Properly curing your harvest of cannabis flowers will improve their flavor, aroma, potency, and long-term storage ability. Here we walk you through a classic method to slowly dry out cannabis that's easy even for novices to do.
1. Harvest Your Crop
How you harvest your crop is completely up to you. You can either cut the entire cannabis plant down at the base, methodically trim it branch by branch, or collect each flower bud at a time.
2. Trim Leaves
Cut away the extra fan leaves and their stems from the dense cannabis flowers. This is a time-consuming project, so be mindful of how you handle the flowers while you manicure the buds. You don't want to mindlessly knock off the cannabinoid-rich trichomes you've worked so hard to cultivate. Also, wearing gloves will help keep your hands from getting sticky with resin.
3. Dry Flowers
Hang your cannabis by the stem from a string, wire, or hangers or lay flowers on a mesh screen drying rack to let them slowly dry out for about one week. It's important that the drying space is a controlled environment, preferably a dark, well-circulated room that's kept at temperatures between 60-70°F and humidity levels between 45-55%. These conditions protect cannabis flowers against bacteria, mold, and mildew. Once the buds have dried out enough to where they easily “pop off” the stems and aren't damp to the touch (but not completely dried out) they are ready for the next step.
4. Move Flowers to Air-Tight Containers
Fill air-tight containers with your dried flowers (without crushing or compacting them) and store them in a dark, controlled environment with temperatures at about 70°F and humidity levels between 60-65%. You only need to fill the container ¾ of the way full so that if you gently shake or rotate the container the flowers have room to move around. We recommend using quart-sized glass mason jars with wide mouths, screw-on lids, and a dark color tint for this purpose because they seal well, keep light out, and only hold about one ounce of cannabis (when you store too many flowers together the excess moisture encourages mold). This is where you will store your cannabis for several weeks, depending on your patience and preference.
5. Open Containers Occasionally
For the first couple of weeks, open your air-tight containers at least once a day for a few minutes to “burp” them and circulate the air, replenish oxygen, and allow moisture to dissipate. During this time the flowers will not feel as dry to the touch, as moisture from the inner-most parts of the flowers re-hydrates the outer portions. After the first few weeks you can open them on a weekly schedule, and if you cure your crop longer than two months open them monthly, but check the buds when you do. They should feel totally dry outside, so if they feel damp or smell of ammonia, leave the containers open until the buds air out.
You can keep this routine up for up to six months, as the curing process doesn't offer further effects after this time. Good luck, have fun, and enjoy!