Cure Your Plants for Maximum Potency
You won’t want to lose yield on that passionate investment you made in cannabis. It goes a long way to make sure you recoup your investment and get a good profit for every dollar invested. So, you want to make sure you get the processes right –from seedling and transplanting to tendering, harvesting, and curing. Yes, curing! Only a few cannabis farmers pay the right level of attention to the curing process.
Many marijuana farmers simply ignore the curing stage and stop processing at the drying stage. No, drying your cannabis harvest is not enough; you need to learn the perfect method to cure them too! You might call ‘curing’ a different type of drying, but the fact is, Curing is different from outright drying.
Curing Cannabis Buds –What You Should Know
The Curing process is arguably the most overlooked stage of cannabis cultivation. Although overlooked by many, it is very important, especially when you are planning to store your harvest. We'll recommend that you always cure your cannabis before storage. Curing, as a slow drying process, eliminates moisture from your harvest using a controlled drying space. When there is enough moisture during curing, the plant retains its cannabinoids and terpene composition. In addition to preserving your harvest, curing is known to give your cannabis harvest an improved aroma and smoke. Frankly speaking, the range of benefits you can get from curing is limitless. Many things about cannabis cultivation involve the right skills and procedures. Curing your cannabis is not excluded.
Just as you need a controlled environment to grow and nourish your plant, you will also need a controlled humidity environment to cure your harvest. You must have complete control over the internal environment during curing. Drying and Curing are similar in many aspects; however, the differences are distinct. Your sample should become over-dried before proper curing is completed. If this happens, you might need to slightly rehydrate your harvest for curing to continue. Experienced cannabis farmers may reintroduce fresh buds, orange or lemon peels, or other fresh vegetables into the curing sample. You can also re-moisten the buds by directly applying clean water sprayed or applied via a towel to the buds. You must be sure the introduction of moisture if needed, does not introduce pathogenic organisms into the buds.
The instrumentation for curing cannabis buds is simple. Sometimes, the size of containers and other equipment needed depends on the number of buds you have selected to cure at once. The preferred container for curing cannabis buds is the wide-mouthed glass jar. Your selected glass jar should also preferably have a rubber seal. You should avoid plastic or wooden component coming in contact with the buds directly. These materials are slightly porous and might interact chemically with the phenolic acids and terpenes of your buds. If this happens, the integrity and potency of your cannabis harvest might likely become compromised.
How to Properly Cure Your Cannabis
The curing stage begins when you are sure your cannabis stock has been drying consistently for about a week. The time frame depends on the size of your buds. You might decide to hang your buds upside down for the drying process carefully. If there is not much space for hanging your buds, you might also alternatively lay them flat on a dry surface. Once you are satisfied with the drying process, your harvest is ready for curing. Here is your 6-step guide to curing your cannabis.
1. Separate the Buds From the Branches
You start by separating your buds from the branches. Some farmers prefer to separate the buds earlier during the drying process. If you don’t belong to this class, then carefully trim your buds and separate them from the branches. Be careful not to be too forceful. Too much stress can burst the trichomes and reduce bud potential.
2. Transfer to a Container
This is where the real process starts from. On separation, your buds are then transferred into the wide-mouthed glass jars you have prepared. The jars should provide a controlled environment needed to store your buds at an ideal humidity level of 60-65% and a temperature range of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Fill the jar up to 75% full, leaving a little pouch of air at the top. Carefully fill the jars to avoid crushing your buds. Your microclimate environment is now ready.
3. Store the Containers
Store the containers in a cool, dark, and dry place. For the first week of storage, open the lids for about 10 minutes several times daily to allow the buds to breathe. These processes allow dampened air to escape, filling the jars with fresh air and oxygen for the flowers. Be sure to check for any discoloration or foul smell that suggests bacterial growth during this stage.
