Drying weed is the last step in the preparation of cannabis. To get the maximum value of your cannabis, you can’t just take marijuana buds to market after harvesting. Read on to find out how to dry weed and keep it at its best quality.
How To Dry Weed in 12 Easy Steps
The first thing to remember is that drying is not the same as curing weed. Drying involves removing moisture from marijuana buds. Here are the steps in the process of drying your weed:
- Choosing the Right Bud
- Find a Drying Room
- Assemble Supplies
- Cut Branches and Trim
- Adjust Your Temperature
- Check Your Humidity Levels
- Hang Your Weed Upside Down…or Skip to Step 8
- Let Your Weed Dry Flat
- Check Your Buds
- Begin the Curing Process
- Place Your Weed in Jars
- Open the Containers During the Curing Process
- Allow Your Weed to Finish Curing
Drying weed helps accentuate and preserve the flavor. Additionally, drying eliminates the vegetal taste of the marijuana bud. Below are the steps on how to best dry your weed.
Step 1: Choosing the Right Bud
Drying is best done with fresh marijuana buds. Drying fresh marijuana buds can be tricky, as you need to hang them upside down. Hanging them upside down helps the juices stay inside the bud, resulting in bold and unique flavors.
The best time to begin the drying process is harvest time (usually about 9-12 weeks into the growing process). Check the hairs on the buds for darkening colors, as that indicates the highest levels of THC.
You can also dry fresh cannabis in the open air, but the process must be precise. If the drying process is too long, the cannabis could grow mold and be rendered useless. Air should move freely around the buds regardless of location.
Step 2: Find a Drying Room
Choose the appropriate dry room for your weed based on its room temperature and humidity. Lighting also plays a role in the drying process of weeds. The optimal lighting for drying weed is dark. UV rays directly from the sun can devalue a weed strain’s quality.
Ensure there is minimal light exposure when drying your buds. You can open the door or window but do not expose the plant to light for a long time. After the buds have dried up, you can hang them in a bigger room.
The room you choose for drying weeds should have enough space. Once the drying process has begun, ensure that you turn the cannabis buds regularly. If you use bags to dry the weed, rotate the buds. Do so gently so you do not break the buds.
The right space to dry your weed should also get determined by the size of the marijuana plant. For instance, a 4 feet wide and 5 feet tall cannabis plant requires at least ¾ of the space to dry the weed.
Step 3: Assemble Supplies
Drying weed requires a few supplies. Some of them include:
- Cardboard box or strings
- Scissors or trimming shears
You’ll also need gloves and rubbing alcohol set aside before starting the process. Ensure the location you choose has plenty of ventilation and space for your weed-drying setup.
Put on your gloves before beginning the drying process. Gloves can protect your hands and ensure you do not contaminate your weed. Dealing with any plant, including cannabis, can get sticky quickly.
You can also use your gloves to store trim effectively (more on the trimming process below). Cannabis trim is useful in making cannabis extracts or edibles, so no part of your precious plant goes to waste.
As you work on the drying process, things will likely get sticky. Rubbing alcohol can help clear up the mess after the drying process begins, and keep surfaces sanitary.
Step 4: Cut Branches and Trim
Cutting off long branches from your marijuana plants is key to efficient drying. Remember to sterilize your pruning shears before trimming your plants to avoid cross-contamination. You may also want to sharpen your blades if things are looking a bit dull.
After your shears sterilize and gloves are on, remove any dead-looking, yellowed, or dark-brown leaves. You can cut the plant at the base and dry the entire thing, or cut it into sections and dry those – either way is fine as long as you have a healthy plant.
While removing overgrown branches, cut as close to the stem as you can to avoid unintentionally harming the plant. Cutting the large branches off gives the rest of the plant room to breathe – the optimal drying environment for avoiding mold.
Try to make space in the middle for the plant to access fresh air. The bottom area of the plant usually has more dead buds and sagging branches, so removing those allows the rest of the plant to thrive. And, note that the longer the stem, the longer the drying time.
Step 5: Adjust Your Temperature
Keep temperatures at 16-21 degrees Celsius or 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit during the drying process. Have a high-quality thermometer on hand to monitor the temperature inside the growth zone. If you plan to dry your bud outside, check the temperatures daily to ensure your plant stays healthy.
Maintaining this temperature helps dry the marijuana buds evenly. The temperature setting also ensures the buds do not become overly dry and die.
If you have a portable AC unit available, you may want to put it in or near the indoor location you’re using to dry the weed – especially if you live in a warm and dry climate. Chilly conditions call for a space heater (on a low setting).
Step 6: Check Your Humidity Levels
Regulating temperature is not the only aspect of drying weed. You must maintain the room’s humidity at about 55% to 65%. You can use a hygrometer to measure the humidity of the room or storage location.
