Curing is the final and all-important stage of cannabis growing. Certainly, it is possible to start smoking as soon as drying is over but this can result in a few unpleasant side effects. Because cannabis buds are so dense the likelihood is that they won’t be dry internally when they are dry externally. If the buds are still wet inside they can develop an unpleasant taste and can produce a headachey high. For optimal effect, flavour and overall experience we want to try and cure our buds until they are perfect for smoking.
Curing allows the buds to continue drying and developing in a controlled environment. This will improve the shelf life of the buds while also ensuring the internal damp doesn’t cause mould.
When we dry our recently snipped babies a few things happen to them. They develop things called sugars that have a strong and bitter taste to them. As we put them through the curing process these sugars will subside and the buds will develop their delicious natural flavour.
Curing also allows this natural flavour from the terpenes to be sealed in. If the buds are just left out to dry for longer or don’t go through the curing process the buds will lose their flavour over time. THC will also vanish over time if the buds are not cured properly, reducing the overall high of the strain.
What Not To Do
- Do not allow the buds to get too hot. If we leave our buds somewhere where they will easily overheat in their jars we can severely reduce potency. One of the main causes of THC degradation is excessive heat. If the room around the jars is too hot the buds are also much more likely to form mould. Ideally, we would like the curing room to sit at around 21 degrees.
- Don’t expose them to too much light. We want to keep our jars somewhere with minimal light exposure. This is another mistake that could lead to reduced terpenes and reduced THC, messing with both the flavour and the potency.
- Play fast and loose with the humidity in the room and in the jars. If we have learned anything from growing cannabis it is that perfect humidity is key. If it is too little the buds will become dry and brittle, but too much and we risk mouldy jars. One way to tell if the humidity is too high is if your jars have an ammonia smell to them. Ideally, we want the humidity to sit at around 62%. You may want to purchase a hygrometer to keep a close eye on the humidity, they can be very useful for the growing period as well.
The process is quite simple and inexpensive, essentially the only tricky bit is waiting. We want to get some half gallon mason jars with a tight sealing lid. It is important not to skimp on the jars. If the lid doesn’t seal properly we cannot control the interior environment and curing won’t work as well.
Once the buds have finished the drying stage we will trim and fill the jars to about the ¾ mark. If we pack the buds in they will likely become mouldy. Partially because it will increase the overall moisture in the jar and partly because we will need to shoogle (technical term) the buds around to avoid damp patches. When shoogling be gentle, if we are too rough we can knock off all of the lovely THC crystals that have formed on the buds.
Store the jars in a dark, cool room and watch that the humidity stays between 60 – 65%.
For the first two weeks of curing, we can open the jars to breathe the buds once a day. Keep the lid off for around 20 minutes, this stops the air inside the jars from becoming stale and stagnant. Each time we check on the buds we need to give them a little shake and make sure they aren’t sticking together. If they are a bit sticky just keep the lid off for a few hours, they may need a little more drying time. If they are really sticky we can give them a stir, ideally with a bamboo chopstick. Using fingers to stir the buds may leave behind residue and damage the THC crystals.
If the room is the correct humidity a few hours of open jar time should be perfect. Ensure that the room isn’t too dry or too humid, otherwise, the buds may be negatively affected when left to the open air.
The time that we cure for depends on the outcome that we desire. As a minimum we usually recommend two weeks, and no longer than a couple of months. If possible 1 – 2 months is the ideal length of curing time, but it’s not the end of the world if you need to take them out sooner. The longer they are left the better the flavour and smoke will be. If they are left for too long then we are really just shortening the shelf life without improving the buds.
Once the buds are cured we still need to store them properly. To maintain the ideal smoke and flavour for as long as possible we still need to control the environment. The buds should be kept in a sealed container. We also need to make sure that it is not too hot or too cold around the buds, this will damage the THC over time. Usually, cannabis will store well for no longer than a year if kept in a jar. There are also specially designed storage and curing packs available if we want to be extra careful.
Curing is an important part of the growing process, and not curing properly after putting all that effort into growing just seems a bit mad. If we cure our buds properly we let them reach their full potential, and our experience will be far more enjoyable to boot.
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