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How to Dry, Cure and Store Cannabis Flowers

If you’ve managed to harvest your cannabis flowers successfully, now all you have left is the last couple of steps; don’t ruin all of your hard work by incorrectly curing and drying cannabis. In this post we’re going to explain, step by step, how to dry, cure and store your cannabis flowers.
Como secar, curar y almacenar marihuana

Table of Contents

Before explaining how to dry and cure cannabis, let’s make sure the objective is clear and the differences in each process are understood.

Drying cannabis is essentially evaporating the leftover water in the flowers, while curing cannabis also causes water loss as well as chlorophyll evaporation, which makes for a much better flavour and aroma. This also increases cannabinoid content, as well as improving terpenes and essential oils.

The Best Conditions for Drying Cannabis Plants

In order to dry your cannabis plants correctly, you’ll need to keep in mind a couple of factors that determine certaine characteristics like aroma, flavour and effect.

  • Avoid direct light on the buds: during the drying process plants should be in the dark.
  • Try and keep the ambient humidity between 60 – 65% when drying cannabis during the first 7 days. If humidity is too high and you can’t get it down you can use a small air extractor with an active carbon filter in order to extract extra moisture and allow for passive air.
  • Try and keep the temperature between 15 and 18 degrees; temperatures above this can cause terpenes to evaporate in larger amounts and faster. Avoid rapid changes in temperature.
  • Make sure to let fresh air into the drying area daily.
  • Don’t use fans or dehumidifiers to dry your plants, as anything used to make the process faster can cause a decrease in aroma, flavour and effect.
  • Don’t let your cannabis dry out too much – don’t let it lose more than 70% moisture.

How to Know if Cannabis is Dry Enough?

Cannabis buds dry from the outside in, which is why they’ll always seem dryer on the outside than on the inside. In order to figure out when they’re dry and ready to cure, you’ll need to keep in mind the following:

  • Let them dry for at least 10-15 days with the right conditions; if you leave them for longer, your cannabis may lose quality.
dry cannabis flower
Dry cannabis flower.

  • You’ll know that the process was successful because your flowers will be dry on the outside but they won’t fall apart when you put pressure on them, because they still retain a certain amount of moisture.
  • Bend a small branch; if it crunches and stays bent it should be dry enough. If the branch that you bend doesn’t break and it goes back to its shape, leave it to dry for longer.

How to Dry Cannabis Plants?

In order to dry cannabis you can choose from two methods, which depend heavily on the conditions in your growing room, mainly on relative humidity and the available space you have.

Harvesting and Hanging Cannabis Plants

  • This involves cutting the plant off at the bottom and hanging the entire thing from a string, upside down. You can also hang it by strings if the plant is large.
  • This allows for a balanced, natural drying process, allowing the buds to keep their shape and quality as they’re suspended in the air.
Cannabis trimmed and ready to hang
Partially trimmed fresh cannabis plant ready to hang and dry.

Using Drying Racks

  • We stock vertical and foldable drying racks for drying your cannabis, although you’ll have to trim your plants first, remove the buds from the branches and spread them out on the drying rack, with space in between each bud.
  • This method saves space, although buds can become slightly flat due to being on a surface; we recommend turning them every 2 or 3 days.

What to Do if Flowers Dry Out?

If your buds have dried out too much they’ll crumble when pressure is applied. You can give them a bit of moisture back in order to improve texture and flavour, although they won’t be quite the same quality compared to properly dried flowers. Never wet the flowers.

To give them back some moisture you can use a curing box with a humidity controller, such as the 00 Box. There are also other household methods such as moistening some ceramic and placing it in the curing box, although this is not quite as precise as the previous method.

How to Cure Cannabis Flowers

Curing cannabis is a process that gets rid of leftover moisture in the buds’ structure, until there’s around 25-30% left. During this process cannabinoids and terpenes mature a lot more, and chlorophyll is also decomposed.

Chlorophyll is what makes dry flowers have that raspy touch and fresh, green smell. This compound needs to be removed before the proper flavour and aroma of your plants can be appreciated; curing is a basic process if you want the best out of your cannabis.

cured cannabis buds
Cured cannabis buds.

The curing process can take between 3 weeks and a month, depending on where and how you’re curing the buds (humidity and temperature in the room can influence this process quite a lot). This allows you to guarantee chlorophyll evaporation and it also allows for THC to pass from its acidic stage (THC-A), in order to become psychoactive (THC). During the curing process, you also need to avoid any light coming into contact with the flowers.

It’s better to cure your cannabis in wooden boxes or airtight and opaque containers. The perfect material is untreated wood without any varnish or wax. Wood is an ideal material that’s capable of absorbing humidity and allowing for balance. On the other hand, plastic airtight containers actually retain more aroma. Both options are great, although we recommend using a wooden box and then storing your flowers in an airtight plastic or glass container.

Cannabis flowers keep releasing moisture during their first few weeks, so you’ll have to open the container to let humidity out and then close it again. Your routine
should be something like this:

  • Once a day during the first week.
  • Every 3 days during the second week.
  • Once a week from the third week onwards.

How to Store and Preserve Cannabis?

If you have correctly dried and cured your flowers, all you have to do is put them in an airtight and opaque container. In this case, wooden boxes aren’t airtight enough and humidity easily escapes.

The best way to store cannabis is to put it in vacuum containers, although you can also use vacuum packed containers, anti-odor bags, turkey bags, or embossed airtight bags.

cannabis in glass jars
Cannabis stored in glass jars.

Just like with the previous steps, store your cannabis in a dark area without any temperature or humidity changes.

General Advice

  • Look for a good spot to dry and cure your cannabis; this is important when it comes to avoiding unfavorable conditions and obtaining high quality cannabis.
  • Make sure your cannabis is properly cured before consuming it, or else it won’t have reached its full potential regarding aroma, flavour and effect.

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