Knowing the best way to dry weed plants is a critical step for growers. Drying marijuana plants correctly is essential to fully bring out the best in your buds.
In this article you’ll learn the best way to dry weed to bring out maximum taste, smell, smoothness of smoke, and overall bud quality and appearance.
What is the best temperature and humidity to dry weed?
The best way to dry your weed is to do it as slowly as possible in a controlled humidity environment. Your target humidity level should be 50%. You can maintain humidity levels using humidifiers, dehumidifiers, or a humidity control attached to an exhaust fan.
The best temperature to dry marijuana is 68°F to 70°F, around room temperature. Cooler temps = slower dry times. Avoid overly warm, humid conditions.
Your goal is to dry the weed as slowly as possible to just the right level of dryness. You can expect to lose about 3/4 of the weight of freshly cut buds as the water dries out.
Drying weed at the optimal humidity and temperature levels will ensure a slow dry. It is important to dry as slowly as possible, because if you dry too quickly the bud color, taste, and smell will be negatively affected and you risk over-drying your buds as well.
Using a humidity controller to dry weed in a grow tent
Maintaining proper humidity levels can be more difficult in dry environments. A humidity controller connected to your exhaust fan or dehumidifier can help you maintain the proper climate to dry weed .
Since drying weed will give off moisture and raise the RH within a small tent, you can set the controller to turn on your exhaust at 55% and then turn off when the RH hits 45%. This will keep you right where you need it.
We use an Inkbird IHC-200 humidity controller (around $40 on Amazon) and it works great for drying weed plants in a 4×4 grow tent. When the controller turns off the exhaust fan, the humidity level in the tent will slowly rise as the plants release moisture. The fan will turn on only when needed. This has resulted in adding 1-2 days of total drying time, and removes the risk of the weed drying out too quickly.
How long should marijuana dry?
Exact amount of time it takes to dry marijuana plants depends a lot on the environment where you dry them. Drying in high temperatures will cause drying to occur quickly. Low humidity levels will also dry your buds out quickly.
It usually takes between 5 to 10 days to dry out marijuana to the proper level. You know your marijuana is properly dried when small stems start to snap instead of bend. 7-10 is better, and it can take as long as 14 in certain conditions.
Sometimes weed plants will dry in as little as 3 days in too dry or too hot conditions, but drying weed fast like this will reduce the flavor and smell and produce lower quality buds than in a slower dry.
As your weed plants dry, the chlorophyll breaks down into metabolites. Slowly drying and proper curing will allow this chlorophyll to break down. Drying weed fast will affect how it breaks down, causing a harsh smoke seen in improperly dried and cured cannabis.
How to slow down drying time
Buds that are dried on the sticks rather than cut off usually dry longer because they pull moisture out of the stems, this is recommended to slow drying and having the buds still attached to the main branches also makes the buds easy to hang to dry.
Keeping your buds on the stems is a great way to ensure a slower dry which will improve the quality. So if you are wondering if you should keep marijuana on the stems when drying, the answer is yes if possible.
Some growers will hang entire plants upside down to dry. This is great to increase drying time but can be a bit unmanageable on the trimming side. Dry trimming smaller branches is much easier than doing large whole plants.
Some growers leave all of the sugar leaves and fan leaves on their plants when drying. This is much a matter of personal preference. But leaving leaves on when drying cannabis plants slows out the drying process since the buds can pull moisture in from these leaves.
Note that leaving fan and sugar leaves on when drying makes the buds more difficult to trim later. It’s much easier to trim freshly cut plants which have sugar leaves that stick straight out. When dried, these leaves curl in and this makes it more difficult to manicure weed. People make impassioned arguments for both wet or dry trims, so if you’re on the fence try a little each way on your next grow.
How to dry weed fast
Even though you should try to slow the drying process for best quality results, sometimes in a pinch you may need to know how to dry weed fast.
Lowering humidity levels in the drying area will help speed up the drying process. But it tends to dry the outside of large buds too quickly, before the moisture in the stems and middle of the bud is fully dry.
So make sure if you dry weed fast that the inside of your large colas are really ready to go, otherwise as that moisture will wick out to the edges in you curing jar and a few days later your buds will be damp. Be particularly careful not to overdry buds to the point they crumble into dust.
Taking buds off of stems, removing all leaves, and breaking large buds into segments will increase surface area and decrease drying time. Have a light breeze in the drying area, with good airflow around the buds to avoid developing moist pockets of air.
Raising temperatures can also help speed up cannabis dry times. But you don’t want to rely on this because higher temps burn off terpenes which reduces both smell and taste. So if possible, avoid raising temperatures in an overly dry environment if you dry weed fast so you can maintain better bud quality.
