The Essential Guide to Drying and Curing Cannabis

Tina Magrabi
Tina Magrabi - Content Writer

Jan 11 2022 - 4 min read

Drying and curing your bud properly is an art of its own. While drying cannabis is tricky to master on your first try, there are some strategies you can apply to increase your chances of success. 

Learn how to dry and cure cannabis at home, as well as proper storage techniques to ensure your harvest stays fresh. 

How to Dry Cannabis

The process of drying cannabis will become easier with practice and fine-tuning. Here are some guidelines to follow the first time you dry cannabis at home:

What You’ll Need

First, set up a dedicated drying room to complete the drying process. This space could be your kitchen or a dark room, essentially any dark and dry place at room temperature. You’ll also need the following tools to dry cannabis:

  • Drying rack.
  • Fan.
  • Hygrometer (for tracking relative humidity and temperature each day).
  • Air conditioner (recommended).
  • Dehumidifier (recommended).

Timeline

Drying cannabis will take between three and seven days, depending on whether you are dry trimming or wet trimming the harvested plant material. 

How to Know When It’s Done

You’ll know your cannabis is dry and ready to cure when you take a stem, bend it and hear a clean snap. Cannabis that doesn’t easily snap needs a little more time in the drying room. 

How to Cure Cannabis

Once your plant is dried correctly, you can start the curing process by storing the buds in airtight mason jars that are two-thirds full. We recommend you open up these jars to “burp” them once a day, improving the bud’s smell and flavor. When burping the jars, check your buds for mold and mildew and remove them if any is present. Place any clean buds back into the jar and toss them around a bit to ensure even curing.

Burping and proper curing will ensure the buds don’t grow mold or mildew, break down the sugars and chlorophyll, and provide a much smoother, fuller, and pleasant-tasting yield. It usually takes about a month to cure buds properly, but some prefer to cure for two to three months. 

The difference between cured and uncured bud is night and day. Longer cures can improve the taste immensely, and sometimes even bud that looks scraggly and with no bag appeal can become a one-hit-wonder after a couple of months’ good curing.

What You’ll Need

  • Airtight storage containers (preferably glass jars).
  • Individual hygrometers for each jar.

Timeline

Most cannabis strains will cure within four weeks, but some cultivators prefer to wait as long as six months for maximum potency. A good baseline is between two and four weeks, but you may opt to cure your buds for longer to get the best results. 

How to Know When It’s Done

The aromas emitting from the jars will let you know that your buds are cured. If you smell ammonia, then your buds were likely not sufficiently dried. In this case, “burp” the jar again and let the buds breathe for a day. 

Properly cured and sealed bud can stay potent for up to two years if kept out of humid areas and direct sunlight. However, many say that well-cured marijuana is at its best between three to 18 months, with potency reducing after the 18-month mark.

Storing Homegrown Cannabis

There’s no one right way to store your cannabis. As long as it’s kept in an airtight container, out of the heat and humidity, and was correctly cured, it will keep well for months without any concern.

However, some cannabis storage methods are better than others. Here’s the scoop on how to store your weed short-term or long-term.

Best Cannabis Storage Options

The best environment to store cannabis is cool and dark. Cabinets, cupboards, and even dresser drawers may make good storage locations if they are cool and dark. In terms of cannabis storage containers, some work more effectively than others. Here are some storage containers to consider after you have dried and cured your cannabis:

Mason Jars

Many people find that storing cannabis in a glass container like a mason jar is the best storage method. Glass doesn’t leach chemicals the way some plastics do, which means that your marijuana will be less likely to degrade or become corrupted. 

Airtight Containers

Airtight containers made of plastic are other possible storage units for cannabis. But many cannabis enthusiasts contend that the aromas and flavors of the plant remain potent longer in a glass mason jar. 

Plastic Bags

Avoid plastic bags, which provide a moist environment where the bud can “sweat” and cause mold, mildew, and an unmistakable stench noticeable to anyone who walks by. Plastic bags also cause static, meaning that they will attract the valuable trichomes from your bud and stick to the plastic.

However, you store cannabis and keep it away from heat and light. Also, be mindful of humidity levels, as high moisture can cause cannabis to spoil more quickly. 

Can You Freeze Weed?

Freezing is not the best way to store weed. Why? Cannabis contains water. Putting cannabis into a standard home freezer will freeze the water and damage the buds, meaning you could also lose many vital therapeutic cannabinoids. 

Should you choose to freeze your cannabis plants, it is perhaps best to freeze-dry it in a frost-free freezer after vacuum-packing, as this technique will ensure that the chemical compounds don’t become damaged. Freezing fresh cannabis can also make rather potent hash and hash oils.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make sure that your cannabis is well dried and cured?

Make sure your cannabis is well dried and cured by going through the whole process and avoiding shortcuts. Patience during the days and weeks involved in the process will reward you with strong, aromatic, and flavorful cannabis that can last for months. 

How long do you dry cannabis for?

Drying marijuana plants after harvesting usually takes between seven to twelve days in a clean, dry space with no direct sunlight. Proper drying is essential to getting your buds to last longer, and not doing so is one of the leading causes of moldy buds. For immunocompromised patients, failing to dry marijuana properly may potentially (but thankfully rarely) be dangerous. You can usually tell when a plant is appropriately dry by quickly snapping the twigs inside the buds.

Can you skip curing when harvesting cannabis?

Skipping curing is not recommended, and curing cannabis protects the plant from mold and other types of degradation. When you cure cannabis, you’re ensuring that the therapeutic terpene and cannabinoid content will stay as potent as possible long-term. You’re also locking in the plant’s most appealing aromas and flavors to experience one week from now or one month from now. 

Experience the benefits of cannabis medicine with a medical marijuana card. Connect with Leafwell’s qualified physicians and apply for your MMJ card online in minutes. 

Written by
Tina Magrabi
Tina Magrabi

Tina Magrabi is a writer and editor specializing in holistic health. She has written hundreds of articles for Weedmaps where she spearheaded the Ailments series on cannabis medicine. In addition, she has written extensively for the women's health blog, SafeBirthProject, as well as print publications including Destinations Magazine and Vero's Voice. Tina is a Yale University alumna and certified yoga instructor with a passion for the outdoors.

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