How the worlds top growers are drying & curing cannabis.

Whether you grow as a business or just as a hobby, drying and curing cannabis is what makes or breaks the final product.

 

Growing cannabis isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon, a labour of love! When you’ve spent months tending to your plants, you don’t want all that work going up in smoke.

 

It’s difficult to know what the best processes for drying and curing cannabis are. As with most things these days, everyone has an opinion and the one who shouts the loudest isn’t necessarily right! 😉

 

But don’t worry, we’ve spent the last few weeks doing extensive research and we’ve got you covered!

 

In this post (ahem…novel) I’m going to to cover:

 

  • What’s the difference between drying and curing cannabis?

 

  • Why is drying and curing cannabis important?

 

  • Suggested conditions for drying & curing cannabis.

 

  • How the best commercial growers dry their cannabis.

 

  • How the best commercial growers cure their cannabis.

 

  • The connoisseur’s approach to drying and curing cannabis

 

  • Commercial vs connoisseurial approaches to drying and curing cannabis – the findings.

 

  • What equipment do you need to dry and cure your cannabis like a pro?

 

  • 10 steps to dry and cure cannabis.

 

  • Storing your cured buds.

 

  • Pro tips & reminders.

 

  • Troubleshooting.

 

Quick disclaimer before we get onto the good stuff: Any information given on this site is for educational purposes only. Please ensure if you’re growing cannabis you’re doing so in accordance with the law and subject to appropriate permissions and licenses of the applicable country.

 

Now that’s out of the way, let’s jump right in!

 

What’s the difference between drying and curing cannabis?

 

The terms ‘drying cannabis’ and ‘curing cannabis’ are often used seemingly interchangeably by growers of all levels, but they are distinctly different parts of the process.

 

To avoid any confusion, let’s recap exactly what drying and curing are in the context of cannabis.

 

Facility hanging whole cannabis plants to dry

 

Drying cannabis.

 

Drying happens after you harvest your plants. It is the process of removing initial moisture from the plants by hanging them in an environmentally controlled space.

 

To prepare plants for drying, some people remove all large ‘fan’ leaves but some people prefer to leave them on.

 

Whether the plant has fan leaves intact whilst drying (or not) affects the length of time the plant takes to dry.

 

There are several different ways to dry the plants that you’ve freshly harvested:

 

  • You can hang the whole plant upside down. (Plants hung this way take longer to dry.)

 

  • Or cut the plant into manageable ‘wishbone’ shaped pieces to hang. (Smaller pieces of plant material take less time to dry.)

 

Generally dry trimming is considered to be the gold standard. This is when all extraneous plant material is trimmed away from the flowers or final product at the end of the drying process.

 

But some growers (perhaps due to drying space constraints) do prefer to trim all the leaves and stems from the product whilst it’s still wet.

 

In that case, the way to dry your cannabis is to:

 

  • Immediately cut the flowers from the stems and put individual flowers into or onto drying racks. (Individual buds minus the stems take the least time to dry.)

 

Curing cannabis.

 

After your plants, stems or individual flowers have been hung to dry, they’ll appear drier to the touch, but will still contain moisture within.

 

Curing is the process of storing and treating dried cannabis in such a way as to encourage any remaining moisture to be redistributed from the center towards the drier outsides of the buds.

 

As you’d expect, different growers have different preferences regarding the curing process

 

Each grower has their own ‘secret sauce’ (consisting of specific temperatures, humidities, curing containers, curing styles, equipment and environmental monitoring etc) that they feel yields the best results.

 

Why is drying and curing cannabis important?

 

Drying is one of the most important aspects of the whole cultivation process. Done wrong it can severely affect the quality of your final product.

 

For the best quality end result, you need to dry your cannabis in a specific way.

 

If you dry too fast, there’s a chance that fertiliser salts, starches and chlorophyll amongst other things will get trapped within the buds. The result is a product that loses its fragrance, tastes too green or doesn’t burn evenly.

 

On the other hand, if you dry too slowly, you risk your harvest going rotten or succumbing to mould.

 

A well thought out drying process will ensure your product retains all the right properties and desirable qualities.

 

Some more profit focussed commercial growers sell their dried product and forgo the curing process because curing takes time (and time = money.)

