Now more than ever, there are those who want to put their love of cannabis and their passion for gardening and DIY projects together in order to place the power and pleasure back in their own hands, and grow their own product. Maybe it’s for personal use. Maybe it’s to share. But in any case, everyone wants to know the secret to growing superior quality cannabis. And that all comes down to a few very important points:
- The strain itself has to be of a high-quality genetic background.
- It then has to be cultivated with care.
- The pruning must be exact.
- It must be harvested at just the right time.
- Gradually and steadily, it must undergo a precise process of curing.
The importance of this last step cannot be emphasized enough. For the curing process, tedious as it may seem, is what will inevitably create that sweet, smooth, tasty and most potent of experiences that every aficionado is after. Yup, the curing process is what can make or break it when it comes to producing the greatest of green.
Growing Superior Quality Cannabis
So let’s get all on into it and talk about curing cannabis…
In general, the curing process has been around since the dawn of time. Instead of being forced to consume all food at the moment of harvest or immediately after hunting, curing meant that food could be preserved for consumption at a future time. It meant that one could enjoy the bounty and not always be in search of their next meal.
Though there have been multiple and evolving processes when it comes to curing, there is only and always one goal: To preserve a product for an extended period of time while maintaining freshness and preventing bacteria. You want to maintain flavor and, when it comes to cannabis, you want to retain cannabinoids.
The Benefits of Curing Cannabis
Cannabinoids are chemically active compounds that account for the sensation of being “high.”. And terpenes are the organic compounds responsible for giving plants their flavors and scents. You must put an immediate stop to cannabis degradation, otherwise, compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes will transform into something far less favorable.
Cannabis begins to degrade from the moment the crop is harvested. Almost immediately, bacteria and enzymes begin to break down the excess starches and sugar within the plant. The curing process causes the plant to make use of those starches, sugars and excess nutrients and use them up before they’ve dried out and gotten stuck within.
Have you ever smoked some harsh, flavorless bud and wondered what went wrong? Well, that was due to residual components not being cured out properly before the plant was dried. And that is something that could have been controlled. The synthesis of the cannabinoid continues even after the plant is harvested. If cannabis flowers are kept at the correct humidity and temperature post-harvest, then the transformation from non-psychoactive cannabinoids to psychoactive THC continues — and this results in the most potent of products.
The Process of Curing Cannabis
Once harvested, you want to effectively cure your cannabis by hanging it in a dark room, upside down. The perfect room has a temperature between 60 – 70 degrees, and a humidity between 45% – 55%, which will help to preserve the terpenes. The cannabis should have already been trimmed and can be hung from regular clip fashion hangers or even a laundry line. Large buds on the stalk should hang easily — while smaller, loose buds should be dried upon screens. It is important to use screens and not just any flat surface as there is the importance of airflow.
After 7 – 14 days of hanging, the stems should now break rather than fold when you try to bend them. The flower exterior should also have become slightly crispy. That’s when it’s time to move on to the process of “sweating.”
At this point, you will manicure the bud and remove it from the larger stems, and then place those buds within sealable containers. Some growers believe that glass containers are superior to plastic as plastic can flavor the buds. But whether glass or plastic, the containers should be stored in a dark, cool place.
In order to remove excess moisture and slowly draw it out of the bud, you will need to open ( or “burp”) the containers multiple times a day. This will also produce fresh oxygen. It is vitally important that if you smell mold or ammonia during the first few burps that you remove the bud from the containers and go back to air-drying. This means that the bud was not yet dry enough to cure and you must take a step back in order to prevent mold.
After a few weeks, while your bud continues to cure, you’ll be able to go from burping your containers daily to burping them around once a week. While the bud will most likely be smokable within a week or two, continuing to cure it for an additional 4 – 8 weeks will dramatically improve both its potency and flavor. Properly cured cannabis can be stored and left curing for up to 6 months, or maybe kept within vacuum-sealed containers for a year or longer.
The Final Results: Superior Quality Cannabis
You’ve put significant time into your growing superior quality cannabis, and the end is not when to skimp and take shortcuts. Taking the time to use proper curing techniques will pay off in the biggest and the best possible ways, and is the only method to produce truly high-quality bud at home. Yes, it takes time — but with a little love and attention, you will get the desired results right at home and wind up with some truly brag-worthy product.