Drying Weed: 4 Tips to Properly Dry Your Cannabis
Drying cannabis is an exercise in patience but the reward is well worth it in the end as proper drying and curing preserves terpenes and flavor, leading to a better smoke.
Good things take time, especially when it comes to drying out your weed. Freshly harvested cannabis holds quite a bit of excess moisture that must be removed before you can truly enjoy your bud, or even light it for that matter. In order for your buds to become the best version of themselves, they need to dry out, in a dark room, for about a week. The longer you let them dry the better.
Drying your cannabis serves several important functions that ultimately enhance the quality and extend the shelf-life of your stash. However, there are several factors that will affect the length of your drying time:
- The size of your cannabis buds.
- How you trim your plants.
- The temperature, humidity, and airflow in your drying space.
A slow drying process goes a long way to helping your cannabis plants retain a wider and more comprehensive terpene profile.
Almost all terpenes evaporate in high temperatures, and some will dissipate at slightly below room temperature. If the air in your drying space ever smells dank, you know your buds are losing their flavor, fragrance, and potency. Drying your plants over a longer timeframe also reduces the harshness you get from a quickly dried plant, so be patient.
For a stash that tastes, smells, and feels good, anticipate a drying time of roughly seven to 12 days. As the buds lose moisture, they gradually shrink in size and start losing weight.
Prevent Mold During the Drying Process
The easiest way to prevent mold from growing on your plants during the drying stage is to ensure air can move freely around them on all sides. For best results, either hang your branches upside down with a string or use wire racks for individual buds and small branches.
Whether you choose to hang your branches or lay them on wire racks, make sure the buds are properly spread out and not touching each other, or any other surface for that matter. Racks are ideal if you’re drying lots of weed in a small space, or if you live in a very humid region where mold is a problem. Just be sure to flip your buds regularly.
From Fimming to Trimming
While the quantity of leaves you trim is merely a matter of preference, you should consider leaving more if you live in a very dry climate. This will slow down the drying process. Likewise, if you live in a humid region, trim off as many leaves as possible to speed up the drying process (and prevent mold and bacteria from growing).
At the bare minimum, you should trim away the big fan leaves. If you’ve been pruning the fan leaves over the course of the growing period, then you’ll have less work to do come harvest.
When it comes to the stem, keep in mind that large branches will take longer to dry than smaller branches or individual buds. The longer the stem, the slower the dry.
Best (and Worst) Drying Conditions for Your Buds
Never use heat to speed-dry your buds, no matter how excited you are to smoke them. This includes the use of microwaves, ovens, hair dryers, and anything else you can think of. Your cannabis will taste terrible, smell worse, and leave you with either a migraine, paranoia, or both.
While it’s okay to use a dehumidifier or air conditioner, you should avoid using a fan to dry your buds unless it’s absolutely necessary and done very carefully. If you do opt for a fan, it’s better to have the air circulating around the buds and not directly on them.
(Read also: 4 Tips for a Better Cannabis Harvest)
Otherwise you risk drying them out too quickly. Some growers have great success drying their buds in brown paper bags — a process that can take a little as four to six days, which is wonderful if you’re in a rush.
The optimal drying temperature for cannabis in all scenarios is around 70°F (21°C) with 50 percent humidity.
How to Tell When Cannabis Buds are Dry Enough
Continue drying your cannabis until the outsides of the buds are dry to the touch. A simple and even more effective way to know if your buds are dry is to take a small branch and try to bend it. If the branch snaps, your buds are ready to move onto the curing process.
From the open air of their drying environment to a cool dark corner of your home (usually in a jar), the curing process will further improve your bud’s most desired characteristics.
Generally, cannabis needs to be cured for a few weeks, but some growers prefer a longer process. It’s entirely up to the individual and what you plan to do with your stash. While it is possible to produce decent bud without curing it first, most growers agree that for top-shelf weed, curing is a must.