 

But this is a big mistake! And totally not advisable.

 

Curing has many benefits:

 

  • It helps break down remaining chlorophyll in the flowers which improves taste.

 

  • And helps to preserve and enhance the terpenes and cannabinoids. (Also tasty!)

 

  • Curing also breaks down sugars that if left could feed bacteria, mildew and mould.

 

  • And when done correctly, it should prevent any mould growing when you store your buds for prolonged periods of time.

 

  • Some people also say it increases potency… (But there’s no evidence to support this.)

 

The main benefit not to be overlooked is that it makes your product better and more enjoyable to consume.

 

The drying and curing process can make or break a well-earned harvest. I always recommend growers have environmental control redundancy to monitor their temperature, humidity and other variables.

 

I think the Grow Sensor will be that user-friendly tool that helps professional growers sleep well at night.

 

Nate Lipton. Co-Founder, Co-CEO Growershouse

 

Curing cannabis in jars

 

Suggested conditions for drying & curing cannabis:

 

When it comes to drying and curing cannabis, environment is everything. Extremes are the enemy.

 

Environmental control of the space in which you’re drying and curing is essential.

 

You need to be able to control the temperature, humidity, light, and airflow.

 

An internet search of the top results suggests that there’s a lot of variation in how different growers dry and cure their product.

 

Suggested conditions for drying vary:

 

There are growers and articles promoting drying temperatures ranging from 17°C – 24°C (62°F – 75°F)

 

The range of humidities suggested also ranges from 45 – 60%

 

Suggested conditions for curing also vary (A LOT!):

 

Some growers and articles recommended curing temperatures ranging from 15°C right up to 30°C (59°F – 86°F!) 🤯

 

The range of humidities suggested also range from 50% up to 62%

 

These disparities could be down to a growers location and difficulties in maintaining certain temperatures and humidities… But there has to be optimum conditions right?!

 

This led us to wondering how the world’s best growers dry and cure their product.

 

Would there be some uniformity to their processes?

 

Could we unearth some knowledge gems other growers could benefit from? 🤔

 

The team over at Growers Network have produced awesome and incredibly interesting videos under the titles Cannacribs & Cannacribs Deep Roots.

 

In these videos Nate Lipton & Cameron Bravmann visit some of the most well renowned facilities in the world to talk about cannabis cultivation (from propagation to harvest and covering extraction and packaging too.)

 

(Go watch their videos when you’re done here!)

 

…So I sat down to watch these videos and pull together the information each facility gave about their drying and curing processes to find out if there is a formula that the pros use.

 

How the best commercial growers dry their cannabis.

 

This next section provides details gathered from reviewing the great videos produced by Growers Network, thanks guys! 🙏

 

I reviewed the Cannacribs and Cannacribs Deep Roots videos alongside their professional cannabis how-to videos. (21 videos in total.)

 

Before I dive into what I found, I think it’s important to say that (as mentioned before) there’s not a lot of consistency in the use of the language around drying and curing in general.

 

The words are often used interchangeably or bundled together by hobbyists, growers and experts alike.

 

This blurs some lines and means that there are some gaps in the data collected making it hard to get super granular…

 

That said the data collected does make for some interesting reading and I’m going to share it below:

 

When reviewing the videos, the information I was specifically looking for relating to drying cannabis included information about:

 

  • How the plants were processed before drying.

 

  • The length of time plants are dried for.

 

  • Drying temperatures.

 

  • Drying humidities.

 

How the best commercial growers in the world process their plants before drying:

 

The overwhelming majority of commercial growers hang the whole plant or wishbone shaped branches to dry when they’ve cut it down.

 

Some facilities like to remove the fan leaves of harvested cannabis plants, some don’t – seems to be personal preference.

 

Thoughts:

 

Leaving fan leaves on the plant or stems will result in a longer, slower drying process which is generally deemed preferable for quality, but not necessarily preferable economically.

 

How long the world’s top commercial growers dry their plants for:

 

16 out of the 21 videos explicitly referenced the length of time that harvested plants are dried for…

 

The minimum number of days plants were dried for was 5 days and the maximum was 21 days.

