Regardless of what cannabis strain you’re growing or the approach you take, the underlying goal remains the same – high-quality cannabis – and that’s not something you can do without knowing the how to process of curing cannabis.
For high-quality yields, you need the right know-how and the right tools, otherwise, your horticulture goals will remain an elusive dream. This is where curing cannabis comes in — it’s a set of processes that takes place after the trimming stage that’s meant to prevent and preserve your plant’s cannabinoids throughout its life. In this article, we’ll breakdown the details of why curing cannabis is important and how you can implement curing processes yourself.
Why Is Curing Cannabis Important?
Growing cannabis takes place in stages, from germination to vegetation to the final harvest. So, where does curing cannabis fall in? The answer: neither.
Instead, curing cannabis is a post-harvest series of steps that are usually taken by growers who want to refine the smoking experience of their home-grown buds. Put another way, if you want your cannabis plants to retain their utmost psychoactive chemical profile, while also improving its texture, flavour and longevity – curing is highly recommended.
However, just saying that curing weed preserves and maintains your plants doesn’t sound enticing, so here are the specifics of just how it improves your weed!
Curing Weed Breaks Down Chlorophyll
What’s chlorophyll, you ask? It’s the pivotal chemical that helps your plants grow and become dense buds. However, smoking cannabis where the chlorophyll isn’t removed results in a much harsher taste, resembling an experience that’s akin to smoking hay or grass. Yikes! For chlorophyll to be removed, your plants need excess water, light and air so that bacteria can do it’s eradicating thing. More on this in the steps.
Curing Weed Ensures More Cannabinoids
Why do we consume cannabis? For cannabinoids like THC and CBD (and terpenes), plain and simple. However, THC and CBD are only obtained through heating cannabis to very high temperatures, a process known as decarbing.
Before any decarbing occurs, THC and CBD cannabinoids live in plants as THCA and CBDA, which are further converted from CBGA throughout the growing stages. This is where curing comes in — it aids in this conversion process, ensuring your plants have peak levels of cannabinoids.
Curing Ensures Cannabis is Mold-free
Curing and drying cannabis plants go hand-in-hand. Given that the goal of drying cannabis is to systematically prevent mold from growing, the buds from your cannabis plants will be better preserved, thus increasing its storage life. To dry cannabis in a drying room is essential for a quality smoke and for a quality yield.
To dry your weed, here are some tips:
- The buds moisture content should be between 5-10%: Otherwise, there’s a higher probability that mold can grow. To be safe, keep it within this range.
- Drying rooms should be well ventilated and dark, having temperatures between 16-21 degrees Celsius and humidity levels of 45-55%
- Your plant’s terpenes can degrade at room temperatures as low as 21 degrees celsius, thus 16-21 degrees is recommended
- Drying should aim for 45-55% humidity levels as mentioned: This can be assessed by comparing the before drying and after drying weight of your plants. As a benchmark, roughly, 70% of pre-dried cannabis is water content.
- A good indicator of when your plants are dried is when its branches are brittle
Curing Cannabis Steps: How-to Guide
The curing process isn’t overly complicated, all that’s needed is effort, patience and time. From start to finish, it’s recommended that you let your cannabis cure for at least 2 weeks. Aside from this, here are some steps:
- Remove excess plant materials through trimming leaves and stems
- Store your cannabis in airtight jars or containers
- Ensure they’re gently packed, not stuffed or jammed inside
- Record the date on each with a label and a marker
- Ensure containers have humidity levels of 62% and are placed in a dry, dark and cool area
- For the first week, open containers roughly every 6 hours, about 2-3 times a day to allow for oxygen and moisture
- Monitor and track progress with a journal, recording dates and assessing your plant’s quality each time
- After the first week, open containers roughly once or twice a week to allow for oxygen and moisture
- The curing process can last anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months
- When your buds are relatively sponge-like, you’re done!
Curing Weed Done Right
Curing weed isn’t as complex as it sounds. No, you don’t have to subject your plants to intense therapy or have access to revolutionary drugs and chemicals, rather what’s needed is an understanding and the appreciation of what the curing process will do.
Ensuring your buds’ shelf life, while maximizing its cannabinoid profile and refining the consumption experience are three important reasons why you should cure. With these three boxes check-marked, you’re sure to gain compliments on your horticulture efforts.
Best of luck!