Benefits Of Curing
Though every vegetable requires a different curing process for the best outcome, the goal is the same: to preserve the product while retaining vital flavors, nutrients and in the case of cannabis, cannabinoids. Proper curing stops the degradation process before volatile compounds like terpenes and cannabinoids evaporate or transform into less favorable compounds.
From the moment the crop is harvested it begins to degrade as enzymes and aerobic bacteria break down excess sugars and starches. Curing cannabis essentially forces the plant to use up those sugars, starches and excessive nutrients before they’ve had the chance to dry out and get stuck inside the plant. Properly cured cannabis is smooth, flavorful and potent.
If you’ve ever wondered why some cannabis is harsher or less flavorful when you smoke it, it is because these residual components have not been properly cured out of the plant prior to drying and/or distribution to the consumer. A good cannabis cure will not only improve the flavor and smoothness of a smoke sesh, it will also improve product potency, too!
That’s because cannabinoid synthesis (the process of creating those valuable chemicals) continues even after harvest.
When freshly-harvested cannabis flowers are kept at the proper temperature and humidity, non-psychoactive cannabinoids will continue to transform into THCa, a precursor to psychoactive THC. Potentially increasing the THC level.
How To Cure Cannabis
To effectively cure your harvested cannabis, begin by hanging trimmed bud upside down in a dark room from a laundry line or clothing hangers. You may also remove individual buds from the stalks and use an herb drying rack(usually a hanging, muti-tiered, screen mesh basket, 20"wide/36"height)t to help save some space.
Trimming techniques vary, some growers trim at harvest time, some trim after dried, some partially trim at harvest and finish after drying. It will come down to personal preference, experiment with different techniques to find your happy place. Buds that are still attached to the stalk will hang easily at the node while smaller, “popcorn” buds may need to be dried on a screen to encourage airflow.
The area should ideally be kept between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity level between 45 and 55 percent to help preserve the terpene content of the bud.
After 4-10 days, the stems should gently break when bent (instead of folding like when they’re fresh) and the outside of the flower should be slightly crisp. When this happens, it’s time for the next step: sweating your bud. You’ll do this by removing the bud from the larger stems (use this time to ﬁnish manicuring them if necessary) and placing them in sealable containers, quart sized glass mason jars are perfect for this.
Set the containers in a cool, dark location then return multiple times daily to open (or “burp”) the containers which removes excess moisture by drawing it out through the bud slowly while keeping the oxygen content fresh. You may also use bovida 62 humid packs inside the containers (1ea) allowing for a more controlled cure and less "burping" (typically 2 times per day for the first 2wk, 1 time per day leading to 1 time per week/month etc...)
Note: if you notice the smell of mold or ammonia after burping your containers the ﬁrst few times, it likely means the bud is not dry enough to cure yet. Remove the buds from the jars and continue air-drying for a few more days to avoid mold.
After a few weeks, you’ll be able to burp your containers less frequently while the bud continues curing. Though your bud will be ﬁne to smoke after two to four weeks, continued curing for four to eight weeks or more will improve the flavor and potency even more. Properly cured cannabis can be stored for up to six months in these containers or for long-term storage, it can be kept in vacuum-sealed storage for a year or more.
You don’t have to be an experienced cannabis cultivator to produce high-quality bud at home. Ideal strain and grow conditions aside, the best bud always takes a bit more love and attention, and the curing process is no exception.
Taking the time to properly cure your cannabis will pay off big-time, and earn you some awesome bragging rights, to boot.