 

7 commercial growers dried their cannabis for under 10 days (44%)

 

9 dried their cannabis for over 10 days (56%)

 

25% dried their plants for 14 days or more.

 

6% dried for just 5 days.

 

Pie chart - drying times

Thoughts:

 

These are some of the top facilities and commercial growers in the world, but in needing to keep up with consistent demand, they only have finite time and space resources to work with.

 

These commercial growers have to be mindful to clear the way for the next batch so as not to interrupt or disturb the process for the next grow cycle that’s coming through.

 

This results in almost half of pro growers and facilities dry in 10 days or less.

 

What temperatures do the best commercial growers in the world use for drying:

 

9 out of the 21 videos divulged the temperatures that the commercial growers dry their plants at.

 

The minimum temperature referenced was 7.2°C (45°F,) the maximum was 29.4°C (85°F) 🥵

 

56% of commercial growers that volunteered temperature data, dry their plants at between 15°C and 20°C (60°F – 70°F)

 

22% dry their plants at between 20°C and 25°C (70°F – 75°F)

 

11% dry their plants at between 10°C and 15°C (45°F – 55°F)

 

11% of the commercial growers that volunteered temperature data start drying at a toasty 29.4°C (85°F) for 12 hours before bringing the temperature down.

 

Pie chart - drying temperatures

 

Thoughts:

 

A hot drying process risks burning off a lot of the terpenes and low temperatures extend drying times unless you have a very low humidity.

 

The majority of commercial growers dry their plants at between 15°C and 20°C (60°F – 70°F) and that sounds good to us, it’s a safe middle ground.

 

If you dry too fast, you run the risk of not breaking down chlorophyll resulting in a less tasty greener final product that can give you headaches. But drying too slowly isn’t good either as it risks mould forming.

 

What humidities the world’s top commercial growers use for drying:

 

9 out of the 21 videos shared the humidities that the commercial growers dry their plants at.

 

The minimum humidity referenced was 30% and the maximum was 72%

 

33.5% of commercial growers use a drying humidity of 55% – 60%

 

33.5% use a drying humidity of 50% – 55%

 

… Meaning 67% use humidities of 50% – 60% to dry their plants.

 

11% use a drying humidity of 45% or less

 

The same number (11%) use a drying humidity of 67% – 72%

 

11% use a drying humidity starting at 70% and finishing 30% – 40%

 

Pie chart - humidities for drying

 

Thoughts:

 

In general, growers should be careful when drying in humidities over 70% because of increased risk of mould. Lower humidities means faster drying which in extremes can result in a less flavourful and harsher product.

 

It looks like the majority of these commercial growers are treading the line in between and generally keeping humidities between 50% and 60% whilst drying their flowers.

 

Just before I move onto curing, it’s worth noting that most commercial growers hand-trim their flower, with machine-trimmed products generally going off to make extracts.

 

Commercial cannabis growers curing cannabis in plastic totes

 

 

How the best commercial growers cure their cannabis.

 

Before I jump into what I found, it’s worth mentioning that fewer of these commercial growers disclosed details relating specifically to the curing process.

 

I don’t think that it was intentional, but still, I find it really interesting given that it’s such an important part of the process.

 

When reviewing the videos, the information I was specifically looking for relating to curing cannabis included information about:

 

  • Curing temperatures.

 

  • Curing humidities.

 

  • The curing style used.

 

  • The length of time the flower is cured for.

 

  • Moisture level of the final cured product.

 

What temperatures the best commercial growers in the world use for curing:

 

There is a shortage of data points on the temperatures used for curing. 3 out of 21 videos explicitly spoke about it.

 

The minimum curing temperature referenced was in an air conditioned cold storage space. (I’ve estimated that to be 8°C / 46°F)

 

The maximum curing temperature referenced was 21°C (70°F)

 

33.3% of commercial growers use a curing temperature of under 10°C (50°F) (Cold curing)

 

The same number (33.3%) use a curing temperature of 20°C (70°F)

 

33.3% use a curing temperature of between 18°C & 21°C (68 – 70°F)

 

Whilst 10 out of 21 (48%) videos gave no indication of curing temperatures at all…

 

 

In a third of the videos, commercial growers (separate from those that gave definite figures) specified that they cured their cannabis in an environmentally controlled space separate to their drying room.

