Cannabis Growing Cannabis

Drying and Curing Cannabis: The Art and the Science

If you are planning on growing your own cannabis buds at home, something you need to be intimately familiar with is the cannabis curing process and the drying process. Drying cannabis is absolutely essential to remove excess moisture, as well as for a variety of other reasons.

Curing cannabis is also very important because it will help those marijuana buds become more potent and flavorful. In fact, there are a plethora of benefits to both curing cannabis flowers and drying them properly in the first place. However, you then also have to take into account trimming. Trimmed buds don’t only look nicer, but also serve many other benefits.

Today, we’re going to take you through a step by step process on exactly how to dry your weed and cure it too. This is a comprehensive guide on the drying and curing process. If you don’t know how to dry and cure your cannabis, keep reading, because this is exactly what we’re about to teach you.

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What is Drying Cannabis?

First, you need to be familiar with what it means to dry cannabis. Drying cannabis buds takes place in rooms that have low humidity levels, which allows excess moisture to dissipate into the air. Most people either hang their buds up or put them on a drying rack, which is done for several days or even weeks on end.

Depending on the drying space in question, dry cannabis can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, with the main point always being to reduce the moisture content significantly. Remember that temperature and humidity will also play a role here. Moderate temperatures with low humidity levels tend to be best for drying cannabis. Some people may also take advantage of an air conditioning unit to speed up the drying process.

Of course, if you’ve ever smoked or consumed cannabis, you probably know that you can’t really do anything with wet buds. In order to break them apart and to roll them into a joint, or consume them in any other way, they need to be totally dry.

If buds aren’t properly dried, they won’t burn properly, and you’ll probably get a really harsh smoke as well. You absolutely need to make sure that buss dry properly before moving on to the curing step, or else you’re going to run into some serious issues.

What Does it Mean to Cure Weed?

In simplest terms, curing weed is like aging a fine wine. The more you cure weed, the smoother the smoke is going to be, plus you greatly increase its shelf life, potentially up to two years. When you cure marijuana, you put it inside of an airtight container and then burp it periodically, which means that you open up the container on a daily basis to let out excess moisture.

As you could probably tell, it’s a good idea to measure moisture occasionally when you are in the process of curing cannabis. Once again, the moisture content is very important to keep in mind here. The whole point of curing weed is to allow that greenery or plant flavor to dissipate, while also increasing the natural flavor of the cannabis plant, particularly thanks to the terpenes.

If you don’t want harsh and bad tasting weed, you absolutely need to cure it. In simplest terms, curing weed is a process that takes place post-harvest, in which harvested cannabis buds are aged in controlled conditions to help improve their aroma, flavor, and quality.

Why do Cannabis Plants Need to Be Dried?

Something you might be wondering here is why cannabis plants need to be dried at all. Let’s take a quick look at why you absolutely do not want to forget to dry your cannabis buds after harvest.

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Moisture Reduction

The most important reason why it is so important to dry your cannabis is because it starts out with a very high moisture content, usually up to 85%. This is not at all good for a variety of reasons.

First and foremost, you simply can’t smoke weed if it’s still too wet. It won’t even burn. However, as you’re about to see below, there are also other issues you’ll be faced with if you don’t properly dry your cannabis.

Mold and Mildew

One of the biggest issues that you’ll encounter if you don’t properly dry your cannabis is that it may start to develop mold and mildew. Mold and mildew love high moisture conditions, and will quickly develop on buds if they are too wet. Once your buds have mold and mildew on them, they become completely useless, and you’ll have to throw them away.

Longer Shelf Life

The other reason why dry cannabis properly is so important is because it helps to increase the overall lifespan of it. Regular cannabis might have a lifespan of a few weeks or months if not properly dried and cured, but once these processes happen, the shelf life can be much longer, up to a year or even more.

Why Cure Cannabis?

Just like you might be wondering why it is so important to dry cannabis properly, so might you be wondering if curing is actually important or not.

Well, the reality is that curing cannabis properly is extremely important, and if you don’t do it, you’ll effectively ruin your crop and have wasted your time.

Better Aroma and Flavor

One of the main reasons why curing cannabis is so important is because it helps to improve the aroma and flavor. When cannabis is first harvested and dried, it has a smell and taste that closely resembles green and live plant matter.

It just does not taste very good at all and doesn’t smell much like any one particular strain. However, as the curing process happens, the terpenes really come to light while the greenery or plant aroma dissipates. It’s all about improving both the taste and smell.

Improving Smokeability

The next reason why it’s so important to hear cannabis properly is because it helps to improve the experience when smoking it. Not only does uncured cannabis have a very unpleasant taste, but it can also be very harsh.

