How to dry weed – Curing & drying cannabis in South Africa

You plant your seeds and watch your weed grow delightfully. Then when the time comes, you harvest your beautiful buds and get ready to smoke them. You think your job is done, and you can finally smoke your way to cloud nine right? Wrong.

While the above process is great and delivers results, you’re missing one crucial step: drying and curing marijuana. Drying and curing your weed ensures you’ll go higher than the heavens – pun intended. This post will help all weed growers dry their buds at home without spending too much money. The most cost-efficient yet beneficial manner of doing this is slow-drying.

Read on further to get all the information on the drying and curing processes and their benefits.

Drying cannabis: Why you should do it

When you dry your cannabis, you’re improving its quality and increasing its shelf-life. Drying marijuana increases the potency, flavour, and smoothness of your smoke.

Freshly harvested buds are generally moist, which can impact their enjoyability significantly. Firstly, smoking wet buds is harsh with little to no flavour. Secondly, sticky buds are at risk of molding. Although it presents no medical risks, unless you’re allergic to mold, you shouldn’t willingly smoke moldy bud – you’re better than that. Drying is perfect for dealing with this moisture as it can reduce the water content in weed by 10-15%.

Additionally, curing marijuana is another step taken to preserve weed and multiply its effects. Curing isn’t an isolated process from drying, as it’s mostly done in tandem. Whether or not you choose to cure your stash depends on the quality of the buds. High-grade buds usually are cured while low-grade buds are just dried.

How to dry marijuana

Harvested buds

There are several drying methods used by growers, each producing different results. These include freeze-drying, oven baking, dehydrating, and slow drying. Slow drying is best for timeliness and retaining many of the benefits you get from weed.

When exposed to heat and light for a long time via oven baking, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) degrades into cannabinol. Cannabinol is a compound of marijuana that only has a quarter of the potency that THC has. This dramatically reduces the quality of the buds and the benefits from them, as does dehydrating. Freeze-drying is a faster option that produces a similar flavour and aroma to slow drying; the issue is that it’s expensive.

When slow drying, you can hang individual buds on a dry rack or hang multiple branches in a drying room. Although there are several ways to do this, this is by far the most popular way. You start off by cutting down the 12 to 16-inch branches from the plants. You then remove the unwanted leaves and hang the buds or stems from a string or wire.

The room or area needs to be dark and kept between 15 and 21 degrees celsius with a humidity between 45% and 55%. These conditions are crucial in the proper drying of your buds. It’s beneficial to have a fan, A/C unit, and dehumidifier to ensure the conditions stay at optimal levels.

Cannabis buds

If you’ve harvested a lot of cannabis, a drying room is the best way to dry your stash. You can convert a standard room into a drying room by covering up the windows with blankets or similar items. You then get wires or strings to tie end-to-end and hang individual buds or branches on them.

Alternatively, if you’ve only harvested a small amount of weed, a make-shift drying area works well. Get a paper box with one open side. Open at least 4 holes and tie wires or strings through the holes on each side. Then hang your buds or branches on the lines to dry.

Curing cannabis: What it is and how to do it

Weed in jars

So, what is curing? Unlike drying, which removes moisture on the outside, curing weed helps remove water from the buds’ insides. You’ll need to use airtight containers like jars placed in a dark area, such as your cupboards. The curing process helps to preserve weed so it can be stored over time – akin to wine.

How to cure weed? The easiest way is to drop your dry buds into the jars and place them in a dark area. The area should be kept between 45% and 50% humidity and at around 18 degrees celsius consistently.

How long to dry weed

How long it takes to dry out cannabis depends on many factors. Larger buds will take longer to dry than smaller ones. How much of the branches you leave after trimming also matters. Stems contain a lot of water and choosing not to cut them only increases the time to dry.

The conditions of the drying area are another essential factor. You want the space to remain at optimal levels for temperature, humidity, and airflow. With this in mind, buds generally take between a week and two weeks to completely dry. After drying, they’ll be ready to be cured.

How do you tell when they’re ready for curing? A simple breaking or bending test will tell all. Take a branch and try breaking it. If it breaks, then the buds are dry and ready for curing. On the other hand, if the stem bends, you need to leave them to dry a little longer.

The length of the curing process  mostly comes down to personal preference. It can last 2 weeks or for several months. However, most cannabis cultivators agree that four to eight weeks is good for bringing out the best flavour and smell from buds.

How to dry cannabis: Final thoughts

Weed in jars and getting rolled

After you’ve harvested your weed, you can indeed go straight to smoking it. But that’s at the expense of higher potency, better aroma and flavour, and smoothness. These are all benefits you’d get from drying and curing your buds. Additionally, mold can put a dampener on the whole smoking experience and is best avoided.

Slow drying weed should be part of your routine as a grower. It can be done cheaply, and anyone can do it without special equipment while delivering exceptional results.

High-grade cannabis dramatically benefits from this process, while low grade doesn’t benefit much. Now knowing the time it takes to dry and cure weed, it’s best to learn about the country’s best seeds. This ensures you don’t waste valuable time caring for bad cannabis!

1 Comment
  1. Hi,

    Kindly advise if you manufacture cannibis drying rack multi layer, about 1.8m high and 0.53m with, 18 racks.

    082 496 6003

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