After harvesting the cannabis light plants, proper drying and care is crucial for your buds. These processes help to preserve and develop the typical aromas of Cannabis light, keeping terpenes and cannabinoids unchanged, decreasing the percentage of chlorophyll, eliminating the “green” flavor of the plant.
The drying process of Cannabis light usually takes place in the open air or in specially controlled rooms. Harvested plants can lose up to 75% of their initial weight, this is because they lose moisture.
Drying should not be too fast or too slow. If the process happens too quickly, the outer part of the tops will look dry but the inside will not be; on the contrary, if the process is too slow, the tops may develop mold and mildew.
When the buds are cut and dried, they are placed in airtight containers for seasoning. This process stops the loss of moisture, preserving the aromas and allowing the buds to take on their characteristic smell.
How long does it take to dry cannabis light?
Drying lasts about 2-7 days. The process is usually shorter when “tanning” the tops. Tanning cannabis light plants means cutting the larger leaves immediately and dividing the plant into separate branches. In this way, since most of the leaves and branches are removed immediately, there is less plant material to dry.
One of the best methods to dry cannabis light plants, without tanning them right away, is to hang the harvested plants upside down, on a wire or with a hook, this prevents the tops from flattening or deforming as they dry.
An alternative method, used by most professional producers, is to use nets on which the cannabis light buds are then placed. For this process it is advisable to tan the plants to avoid that the leaves in contact with the tops can promote the development of mold.
The dried tops or branches should be checked after two days by bending a branch or stem: if the stem breaks, emitting a “crac” typical of dry plant material, it means that they are completely dry. If they do not break and bend without making sounds, they should be left to dry and checked later after one or two days.
How a drying chamber for light hemp is set up
Cannabis light is usually stored in a dark room with temperatures between 15-21°C and humidity between 55-65%.” A simple hygrometer allows you to monitor these parameters.
The room is usually equipped with fans or fans, which serve to circulate the air and you may also need a dehumidifier or air conditioner.
Equipment required for drying
- Drying nets or wires for hanging tops
- Hygrometer to measure temperature and humidity
- Air conditioning (optional)
How to dry the tops without using wires
When carrying out fresh plant tanning, one must necessarily use a net for drying. This is because there will be a lot of single tops, without a branch, so it will not be possible to hang them. Circular flat dryers with mesh layers, are perfect for ensuring good airflow.
The tops can be checked already after 2-3 days, crushing them slightly. If they are still too damp and fluffy, they should be checked again the next day.
Why is curing light cannabis important?
The process of care is perhaps the most neglected aspect of cultivation. During seasoning, moisture continues to pass from the center of the top to the outside.
Seasoning greatly affects the flavor and quality of the buds. Many terpenes, which give cannabis light its unique smell and aroma, are sensitive and can degrade or evaporate at temperatures above 15°C. Slow care at low temperatures will preserve terpenes better than rapid “hot” drying.
Proper care also allows you to store cannabis light for long periods without worrying about mold or losing cannabinoids and terpenes. Well-groomed buds can be stored in an airtight container, in a cool, dark place even for two years, without a significant loss of potency.
How to “cure” light cannabis plants
When the buds have finished drying and have been tanned (cut and cleaned) it is time to “cure” them. The cure is a maturing process, necessary to allow the inflorescences to develop the characteristic aromas and smells.
To carry out the treatment, the tanned and dried buds should be stored in airtight containers. Normally these are glass jars, which prevent further loss of moisture and preserve odors and aromas. The curing process (care), normally takes from two weeks to a month. During this period, the humidity inside the airtight containers should be from 55 to 65%.
How to cure light cannabis buds at home
Put the tops in some kind of airtight container. Most people use 250-500 ml wide-mouth glass jars, you can also use ceramic, metal (aluminum or steel, avoid iron and tin) or wood vases.
Plastic bags are not suitable for long-term storage as they are not impermeable to oxygen. Also, you definitely don’t want your cannabis light to have a plastic aroma.
Store the buds without compacting or crushing them. Seal the container and store it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
Within a couple of days, the buds may become a little softer, as moisture from the center of the buds rehydrates the outer parts.
The humidity inside the sealed jars should be 55-65%. You can buy a digital hygrometer to measure humidity in any hardware store or online.
If the buds are too dry, you can correct the moisture by using a tobacco humidifier. These are special terracotta or clay tablets that must be previously wetted.
If, on the other hand, the tops are too wet, leave the lid open for half a day. To keep your buds on top, be sure to check your humidity levels often.
Ventilate your tops
During the first week of seasoning, regardless of the level of humidity, open the containers once or twice a day for a couple of minutes. This releases moisture and replenishes oxygen inside the container.
If you notice an ammonia smell when you open a container, it means that the buds are not dry enough and that anaerobic bacteria (which do not need oxygen) are consuming them, this could make your cannabis light mold and rot. To avoid the problem, leave the lid open for a whole day.
After the first week, you can ventilate the containers even once every two to three days.
How long does it take to cure cannabis?
After two to four weeks in airtight containers, your cannabis light should be seasoned enough to give you a complete aromatic experience. Some people prefer to cure four to eight weeks, and some varieties need even six months or more of seasoning.
How to store light cannabis buds at home
After curing your plants or buying cured light cannabis, you can store the buds for up to two years without losing potency. Like good wine or a whiskey barrel, properly dried and seasoned cannabis light is best stored in a cool, dark place: mold on cannabis can appear at temperatures between 25-30°C.
Excessive heat can evaporate cannabinoids and terpenes that have taken months to develop. When these essential oils become too dry along with the plant material, the aroma can be acidic and altered.
Here are some tips for storing buds:
- Store away from direct sunlight in a cool, dry place
- Use airtight containers, prefer glass jars
- Use hygrometers and humidifiers to monitor and control humidity levels
- Seal jars and containers well to minimize oxygen exposure
- Separate varieties to maintain individual flavor profiles, and use labels or markers to mark the different varieties and avoid mixing them.
Lower temperatures also slow down decarboxylation, the process in which CBDA converts to CBD. In addition, warm air retains more moisture than cold air.
Moisture control is crucial to avoid mold and other contaminants in your cannabis light. Keep the buds between 55-65% relative humidity to maintain and enhance color, texture, and aroma.
UV (ultraviolet) rays are harmful and degrade many organic materials such as cannabis light. Keep the inflorescences away from direct light, also to better control the temperature.