 

Because those growers specified their curing space was separate to their drying space, I can’t make any assumptions as to the temperatures those guys are curing at.

 

Pie chart - curing temperatures

 

Thoughts:

 

…I would have definitely loved some more granular data on curing temperatures!

 

Interestingly, one facility said they gauged all of their curing temps, humidities and lengths of time purely based on the feel and nose of the product. 😲

 

What humidities the world’s top commercial growers use for curing:

 

The minimum curing humidity referenced was 30% the maximum was 62%

 

80% of these commercial growers use a humidity of between 55% & 62% to cure their cannabis.

 

20% use a humidity of 30% to cure their cannabis.

 

Pie chart - curing humidities

 

Thoughts:

 

The majority of commercial growers use humidities of 55% – 62% and that sounds ok, it’s in the safe zone and afterall, you can buy humidipacks at both 58% & 62%.

 

What curing styles are the best commercial growers in the world using:

 

I thought it’d be really interesting to take stock of all other information available regarding what containers commercial growers use to cure their cannabis in and where possible, glean information on their burping regimen etc.

 

Here’s what I found:

 

Some pros have a whole environmentally controlled room dedicated to curing, others use bins, totes, glass jars or metal vacuum style humidor containers (like the Cvault) or Grove bags inside an environmentally controlled space.

 

The majority of these commercial growers cured their product in bins, buckets or plastic totes.

 

And 17% cured in Grove bags.

 

16% of those who volunteered curing information use Boveda packs.

 

There isn’t a lot of information available on the burping and turning aspect of the curing process. (Again I would have loved more detail here!)

 

3 commercial growers mentioned it, and of those that spoke about burping…

 

67% did it 1 or 2 times per day.

 

33% did it 2 times per week.

 

Pie chart - burping schedule

Thoughts:

 

There’s a lot of variety in the way that different commercial growers store their product during curing.

 

Sealed containers or bags offer more control, and are better than non air tight plastic totes because they act like a humidor.

 

A humidor is an environmentally controlled box that’s normally used for storing cigars, cigarettes, cannabis, or pipe tobacco.

 

They maintain a steady, appropriate level of moisture and protect their contents from degradation due to sunlight.

 

How long do the world’s top commercial growers cure for:

 

9 out of the 21 videos discussed the length of time that the commercial growers cure their cannabis for.

 

The shortest cure was 5 days and the longest cure was an initial 3 weeks followed by 6 – 8 more weeks in jars.

 

50% of these commercial growers cure for between 7 and 14 days.

 

12.5% cure for between 3 weeks and 11 weeks.

 

The same number (12.5%) cure for between 6 and 8 days.

 

12.5% cure for between 5 and 10 days.

 

And again, 12.5% cure for between 5 and 7 days.

 

Pie chart - length of curing

Thoughts:

 

The majority of commercial growers don’t cure for very long at all with 87.5% curing for 14 days or less.

 

Again I assume this is down to economics and keeping up with demand, because generally the longer the cure the better (to a point) as it results in a better taste and experience.

 

What moisture % are the best commercial growers in the world aiming for in their cured product:

 

The moisture level of the finished, cured product is important.

 

According to the best commercial growers the optimal range is a minimum of 7% and a maximum of 15%

 

75% (3 out of the 4 videos that spoke about this) indicate a final moisture level of between 11% & 15% is optimal.

 

25% say a moisture level of 7% – 10% is optimal.

 

Thoughts:

 

These numbers seem about right depending on the intended usage of the final product.👌

 

So what does it all mean?

 

Having looked at all that information above and from the Cannacribs videos, it’s clear that each commercial grower feels like they’re doing things the best way.

 

But there’s no way to quantify, prove or disprove that.

 

A reason for the quite distinct differences in some cases could be that drying and curing times, temperatures, humidities etc are strain dependent.

 

For example some commercial growers might grow really dense indica flowers that are super crystally and take a lot longer to dry than a really airy sativa.

 

Maybe that’s where some of the data points are hard to directly compare?

 

…But then again, there’s no way to quantify or support that’s the reason why either!

 

What does seem to come across is that a lot of commercial growers aren’t super focused on curing time to improve the quality of the taste (even if they say they are.)

