead to a loss of these precious, tiny, crystalline structures, which contain the cannabinoids. This is mainly the reason that I recommend going for a dry trim.
- Faster Drying Can Be a Double-edged Sword — Buds might dry too quickly, which can negatively affect the curing process and lead to harsh smoke and harsher flavors.
As you probably expected, the dry trimming method involves letting the plant dry first before trimming the excess leaves. Again, I recommend you start with this method.
- Trichome Preservation — Minimal handling before the buds are dried means that the delicate trichomes remain intact, maintaining the bud’s potency.
- Slower, More Even Drying — With a dry trim you get a slower and more controlled drying process thanks to the extra sugar leaves on the plant. It is especially beneficial in dry climates.
- Less Sticky — Dry leaves are easier to handle as they aren’t as resinous.
- Can Be Labor-intensive — Dried leaves curl inwards, hugging the bud, which makes them trickier to trim. On the other hand, dry trimming is less time-sensitive than wet trimming so you can trim without stress.
- Increased Risk of Mold — Especially if you’re in a humid environment, leaving all that extra foliage can be a recipe for mold.
How to Hang Dry Cannabis
Alright, let’s get down to business!
Hang drying cannabis is really simple once you have decided on your trimming method, you have your equipment, and you have your drying room ready.
You simply hang your plants upside down in your drying room and make sure that the temperature, humidity, and darkness is according to the bullet points above.
It usually takes between 3-10 days, but it varies depending on your specific conditions. The process is usually shorter when wet trimming because most of the plant material is trimmed away first so there is less plant material to dry.
You can hang the plants on strings or coat hangers or drying racks or whatever you have handy. just make sure that you don’t introduce unnecessary contamination.
How do you know that the drying is ready?
You will want to do the “Branch Bending Test”. After 2 days of drying, take a small branch or stem from the cannabis plant and try bending it. If the stem snaps, the buds are fully dry!
If the stem bends without snapping, it means the buds still contain moisture and need more drying time. You should leave them and check again the next day.
How to Cure Marijuana
Jar curing is the OG method that works perfectly for smaller grows. Once your buds are dry, trim off excess stems and place them loosely in wide-mouthed mason jars, filling them ¾ full.
Place the jars in a cool, dark place and put a hygrometer in the jar to monitor humidity. Keep the humidity at around 55-65%. Boveda Packs are a great help for maintaining the right relative humidity.
To prevent mold, you need to “burp” your buds. This means opening jars daily for the first couple of weeks, and letting them breathe for 10-15 minutes. This process releases moisture and replenishes oxygen.
The buds are ready to smoke after 14 days.
Note: Always use airtight glass or stainless steel containers for curing. Plastic containers can change the flavor of the buds and it may introduce unwanted micro-plastics.
Why should you cure cannabis?
The curing process is important because it removes excess moisture from buds and it allows for a smoother smoke, richer flavor, and increased potency. It’s like aging wine, turning grape juice into a symphony for the palate.
Curing transforms raw cannabis by breaking down chlorophyll and letting terpenes flourish. The result? Cannabis that’s aromatic, flavorful, and smooth. Think of it as refining the plant’s character.
Also, learn how to perform a flush of cannabis plants to make sure that the flavor of your buds is natural and clean!
How to Store Your Harvested Cannabis Buds
In a cool, dark place. Remember: Temperature, Moisture Levels, and Light are crucial. Avoid plastics; stick with glass jars and ensure it’s sealed tight. With a Boveda Pack, you can store your buds for a long time before they go bad.
Drying & Curing FAQ
Should buds be completely dry before curing?
Yes. They should snap, not bend.
How do you dry sticky buds?
Sticky is good! It means high resin content. But if overly sticky, extend the drying time.
What does it mean when you burp weed?
It’s the process of opening curing jars to release moisture and let oxygen in.
Will my weed taste better after curing?
Oh, yes. Like turning fast food into fine dining.
Should I dry cannabis with a fan?
Yes, it’s a good idea to use a fan to maintain even air circulation but never aim the fan directly at the plants.
Cannabis Grow Series
This article is part of the cannabis grow series where we want to teach you how to grow cannabis step-by-step in a simple and effective way. Explore the full series here!