For most people, harvesting your buds is the main objective of growing cannabis. Harvest is what it all comes down to, a result of all the time and care invested in your plants. But, once you’ve harvested – you need to dry and cure your buds in order to bring out the best out of them. In the long term, drying and curing will have a huge impact on the preservation of the cannabinoids and terpenes in your buds.
Applying good practices for drying and curing your buds will guarantee you the best potency, aroma and flavor in your buds. In order to keep and maintain your buds quality for a longer time, you need to store them under the right conditions. But, before we look at those, let’s check what we need to do after we harvest.
Both drying and curing are important stages in achieving good quality harvest and mistakes during these stages may result in lowering your harvest quality or even in appearance of non-desirable guests like fungus,mold or mildew – which will make it unfit for consumption.
What to consider before storing cannabis?
After you’ve harvested your plants, in order to store your buds for future use, you need to dry and cure them before. Both drying and curing are as important as any other stage of your grow and we must address them with the same amount of care and attention. Both stages, if done right and in optimal conditions, will greatly increase your buds potency and cannabinoid and terpene contents.
Just as good wine, cannabis becomes better with age. Curing your buds ensures that all the cannabinoid and terpene levels are at their peaks and that your buds have the best potency, taste and smell.
The lack of patience is a very common growers mistake, especially for new growers. For your buds to properly cure you need to give them at least 2 months time. If cured properly, all the unwanted sugars and chlorophyll will be gone from your buds and all the cannabinoid and terpene content will be preserved and intact – ensuring for the best possible taste, smell and effect.
How to dry and cure the buds?
Cannabis buds are almost 70% water, which means that if you weight your buds after you harvested, they will be 3-4 times heavier than by the time they get dry. Drying process is simply removing the moisture or water content from your buds.
In order to ensure the best quality, sweet taste and smooth smoke you want to dry your harvest as slow as possible. Depending on your preferred method, and whether your trim or manicure your buds before or after the drying, it can take from a few days up to 2-3 weeks.
When drying your buds be sure to keep the humidity between 40% – 60% RH and temperatures between 19 and 21 C. Higher temperatures will accelerate the process while lower temperatures will slow down the process. Many growers like to have the temps higher for the first few days, then decrease them a few degrees, in order to ensure for the slower and proper drying. Good air circulation is crucial but try not to have fans or vents blowing directly on your buds. Smell is certainly going to be an issue, so if done indoors, most growers like to add carbon filters on the outtake to eliminate the odors. THC and other cannabinoids degrade when exposed to light, so you must keep your harvest in darkness.
Once your harvest has dried, the curing process begins. A good curing results in better flavor, aroma and potency of your buds. Curing the buds also ensures perfect internal moisture levels in the plant material which make it suitable to last for longer periods. In order to cure your buds in optimal conditions, you need to make sure that proper materials are used and that your buds are stored in a proper way.
When packing your containers, try not to pile buds one to another and leave enough space in the containers for air. Fill the containers up to ⅔ or ¾ and open them twice a day for a few minutes, for the first week or two – to allow for the stale air and excess moisture to come out and fresh air to come in. It’s good practice to take your buds out of the containers for the first few days to check them for mold or mildew and to allow them to dry more evenly.
Choosing storage containers (plastic or glass)
We humans, most times are looking for the easiest and fastest solutions for our needs, that’s why – when we think about storing and preserving – the first thing that comes to our mind is the use of plastic bags. Although they might be cheap and easy to get, they aren’t your best choice, unless you are just using it to transport small quantities.
Storing cannabis in plastic bags reduces the odor and potency of the buds. It doesn’t protect against light, nor against the damage caused when manipulating your buds. By using plastic bags people tend to break the crystal trichomes during the handling, making them fall to the bottom of the bag. Also, plastic isn’t the best material for preserving aroma or trying to hide the smell, due to its features, which don’t prevent the buds from dehydrating.
Glass is the best suitable material for cannabis containers, it provides humidity equilibrium and resistance to air interchange with the exterior environment. These guaranteed features provide the desired medium for the preservation of the bud. Glass containers are easy to find, and you don’t have to worry about spending because, unless you don’t have any, you can use the empty ones in your kitchen or the ones used for storing foods such as fruits, vegetables and groceries. Just make sure they are clean and dry with the lid fully functional for complete isolation of the buds from the exterior.
Optimal conditions for storing it (Ideal temperature, Humidity and Light)
Storing cannabis buds is very similar to storing quality cigars. Just like they are kept inside humidors that keep them in best conditions, cannabis buds need similar attention. Ideal conditions for storing your containers should have temperatures between 19°C to 21°C, with relative humidity between 60% and 65% and minimal light exposure. Some growers like to place hygrometers and thermometers inside the containers so they know the conditions inside the containers too. You can also purchase humidity packs that will keep RH at steady and optimal levels.
At the beginning of curing air flow must be controlled. Too much air can lead to a faster degradation and not enough air can drastically affect the relative humidity. Letting your cannabis absorb a bit of air and humidity from the exterior will preserve and help maintain the desired environmental levels. Grow shops offer mechanic and electric vacuum pumps attachments for the containers, they are easy to use and have a very low cost. Another option is taking the lid off the jar every day for about ten to fifteen minutes, this will promote air flow inside of the container providing the necessary quantity for optimal conservation, you only need to be doing this in the first two weeks of curing.
Refrigerating your weed
If you plan on smoking flowers, refrigerating your weed is a bad idea. Naturally, when we think about preserving – the fridge is the first thing that comes to our minds, but in this case, it doesn’t work well. Refrigerating your cannabis can lead to a disaster, humidity and temperature tend to vary a lot inside of a refrigerator so it can make mold and other issues appear fast. If you want to maintain cannabis potency for years, better put them in the freezer, but first be sure they were correctly dried and try not to handle frozen buds at any time because they become very fragile and easy to break. If you plan on making concentrates, oil, hash or extract, fresh freeze is the best way to conserve the plant matter for optimal potency and quality.
- Never use plastic bags for storing your weed for long periods, unless you are just using them for transporting small quantities.
- Always use glass containers with tight lids because they provide hermetic seals which isolate the buds from non-convenient external conditions.
- Place your jars in a fresh, dark place. Use a hygrometer/thermometer for controlling conditions inside of the jars.
- Control air flow to the container by using air pumps or taking off the lid for about ten minutes every day in order to provide necessary air humidity and avoid degradation.
- Never refrigerate your buds, if you are looking to preserve your weed for a long period put them in the freezer, just be aware they were dried correctly.
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