Your Guide to Drying and Curing Cannabis Buds
After months of hard work carefully tending your plants, you’ve finally harvested a crop of frosty, fragrant cannabis buds that you just can’t wait to try. But first, they need to be dried. While you may be tempted to dry your cannabis as quickly as possible, curing, a prolonged process of removing moisture from the flowers under controlled environmental conditions, will provide a much better product for multiple reasons.
Cannabis plants produce tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and other cannabinoids through a process called biosynthesis, in which certain compounds are gradually converted into new blends. For example, THCA becomes the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, THC.
This process doesn’t completely stop the second you cut down your plant; if you keep freshly harvested cannabis in temperatures between 60 and 70°F and humidity level between 45-55%, the conversion of non-psychoactive cannabinoids to THCA will continue and your buds will gain potency. Quick drying under warm, dry conditions halts this process much faster.
Curing Affects Flavor and Quality of Smoke
Many of the aromatic compounds (terpenes) that give cannabis its unique smell and flavor are quite volatile, and can degrade and evaporate at temperatures as low as 70°F. A slow cure at low temperatures will preserve these terpenes better than a quick, hot cannabis drying process.
These conditions also create an optimal environment for enzymes and aerobic bacteria to break down leftover minerals and the undesirable sugars produced by the decomposition of chlorophyll during the drying process. The presence of these sugars and leftover minerals is what causes the harsh, throat-burning sensation you get from smoking improperly cured cannabis.
Curing Preserves Your Cannabis
A proper cure allows you to store your cannabis for long periods without worrying about mold or the loss of cannabinoid content. Well-cured flowers can be stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place for up to two years without significant loss of potency.