Things to avoid when drying weed fast
Never dry your cannabis plants in the microwave or oven unless you really want to mess with the flavor, smell, appearance, and smoothness of the buds.
Same with drying cannabis in a dehydrator. Drying weed fast in a food dehydrator will produce very dry yet harsh buds.
Any method that dries too quickly will make your buds’ quality less than it could be with proper slow drying techniques at the best humidity and temperature levels. Plus you won’t retain enough interior moisture to do a proper cure.
Excess heat will negatively affect the terpene profile of your buds, which in turn will affect their taste and smell. Try to avoid temperatures over 80°F.
What to do if your weed is too moist after drying
If you under-dry your cannabis buds they may still feel dry on the edges when you jar them, but you will find that the moisture in the middle quickly pulls out towards the edges of the buds at the start of the curing process. They could feel damp or even wet. Don’t ignore wet buds.
If your weed is too moist, you need to open the curing jar and let the buds air out. Leave the cover off for a few hours for lightly damp buds. If your buds feel very damp or wet, you can take them out of the jar and place on a piece of cardboard until they are dry enough to return to the jar. If the ambient room humidity is very low they will dry out quicker than if the room is damp.
Never let wet buds sit stuck together. Shake the jar gently each day when you burp it during curing to separate buds and keep wet spots from forming. Don’t shake too hard though, or you risk damaging the appearance of your buds and knocking trichomes off.
It is important not to leave marijuana too wet or you risk having the mold. Mold will ruin the entire jar. It must be avoided at all costs. Monitoring your weed several times daily during the first few days of curing is a great way to catch any issues with underdried weed quickly.
If you live in a humid environment you may find the ambient humidity exceeds 70%, which will not allow your buds to dry when you open your jar. In this case, consider a dehumidifier. If it’s hot and humid, sometimes the dehumidifier will only add to the heat without effectively lowering the humidity. Air conditioners will solve this problem, as they lower humidity and temperature at once.
Learn more about how to cure marijuana properly in order to deal with under-dried cannabis issues during the curing process.
What to do if your weed is too dry
If your marijuana dried out too much during the weed drying process or you’re looking to add moisture to a bag that may have dried out on you, the best answer is to use Boveda 58 or 62 Humidipacks. Boveda packs will help hydrate buds that become crispy or crumbly, returning them to a proper range nearing 58% or 62% humidity which is ideal for curing and longer term storage.
There is some debate among growers about which percentage is better to use. I used to use Boveda 62% Humidipacks but found the weed was too damp to stay lit without additional drying, so now I’m going with 58%.
They come in several sizes, and the 8 gram packs are perfect for half gallon mason jars. They come in a 10 pack of small pouches. If you have a larger crop in a single container you can opt for the larger sizes.
When I was younger people used to rehydrate dried marijuana to proper levels by adding orange peels to your jar. The orange peels add a citrus smell and flavor to your buds in addition to making them more moist. But you’d need to carefully monitor your jar as orange peels left for a few days will grow mold. Yuck.
What’s the best place to dry your weed?
The best place to dry your weed depends on several factors such as how much you’re willing to spend, how much room you have, and the conditions within your drying area.
The best location for drying marijuana will have a temperature of around 65-70 degrees and a humidity of around 50%. Lower humidity levels can be boosted with a humidifier. Avoid too humid conditions as plants will dry very slowly and you risk having them mold if the environment is too damp.
There will be a noticeable odor of marijuana when you dry your plants. Make sure that you factor in odor control when selecting the best place to dry your weed. Using carbon filters to clean the air is recommended if you are concerned about controlling odors from drying weed.
Some air movement in the drying room is beneficial, but avoid fans pointing directly at your drying weed plants as those plants will dry out very quickly due to the constant breeze.
Avoid drying weed near other growing cannabis plants. Similar to the rotten apple that ruins the whole batch, drying cannabis releases a chemical called ethylene which triggers a response in plants around it. Make sure your drying area is separate from your veg or flower rooms to avoid this.
Hanging marijuana plants upside down to dry
The easiest and cheapest method is to just hang the sticks upside down off of either a coat hanger or a piece of clothesline. This allows you to stack a bunch of plants in a row. It’s free too and can conform to the space you have available, which is another big plus.
Some growers choose to hang entire plants upside down to trim and dry, which can slow the dry time. But it’s easier to just address each branch individually.
When cutting a branch off of the plant you can cut it so there’s a little hook on the end for easy hanging, it’s much easier than using clothes pins.
