Properly dried and cured cannabis flower buds burn evenly and have a smooth, rich taste. When smoking, the embers glow evenly and smoothly penetrate the body. No “green” taste should be detectable when vaporizing.
If flower buds are dried too quickly, chlorophyll and other pigments, starch and nitrates or other fertilizer salts become trapped in the plant tissue, causing it to burn unevenly and taste unpleasantly “green”. If the buds are dried too slowly or not at all, they will rot.
Gardeners can lose some or all of their crops to poor drying and healing cannabis techniques. How to do it right:
Drying converts 75% or more of a freshly harvested plant into water vapor and other gases, and converts carbohydrates into simple sugars. The drying process also converts chlorophyll and other pigments so that no “green” residues remain.
You can harvest a whole plant, individual branches, or peel flower buds from branches to dry them. When the stems are severed, fluid transport within the plant continues, but at a much slower rate. The natural plant processes slowly end when the plant dries. The outer cells are the first to dry, but the fluid is still moving out of the inner cells to moisturize the outer cells, which are dry. If the drying and hardening processes proceed properly, the plants will dry evenly. Removing leaves and large stems after harvest speeds drying; However, the moisture content in the “dried” flower buds, leaves and stems can become uneven.
The drying time depends on temperature, humidity and bud density. The ideal temperature is 60-70 ° F and the best humidity range for drying is 45-55%. Most flower buds will be dry enough in three to five days before they begin the curing process. However, they can take longer. It can take up to two weeks for all of the chlorophyll – the material that gives the “green” taste – to separate from the leaves. Large, fat, and dense flower buds can take three to four days longer to dry than smaller buds. After drying, gently squeeze the buds for a few days to check the moisture levels. Flex the stems to see if they are dry. If the stem breaks rather than folds, it is ready to heal. The bud should be dry to the touch, but not brittle. The bud should burn well enough to smoke when dry.
Even after plants, twigs, or buds have dried on sifts or hung in a drying room for five to seven days and appear to be dry, they still have moisture inside. This moisture affects taste, smell and cannabinoid content (potency). Curing will remove that excess moisture and everything it contains.
Curing makes the buds evenly dry and comfortable to consume, and natural cannabinoids and terpenes are retained.
Curing after drying will remove any residual chlorophyll, other pigments, latent fertilizer salts, etc. that may have accumulated in flower buds, leaves and stems. If the flower buds are dried too quickly, they will retain more chlorophyll and have a “green” taste. When vaporized or smoked, they are tough on the pallet and often burn too hot. For some, curing is not essential. Indeed, some medical patients prefer the often minty taste of uncured cannabis.
Curing also allows cannabis to dry completely so that mold does not grow when stored. Well-hardened flower buds are soft and pliable, but dry inside. Flower buds should feel dry and only the dry pliable foliage will hold resin to the stems. How To Heal Buds:
Carefully place “dry” flower buds in an airtight container. Clear and opaque turkey bags are popular. This also applies to sealable food-grade plastic buckets. There are also bags that reflect heat and are airtight (if properly sealed) and infrared proof, which protects them from heat.
Write the date on the containers and put in a cool, dry, dark place. Moisture in the buds migrates outward from the center of the stem. Check the container after two to four hours to see if the buds feel any different. Gently squeeze a few buds together to see if they feel more moist now, but be careful, resin glands pinch easily.
For the first seven days, open the drying container two to three times a day to release moisture. Take a puff as soon as you open the container. The scent should be sweet and slightly damp. Close the container quickly. If necessary, briefly remove the buds from the jar to check for mold and disease.
After the first week, open the containers once or twice a week for a quick puff. Do not open too often, otherwise the slow hardening process will stop. Some gardeners slowly heal flower buds for six months or more. After two to three weeks, however, they should be fully cured and remain fresh, firm, and pliable. Flower buds can be sealed and stored in containers.
To avoid things
Light – especially ultraviolet (UV) rays from natural sunlight – heat and friction accelerate the biodegradation of resin glands and cannabinoids. Do not put dried cannabis in hot car glove boxes and keep it away from air vents, etc. Friction and rough handling can crush and tear resin glands. Even with proper drying and curing, the brutal handling of harvested cannabis will reduce the cannabinoid content.
Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.