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Drying & Curing

Taking your buds to cup-worthy levels
By Colin Gordon and Ben Owens

Once you’ve grown your buds, it’s time to harvest and prepare them for smoking, which means it is time for drying and curing. This process can take an amazing grow and make it truly exceptional or it can dismantle your months of hard work. Proper drying and curing will make a significant impact on the overall quality of your final product.

What is a Cure?

A cure is the process of allowing cannabis buds to age and ripen under set conditions to maximize flavors, smoothness of smoke, aromas, and overall experience of the final cannabis flower. This time allows moisture levels to regulate and terpene profiles to mature.

How to Dry & Cure

• Begin by drying your plants. Chop your plants at the main stalk and remove all fan leaves. Hang the full plant (medium to small plants). For larger plants, divide into smaller sections, with the goal of keeping them to a minimum.

• The first two days of drying you need a lot of wind/air circulation created by fans, and a dehumidifier to pull out the moisture from the plant material. Make sure you are monitoring humidity levels with a humidistat.

• From there, you can gradually turn the fans down each day, making sure air is circulating but not blowing intensively in the room.

• After the first few days and the plants have released a large portion of their moisture, you can adjust the dehumidifier as needed based on humidity levels.

• Once you feel a dryness on the outside of the flowers, turn fans and dehumidifiers off.

• Your goal from here is to begin the cure with the buds still on the plant. Keep the buds on the plant as long as possible before cutting and bagging/jarring. If possible, keep on the plant for up to 3 weeks without taking buds off.

• Once most moisture is gone, the flowers should feel soft but not wet. Chop buds from the plant/branches and fill glass jars up all the way with the buds.

• Keep jars/bags closed for 24 hours for first day, then check moisture levels and see if the jars need to be aired out (open if too moist or sealed back up if moisture levels are proper). You are trying to make sure that you don’t have too much moisture left in the flower.

• Open the jar periodically over the next 5-7 days, releasing excess moisture as necessary.

• The buds' total moisture is already close to where you want, but this jar cure helps you get it perfect. You want the buds to still have a cloth-like component to them; not too dry, and not too spongy. That’s the ideal.

• If you are submitting your harvest for a cup or competition, try to time it so that you cut the buds off the branches 1-2 weeks before the entries are submitted. You have anywhere from 5-14 days from when you cut the buds to when the moisture will even out and the flower will be in optimum smoking conditions. Curing times may be longer in more humid environments.

Climates & Curing

If you’re curing in extremely dry or moist climates, you will need a controlled room to cure in that you can tweak temperatures and humidity. If it’s too dry, your buds will dry out too fast and degrade rapidly. Rehydrating the material will lose terps, and overly dry buds aren’t ideal. Ideally, you want to maintain cool temperatures and moderate-high humidity in your curing room with regular air circulation.

Every grower has a method for curing, but, for what it’s worth, this method has been proven to yield cup-winning buds. If you want to take your crop to the next level once it’s time to harvest, learning proper drying and curing methods will have a significant impact.

Keep in mind, this is a baseline and drying and curing conditions are entirely dependent upon your environment and specific needs. Try to develop a feel for what works in your space.