Curing weed: How to cure marijuana

If you’re a new grower your probably have some questions about how to cure marijuana.  What is curing weed and why does it matter? After your weed has dried you need to jar it up and slowly draw out the moisture in the center of the buds by opening your jars to release humidity.  In this article we’ll discuss the basics for curing cannabis and how to maintain the best rH for curing. You’ll learn how long does it takes to cure marijuana correctly, and how quickly you can smoke your recent harvest.

Sure, you could rip into your biggest cola the day it finishes drying. But it will be wet on the inside. It won’t taste as good as you’d expect. You may get a headache. You’ll be wasting your best bud. Proper curing at the ideal humidity level will take the bag appeal of your cannabis to the next level.

The best RH for curing weed

The best humidity level to cure marijuana is around 60-65%. You can get inexpensive hygrometers to measure RH, but keep in mind that the cheap models have a variance when tested side-by-side. I’ve used these cheap hygrometers in 1/2 gallon mason jars, stuck to the bottom of the lid.  I usually aim for 60% RH, and I make sure to note which hygrometers run high or lower than others to factor that into the target RH.

Learn more about humidity levels and curing marijuana. It’s important to harvest your marijuana at peak potency, trim it correctly, and dry it properly. This prepares the bud for proper curing.

Remember that while early in the cure the outside of your buds may feel dry, there is moisture remaining in the middle that will get pulled out slowly. For best results use a hygrometer to ensure you’re curing weed at the ideal humidity level to allow that moisture in the center to draw out.

Starting the marijuana curing process

To begin curing, freshly dried bud is placed gently into glass mason jars or other large glass containers with a tight seal. Fill jars about 3/4 full. Leave a few inches of room for air so that the buds can breathe a bit, and so you can gently shake the jars to avoid wet spots.

Don’t skimp and get cheap jars, mason jars keep a tight seal and aren’t all that expensive. Use quart or half gallon jars for small grows. If you want to cure and store your buds all in one container, consider one of the stainless steel options. The tight seal of your jars is important to help you maintain the ideal humidity level to cure weed.

You’ll notice that your plants shrunk considerably during the drying process. Be careful not to handle your buds roughly as you stir them around, as the trichomes may get knocked loose and then potency and crystally appearance will suffer.

What’s the best hygrometer for curing cannabis?

Use a hygrometer to ensure correct humidity levels in your curing container. Try to get the best hygrometer you can afford. Your buds are worth it.

There’s many smaller size models at hydro shops or on amazon in the $10-$20 range, and some models may start as low as a few dollars apiece. But you get what you pay for. The cheap ones are very inconsistent and if you lay out 10 of them next to each other, you’ll probably get a minimum of 8 different readings.  So get the best you can afford, don’t risk your entire grow on moldy buds.

If you’re on a budget and can’t spring for the best hygrometers, it is strongly recommended that you get at least cheap one to ballpark measure relative humidity. If you are curing in multiple jars, plan to monitor all of them to be safe to avoid excessive humidity which can will lead to mold. You already have invested a lot of money and time into your grow. Curing is one of the biggest factors in producing absolutely killer buds with great bag appeal. At this point spending $10 bucks on a hygrometer for each jar is a no-brainer purchase.

How often do I open jars during curing?

Your goal is 60-65% humidity levels throughout the entire cure. Open the jars at least once a day for the first two weeks to let them breathe. Keep the jar open for 20 minutes or so.  Let all that humid air inside out. It’s best to check a few times daily the first few days, especially if you suspect your buds are too damp.

Gently shake the buds around and inspect them. Do they stick together? That’s a signal they’re too moist. If they’re overly damp, leave the cover off a few hours to let them dry a bit, mix gently, and reseal. Since some frosty strains tend to stick more than others you may need to gently stir them around with a bamboo skewer or equivalent to properly separate them. You could even use your fingers, but that many damage the outer layers of trichomes.

Never reseal damp buds as mold may develop. Disaster. If the buds feel wet, then you should take them out of the jar completely so they can all dry. Place them on a piece of cardboard until they dry. This could be as long as overnight. Once dry, resume curing. And next time plan to dry your plants further before starting the cure.

Keep in mind that if the room you’re trying to cure the buds in is very damp or very dry it will impact time you leave your containers open during the curing process. The humidity in your jars will climb each day as moisture spreads from the buds’ centers, so your goal when opening the jars is to allow them to dry a bit and let that moist air inside out.

If you’re in a damp room such as a basement where the RH is 75% higher than what’s in your jars, opening them won’t help that moisture get removed, it’ll increase their moisture level. In that situation, use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to reduce the ambient humidity.

Similarly if the air is very dry in your curing environment, don’t leave your jars open too long or the cannabis will dry out quickly.

