Besides forgetting to flush in the final weeks, another overlooked cannabis growing step is properly drying and curing after the Cannabis has been harvested. While a proper dry and cure won’t save a poorly grown cannabis crop, it will, possibly, make it somewhat inhalable.
Drying and curing is rushed by personal growers because they get very excited about sampling their plants. They’ve spent several months watching their plants grow up to become big gorgeous buds, and the wait simply becomes too much.
Running out of medical cannabis is another reason a personal grower may rush their drying and curing. They may even harvest early if meds are getting way too low or have become non existent.
To avoid too much excitement during the final weeks of your plants growth it’s best to have cannabis available. Having cannabis on hand will help the waiting process because drying and curing (like flushing and timing your harvest) are key components to award winning cannabis.
Cannabis cola shrinkage — it’s a thing
The goal of drying is slowly removing excess moisture from your freshly harvested cannabis plants. Unfortunately, cannabis has a heavy water content to it, which turns those huge massive drool worthy colas into much smaller buds once dry.
How long drying your Cannabis will take depends on the conditions of the space. A cool dry dark space with ample airflow is ideal. Not ideal is a hot dry space, a hot humid space, or a cool damp dank space. An easy solution is to remove the contents of a closet to hang the trimmed branches.
In Jamaica the growers will simply pull the plant from the ground and hang it roots and all upside down. Not my personal method of drying cannabis, but it works for them.
I totally forgot to write a blog post about trimming your cannabis, which comes before hanging your plants upside down to dry. You probably don’t want to hang them upside down roots and all, so trim them beforehand.
Be mindful once the buds have begun to dry.
Watching the shrinkage from big fat colas to much smaller crisp nugs is a wee bit sad. Especially if you have dollar signs in your eyes.
If you have to sample, fire up a vaporizer because it’ll work great for wet cannabis. Start on a low temperature and work your way upwards.
The branches should have a crisp snap to them before jarring. Dry buds will be easy to remove from branches when the moisture content is just right. In many cases they should snap right off.
You may now roll a joint, but we’re not done yet. Far from it.
The cure locks In flavours and aromas
Curing removes chlorophyll, which creates a green grass like smell and taste to your cannabis. This will dissipate in about a week, but a month long cure can create flavors and aromas. Don’t worry, an ample harvest will allow you to start inhaling your harvest two weeks later and you will have plenty of month old cured cannabis to compare too.
You can either scour secondhand outlets to purchase mason jars or you can simply buy a flat of them from a hardware shop. If you buy secondhand make sure you boil the jars in water to sanitize them. It wouldn’t hurt to do this step to the new store bought kind too.
Load your buds into mason jars, but do not pack them too tightly. They do not need to be squished. Mason jars are used for jamming, but do not jam your cannabis buds into them. Buds can become stuck together and take on the shape of the jar if you are not too careful. I’m speaking from experience here.
Open those jars a few hours every day to start. You’d be surprised how moist the once very dry Cannabis has become once you jar them up.
Consider taking the buds out of the jars if moisture content builds too much and let them dry on a tray for a few hours. Then put the buds back in the jar.
Monitor moisture because if you don’t the buds may end up mouldy. The worst thing that can happen is mouldy buds during curing. Open the jars on the daily and if you get moisture worry, take the buds out and place them on a tray for a few hours.
– Matt Mernagh
Matt Mernagh is author of Marijuana Smoker’s Guidebook from Green Candy Press and is employed by Peace Naturals as their marketing, communication and product specialist. Mernagh is the only Canadian ever to be granted a court exemption to grow his own Cannabis. This blog is personal opinion.