Curing cannabis increases potency, and enhances flavour and colour. Curing is the practice of allowing buds to slowly and naturally ripen after harvest. After harvest, buds continue to metabolize and breakdown chlorophyll, nitrates and minerals. In addition, precursors to thc and cbd continue to convert and some decarboxylation occurs. So Curing your buds is a must!
We put so much time and love into our plants when they grow but sometimes forget how important the harvest and cure are to a successful grow. Coffee houses in Amsterdam would often have a strain they plan on entering competition undergo several cures at one time to present the best one. Curing is part art and part science.
The cure begins with flushing your plants. Give them straight water for a week or two. Add some clearing solution if you like, they do a good job of dissolving salts in the root zone for the plant to use up.
Harvest and Dry
Essential Oils are burned off in the daylight and restore in dark. So the best time to harvest is usually just around sunrise. Indoors some growers will harvest after a day or two of lights off. If you are dry trimming, then simply hang your plants to dry in a dark location.
Harvest your plant by cutting the main stem at the base. Some people may be surprised that their plants are much larger than expected. They can grow quite large outdoors. Smaller plants can be hung upside down over a rope/string line. Also a few plants can hang on a clothes hanger and conveniently hung on a rack, bar or line. For larger plants you may want to cut off branches and hang those. There are also dry racks available that can help fry larger amounts in a small space. Drying slowly is preferable (if the humidity is low your plants will dry fast, if it is high you could get mold). Perfect drying is around 65F and 60rH. However if you don't have perfect conditions, you can still prepare for a pretty good cure by just testing for dryness (do the branches snap when bent?).
Dry Trim Procedure
Dry Trim means to let the flower dry after harvest prior to manicure. Dry Trim is the more connoisseur trim. When you mow the loan you can smell the reaction of the cut grass. Some feel that wet trimming creates a similar reaction with buds and that trim should be done after dry to capture the terpenes. One way to help reduced the time to trim when buds are ready is to remove fan leaves and leaves surrounding the flowers remain on to help the buds dry more slowly.
When your buds are dry its time to manicure (trim). Scissor cut trim is the most attractive but takes the most time. Trimming can be back breaking. There are many choices for scissors: straight blade, curved blade, quality of the blade, and spring action or manual. Bowl trimmers are not appropriate for dried buds as they will turn them into dust. If you need a machine for a dry trim there are a few on the market that do a nice job but they are mostly for industrial application.
Take a dried plant and remove the flowers from the branches (shucking). Then take each bud and trim all the leaves surrounding it trying not to cut the flower. Some may prefer to trim first and then shuck.
Your fingers will get sticky and difficult to clean up, this can be avoided by wearing nitrile gloves. In addition your scissors can become very sticky and require cleaning so having a second pair handy while you soak a pair in some isopropyl might speed the process up.
Wet Trim Procedure
Wet Trim means manicuring your bud at time of harvest prior to drying. Wet trim can be more efficient than dry trim Sometimes dry trimming the bud at the perfect stage of dryness is difficult because the effort can take some time. Its possible that you may over dry some buds while you work your way through trimming.
When you wet trim all your bud should be ready for the next stage at about the same time. There are automation options that are affordable like bowl trimmers and Trip Pros. However even these can be of little use to some strains that don't naturally form dense flower buds but instead foxtail (eg some sativas).
You can wet trim your flowers while still on the branches and then hang to dry. Or you can separate the buds at time of trim and place on dry racks or screens.
When are Flowers ready to Cure?
When your buds feel crispy and the branch the bud is on gives a little resistance, but not quite a snap – they are ready to begin curing. Identifying this stage is part of the art of the cure. If you are a little too wet, you can dry more through the cure process. But once your buds are too dry they no longer metabolize and will not cure.
We want to control the drying to maintain a certain amount of moisture in the buds to allow the metabolic processes to continue gradually. The most common method is using mason jars to seal in humidity an opening the jars periodically. If you find your buds are very wet after one day in the jar, you can let them stay out of the jar for a while to dry.
Our goal is to maintain humidity inside the bag between 60 and 65rH. You will get to know this by the feel of the buds, but you can place a hygrometer in your jar to monitor.
If RH > 70%, leave out to dry 12-24 hours
If RH 65-70, this is a little high and jars should be opened for a few hours
If RH 60-70 buds are curing, open the jar to “burp” daily
If RH 55%-61%, still curing but slowing, if you want add a Boveda 62%
If RH less than 55%, cure is finished and buds should be put into final storage.