Last updated: November 18, 2021

What Does Drying Mean?

After cannabis plants are harvested, a drying process needs to take place before their buds are ready for curing.

When marijuana is first harvested, it is still a green plant filled with chlorophyll, which isn’t suitable for smoking. For this reason, the plants must go through a drying process. There are a few different methods of drying cannabis plants, but it all cases, environmental control and the duration of the drying period are what ultimately lead to a quality product.


Maximum Yield Explains Drying

In the most common method of drying, the first stage of the cannabis drying process is to hang the plants upside down in a cool environment. The environment of the drying area must be controlled at around 70°F (21°C) and 50 per cent humidity. While it may be tempting to store the plants in a warm area in order to speed up the drying process, hanging harvested plants in the hot sun will completely dry the bud and reduce THC levels. Likewise, warm ovens and microwaving should also be avoided.

Some producers prefer to use a drying rack, which will dry buds faster than other methods because the stems, which contain moisture, are removed from the buds. Using a drying rack is helpful if you’re in a humid area where mold is a problem, or if you're drying a lot of buds at once in a small space, or if the colas or buds are large and you're worried they might be prone to mold.

The second phase of the drying process is removing the buds and discarding the unusable stems. The buds are then placed in a brown paper bag and stored in a cool, dark location with good air circulation. In order to dry properly and avoid the growth of mold, the buds in the bag should be shook up periodically or transferred to another bag. Large scale growers use boxes and fans for drying their buds.

Once sufficiently dried, buds are then moved into the curing stage, which is considered separate from drying. In the curing stage, buds are usually placed in glass jars for a number of weeks in order to enhance the flavor and potency of the product. Throughout the drying and curing stages, products must be closely watched to ensure mold growth doesn't occur.


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