Drying and Curing Cannabis Buds. Harvest and Post-Harvest Tips

Drying and Curing Cannabis Buds. Harvest and Post-Harvest Tips


As a grower, you feel a wave of excitement when your plants develop from seedlings into thick and mature plants, and as the plants produce hairy buds, the harvest time draws near. Harvesting doesn’t stop at cutting down plants and trimming buds; the buds need to be dried and cured. Harvesting is a critical step in cannabis growing and it has a massive influence on the quality, taste, and potency of cannabis buds. To achieve the best results, there are certain procedures you need to follow.


Determining Whether Cannabis is Ready for Harvest

When it comes to harvesting cannabis, timing is one of the essential factors. If you harvest too early, there’s the likelihood of the buds not being fully developed, thus making for a poor yield. And if you harvest too late, there’s the likelihood of a decline of bud potency, thus making for poor taste. Cannabis growers wait for different signals before harvesting, but it’s important to understand which indicators are fool proof.

Pistils: when cannabis plants start to flower, their buds typically feature hair-like strands known as pistils. Once the pistils turn from white to orange and develop a curl, that’s a clear indication that the buds are ready to be harvested.

Trichomes: trichomes are lightweight sticky glands that envelop cannabis flowers. Quality cannabis buds usually have a high concentration of trichomes. Once the color of the trichomes changes from clear to opaque and then amber, that’s a dependable sign that the cannabis is ready for harvest.

Top clusters of buds typically receive more light than bottom clusters, and so, the top clusters are likely to become ready for harvest earlier. Moreover, information from the grower or breeder can help determine the appropriate harvest time.

Preparing for Cannabis Harvest

If you’re growing one cannabis strain, the plants are typically harvested in the same window of time, as the buds become ripe for harvest at the same time. However, if you’re growing different strains, the buds become ripe for harvest at different periods, thus making it necessary to harvest some buds early and other buds later. Before harvest, it’s also essential to determine whether you’re going to dry trim or wet trim the buds. Wet trimming entails cutting the plants down, and then trimming buds, while dry trimming entails cutting the plants down, and then hanging the plants to dry before trimming buds.

Check for pests: when preparing your plants for harvest, it’s important to check to see whether pests have invaded your plants, and get rid of the spoiled parts.

Flush cannabis: flushing refers to watering your cannabis plants nonstop for a certain period. It helps with eliminating leftover nutrient build-up, and it’s a critical step in improving the flavor, aroma, and quality of cannabis buds.

Stop fertilizing: it’s important to stop fertilizing the cannabis plants around two weeks before harvest. This helps with improving the taste and potency of buds.

Drying space: some of the critical features of an effective drying space include a dark room, airflow, steady temperatures, and relative humidity.

Tools and equipment: assemble the essential tools and equipment so that you avoid experiencing glitches. Some of the helpful tools include shears, scissors, pruners, and tables.

Harvesting Cannabis

Once cannabis buds are ripe for harvest, you begin by cutting down the plants, followed by bud trimming. There are two methods of trimming buds: wet trimming and dry trimming. Wet trimming refers to immediate bud trimming after cutting down plants, while dry trimming involves hanging the plants to dry before bud trimming.

If cutting down the large plants, use a pair of shears. Be careful so that you don’t harm the delicate cannabis buds. And if cutting down small plants, you may snip them at the bottom, as they are lightweight and easy to handle. It’s critical to harvest cannabis plants around the same time so that buds retain uniformity.

If you plan to perform dry trimming, ensure that the plants have hooks toward the end, so that the plants may be easy to hang, and if you’re planning to perform wet trimming, make sure to cut the plants in a fashion that makes them lightweight and easy to handle.

Drying and Curing Cannabis

It takes experience to become excellent at drying and curing cannabis buds. Small quantities of cannabis buds are relatively easy to dry and cure whereas large quantities are typically challenging to dry and cure.

The drying room needs to be properly ventilated. It also needs to receive a steady airflow, and contain an odor management system. The drying room should be neither excessively hot nor excessively cold; high temperatures might damage the bud structure and chemical composition of cannabis, while cold temperatures can cause buds to incur tissue damage.