 

It seems like large commercial grows and facilities (rightly or wrongly) have to be more focussed on supplying demand, getting product tested and out the door and ensuring consistent repeating grow cycles.

 

This got me thinking about how a connoisseur approaches drying and curing, and just how much the processes may differ…

 

Curing cannabis on a small scale

 

The connoisseur’s approach to drying and curing cannabis:

 

Well, they don’t come much more connoisseurial than Ed Rosenthal.

 

Having written and spoken about the importance and intricacies of drying and curing cannabis many times, I think it’s safe to say he’s an authority!

 

So how does Ed dry his cannabis?

 

It seems that his thoughts on the drying process are as follows:

 

You should…

 

“Dry your cannabis in a climate controlled room for success.”

 

Pay attention to the lighting in your drying space – in particular use green fluorescents or LED’s as the green spectrum of light won’t have a negative affect on your plant material.

 

The majority of the moisture in your plant material would ideally evaporate within the first three days.

 

For most of the moisture to evaporate during those initial three days, Ed recommends a temperature of 20°C (68°F) and humidity of 55%

 

Ensure continuous air circulation (fan on low, not directly pointing at the flowers.)

 

The aim is that the flowers will have approximately 30 – 40% moisture content at the end of that time.

 

After that time, you should slow the drying process down by dropping the temperatures in your environmentally controlled space to 18°C. This breaks down chlorophyll and starches.

 

You should take care that the humidity in your drying space doesn’t drop below 50% or the flowers will dry too quickly.

 

In his opinion drying usually takes 10 – 14 days but can take up to 3 weeks.

 

“For buds to be proud of, think “low and slow.” Drying and curing flowers takes time and patience, but the finished buds are worth the wait.”

 

So how does Ed cure his cannabis?

 

His opinion is that connoisseurs will take the time to cure their cannabis for a month or two.

 

His curing container of choice is a cardboard box and environmental conditions as follows:

 

  • 18°C – 21°C (64°F – 70°F) and humidity of 50% – 55%

 

  • Total darkness.

 

He ensures to check on the flowers regularly and monitor the conditions to ensure they don’t stray from the optimal.

 

It’s also recommended to hone your curing process with small batches first.

 

He draws comparisons between the curing of cannabis and the ageing of a fine wine. Both use climate controlled environments and patience to bring out the best and desirable attributes of the product.

 

Ed’s thoughts on final moisture content…

 

These vary on how you like to consume your cannabis, with 8% moisture content more suited to burning pure, 10% – 12% better suited to use with tobacco and 12% – 15% for vaporisation.

 

Commercial vs connoisseurial approaches to drying and curing cannabis.

 

Let’s compare and contrast the approaches to drying and curing and look at where the similarities and differences are.

 

Drying cannabis:

 

1. Whilst nearly half of commercial growers dried their cut plants for less than 10 days, Ed sides with the 25% of commercial growers that dried their plants for 14 days or more.

 

2. 56% of commercial growers dry their plants at between 15°C and 20°C (60°F – 70°F.) Ed’s recommendations to start at drying 20°C and reduce to 18°C after three days fit within that range.

 

3. Ed’s recommendations to dry within a humidity range of 50% – 55% puts him in support of the 33.3% of commercial growers that use those exact humidities.

 

Curing cannabis:

 

1. Ed’s curing temperatures of 18°C – 21°C (64°F – 70°F) exactly mirror the 33.3% of commercial growers that use those curing temperatures.

 

2. 80% of commercial growers use a humidity of between 55% & 62% to cure their cannabis, whereas Ed’s recommendations of a curing humidity of 50% – 55% fall below those percentages.

 

3. The connoisseurs’ approach to curing for a month or two falls between the 50% of commercial growers that only cure for between 7 and 14 days and the 12.5% of commercial growers that cure for between 3 weeks and 11 weeks.

 

4. The figures for final moisture content levels correlate and the optimal range is a minimum of 7% and a maximum of 15%

 

The findings:

 

Plants are commercially dried for less time than is optimal. Drying times of 5 days or under 10 days is not long enough.

 

Most commercial growers use the range of temperatures you’d expect when drying their cannabis (15°C – 20°C / 60°F – 70°F.)

