Drying Cannabis - Ultimate Guide
After harvesting marijuana well executed drying and curing are essential for the final quality of the buds. These processes help to preserve and reinforce the flavors by retaining terpenes and cannabinoids, while reducing chlorophyll which is responsible for the “vegetable taste” when smoking. In this article we will provide extremely easy steps that are able to dramatically increase the final quality of your home-grown weed.
Freshly harvested buds can lose up to 75% of their weight to moisture loss, as well sticks, branches and leaves that get trimmed off. There are 2 types of trimming methodics - dry and wet. When dry trimming, drying happens before trimming and vice versa for wet trimming.
WET TRIMMING VS DRY TRIMMING
Deciding between wet and dry trimming is the first step of the drying process. The chosen method will affect the look, potency, smoothness of smoking and risk of developing mold. Ultimately, the best method is not the same for everyone. It depends on individual preference that comes with experience.
Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of both ways. I recommend trying both and writing down which difference you notice and how it affected the final flavor of your buds.
+ It is easier to remove the fans and leaves when they are still alive
+ Wet trimming will speed up the drying stage, as many parts that retain moisture are removed prior to drying
+ Shorter drying time and reduced moisture means less chances of getting mold that can ruin the entire harvest
- Wet trimming can reduce the quality of the final product. The sugar and fan leaves protect the buds while they dry and can help to create an ideal moisture level. When they are removed before drying, it can cause the buds to dry up more quickly than they should and negatively impact quality
- Shorter drying time means retention of chlorophyll. More chlorophyll adds a harsh flavor to marijuana, making it less smooth for smoking.
+ Allows more control over the drying speed, as extra leaves and branches make sure that the plant won’t dry too quickly with a negative impact on quality.
+ Dry-trimmed cannabis provides a smoother, more pleasant smoke. The longer the buds take to dry, the more chlorophyll they lose, and less chlorophyll means better flavor.
- It is notably more difficult to trim dry Cannabis. This is because the dry sugar and fan leaves curl up and attach to the bud. Thus, they become more difficult to cut off.
Overall, dry trimming is worth the extra effort. Most of the growers including myself claim that it definitely contributes to better smoking qualities. However, I have also met growers who had the opposite opinion. Thus, you are welcome to experiment:)
HOW LONG SHOULD DRYING TAKE?
Depending on the size of the plant, drying takes between 2 and 7 days. Wet trimming reduces the time twice, as most of the material that contains moisture gets removed.
Regardless of the method you chose, the best way to dry Cannabis is to hang the bush upside down and make a first check after two days. Try to bend the stem or branch, if it snaps - the drying is done and buds are ready to smoke. Otherwise leave it for another day.
Drying Cannabis that wasn't trimmed
IDEAL ENVIRONMENT FOR DRYING
A good drying room has to be dark with temperatures around 17-20C and humidity anywhere close to 60%. A hygrometer for a few bucks will help you to monitor those. If you took preparation for growing responsibly, there should be one in your growing box.
Depending on your house or property, you may be limited in what you can use for a drying room. Know that it can be hard to control temperature and humidity in big rooms. Also, know that the room will smell like weed. Be sure the space you choose doesn’t have huge fluctuations in temperature and humidity.
If you use a tiny space for drying, e.g. house pantry, fan for improvement of the air circulation will come in handy. As confined rooms tend to get stuffy which is harmful for the process.