Make sure that your buds aren’t touching each other to avoid potential moisture issues that can lead to mold.
Best way to dry weed without hanging
The best way to dry weed without hanging is to use a drying rack. There’s a bunch of sizes available, and they fit very conveniently inside your grow tent or grow area. It takes up a lot less space to use a drying rack than it does to hang the plants.
Drying racks can be used with buds that have been removed from sticks, and they can also be used to dry whole branches at a time.
When using a drying rack, make sure your buds aren’t too close to each other to avoid moisture and mold issues. Do a wet trim to remove all leaf material prior to drying, and gently move the buds around to facilitate even drying.
Since your buds are sitting flat they may not dry as evenly in drying racks. Air won’t flow around them the same way, and the bottom of buds might not dry as evenly as the top. Use a small fan to gently circulate air in the area around your drying rack. But don’t point the fan right at the rack, it’s better to point it at a nearby wall or tent wall to keep air moving gently around it.
One disadvantage if you dry weed without hanging is that the bottom side of the buds can get a little compressed.
How to dry weed in a box: make a cardboard drying box DIY
It’s possible to dry weed in a cardboard box. To make a cardboard drying box, tape parallel rows of string a few inches apart across the top, and then hang your stems.
Choose a clean box with sturdy sides that can support the weight of the hanging plants. Your cardboard drying box needs to be tall enough to allow your weed plants to hang freely, and large enough to ensure that the plants are not touching the sides of the cardboard drying box so that the weed dries evenly.
Never allow the inside of your cardboard drying box to get too moist. Use a digital hygrometer with a probe to monitor it. Check it often.
You can loosely tent the tops over if your interior box humidity is too low. If it’s too high you can open the tops. Don’t close the box tops completely or put a tight cover on the box unless you want to create a mold breeding ground. The moisture given off by the drying weed plants needs to be allowed to dissipate. Use a small fan nearby to gently run air past the box, but not directly at the plants.
If you dry weed plants in a cardboard box, they’ll have a certain “cardboard” taste. Make sure to monitor the buds frequently and not let wet spots form underneath. Wet equals mold.
Another drawback if you dry weed in a box is that it will become slightly pressed down on the area touching the cardboard. A damp cardboard drying box also tends to impart a musty smell. It’s not something we recommend.
Drying marijuana in grow tents
Drying marijuana in grow tents is a good option for several reasons. Most tents have poles running across the top, perfect for using clothes hangers to dry upside down plants or to use mesh drying racks to dry weed.
If your tent already has a carbon filter set up as part of the exhaust system then you can control odors from drying weed as well. Make sure that you don’t have any circulation fans blowing right on the plants to avoid overly fast drying.
Make sure to check tents at least daily and monitor humidity levels inside the tent closely when drying your buds. If you have a humidity controller attached to your exhaust system it can turn on the flow as needed when the humidity inside the tent is climbing too high.
If you’re planning on getting a grow tent to dry marijuana then you can use some of the cheaper grow tent options (as opposed to needing a higher-quality light-proof tent with stronger zippers to sustain the wear and tear for extended grow runs).
Cheap tents don’t have the zippers to stand up to thousands of ups and downs that are needed to grow a few runs of plants. Plus they’re less likely to be truly lightproof, which means you risk hermaphroditing your female plants by interrupting their dark cycle during flowering.
Better grow tents also have sturdier construction, thicker tent panels, more openings for vents and cables, and more zippering windows to allow for easier access to tend plants.
If humidity levels outside of your tent are too high and the air you’re pulling into the tent is more humid than your target temperature, you’ll need to take steps to reduce it with a dehumidifier.
Read our guide to finding the best grow tent dehumidifier. For small tent growers, see advice specific to finding the best dehumidifier 4×4 grow tent or the best dehumidifier for 3×3 grow tent setups.
Summary: Drying weed
The best way to dry weed is to do it as slowly as possible in a controlled environment. Drying weed slowly brings out optimal taste, smell, appearance, and overall bud quality. After you’ve determined when to harvest marijuana plants you should dry them properly and then make sure to properly cure your weed once it is dry.
The best humidity to dry weed is 50%. The best temperature for drying weed is around 65-70 degrees. Drying times will be impacted if the temperature or humidity fall above or below these levels.
Drying weed on the stems is a good way to slow the drying process for marijuana. Trimming first is easiest and preferred by many growers, but leaving sugar leaves and even fan leaves on the plant will slow the drying process even more for growers with either too dry or too hot a drying location.
If you over- or under-dry your weed there are ways to correct this, just make sure to pay attention so that you don’t risk wet, moldy buds.