Interest in DIY cannabis is at an all-time high, but unfortunately, many people are not getting things right. Before you even get to making some spacy edibles, you need to get a few things right. One of the initial steps of cannabis preparation involves curing the weed before you subject it to decarboxylation. If this is not handled appropriately, you may end up having dank that is no more than your everyday vegetable. To avoid this, let me teach you how to cure weed correctly.
What is Curing?
Curing is not restricted to cannabis, even meat and other herbs need to be cured to realize their full potential. Curing cannabis is the process of trimming and drying out cannabis buds to allow them to age before they can be consumed. When cannabis has been cured, the smoke will be smooth and gentle on the throat. Curing also allows the cannabinoids and terpenes to mature. Curing improves the potency, flavor, and taste of cannabis. Also, cured buds will last for longer.
Before curing, the buds have to be dried in a dark room away from both sunlight and moisture. Curing helps to break down sugars and chlorophyll that is still present in the green of the buds. Curing duration will vary depending on the method used, however, the process should not be prolonged as this will increase the opportunity for mold to develop.
Cannabis buds that are not cured are hard to work with. The potency will also be diminished as so will the smell and flavor. Should uncured buds catch mold, you will have completely lost on your harvest.
Here are 7 steps to cure cannabis
- Drying out the cannabis.
This is the first step after you harvest your cannabis. Hang the plants on a drying rack in a room with temperatures of 70 degrees. The humidity should be maintained at 50%. Remove excess leaves from the plants and allow maximum air circulation in the room. Having a fan in the room for this purpose will be ideal. Lastly, you will need a dehumidifier to maintain the room humidity. Too much humidity will cause molds while too little will cause the buds to dry out.
Drying the cannabis should take between 10 days – 14 days. Keep checking the progress by bending the stems of the plants. The stems should snap when you bend them when they have dried up. If the stems bend without snapping, they still have moisture and have not dried adequately.
- Trimming, Sweating, and Burping
This is the most time-intensive part of the process. First, you need to collect the buds that should have dried out by now. Proceed to trim off the remaining leaves in the buds. This takes quite some time so exercise patience. Once you have your beautiful naked buds, it’s time to “burp” your buds.
Burping involves forcing moisture out of the buds, similar to burping gas out of an infant’s tummy. You will need an airtight container with a wide mouth to allow the circulation of air.
Once you’ve packed your buds in airtight jars, set the jars in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. First, you need to “sweat” the buds by closing them inside the airtight jars. Naturally, the buds will sweat out the moisture that they are holding. Next, you need to “burp” the buds every 5-6 hours to expel moisture. Burping involves opening and re-sealing the jars a number of times before placing the jars back in the darkroom. The jar should be open for about five minutes before re-sealing, this time is sufficient to burp the buds.
When burping, observe for signs of mold. If the buds catch mold, it means that you did not dry them out completely. Burping takes between 4-8 weeks to be complete. By week five, your buds should be ready for consumption. However, waiting out will give you a better experience as the smoke will be flavorful and gentle. Potency will also be enhanced. As you progress, you can reduce the frequency of burping to twice a day, once a day then a couple of times each week.
- Knowing if your buds are ready
After the appropriate time has elapsed, how do you tell if your buds are ready for smoking? You tell this by feeling the buds for humidity. A hygrometer can also come in handy.
Buds feel wet: This means that the buds still have a lot of moisture. In this case, you need to remove the buds from the jars and put them out to dry. Buds that feel wet to the touch have a humidity of 70% or more.
Buds feel moist: This means that the buds are damp and need some more drying out. The humidity should be 65%-70%. You can either open the jars for 4-6 hours or remove the buds from the jars and leave them to dry out for a day.
Buds are dry but not brittle: This means that your buds are ready for some toking hooray! The ideal humidity for ready buds is 60%-65%. This is called the cure zone.
Buds are brittle: This means that the buds were over dried. The humidity here is less than 60%. More curing may help the buds get to the cure zone.
How To Make The Most Out Of The Curing Process
Curing helps to bring out the flavor and potency of cannabis. Uncured cannabis has a harsh taste that’s irritating and can trigger bouts of cough. The curing process also sets the pace for decarboxylation; as the plant matter breaks down the cannabinoids begin their transformation. Anaerobic bacteria are responsible for breaking down chlorophyll and improving the taste of the weed.
- Make sure the buds are not too moist before you start the curing process.
Mold creates the environment for harmful bacteria to thrive and this will destroy your buds.
- Keep the “burping” jars in a dark room.
Light will cause the cannabinoids to break down; this will impact on the potency of the weed.
- Use glass jars for curing cannabis
Glass jars are not breathable, this means that they will not allow in excess oxygen. If you do not have a dark room, you can use dark-colored glass jars to keep your buds away from the sunlight. Also, ensure that the jars are airtight.
- Follow each step of the process
Curing correctly takes a long time. The temptation is always to skip some parts of the process to make it shorter. If you do this you will end up with low-quality weed that is not cured properly.
1. NCBI (2018): Potency of Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids in cannabis in England in 2016: Implications for public health and pharmacology. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29441730
2. NCBI (2016): Decarboxylation Study of Acidic Cannabinoids: A Novel Approach Using Ultra-High-Performance Supercritical Fluid Chromatography/Photodiode Array-Mass Spectrometry. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549281/
3. NCBI (2017): Cannabis, cannabinoids, and health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5741114/