4. Regular Check and Repeat
Check the buds regularly and gently move them around in the jar. This process might take about 3 to 7 weeks. You might need to check the humidity levels to properly understand how your buds are faring in the controlled environment. The ideal humidity level is pegged at 60-65%/
If humidity levels exceed this range, use the guide below;
Over 70%: Remove your buds from the jar for about 12-24 hours
65-70%: Leave the buds inside the jar, but open the lid for about 4 hours.
55% or less: Rehydrate the controlled environment.
5. Check for Complete Curing
This is how you know if your buds are ready for packing. You can easily tell that the curing process is completed when the jars stop ‘burping’ when your open them. The time range for complete curing is variable and might depend on your methods, instrumentation, and cannabis strain.
6. Pack and Weigh
If your cannabis harvest is for personal use, you can pack and weigh it. You might also decide to get humidity packs that keep your sample fresh for a long time. You should check your buds regularly to prevent bacterial growth.
How Curing Improves Cannabis Potency
Cured cannabis buds are not only better preserved, but they also give the best usage experience ever. Getting stoned should come in style and class; cured buds are the right plug for this experience. Here are the ways curing significantly improve the potency of cannabis;
1. Cannabinoids Conversion
For every joint a cannabis fan rolls, he is expecting to get the best cannabinoid recipe for the money spent. This is exactly what curing does to your cannabis harvest. During curing, a metabolic process converts cannabigerol (CBG) –a non-psychoactive precursor, to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). As expected, the conversion increases the THC content of the buds. The outcome of conversion and the quantity of THC produced by this conversion process depends on the concentration of CBD in the fresh cannabis harvest before curing. Curing is considered not beneficial to your cannabis buds after 6 months. If curing is prolonged for more than this period, THC might be likely converted to CBN –a non-psychoactive cannabinoid.
Decarboxylation is another process that helps improve the potency of your buds during curing. During this process, the carboxyl group present in the cannabinoids is ripped off, creating psychoactive cannabinoids and liberating carbon dioxide. The processes generate more psychoactive cannabinoids in the buds and make the cannabinoids more soluble in water. The increased solubility helps the body to better metabolize the cannabinoids for absorption and excretion. As decarboxylation occurs, the liberation of carbon dioxide also releases inert components in the buds. This process significantly increases the potency of your cannabis harvest.
3. Improved Taste and Odor
Terpenoids are an important component of cannabis responsible for the characteristic odor, smoke, and taste of many cannabis strains. These compounds are highly volatile, and a greater proportion of them determines the potency of cannabis buds. As Curing proceeds, the buds undergo many chemical changes that produce more terpenes. The rich deposit of terpenes will influence the final potency of the buds. This explains why cured cannabis buds might taste better than fresh buds of the same strain. Since these compounds are volatile, they react to high temperatures faster than cannabinoids. Excessive drying and exposure to heat can decompose the terpenoid content of cannabis buds.
4. Chlorophyll Decomposition
Chlorophyll is a component of the cannabis plant responsible for the green pigmentation of the buds and leaves. This component is responsible for the harsh taste of cannabis buds. Curing decomposes all the assessable chlorophyll in the cannabis buds, effectively removing the harsh taste. In addition, as curing breaks down the green pigments, the look and color of the cannabis buds are improved. The buds may likely assume purple, gold, or white coloration. The trichomes are also promised as chlorophyll decomposes.
5. Reduced Moisture Content
Fresh cannabis might contain as high as 80% of moisture. At this level, the tendency for bacterial growth is significantly increased. As opposed to outright drying, curing leaves the moisture content at about 10-15%. This ideal level restricts microbial growth and prevents the destruction of cannabinoids and other components of the buds. With this, you can keep your cured cannabis and not get scared of decomposition for a long time.
The curing process might look simple enough. However, there are lots of processes your buds complete during this process. If you miss curing and simply dry your buds, you will miss out on these extras. In parts, the processes and cycles completed during curing explain the improvement in the potency of cured cannabis buds compared to fresh buds of the same strain.