Before the drying and curing of cannabis buds, it’s critical to have the essential tools and equipment like mason jars, a drying rack, a hygrometer, and humidity packs. Mason jars are for storing dried cannabis flowers; a drying rack is a piece of equipment that supports even drying of cannabis; a hygrometer helps with measuring humidity levels, and humidity packs help to steady up relative humidity.

It’s important to start the drying process immediately after harvesting cannabis buds. Failure to dry cannabis buds soon might create an opportunity for fungi and bacteria to proliferate.

One of the important factors in cannabis drying is to ensure the storage room features consistent temperature and humidity. Ideally, the drying room should be at the ranges of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and humidity should be at the ranges of 45 to 55 degrees. To maintain a steady internal environment, you may install a small fan.

The popular drying method is suspending the buds upside-down. Alternatively, cannabis buds may be positioned horizontally on a surface; the downside to this method of drying is that the cannabis buds can form wet spots beneath them and promote fungal activity, and thus you would need to turn the buds recurrently.

The Step By Step Guide to Cannabis Curing

Cannabis curing is a process of minimizing moisture content in cannabis buds under meticulous environmental factors. It’s one of the critical processes of boosting the flavor, aroma, and potency of cannabis buds. Cannabis curing may be done in the following steps:

Step 1: put the buds in mason jars. After detaching cannabis buds from branches, put the buds in mason jars. Avoid crowding the buds into a mason jar, and keep it three-quarters full.

Step 2: store the mason jars. Once you have packed the mason jars with cannabis buds, seal the jars properly, and store them in a cool, dark, and dry area.

Step 3: check the jars regularly. Open the mason jars a few times a day to allow moisture to flow out while the flowers take in oxygen. If a few days in you find a foul smell, it would mean the buds hadn’t been properly dried, and it can result in moldy buds. After a week, you can start lessening the number of checks that you perform.

Step 4: prime cannabis buds. After about three weeks of curing, the cannabis buds are set, but you can lengthen the curing period depending on your needs.

Pros of Cannabis Curing

The following are some of the benefits of curing cannabis:

1. Improved Potency

Most cannabis consumers are looking for potent cannabis products that are going to give them lasting highs. Curing refines the chemical compounds of cannabis and enhances its potency. Curing improves cannabis value.

2. Improved Flavor

Cannabis consists of aromatic chemical compounds that give it a distinct taste and aroma. Curing has a positive impact on cannabinoid profiles, which boosts its flavor and aroma. Cannabis consumers appreciate flavorful cannabis smokables.

3. Increased Lifespan

Whether you’re growing cannabis for domestic use or commercial purposes, it’s essential for cannabis buds to have a considerable lifespan. Curing helps with eliminating moisture content from cannabis buds, which plays a role in boosting cannabis lifespan.

Tips for Producing Quality Cannabis Buds

Every cannabis grower is looking to produce quality cannabis buds from their harvest. The following are some critical tips for producing quality cannabis:

Choose an ideal trimming method: wet trimming is done immediately after harvesting, while the cannabis plants are still wet. Wet trimming is usually favored by novices. Dry trimming refers to hanging cannabis plants to dry before trimming buds. Dry trimming is popular among experienced growers. Both wet trimming and dry trimming have their advantages and disadvantages.

Minimize light exposure while drying: to improve the flavor of cannabis, a drying room needs to be dark. Sunlight has been suggested to minimize THC quality. Use a light deprivation method to keep the drying room dark.

Ensure the drying room has fresh air: a steady airflow is a critical factor in cannabis buds flavor enhancement. Investing in a quality ventilation system is an ideal method of sustaining air circulation throughout the drying room.

The Takeaway: Drying and Curing Cannabis Buds

Harvesting has a major impact on the quality and flavor of cannabis buds. It entails the performance of essential processes such as drying and curing. Cannabis buds that have been sufficiently dried and cured typically have high potency. Whether you’re growing cannabis for private use or commercial purposes, drying and curing cannabis buds is an essential step.