 

But 33% of commercial growers use temperatures of 20°C – 25°C / 70°F – 75°F or even start their drying at 29.4°C which is definitely too hot when some terpenes start to burn off at 21°C (70°F.)

 

There’s variation in drying humidities chosen by commercial growers, from under 45% right up to 67 – 72%

 

Both ends of the spectrum have the potential to cause problems. I assume those facilities are monitoring extra specially carefully to avoid issues.

 

Ed’s 50% – 55% humidity should avoid over drying or drying too quickly and prevent mould and bacteria growth so that’s a safer bet.

 

The maximum temperatures that facilities cure at is 21°C (70°F) so there seems to be an understanding that hotter temperatures risk terpene loss but I do wonder why then, hotter temperatures are used for drying in some cases. 🤷‍♀️

 

Ed’s curing temps of 18°C – 21°C (64°F – 70°F) corroborates this is a good temperature to cure at.

 

Whilst the majority of commercial growers cure at humidities between 55% & 62%, Ed’s recommendations of 50% – 55% are far safer in terms of preventing moisture related problems.

 

Commercial growers who cure for between 5 and 7 days are rushing it.

 

Even the majority of growers curing for 7 – 14 days are in too much of a hurry.

 

The connoisseurial approach is definitely 1 – 2 months (or even longer!)

 

Moisture content of 7% – 15% is fine depending on the intended usage of the final product.

 

Canndescent now cultivating indoors with solar power

 

Canndescent cultivation facility.

 

I’d like to take a moment to recognise that the guys at Canndescent seemed to make a point of volunteering ALL the information relating to their processes in their Cannacribs video.

 

They gave data on their processes for drying, length of drying time, drying temperatures, drying humidity, curing temperature, curing humidity, curing style, length of cure, and final moisture level in their cured product.

 

No other commercial growing facility gave so much information.

 

Also interestingly, they are the facility whose data most closely mirrors the process that Ed Rosenthal follows.

 

Canndescent’s drying and curing temperatures and humidities are what Ed Rosenthal recommends. The same goes for the recommended moisture content of the final product.

 

The drying and curing times mentioned in Cannacribs were shorter than Ed’s, but if you check out this page, it says they now cure for over 30 days!

 

To me it seems as though Canndescent really are striving for the best quality product that large scale production can produce.

 

It’s also worth noting that in 2019, Canndescent completed a commercial scale solar project to power their indoor production facility in Palm Springs with renewable energy! A cannabis industry first!

 

Knowing that the cannabis cultivation industry is incredibly energy intensive and given that our mission is to create products that make indoor growing more efficient and sustainable to minimise environmental harm…

 

We cannot stress how awesome we think this is!

 

Keep up the great work Canndescent! 🙌

 

My 2 cents…

 

To me the connoisseurial way of drying and curing cannabis makes much more sense and should result in a much higher quality end product.

 

It seems that most commercial growers are trying to adhere to conditions and timescales that are more connoisseurial, during some, but not every stage of the process. (With the exception of Candescence.)

 

I think you can see from how most commercial grow facilities do things, they know it.

 

But there are so many pressures on commercial growing operations, timescales, available space, staffing, keeping up with supply and demand etc.

 

All these pressures have the potential to chip away at the ideal process until a point is reached that balances the cost vs reward for each individual commercial grow facility.

 

Which is a shame. But that’s often how it goes with large scale production of anything, the product often loses some of its artisanal quality. (Check out this post about drying craft cannabis at scale.)

 

That’s not to say it won’t be a good final product, far from it!

 

The fact that grow operations like those on Cannacribs exist is down to the fact that there are A LOT of people who love, buy and consume their products daily.

 

But often, the product won’t be the absolute best it could ever be.

 

Now I know that’s a lot of information…. 😅

 

But it’s ok, because I’m going to cover off what equipment you need when drying and curing cannabis now…

 

Then I’ll condense the relevant processes and figures into a bite sized bulleted list you can refer to whenever you need a refresher on drying and curing cannabis, just keep on reading! 🙂

 

Worker in a cannabis cultivation facility trimming cannabis

 

What equipment do you need to dry and cure your cannabis like a pro?

