Drying cannabis is one of the most critical aspects of marijuana cultivation because it directly affects the overall quality of the flowers. After months of endless work, growers are ecstatic about the harvest process. Once harvested, many find themselves stressed again because they didn’t prepare themselves for the drying of their marijuana.
Follow this guide to properly dry you cannabis flowers, to avoid the pitfalls that many uninformed cultivators make.
Why We Dry Cannabis
Harvest time occurs roughly 7-11 months after the first pre-flowers are spotted. These buds have swelled in size and density and are sticky and moist to the touch. As you know, the cannabis flowers that you consume are dried and cured.
Why do cannabis flowers need to be dry? The answer to this is a mixture of preference and chemistry. Dry cannabis becomes slightly activated through decarboxylation, which means that the non-psychoactive THC-A transforms into the psychoactive THC during the drying process. This occurs for other cannabinoids that are naturally found in marijuana, such as CBD and CBN as well.
Wet cannabis doesn’t emit the pungent aroma that’s ubiquitous when you browse cannabis dispensaries or open a bag filled with marijuana buds. Wet marijuana smells and tastes like freshly cut grass and although this can be a pleasant smell, most of us don’t associate that smell with the beautiful fragrance of ganja.
What You’ll Need to Dry Cannabis
Gather these essential tools to streamline your drying process.
- Clothes hangers
- Nylon string
- Dedicated room or grow tent
- Inline fan
- Oscillating fan
- Carbon filter
Your drying room can either be a converted bedroom, closet or grow tent. Whichever you choose, it must be light-proof and equipped with a working ventilation system.
Make sure that your grow tent or dedicated room has a fully functioning ventilation system. The ventilation system is essential because it will keep bacteria and fungi at bay. This is why it’s necessary to place an inline fan within the room that you choose to dry your precious flowers.
The inline fan is responsible for pushing out stale air and bringing in the fresh air.
Oscillating fans are essential because they effectively dry your cannabis crop while gently moving them. When marijuana buds touch each other, this contact point creates moisture. If these buds are allowed to remain in contact, the humidity will become a safe haven for harmful bacteria and fungi.
Many growers that don’t use oscillating fans, experience bud rot or fungi on their buds, which can destroy your long-awaited and coveted harvest.
It’s also important to note that your fan should not push air directly against your buds, as this will dry them out`
too fast. When buds dry out rapidly, they lose their aroma as well as their flavour. The structure of the bud becomes brittle, and it’s nearly impossible to rehydrate them to an optimal moisture level.
You should always place your oscillating fans above or below your hanging buds. This will allow your buds to receive indirect air, which is ideal when drying.
Clothes hangers are the perfect tool when drying cannabis because they can be hung on nylon string in rows. These rows should be spaced out evenly, and the branches filled with buds will easily hang on the clothes hanger.
There are other options when it comes to hanging your buds, such as cannabis-specific hanging baskets; but these are expensive compared to cheap clothes hangers.
A nylon string can be used to create a line that will support many clothes hangers. The nylon should be durable and able to support a large load because the last thing you want to find is your marijuana buds on the floor.
You’ll want to place a carbon filter in your drying room because your cannabis crop will emit pungent odors during the drying and curing process. Unless you live far from others, carbon filters are generally a necessity.
Hygrometer and Thermometer Combo
A way to measure the temperature and humidity level within the drying room is an absolute must. High humidity levels lead to destructive bacteria and fungi; while on the other hand, low levels of humidity lead to brittle cannabis buds. This is why it’s a necessity to place a hygrometer and thermometer combo into your drying room.
The optimal drying temperature is between 18-25.5℃ or 65-78℉ and the humidity should be maintained between 35-45% RH (relative humidity).
How to Dry Cannabis
Now you’ve made it through the long flowering phase, without any major hiccups and you’re realizing that harvest time is right around the corner. Follow these steps to ensure a perfect harvest, so that you can enjoy your buds to the fullest.
Each grower’s different when it comes to drying cannabis. Some prefer to leave all the leaves on, and others prefer to trim all the main fan leaves prior to the drying process. Whichever route you choose, the drying process will remain the same.
You’ve already harvested your marijuana, which means you’ve cut the branches down to manageable sizes for the drying process. Make sure that your drying room is set up for your marijuana buds.
Begin hanging your cannabis buds upside down. Marijuana plants naturally grow in v-shape structures, which are ideal when they’re flipped upside down for hanging. Make sure that you space each bud adequately to avoid contact.
Once you’ve hung your buds to dry, check the relative humidity and temperature. If the numbers fall out of the ideal range, you must adjust your ventilation system accordingly.
Your drying room should be completely dark once you close the door. At this point, the drying process has begun. Check in every day to feel the buds and to check the hygrometer and thermometer.
The drying process can take anywhere from 7-21 days, depending on the amount of cannabis that needs to be dried. As time passes, the external bud will begin to feel dry to the touch.
Don’t allow the buds to dry out too much. You can use the “snap” test to check the branches that the buds are hanging from. Gently bend a branch, and if it snaps, then it’s likely that the drying process is over or nearly over.
Once you feel your buds are dry to the touch, but still slightly moist when you press harder, it’s time to end the drying process. Congratulations! You’ve completed the drying process and you can now move onto the curing process.
Have any questions or comments about your experiences drying your own cannabis? Please share with us and leave a detailed message in the comments!