Drying and curing marijuana buds

After harvesting our marijuana plants, the drying process begins. Drying your plants – along with curing the flowers once dried – is one of the most important steps to get first class buds.

We could say that, at the moment of harvesting, only half the work has been done. The following steps have the same importance than the nutrients used or the number of light hours received by our plants.

These are the correct steps to properly dry and cure our cannabis buds to keep at most their organoleptic and psychoactive properties.

Cannabis bud ready to harvest

Cannabis bud ready to harvest

Trimming cannabis

Trimming means removing all fan leafs from the plants, leaving only the small leafs covered with resin glands. It is better to do this just after harvesting the plant, although many growers remove the bigger leafs some days before harvesting, during the last days of life of the plant.

Let’s see a video about how to trim your buds:

Drying cannabis plants

Once we have removed all fan leafs from the plants, we must find a dry, fresh and dark place – slightly ventilated – to properly dry them. We can either hang our plants from strinks or use modern drying nets , available in any specialized shop. This process should take 1-2 weeks, depending on environmental conditions. The slower the process, the better the drying of our plants, for we will mantain their organoleptic properties intact. You can leave the buds attached to the stems of the branches to slower the drying process.

Grow tents are ideal to dry your harvest

Grow tents are ideal to dry your harvest

As you can see on the picture above, grow tents are often used by growers to dry their buds in drying nets. They ensure a dark place where environmental conditions can be more easily controlled, apart from the fact that most grow tents have an air extraction system connected to a carbon filter, which means no unwanted odours will escape the tent (keep in mind that the smell of drying cannabis may be really intense).

The ideal temperature during this process should be around 20ºC, and you should always try not to exceed it; otherwise, the most volatile terpenes will probably evaporate, resulting in milder flavour and sore throat. A relative humidity of 50% is perfect to properly dry your buds and maintain their texture and aroma.

Check this video to know how to dry and cure your buds:

The curing process

When your buds are dry enough (the small stems will break off when bending them) you can proceed with the last – but crucial – stage, the curing process. TO do it, you just need some containers to store your buds, from cardboard or wooden boxes to the more professional C-Vault containers.

Glass jars used to cure buds

Glass jars used to cure buds

One of the most popular options are 00Box boxes, which ensure optimal conditions for a correct curing process. Simply put the buds inside the chosen container, close the lid and keep it in a dark, dry place. The ideal is to open it a few minutes every day during the first weeks. After the first days inside the curing box, it may seem that buds have increased their humidity level; this happens because plant material releases some humidity when sealed inside the container, which remains inside the curing box and is absorbed again by the buds.

If your buds have dried too much, put some fresh plant leaves in the container with the flowers and they’ll absorb the humidity released by the leaves in some hours. The curing process takes 1-3 weeks; when your buds are crunchy again, you can start enjoying your top grade buds!

Happy harvests!

October 13, 2014 | Harvesting and Processing
28 Comments


28 comments on “Drying and curing marijuana buds

  1. Mr husla.S.A

    learned something from this page especially the curing part where i come from that is overlooked.

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi Mr. husla

      It is an aspect which is all too often forgotten by growers. Curing your buds allow you to enjoy their organoleptic features at most!!! It really is a must if you want top grade cannabis buds.

      Thanks for your comment,

      Best vibes!

  2. Gary

    ALL of this article on each category is EXCELLENT ! THANK YOU! ✌️

  3. jake vandagriff

    Do u dry and cure buds the same weather they r grown in doors or out doors

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi jake,

      Drying and curing outdoor or indoor buds is exactly the same. You can use drying racks to save space.

      All the best!

  4. tony

    I have to very nice sativa plants almost done I recently clipped one big bud to test the process of drying and curing. I found that in my climate about 15% humidity it dried to fast not even two days so i am going to leave the leaves on except for really big fan leaves and add a humidifier to my dry room that will be in total darkness. One thing I did notice is that I’m curing this bud now it seems the hay smell is gone but now there is no smell at all ? Will the nice aroma emerge upon curing more ?

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi tony,

      15% is way too low to grow, dry or cure buds. 50-60% would be perfect. As you say, if you leave the leaves during the drying process the humidity of the room will be much higher, more appropriate for a slow and uniform drying. Of, course, and if necessary, you can use humidifiers to raise the humidity level to potimal values. Once you have your buds dried, it’s time to cure/store them. Many people use CVault containers, which work perfect to store buds in perfect conditions. Another option is using glass jars; if you see that your buds need extra humidity inside the jar, just put a couple of fresh leaves with your dried buds and they’ll recover moisture.