 

There are some things you’ll definitely need to dry and cure your cannabis:

 

  • Disposable gloves for cutting down your plants and trimming before curing.

 

  • A few pairs trimming scissors & isopropyl alcohol to clean them regularly.

 

  • A drying rack or some string to hang your plants / flowers to dry.

 

  • Fan to ensure gentle consistent air movement within your drying space.

 

  • A hygrometer or other environmental sensor to measure temperature and humidity (some people use one per curing container.)

 

  • Containers in which to cure your cannabis (eg glass jars.)

 

And there are some optional extras that you might find useful to adjust and environmentally control your environment dependant on where you live and what your ambient conditions are like:

 

  • Air conditioner (to cool the air and lower humidity.)

 

  • Dehumidifier (to lower humidity and also raise the temperature.)

 

  • Humidifier (to raise the humidity and also raise temperatures.)

 

  • Heater (to raise the temperature and lower humidity.)

 

Ok, so you’ve got plants ready to harvest and all your equipment ready to start the drying and curing process?

 

Great!

 

This is how to do it for the best results possible!

 

10 steps to dry and cure cannabis:

 

1. Prepare a space that can be environmentally controlled.

 

2. Cut your plants down and hang them to dry (whole, branches or individual flowers in a rack) in the prepared drying space.

 

3. Maintain a temperature of 20°C (68°F) and humidity of 55% for 3 days. (Or until the outsides of your flowers feel dry to the touch, and smaller flowers snap from the stems cleanly.)

 

4. Ensure continuous air circulation (but don’t point a fan directly at the flowers.)

 

5. Drop temperatures to 18°C (64°F) and ensure humidity doesn’t go below 50%

 

6. Dry your plants for 10 – 14 days minimum (or up to up to 3 weeks.)

 

7. Trim or manicure your dried buds and put them into your chosen container, inside your environmentally controlled space. (Only fill the container to 75% capacity.)

 

8. Then give the container(s) a shake… If your flowers clump together then they’re still a little too moist, dry them a little longer before moving onto curing.

 

9. To cure, maintain temperatures of 18°C – 21°C (64°F – 70°F,) humidity of 50% – 55% and keep your curing containers in complete darkness where possible.

 

10. Check on the buds regularly and burp the containers. Keep tabs on the temperature and humidity so they stay within the optimal range. Cure your cannabis this way for a month or two (or longer, see what works for you.)

 

Storing your cured buds.

 

Once you’ve cured your cannabis to your liking, you then need to store it in a way that preserves the quality of your flower for the long haul.

 

If you’ve cured properly, your flowers should happily store in airtight containers for up to two years without you needing to worry about losing flavour, cannabinoids or potency.

 

This means storing in something like glass jars, in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Some people even recommend vacuum sealing your flower to ensure minimal exposure to oxygen

 

Always make sure to store different strains separately to preserve the distinct flavours and make sure you label and date each container.

 

Pro tips and reminders:

 

1. Lean on technology to remove guesswork.

 

When you’ve spent months caring for your plants, don’t risk the drying and curing process ruining all the hard work.

 

Environmental control is ABSOLUTELY KEY to a successful dry and cure process, so lean on technology where you can, to eliminate guesswork and ensure optimal conditions.

 

Automatic environmental controllers are obviously useful but often prohibitively costly.

 

Hygrometers are essential kit but only provide you insight when you take readings.

 

On the other hand, environmental sensors (like the Grow Sensor) provide you with real time feedback about your conditions 24/7.

 

With alerts configured to your exact parameters, you can react to any less than ideal conditions that could affect your drying and curing, fast.

 

Using an environmental monitoring device that’s constantly logging data also gives you the insight to learn and tweak your environments to optimise your processes in future.

 

Checkout these posts that also touch on the importance and benefits of environmental monitoring during different stages of your plants growth cycles:

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Specialist kit can make your life easier.

 

We learnt from watching the Cannacribs videos that some commercial growers are now regularly using humidity packs, like the Boveda “Terpene Shield” to automatically maintain the ideal humidity when curing and storing cannabis.

 

Boveda provides two humidity level options 58% and 62% and uses ”nature’s original preserver, salt.”

