Drying and Curing Cannabis: This One Step Can 10x a Bud Potency

Now that you’ve finished drying your bud, it’s ALMOST ready to smoke!


You need to cure your cannabis first.

In this curing cannabis guide, you’ll learn:

  • The difference between drying and curing cannabis.
  • The best way to cure weed.
  • And, how to cure your marijuana in jars.

Difference Between Drying and Curing Cannabis?

People often use these terms interchangeably.

They are, however, not quite the same.

The drying process removes the water from the plants making them smokable.

Theoretically, you can go straight from Harvest⇒ Drying⇒ Smoking.

But, this will give you a harsher smoke.

The curing process is a slowed down version of drying your buds.

Keep in mind, even though you’ve separated the plant from its roots, the plant is still alive.

What curing does is forces the plant to gradually use up its remaining sugars, starches and other nutrients.

To accomplish this you have to prevent photosynthesis.

Meaning, you have to take sun out of the equation.

Curing Your Harvest Right Increases the Amount of THC

Your cannabis plants are working tirelessly to produce tetrahydrocannabinolic acid and various other cannabinoids through biosynthesis.

Biosynthesis gradually converts these into new blends.

For instance, tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) is converted into the main psychoactive compound of cannabis—THC.

And as we touched on earlier, even after you cut your plant from its roots, this process continues.

But, you need to provide the RIGHT environment for it to continue.

This means placing your harvested plants in an area where the humidity stays around 45-55% and the temperature between 60-70°F.

This ideal environment allows many of the non-psychoactive cannabinoids to convert to THC—their psychoactive counterpart.

If you dry your harvest too quickly, you stop the process abruptly.

And as a result, you leave a lot of THC on the table.​

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Curing Your Harvest Right Influences the Smell too

Cannabis gets it’s nose stopping smells and mouth watering taste from what’s known as terpenes.

These terpenes are very volatile.

They both degrade and evaporate when in temperatures starting around 70°F.

I’m sure you’ve noticed how your week old bag has gone from smelling like a fresh baked pie to, well, nothing.

Believe it or not:

If you don’t properly cure your crop, this could happen to all of it.

And a lot faster than you can smoke it too.

A nice slow cure at low temperatures helps to preserve the plant's terpenes.

Curing your plants also creates the perfect environment for enzymes and aerobic bacteria to break down sugars, starches and any remaining nutrients in your plants.

Sugars are produced during the drying phase.

This is due to the decomposition of chlorophyll.

It’s these sugars and nutrients that create a harsh smoke.

We’ve all taken that throat-burning bong rip that made us cough like no tomorrow.

That’s caused by cannabis that has been dried too fast.

The Best Way to Cure Weed

First, you need to hang dry your plants in a dark room with around 45% humidity for a few days.

The idea is to hang dry them just long enough to where you don’t have to worry about mold while you’re curing.

Once your buds are dry enough that the stem snaps when you bend it, cut the buds from the stems.

At this point, you want to slow down the process so the plants can thoroughly work the sugars out of their system.

After they’ve been removed from their stems, trim and manicure the buds.

Again, as much of this process needs to be down with as little light as possible.

We’ll get into it more later, but light quickly degrades THC.

Now that you have your buds looking good, you are going to put them in brown paper bags.

Never use plastic bags or white paper bags.

Plastic bags will promote the growth of mold.

White paper bags will have bleach residue on the inside of them.

This bleach residue will most likely leave your buds tasting harsh, if not highly toxic.

You don’t want to overfill the bags.

Give them room to breathe.

The perfect amount per bag is just about a few inches high per bag.

Now, close up the brown paper bags and place them in a dark, cool room from a couple of weeks.

The paper bags not only stop photosynthesis but, because of the porous texture, it prevents the humidity getting to a level that would entice mold.

Now that’s not to say you set it and forget it.

Check them occasionally to turn or move buds as necessary to allow for even drying.

Note that some buds will be ready faster than others so pay attention to that.

A protip to prolonging the curing process is to double bag the buds.

This forces moisture to evaporate slower.

And remember:

The longer you can draw out the curing process, the smoother the smoke will be.

A word of caution, though.

If you let them dry too long, then your buds will become brittle.

If this happens to you, you can try and revive them by placing them with orange peels or iceberg lettuce.

Also, don't use this method if you live in a dry climate.

The buds will dry too fast, and you’re better off just going from drying to curing in canning jars.

Related reading:

Curing Cannabis in Jars

Curing cannabis in jars has long been a favorite of growers.

They are reusable, contain the smell and are easy to use.

After you’ve had your plants hanging long enough to pass the snap test, you need to remove the buds from their stems, trim and manicure them.

Now you place freshly cut buds in mason (or any canning) jars.

You still need to stop the photosynthesis process.

So, ideally, you should use tinted jars.

But those aren’t as easy to come by as clear ones.

So, a good workaround is placing the jars in dark paper bags, or even taping or gluing black construction paper around the outside of the jar.

You only want to fill each jar about ⅔ full.

At this point, you have a couple of different options.

  • Option #1: Place the lid loosely on the jars allowing oxygen to get in.
  • Options #2: Places the lid tightly on the jars and open them completely for 10 minutes every day.

Option #2 is the ideal way to cure your marijuana with jars.

Pay attention for mold, and if you see or smell any mold make sure to remove the guilty buds.

And once a day, move the buds into different positions to allow for an even dry.

Keep this process up for a couple of weeks.

The 3 Step Cure

A lot of growers like to utilize a three step curing process.

To sum it up, you’re just using all of the mentioned processes in one.

  • First, hang your harvest to dry long enough to pass the snap test
  • Next, trim and manicure your buds before placing them in paper bags for a few days
  • Finally, finish curing them by putting them in canning jars

This process easy to understand, and can work for any level of grower.

How to cure buds fast?

We get asked this a lot.

The answer is simple:

You can’t.

If you want it done quickly, it won’t be cured.

The very meaning of curing is to slow down the drying process as much as possible.

If you are anxious to smoke your crop, or if you ran out and need some medicine, then there are a few things you can do.

You can dry part of your harvest by hang drying it until it's dry enough to smoke.

And then the rest of it should be cured carefully and as long as possible.

Another way is using the jar method to cure, and every time you pop the top of your jar to give it fresh air, grab a bud to smoke for the day.

Again, this won’t be the smoothest/best-tasting cannabis, but it WILL get you by.

Curing Bud Quickly With Water Curing

Okay, okay…

You can cure your bud semi-quickly by using the water curing method.

I will, however, preface this by saying this trashes your cannabis.

Well, that might be a bit harsh.

This method does remove all of the unwanted stuff.

But, it also removes all of the smell and most of the flavor too.

It also loses most of its weight.

It does retain all of its potency, though.

So if you’re just growing for yourself, then this method might work for you.

Using water to cure your plants is takes advantage of the fact that the oil-based cannabinoid compounds don’t dissolve in water.

Chlorophyll, nutrients, and sugars, however, do.

This method makes for a crazy smooth smoke because you’re practically guaranteed to remove all of the unwanted materials from your buds.

To water cure:

  • Put your buds in a water tight canning jar and completely fill them with pure and clean, cool reverse osmosis water.
  • Don’t let your buds float; weigh them down if you have too.
  • Change out the water 1-2 times per day for a good five days.
  • Now, remove the buds from the water and rack dry them with good airflow for 5-7 days.

This process cuts the drying and curing process down from almost a month to a couple of weeks.

But, it’s usually best reserved for strains with overwhelming flavors.

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