If buds are too moist, it can cause what is known as wet lung and very strong coughing. It’s just not good to smoke anything that has that much moisture in it. If cannabis has too much moisture in it and has not been cured properly, the smoke is just going to be very harsh. Furthermore, the cannabis probably won’t burn evenly either.

Increasing Potency

Yet another reason why it’s so important to properly cure cannabis is because it helps to increase the overall potency of it. During the curing process, cannabinoids, particularly THC, may strengthen or multiply in nature, therefore making buds much stronger. If you want the most potent possible cannabis to smoke, then curing is absolutely essential.

Wet Trimming vs Dry Trimming

For those who don’t know, a big part of the drying and curing process is trimming the cannabis. Trimming the cannabis involves cutting away and leaves and sugar leaves, making buds look better, and cutting away large stems. However, there are two different ways to do this, or two different processes we should say, known as wet trimming and dry trimming.

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Wet Trimming

First, we have wet trimming, which is usually done right after harvest, before the plant has been dried. Wet trimming is usually considered to be very fast and easy, because the moist plant material is easy to manipulate and very pliable.

Wet trimming is also preferable because it often results in clean and manicured looking buds. Many also believe that this trimming method helps to preserve as many terpenes as possible. However, a big drawback with wet trimming is that moisture can get trapped in the leaves and buds, which increases the probability of mold occurring.

Dry Trimming

We then have dry trimming, which takes place when the weed buds have already been dried and cured. Dry trimming is often considered more labor intensive and time consuming because the dry buds are more delicate and much more difficult to manipulate.

Dry trimming also tends to result in a much more rugged appearance. Perhaps the biggest advantage of dry trimming however is that it helps to greatly reduce the risk of mildew and mold from occurring, because the buds are already dry by the time trimming occurs.

The Cannabis Drying Process: Step by Step

Let’s go on a quick and simple step by step process on exactly how to dry your cannabis buds.

1.       First you will need to gather some materials, including drying lines or racks, you’ll need to create a grow room, have fans for air circulation, a hydrometer to measure humidity, a timer, and pruning shears.

2.       You’ll need to harvest your cannabis plants once they are ready for it, making sure to cut the branches while leaving the buds intact. This is when you’ll need to choose whether you’re engaging in wet trimming or dry trimming. If you plan on wet trimming, now is the time to do so. You could also just do a light trim at this stage and then finish the job once the buds are dried.

3.       Take your buds or branches and place them on drying racks or hang them up on drying lines. Make sure that there is enough space between them to allow for good air circulation.

4.       At this point, you need to make sure that the drying environment is ideal for drying your cannabis. This means that the temperature should be no more than 70 degrees Fahrenheit or less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity level should be around 50%, and there should be great air circulation as well. Remember that you’ll want to monitor the conditions for the next several weeks.

5.       The cannabis drying process should take up to 14 days, although a minimum of five days will be needed. You’ll see that buds lose moisture, become firmer, and feel drier.

6.       At this point, you may also engage in some dry trimming.

The Weed Curing Process: Step by Step

 Curing weed, although the process is easy, needs to be done properly, or else your end result will not be ideal. Here are step by step instructions on exactly how to cure your cannabis.

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1.       Your cannabis buds need to be dry, which means that they do not have a moisture level exceeding 12%. At this point, trimming your buds should also have been done.

2.       You now need to get the right containers, with airtight containers being best. Glass jars with rubber seals, or some kind of plastic containers that have secure lids work best. Make sure that there are no odors or present.

3.       Put your cannabis inside of the containers and fill them up to around 80%. You want to leave around 20% of the space free for some air exchange. The moisture will evaporate out of the buds and into that free space.

4.       You may also want to put a hygrometer inside of the curing containers, as this will allow you to monitor humidity levels, which should be around 58% during the curing process.

5.       Remember that the curing process can take anywhere from two weeks to several months, depending on the results you are looking to achieve. Throughout this process, every single day, you need to open the containers up at least once to let out the excess moisture.


As you can see, drying and curing cannabis properly is very important, albeit not all that difficult. This is something that you can easily do at home as long as you have a bit of space and the right materials.

Even better is that it’s also not an expensive process at all, but can greatly improve the overall quality of your cannabis. It would be a real shame to spend so many months growing cannabis, just to ruin it all due to a failure to properly dry and cure it. Don’t forget to cure cannabis!

Fabian Raemy is an avid cannabis enthusiast and expert. He's been a part of the cannabis community in one way or another for the past 15 years. Whether cultivating or consuming, Fabian knows his cannabis inside out. In his humble opinion, there’s just nothing more rewarding than growing a great strain of marijuana and being able to take a puff of some home grown green.

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