Any cannabis connoisseur will tell you that curing is an essential part of enjoying the highest quality weed, they will tell you that it is. The process of curing your weed is simple enough, but the nuances that go into each step take practice to master. Whether you are a pot novice or connoisseur, you should add curing weed to your cultivation methods.
What Does “Curing Weed” Mean?
Curing weed means removing the moisture left over after the drying process as well as breaking down the sugars present in the plant and decreasing its amount of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll gives cannabis flower a grassy flavor, and some claim that uncured flower with excess chlorophyll and sugars can give users symptoms that mimic those of an allergy and even increase the likelihood of anxiety and headaches.
If you’re growing your own personal-use cannabis, you will want to properly store your harvest. Curing protects your cannabis from mildew and mold. The curing process draws the water from deep within the flowers to the outside where it can be air dried by “burping” the storage jar in which the plant is contained.
Some even say that cannabis cured for multiple months carries a full bouquet of flavors you wouldn’t otherwise get to enjoy, becomes more potent, and creates a smoother smoking experience. Even if you aren’t interested in the increased potency and fuller taste, failing to cure your weed will likely result in mold-wasted flower, a costly and frustrating loss.
How To Cure Your Weed
You should begin curing your weed once the flower is sufficiently dried. Attempting to cure damp flower will result in mildew and mold growth. If a flower’s stems can break with an audible snap, they are dry enough. If the stems bend, they are still too moist.
Curing weed requires very simple equipment. An airtight container like a glass mason jar, a dark room or closet, and cannabis are all you need. But here is where the nuance comes in. Every bud, regardless of the strain, is a little different. Some flowers require more curing time than others for the best results. The safe bet is to wait longer than you want to since the general rule of thumb is that the longer the cure, the more fragrant and potent.
You will want to keep your curing bud in a dark place and in an environment with ideal temperature and humidity conditions. Temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees F are best for curing weed. The ideal range of humidity is 58-65 percent. Much more or less than those ranges will adversely affect the curing process.
Fill each airtight container with bud. You don’t want to leave too much air, so filling the jar to the top with flower is a good idea. At the same time, you don’t want to remove all air, so don’t pack the bud too tightly. That extra air allows aerobic bacteria to thrive and consume the plant’s chlorophyll. Too much air and moisture will create too ideal an environment for that helpful bacteria, ultimately causing it to break the entire plant down. A small amount of air and water is enough for the aerobic bacteria to do the good work, but not enough to keep it alive longer than desired.
In order to expel the moisture drawn out of the plant, it’s important to “burp” the curing container every so often. This process requires opening the jar for a relatively short time so that the moisture can escape and accelerate the degradation of the undesired chlorophyll and sugars. How often and when to burp the jar is up for debate. Some say that the jar should be opened for fifteen minutes every day, while others say that the jars should only be open once every two to three days but for two to three hours. What all cultivators agree on is that the jars should remain closed for the vast majority of the curing process, but opened at regular intervals to allow air to circulate for a very limited amount of time.
How Do You Know When Your Weed Is Properly Cured?
As with many things cannabis-related, your sense of smell will help you determine when your cannabis has been sufficiently cured.
If the first time you check the jar you catch a whiff of ammonia, the cannabis is not dry enough to be cured, and you must complete drying it before continuing to cure. Once you’ve dried it again, you can start the curing process over.
The longer the cannabis is cured, the less you will need to burp its container. To determine if the cannabis has properly cured, you can leave it in its container for two weeks without opening it. If upon opening it after that two week period you smell no ammonia, the basic curing process is complete. However, the general rule of thumb is that the longer the curing process, the better the results. In fact, some claim that allowing the cannabis to cure for over a year can enhance cannabinoid and terpene potency, making for a smooth, aromatic, and powerful smoke or vape.