How long do I cure marijuana?

The minimum recommended cure time for marijuana: 2 weeks

You should cure your marijuana for a minimum of two weeks before smoking. That will give enough time for the chlorophyll in the flowers to break down. Smell will be improved, as will taste. The moisture in larger colas takes a bit longer to pull out from the center than in smaller buds, save those big ones for a little longer curing time to ensure the dense center area won’t be too damp to light properly.

The longer the cure, the more the flavors and terpine profiles develop. Try to cure as long as you can stand.  Or in the words of a buddy: “I like fresh buds.”  AKA “I’ve waited long enough, I’m going for it.”

Ideal cure time for marijuana: 1-2 months

When you’re staring into a jar of fat nuggets it can be hard to wait it out.

Go ahead, pull out a few nugs early and go to town. The best way to appreciate the value of a good cure is to sample along the way to see how the bud quality develops. You’ll be amazed at how the buds change in smell, flavor, and smoothness of the smoke as they cure. But you’ll also notice the terpine profile wanes as the buds age.

You won’t need to keep opening the jar every day during that period. After a week or two depending on your technique the humidity won’t rise as  much day-to-day.  You then can monitor and open maybe every 2-3 days, depending on what you seed.

Curing marijuana at the ideal humidity is what separates good buds from great buds. Ever wonder why buds from some growers are better than others who are growing the same cut of the same strain?  It’s not always just better growing technique and environment — they’ve mastered the art of curing marijuana.

The best hygrometer for curing buds will let you get the ideal RH, but even a cheap one duct-taped to the inside of the jar will do the trick.
The best hygrometers offer better accuracy so you can properly target the ideal humidity for curing weed. But even a cheap one duct-taped to the inside of the jar will get you close..

Common problems with curing Cannabis

Marijuana is too moist

If your marijuana is too moist, you can lower the relative humidity level by opening your jar and leaving the lid off for 20 minutes to a few hours. Do this if your hygrometer shows readings of 65-70%.

Really damp marijuana should be removed from the jar and dried for a while on cardboard with the buds not touching each other. Don’t ignore the warning signs. If buds feel damp, wet, or stick together when you gently shake the jar then you have too much moisture in there.

Wet marijuana, with readings of 75% humidity or more, must be addressed immediately to stave off mold formation. Don’t let mold ruin your crop. Get the buds away from each other and dry them out before returning to the jar. Keep checking these buds every few hours until you’re sure that they’re back in the right moisture range.

Marijuana is too dry

If your marijuana is too dry, your can solve the problem by rehydrating it. Boveda humidity packs come in multiple humidity levels.

How to use Boveda packs to cure weed

Boveda 62% humidipacks are perfect for curing weed if you need to restore humidity to overly dry, crumbly buds. The Boveda humidity packs will bring much needed moisture, but they can’t replace lost terpines or flavor compounds from overdried cannabis. But by raising the humidity level back up the smokability will improve, and are t least the buds won’t burn too quickly and scorch your throat.

Once you’ve re-humidified your buds to the range of 60-65%, remove the packs. Don’t use the packs unless you really need to, as using them too early will negatively affect the way your bud tastes and smells.

Boveda packs say they work both ways, removing excess moisture. But on multiple grows we’ve used Boveda 62% humidipacks to cure weed in some jars and not in others, and those buds in the jars with Boveda packs lacked the piney taste and smell of the buds in the jars that didn’t use them. Too much moisture is bad for taste and smell, so don’t use Boveda packs for curing cannabis unless you need to..

Long term curing/storage of marijuana

Marijuana can be stored long term if you keep it in a sealed container. Avoid excessive heat or cold to prevent denigration of THC. Bud will definitely lose some of its vibrant green color the longer you store it. Terpines profiles will become less noticeable. But if you keep it at a reasonable humidity level it will still smoke nicely, and will still get you fried.

Boveda 58% 62% humidity packs can help refresh overly crispy buds that have been stored too long. Too dry bud will burn quickly and harshly.

Weed stored longer than a year is an anomaly I’ve never encountered. The lifespan of a jar of weed is much shorter in my experience. So I can’t relay anything of value here.

Summary

Curing cannabis properly brings out the full potential of your buds. Maintaining the ideal humidity for curing weed helps improves appearance, taste, smell, smoothness of smoke, and how cleanly it burns. Cure for at least two weeks, preferably a month. Open jar daily the first few weeks to let it dry out a bit, and correct issues with moisture before mold can form.  Use a hygrometer to keep the best RH for curing cannabis – in the 60-65% humidity range.

Following these steps will show you how to cure marijuana for maximum potency and quality. Happy smoking!

 

 

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Curing weed: How to cure marijuana