 

Some growers are also storing and packaging their product into Grove bags, which “combine active humidity control with antimicrobial properties to maintain low oxygen levels to form the perfect “cannabis climate.”

 

3. Burping schedule

 

For the first week of curing, be sure to check on your flowers at least twice a day.

 

Open the jars or containers for several minutes to refresh the air and visually inspect the flowers and keep an eye out for any mould.

 

Let your hygrometer or environmental monitor guide you. If you’re maintaining 50% – 55% then just keep doing what you’re doing daily.

 

If your readings tell you it’s getting too wet in there, pop the lids off the containers for several hours to let the excess moisture escape.

 

If the moisture is dropping below optimal, leave the lids on for longer between checks.

 

(Again you can always use something like a Boveda pack to ensure consistent humidity.)

 

Once you’re past the initial week of curing, burp the containers less often, once every couple of days is fine.

 

4. Take your time

 

This reminder speaks for itself!

 

If you want your end product to really shine, go slow and be patient.

 

Take your time with the drying and curing process!

 

Drying cannabis growing mould

 

Troubleshooting:

 

The best laid plans can go a little awry sometimes. This is SO much more likely if you’re not using any of the ways mentioned above to continually monitor and refine your drying and curing environment.

 

If you don’t (for whatever reason) have a designated environmentally controlled space for drying and curing, here’s a few pointers to help you out whilst you get that all important climate controlled space sorted.

 

Smell of ammonia when curing cannabis?

 

Well it’s not supposed to smell like that!

 

If you come up against this issue when you open up a container during curing cannabis, this is because you’ve sealed the flowers up before they were dry enough.

 

That smell is bacteria going to work on your buds which if you’re not careful, could lead to mould.

 

Remove the lid and leave it off for 24 hours, then reseal it and continue the cure but keep a really close eye on it.

 

Cannabis feels wet in the curing jar?

 

Time to take action and fast, you’re in the danger zone!

 

Once you’ve put the cannabis into curing jars, if it feels wet to the touch, your buds are too wet. The container could have a relative humidity of around 70% 😱

 

Get the flowers out of the jar and leave them out for a couple of hours. Then put them back and continue but again, watch it like a hawk!

 

Curing cannabis but it feels moist?

 

Not quite as problematic as flowers that feel outright wet, pop the lid off the container for up to 4 hours to release some of the moisture.

 

Seal back up, continue curing and monitor closely.

 

Curing cannabis but it feels crumbly?

 

Crumbly or brittle flowers is a sign that the buds are dry (over-dry actually!) and relative humidity in the curing container may be less than 55%

 

Ideally you’d put a Boveda pack in there to bring the humidity back up to where it should be, but if the overdrying is severe, you’ve likely lost a lot of the flavour profile already.

 

Takeaways:

 

There is a lot of myth and bro-science surrounding the drying and curing of cannabis.

 

So it was super interesting to take a deep dive into looking at how both commercial cannabis growing facilities and connoisseurs treat drying and curing.

 

There is such a variety of opinions on the best dry and cure method and what you should or shouldn’t do to ensure a proper dry and cure process.

 

One thing that commercial growers and connoiserus agree on without a shadow of a doubt is that environmental monitoring and controlling the climate throughout the drying and curing process is THE KEY.

 

The monitoring and taking measurements of either growing or drying/curing environments in itself is a hugely time consuming process, so using technology to lighten the load here is highly recommended.

 

I found that because of the interchangeability of the language surrounding drying and curing, there were some frustrating gaps in the information I collected.

 

In future, I’d really like to contact each commercial grower featured on Cannacribs and chat with them about each of their complete and individual winning formulas. That’d make a great post for another time. 😃

 

Commercially growing cannabis, and keeping up with demand and economic considerations often means that compromises have to be made when drying and curing cannabis at scale.

 

Our recommendation based on all of the findings above is that a slow cure is best in a cool dark place and It’s important that you’ve stored your buds correctly to be able to profit from your hard work for what could be years to come.

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Author avatar
Lucy Starley
https://growsensor.co
Co founder at Grow - the smart grow room monitor. Lover of crochet, animals, walking and mushroom hunting. Inbound marketing expert and queen tea drinker. Lucy is currently open for Guest posts.

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