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Harvesting marijuana is an exciting time and one thing, but it can also be one of the most stressful times. Once harvested, you need to dry and cure your buds. But to let you in on it, before this process, you have to harvest your plants at just the right time to get the most potent buds possible.
If you harvest too late, your plant will lose potency and may begin to rot – some say the plants could end up becoming hermaphrodites. And if you harvest too early, moisture trapped inside the buds creates mould and spores produce.
What’s more, is that cannabis plants don’t dry or cure well in humid climates. A proper cure with slow air circulation prevents harshness by evaporating excess water from plant tissue while preserving essential oils.
What is Drying and Curing Marijuana?
Drying and curing marijuana refers to the process of using heat and humidity to break down the plant’s chlorophyll, releasing the plant’s resin. This process generally removes up to 80 percent of plant matter that are not Cannabinoids. The remaining plant material is generally highly sought after for concentrates.
Drying marijuana is a process of removing moisture content from the plant matter of cannabis. This is done by moving fresh harvested cannabis to a dryer environment with little airflow, or by manually drying it with a hairdryer or similar heating device.
Curing marijuana on the other hand is more complex. Curing cannabis is the process of using controlled temperature, humidity, and airflow to remove chlorophyll from the plant material while preserving essential oils. It’s possible to have a more potent dried product that has been cured over time.
How to Dry Your Marijuana
Drying is the process of removing water from your cannabis buds. When buds are properly dry, they are ready to be cured.
Drying your cannabis correctly is crucial for a good cure. Cannabis buds typically dry at a humidity level of 58-65% and a temperature of 17-18 degrees Celsius. Humidity levels can be increased with a dehumidifier or a humidifier.
A proper cure is all about slow air circulation, which is achieved by leaving your drying weed on a wire mesh screen. Drying racks, which have slats about half an inch apart, are also a good option.
When harvesting your cannabis, cut off the leaves being sure to leave at least 3-4 inches from the cut for drying.
Leave the stalks on while they dry to avoid damage from rubbing against the drying surface.
A good rule of thumb is to wait until the moisture content in your cannabis falls below 20%. You can test this by pulling apart the leaves and squeezing the stem end of the buds. If you get no water drops, it’s ready to cure!
How to Cure Your Marijuana
Cannabis plants are harvested in the fall because the plant produces the best quality for smoking in late September, October, and November.
Due to this timing, all cannabis plants are subject to an outdoor curing process. This process is necessary because the plant dries out too much if it’s dried indoors.
The curing process takes place right after harvesting your plants, and it’s the last stage before the marijuana is ready for consumption.
Curing marijuana is a lengthy process that takes about four to six weeks. You can speed up this process by using a dryer or dehydrator.
The drying process removes over 95% of the moisture from your plants, which will cause them to become brittle if you don’t cure it. Curing marijuana will lock in the smell and flavor of your plants for up to two years.
It’s important to have a timeline for harvesting your plants.
In some areas, once your plants have stopped producing new leaves, they will be ready to harvest. In other areas, you may have to wait a few weeks or months for the plants to mature.
Once you have harvested your plants, you have a number of ways to dry and cure them, which can affect potency and flavour. You can hang them upside down for a few days, dry them in the oven at a low temperature, or use a food dehydrator.
The method you choose is largely dependent on your location and what material you want to use. Regardless of the method, make sure you dry your plants slowly with plenty of air circulation to prevent mould.
Regardless of what method you use, drying and curing marijuana is a crucial step that will affect the quality and potency of your crop. After completing this process, your plants will be ready to smoke or use in edibles.
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