If the room does not have a humidity of about 55-65%, use a humidifier or dehumidifier. The main reason to get a humidifier or dehumidifier is:
- To raise the humidity to ensure the buds do not dry too quickly
- To lower the humidity to ensure the buds don’t take too long to dry
Temperature and humidity are the main variables you must focus on when drying your weed. Flip the weed buds constantly if you have placed them on a rack or cardboard. This process ensures that they dry evenly.
Step 7: Hang Your Weed Upside Down… or Skip to Step 8
After you have the ideal climate set, humidity fixed, leaves trimmed, and supplies ready, you can finally hang your weed.
There are several methods for weed hanging. The easiest way is to clip the roots to a wire and hang them from a ceiling or drying rack. Use a drying rack in high-humidity conditions – areas with low humidity that utilize a drying rack may cause the weed to dry too quickly.
Another option is a clothes hanger, which works well if you have long stems. Split the plant in half so branches fall on each side of the hanger, and you’re all set.
Step 8: Let Your Weed Dry Flat
While most growers prefer to hang their weed upside down during the drying cycle, you can also use a flat surface like cardboard.
Cardboard is an excellent resource if you live in a humid area, as it absorbs moisture quickly and isn’t expensive. Your weed will likely leave spots on the cardboard while it dries, so you may want to lay an old towel or blanket down underneath it.
If you decide to dry your weed on a flat surface, ensure you rotate it every few hours. This method allows each side of the plant to dry evenly and prevents the buds from denting.
Step 9: Check Your Buds
After your plants are either hung or drying flat, you can let them be – but check your weed once or twice a day to ensure the temperature and humidity levels remain stable and healthy for your plants.
You can also touch the buds to figure out how far along the plant is in the drying cycle. If they feel wet and sticky, they’re nowhere near dry, but each day they should feel stiffer and stiffer (but never brittle).
If there are no branches or stems, determine whether or not the bud is dry by examining the leaves. Properly dried cannabis will have dry-feeling buds when touched. The bud is properly dried if it leaves behind stringy plant residue from its branch.
If you have trimmed your buds properly, the drying process can take up to two to three days. Check the dryness every day for three days.
Step 10: Begin the Curing Process
The curing process often begins immediately after drying the marijuana buds. Some materials you need to successfully cure your weed include a glass mason jar and a hygrometer for each jar.
Hygrometers measure humidity. If humidity becomes too high in the mason jar, the weed will smell like ammonia and begin growing mold.
Note that the jar you choose for curing and drying needs to be glass. Plastic jars are not good for curing because they allow oxygen to permeate through them. Below are the steps to cure dried weed:
- First, confirm if the cannabis buds are properly dry.
- Get airtight jars and fill them with dried weed.
- Get hygrometers for each jar of weed.
- Monitor the jar’s moisture using the hygrometer.
- Ensure the reading or humidity level within the jars is between 55-65%.
If you do not have airtight jars, you can use turkey bags. These bags are different from conventional bags because they do not release or leak moisture. You can also use metal, ceramic, or wooden jars as long as they can provide an airtight environment to cure the weed.
Step 11: Place Your Weed in Jars
It might be tempting to compactly squeeze as much weed as possible into each jar, but doing so creates an unhealthy environment for your buds and will create excessive moisture. Place your buds in jars with plenty of breathing room.
After your weed sits in jars for one to two days, you will notice it getting a bit softer. This softness is because the moisture from the inner parts of the bud rehydrates the outer parts.
However, failing to notice the softening of the buds is an indication that you over-dried the weed. You can add a humidity pack to the buds if they are too dry. Drying wet weed requires you to unseal the lid if the buds are too wet for half a day.
Step 12: Open the Containers During the Curing Process
You should open the lids of the jars during the curing process at least once or twice daily. This process is commonly referred to as burping. It replenishes the oxygen inside the jar and releases moisture. Dried weed requires ventilation to remain healthy throughout the curing process.
Burping should occur during the first week of the curing process. You should perform this process at all humidity levels. Moreover, the buds are not dry enough if you notice an ammonia odor from the jars when burping. In such a case, you ought to open the jar and leave it open for about a day.
The risk of leaving buds that are not dry enough is that they could become moldy and eventually rot. You should continue burping after the first week of the curing process. But this should become evenly spaced out after a couple of days.
Step 13: Allow Your Weed to Finish Curing
The curing process can last between three to four weeks. But the duration may vary depending on the flavor and quality you want to get out of your weed. For instance, the curing process can last two to six months for strains with strong flavors.
Once the curing process is complete, store the weed in a cool, dark place. Keep the weed away from excessive heat, which could damage terpenes and cannabinoids. Take your time drying and curing your weed to reduce harshness and improve its quality.
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Best Soil For Growing Marijuana – A Definitive Guide For Healthy Plants
Final Thoughts: How To Dry Weed
Drying weed is all about humidity and temperature. You can trim your weed after harvest and hang it in a cool room with a humidity of about 55-65%. The temperature should range from 60-700 Fahrenheit for the best-tasting and high-quality bud.
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