Whether you’re a seasoned marijuana connoisseur or just starting to explore the world of weed, knowing how to cure marijuana is a handy skill to have in your back pocket.
Did you know by the time you purchase cannabis from your local dispensary it’s already undergone the curing process? The curing process can be traced back centuries, first appearing around 400 AD. Similarly to curing meats, many farmers grew and cured cannabis. Not to be confused with the process for drying weed (removing moisture from your herb), curing is a polymerization and oxidation process that takes place in sealed containers. Drying out your bud then curing your cannabis can increase shelf life, create a more refined taste, and reduce the risk of having moldy weed. Curing weed also eliminates harmful bacteria and enzymes that are responsible for the loss of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) potency.
Much like any type of plant matter, weed enters a process called degradation: a type of decay that results in the loss of THC. Degradation is caused by bacteria that flourish in humid climates. This process is extremely harmful to freshly harvested flowers and should be avoided. Luckily, the curing process eliminates the threat of degradation, prolonging the shelf life of your cannabis, and gives the bud a better ending taste when smoking.
There are 4 simple steps to curing cannabis: drying, trimming, sealing, and monitoring. Let’s learn how to cure weed.
Before you can start curing, it’s vital you get your bud dry. You can dry your flower by hanging each branch upside down in a drying room or drying your nugs individually using a drying rack or tray. When drying cannabis, it’s important that your drying room has consistent air circulation to prevent bud rot, mold, and mildew growth. We recommend that you wait 5-9 days until the smaller stems on each branch start to snap or the nug starts to feel dry but still sticky. Using your hydrometer to view your moisture levels, place the weed in mason jars when it reaches 55-65% RH on your meter. If you’d like to expedite the drying process, we’ve provided a section on how to dry weed fast below.
Although we recommend that you take 5-9 days to dry your cannabis, there are ways to cure your cannabis in several days. Here is the tried and true “Brown Bag Method” for drying small amounts of herb.
Place 2 or 3 nugs in a medium sized paper bag for several days. After a few days, leave the bud drying out on a paper towel and place it on top of your computer fan. This combination of warmth and air will dry the cannabis with less risk of drying the nugs out too much. Turn the nugs over every 10 minutes and repeat for one hour. We recommend you take your time with the drying process to avoid dry and fragile nugs. A faster drying process can also increase the risk of mold and mildew.
If you’ve already trimmed your nugs from the branch and placed them on drying racks, you can omit this portion. For bud that’s still on the branch, trim all nugs and get ready to begin sealing your herb.
When the nugs have reached a moisture level of around 60%, it’s time to start sealing (or curing) your cannabis. The goal here is to create a controlled environment and to protect your flower against degradation. Any air-tight container will work but we recommend mason jars with glass clamps when curing smaller amounts of bud. For larger amounts, any sealable plastic container will do. Place the containers in a cool and dark area, away from sunlight or extreme temperature changes.
After you’ve sealed your cannabis, it’s important that you check it several times a day in the first few days, and then twice a day after the initial week. You should open the jar each day to allow for fresh air to be exchanged. If your cannabis starts smelling like ammonia there may be too much moisture to begin curing. Too much moisture produces anaerobic bacteria that break down your THC, hence the ammonia-like smell. Simply open the jar for 3-4 hours to allow excess moisture to escape. If you notice humidity is too low, leave the lid on for longer periods of time. You should also consider how the weed will be utilized in the future. For example, if the weed is specifically for vaping, experts recommend a higher water content of 12% to 15%.
For flavor connoisseurs who want the best tasting bud, it’s recommended to have a lower water content of 8%. This results in a more even burn and more refined taste. We recommend letting your herb cure for 6 months for the best tasting bud.
Now that you know the benefits of curing your bud and how to do it, it’s time to start experimenting with what works for you! We’ve left you with a few key points to remember when curing your stash.
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