      Normally, when you harvest plants they smell crazy. Few days later they smell like boiled vegetables. Few days later they don’t seem to smell much. And finally, few days later thay start smelling as they should. From this point, curing those buds will refine their organoleptic features, making the smoking experience much more pleasant.

      Hope it helped,

      All the best!

  5. Flexy

    Dani,

    Here in Spain, is it ok to dry them in a corner on the balcony, in the shade where there is no direct sunlight? I really don’t have a suitable space inside, except inside a cabinet but then it would stink up the house 🙂 Of course there is a roof over the balcony. Just wondering whether the daylight is bad for drying and whether I should maybe put buds in bags or something.

  6. brian

    dry em in black garbage bags… on your porch. open regularly to release moisture and avid mold. the heat within will help the curing process.

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi Brian,

      While effective, your system is a bit risky and not recommended precisely due to high temperatures.High temps allow quick drying, but the quality of the weed is seriously compromised. The slower the buds dry, the better the smell and taste will be. Cannabis should be dried in a cool, dark, ventilated place, away from heat and light.

      I say your system is risky because the buds can easily develop molds if put on plastic bags and their smell can be easily detected by neighbours. On of the safest places to dry weed is inside grow tents with an extractor fan and a carbon filter. Slow drying in a dark place and with no smells, which is what we want.

      Just try to dry a few buds as I say and you’ll notice the difference! 😉

      All the best.

  7. Jason

    I’m just about too pull off my harvest. I’m in Canada Muskoka area. I’ve done really well this year and I’m using all the tips and info I can find to make sure everything is perfect. I’ve looked everywhere but know ones commenting on when you pull your plants(outdoor) should you leave root mass on or off? I know on makes the process take a lot longer to dry but I have always done it this way. And always complimented on my dope but does it really matter?

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi Jason,

      Leaving the root ball is not necessary at all. I’m a hashish lover, and I can only think that if I hang my plants upside down with the roots my buds will get dirty from small soil particles, etc.

      We’re glad you had a nice crop this year, good for you!!

      😉

  8. wadawdaw

    Hi

    I got summer there and cant figure 70F … just 80-90… how can I dry buds? in hot temps? I just dried them in tent with 70% RH …

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi wadawdaw,

      There are some things you must avoid when drying buds: light, hot temperatures and low RH. The faster your buds dry, the more quality you’re losing, do not doubt it. Using the grow tent to dry is a good idea, many growers do the same. 70% RH is a bit too high for drying, 50% would be better, althugh as I said, you don’t want to rush, you want a uniform and slow drying process to get the best possible quality.

      Best!

  9. Joseph

    Hi Dani, I am wondering , if I’m growing outdoors, will the buds be harmed if they get Wet? A friend told me recently, that the buds should not get wet. I’m also a 1st time grower.

    Kind regards

    Joseph

    1. Dani Alchimia Post author

      Hi Joseph,

      While buds are naturally exposed to rain and moisture, it’s always better to avoid them getting wet (you can have problems with moulds, especially if you’re growing in a humid area).

      Hope it helped!

  10. Michael

    First time grower here and I think I’m doing really well so far I have 3 nice size babies all are healthy and over 10 ft tall I need to no best method to use so my branches dont break while the buds are getting fatter??

    1. Tim Alchimia

      Hi Michael, thanks for your comment, I’m glad your first grow is going so well! Are you growing indoors or outside? If you’re indoors then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem to support the colas, simply push a few bamboo canes or similar into the soil and you can use plastic coated wire or plastic ties to attach the tallest stems to the canes and stop them falling over and breaking. Outdoors the same principle applies, but you’ll need to be a bit more thorough and secure because of the wind. Another option I use outdoors is to fix a trellis net to four posts surrounding each plant, this gives a more all-over support to the plant rather than just tying the biggest branches, and in my opinion helps the plants stand up to weather conditions better with less breakages.

      I hope that helps, happy growing!

