Ah, fall. Sweater weather is upon us, and cannabis cultivators around the globe are ready to harvest their cannabis.
You’ve planted, cared for, and nurtured your babies, and now it’s time to hack them down and hang them to dry. (That was a Halloween reference.)
Croptober is an exciting season- even if you don’t like pumpkin spice.
Harvesting outdoor (and indoor) crops means lots of lucious herb will be stockpiled, and everyone will be puffing (or eating) their favourite strains.
Croptober is the Thanksgiving of the herb world.
It’s also thanksgiving, so that’s cool too.
Who doesn’t need a puff or two before they mow down on all the calorie-infused family fun that’s about to go down.
Do you cure your cannabis?
Some growers do, some don’t, and that’s okay. But if you do, are you curing your cannabis properly?
Here’s a TL/DR quick hit list of what you should do for a great harvest:
- Remove fan leaves
- Flush your cannabis
- Review trichome maturity (They should be an amber colour.)
- Stagger your harvest (big buds go first, followed by smaller buds a week or so later.)
- Air flow! (Your humidity needs to be right at 50%- between 60-70 degrees.)
- Watch your crop! (Yes, people steal weed all the time. Motion sensors and locks are your friend)
- Let’s take a look at everything you should know about having a successful Croptober and producing killer herb.
What Does Curing Cannabis Mean?
The curing process takes place across horticulture. It’s a means to reduce moisture as well as break down chlorophyll (that green taste) and sugars in plants.
In its most basic form, curing means to store your dried herb in a dark and cool place for a few weeks.
When it comes to cannabis, the art of curing is to reach a moisture level where no pathogens or mold can thrive without the buds becoming too dry.
Aside from that, curing cannabis makes for a steller (clean) smoke, and enhanced flavour profiles.
For the most part, storing your cannabis in a brown bag (or box for larger crops) over a period of weeks before switching to glass jars and burping the jars (removing humidity) is the essence of properly cured cannabis.
Be sure to check the jars often for mildew/mold.
Pro tip: A strong ammonia smell means the buds are too wet/moist and are a sign of being damaged (spoiled).
Do You Need to Cure Cannabis?
No. You don’t need to cure your cannabis. If you’re a relatively new grower, or you’re dealing with a commercial grow, some cultivators choose to skip this step.
There is no need to cure your cannabis, but advanced (senior) growers highly recommend it.
Whether you cure your cannabis or not will depend on your own personal preference as well as how the cannabis is going to be consumed.
Regardless, properly preserving and storing your cannabis during Croptober is essential.
Dry then Cure: The ‘Right’ Way to Cure Cannabis
Even if you’re not going to skip the curing process, you need to dry your weed.
Freshly cropped cannabis has too much moisture to do anything with and will result in moldy herb- yuk.
To preserve the potency, flavor and cannabinoid/ terpene profiles of your cannabis you need to dry it properly.
Basically, air dry it in a place that’s like goldilocks: not too hot, not too cold, but juuuuuust right.
Home growers who aren’t in a hurry will properly dry and cure their weed.
Sometimes you will see big commercial growers who use ovens and skip curing just to get their product to market.
While the weed is still smokeable, you may degrade the flavour and potency.
When smoking, dried but not cured cannabis may be a little rough.
That being said, having dried but not cured cannabis is better than having nothing at all.
How to Dry Cannabis Properly?
Choosing which method works best for you and your crop is the essence of cannabis cultivation. With so many options, the choice is yours.
Even if this is your first Croptober, I am sure you have realized by now that patience is the key to killer cannabis and maxing out your yield.
You chose the best nutrients, and you watched your girls grow. Now’s not the time to cut corners.
Just because there is a quick n easy method to drying your weed doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do it.
Here is the best method for drying cannabis:
*Spooky Stephen King tone*
In a drafty dark space, where the windows are locked and the doors are secure, cut your buds down and hang them upside down so they can bleed the moisture out of them.
Was that too much? My bad.
What I am getting at is that you want to hang your buds to dry and let nature take its course- air circulation is your friend.
The secret? You gotta’ hit that Goldilocks spot of not too dry yet not too wet (ideally between 60-70 degrees).
Pro tip: Keep a fan in your room, plenty of ventilation, and space your buds out just incase one does get moldy it doesn’t “share the wealth” with its neighbours.
Are There Ways to Dry Cannabis Quickly?
Crank up the heat and keep an eye on your buds.
Just like the method above, you’ll want to hang your buds to dry, but in this case you want to keep the temperature over 90 degrees.
You won’t ruin the flavour and freshness of your buds completely, but the low n slow method above is preferred when it comes to cultivating killer buds.
If you’re not in a rush, taking that extra week to dry your herb is recommended.
As always, keep the space well ventilated.
Should I Trim Cannabis After Drying?
To trim wet, or not to trim wet, that is the question. Just like every other aspect of cultivating cannabis, the choice is yours.
Every step of the way has pros and cons.
The best thing about wet trimming is that the sugar leaves haven’t curled over your buds, which makes them easier to cut.
It will leave your nugs looking fierce.
However, the downsides of wet trimming include:
- More of a grassy/outdoor flavor
- Potential damage to terpenes
- Having to trim your entire crop at once
On the other hand, waiting to trim your herb after it's dry may be a little more of a tedious task.
The benefits of trimming your buds after they are dry include:
- Sugar leaves protect the drying buds
- Allows trichomes (crystals) to harden
- Produces high-quality buds
How Do I Store Cannabis Properly?
Proper cannabis storage is so important.
Think about it: spending months of time and energy caring for and protecting your girls just to let them get moldy or dry out (reducing cannabinoid potency).
It’s like buying that bagged salad and saying to yourself “I am totally going to eat this”, only to let it rot in the back of your fridge and toss it weeks later- not cool.
Just like drying your herb, you want to store your cannabis in a cool, dry, and dark space.
The best air-tight containers for keeping your freshly cropped weed nice and potent are:
- Ceramic jars
- Glass jars
- Vacuum sealed bags
Honestly, if you’ve come this far in your cultivation journey- congratulations! It can be a little tricky- especially if it’s your first time.
Do you have any special curing tips? What are your tricks to keeping your weed stored properly? I would love to know. Leave a comment below or reach out on the social-webs.
As always, stay lifted!
About the author: Heather Burton
Heather lives with her husband and two children in beautiful British Columbia. Her passion has always been to enhance the lives of others by helping them reach their business goals.
Content management is her specialty, and writing is what she does best. Working specifically in the cannabis market, Heather strives to help dispensaries, patients, doctors, manufacturers and recreational users by giving them the voice they need. When she is not writing, you can find her anywhere outdoors and away from the screen.