By: Tucker Eldridge
When growing medicine at home one of the most important steps to producing high quality cannabis is the final step of drying and curing. Drying and curing incorrectly can cause a normally high quality crop to quickly develop problems such as a green taste, improperly burning medicine, and the formation
of mold in your harvest. To prevent this from occurring and to bring the absolute best out of your final product, there are a few simple steps you can follow to finish your crop strong.
The first part of a proper dry and cure comes before you cut down your first plant. After spending eight weeks or more of hard work in the garden, you want to make sure to harvest your plants at peak ripeness.
This can be achieved by cutting your plants down when 25% of the trichromes on the plant have changed color from clear or milky white amber. This signifies the beginning of the plants process of converting THC to CBN. CBN has one tenth the psycho-activity of THC, and is the contributing factor for the couch-lock type of high associated with certain varieties. You also want to make sure to harvest your plants just prior to your lights coming on. Light and heat degrade THC, as well as evaporating essential oils and terpenoids out of your plant matter. To take advantage of this concept most effectively, after you have completed your final flush, allow your plants to sit in uninterrupted darkness for 48 hours and trim directly out of the darkness.
Once you cut your plants down, separate each branch from the main stem. After this, remove all fan leaves, which can include any leaves without visible trichromes on them, and discard them. Once all fan leaves have been removed, with a pair of scissors, begin trimming all remaining leaves from the buds. Keep this trim, known as sugar leaf, separate from your buds and fan leaves, as this can be processed into bubble hash or used to make edibles.
Hang each branch, buds freshly trimmed, evenly spaced along a line, and keep the temperature and humidity in the room consistently at 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% respectively. Adding a heat source or dehumidifier will cause your buds to dry unevenly not only from one side of the room to the other, but also within each individual bud, as the outsides of the buds will crisp up excessively while the insides stay moist. When your stems crack but don’t break, somewhere from seven to ten days, you are ready to cut your buds off of the stems into airtight glass jars.
After cutting all buds into their jars, close the jars. The next day when you open the jars back up, your bud should have remoistened. Stir the buds from the top of the jar and the bottom of the jar together to make sure they dry evenly, and close the jar back up after fifteen minutes. This process helps convert intracellular moisture to extracellular moisture within the plants cells. This also allows micro processes within the plant to convert the remaining chlorophyll pigments within the plant into starches. This removes any lingering grass taste remaining after your flush. Repeat this step each day for a minimum of two weeks or ideally for as long as four, and you will be able to see marked improvements to every measure of quality you can apply. And who doesn’t like medicine that tastes, smells, and smokes better.