  11. Liz

    I had my best grow this yr and find the curing process is CRITICAL to develop the special flavors each strain offers. Thanks for the article. I would LOVE to share s few photos with you but not sure how to get them to you. We all learn how to do it right by reading articles like this by ppl who have access to share the things they have learned along the way. For storage, I can keep it fresh for a very long time in glass canning jars with the air removed and sealed with a foodsaver apparatus. It removes all the axygen and cures it out and preserves its freshness for over a year. (if it lasts that long,lol) I use paper sacks and or carboard just like you for a while too b/4 sealing it up. All your articles have been very well written (minus a few typos, hey we all make em) and you should consider writing a book. My friend just did that too, but geared only for outdoor. You should write one for indoor only, since that seems to be your thing. Just like these articles, direct to the point focusing on the process and not any filler. Thanks, great job. Glad I found your articles, they need to be on a billboard for dummies….lol happy growing

  12. Liz

    Tim,
    Hi me again…I only said that about indoor grow b/c of the photos of your grow I saw, I just read one or your comments and you obviously know outdoor too. lol Just saying the process is different and some have a hard time doing both, so focusing on one or the other while learning is a good idea IMHO/ doing starts or clones is different than taking it all the way to bloom indoor, it takes a bit more skill and equipment to manage. I like the trellis too. Want to try the scoggins method.. best wishes.

  13. Aaron Kemppainen

    I have a few years experience growing in dirt, but condo growing blows for the privacy appreciating grower. So I bought a nice affordable 18 pot ebb and flow system, using expanded clay in my net pots.
    During my last grow I used the Trellis, but created a 1″ cpvc frame to hold my trellis horizontal instead of vertical and weaved branches through the 3″ holes. Worked very well in stopping the buds from hitting the floor.
    I do have questions as to how many ebb and flow cycles can I go before drowning them and developing root root?

  14. jon

    hi tim,
    I have Caterpillars in my buds. do you have any suggestions?

    1. Tim Alchimia

      Hi Jon, Are you finding the caterpillars in the buds as you’re harvesting them? If so then there’s not a lot you can do apart from removing them and any damaged flowers, or buds that are tainted with the caterpillar droppings, which will almost certainly lead to bud-rot as the flowers dry.

      However if you’re seeing small caterpillars in the flowers of plants that are’t ready yet, then the best thing to do is to spray with Bacillus Thuringiensis every ten days until you harvest. This will control the numbers of the caterpillars, and minimise damage, but it will only be effective in young caterpillars, once they’re over a certain size the Bacillus doesn’t affect them. If the caterpillars are too large to be controlled with BT then really the only option is to look carefully for them in all flowers and remove them by hand.

      Next year I’d highly recommend spraying with BT throughout the season as a preventative treatment, often it’s too late to take action once we find the caterpillars, so getting them early in their life is crucial. Check our blog post on Caterpillars and Cannabis Plants.

      I hope that’s some help, all the best, and happy harvesting!

  15. RPGNY

    I just wanted to thank everyone for the input. My first venture into indoor growing and need all the help I can get. A lot more to watch out for on an indoor system. I’ve been reading and studying for months and I’m only a week or two away from harvest. I know, if you think it’s ready wait two weeks. This article was helpful and I look forward to reading more responses. Hope my dry and cure go well, I still haven’t decided on a place to do either. Guess I’ll get a box and rig it up as a dry/cure room. I found that info on line. Happy growing.

  16. Selina Cantrell

    nice article, I just start growing my own indoor garden since where I live has crazy weather and my plants are being affected! I
    don’t have a grow light system in place yet but I need to evaluate how much space I have before I invest in a lighting system. I’ve been straggling on starting my first marijuana plant I have no idea that planting would be this complicated, a lot of things to consider. I’m trying to grow Serious Seeds Bubblegum. I decided to grow my own just for personal use and it’s been very effective in treating my back pain and sleeping disorder. thanks

    1. Tim Alchimia

      Hi Selina, thanks for your comment. Yes, setting up an indoor garden can be a real challenge for the uninitiated, but don’t fear, we’re here to help. Once you’ve evaluated the amount of space you’ve got, let us know and we can help you choose the correct tent, lamps and ventilation/extraction system to ensure a healthy and vibrant indoor grow! Great choice of Bubblegum by Serious Seeds too, a top strain from one of the world’s best seed banks! All the best and happy growing!

  17. Blondieee

    Thanx so much for all the tips. I’ve been using as many tips as possible & “So far, so Great” I’m close to harvest time & just hoping I don’t go to far past peak time!!!

    1. Tim Alchimia

      Hi Blondieee, big thanks for the kind words, it makes us so happy to hear we’ve been of help! Fingers crossed for the rest of the season, I’m sure all your hard work and diligence will pay off. All the best and happy harvesting!

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