After drying your cannabis, you should make sure the buds are trimmed and have their stems removed before you start curing.
Why Should I Cure my Cannabis
Curing allows the chlorophyll and sugars within to break down and escape in an effort to improve the aroma, flavor, and potency. A proper cure allows you to store your cannabis for long periods of time without worrying about mold or the loss of cannabinoid content. Well-cured flowers can be stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place for up to two years without significant loss of potency.
What you need:
Container – Wide mouth quart-size canning jars are the most commonly used container, but you can use ceramic, metal, wood, or plastic vessels as well. Some people use oven bags, which are perfectly fine, but most plastic bags are unsuitable for curing as they are not impervious to oxygen and can degrade when they come in contact with certain terpenes found in cannabis. Pack the flowers loosely into your containers.
Hygrometer (recommended) – This measures the humidity of the air inside your container so you can accurately determine the humidity levels.
Humidipaks (optional) – Boveda Medium 62% packs are cheap and specifically formulated for storing cannabis.
Once you have determined that your cannabis buds are mostly dry, it’s time to cure them.
Buds need some time to “sweat” in their curing containers before you can get an accurate reading of how much moisture is really in the container. Often times, buds which seemed dry when you initially put them in, will feel damp and soggy when you check on them a few hours later. This is because the moisture that was contained in the center has spread out to the rest of the bud.
Place the trimmed buds into the chosen container.
You want to fill each container 75% full of buds, so there’s still a bit of air at the top. If you shake the container, you want the buds to be able to move around.
From this point on, you want to stabilize the relative humidity at around 60-65% when the buds are placed in an enclosed container. This is the ideal range to cure your marijuana buds. If you’ve correctly dried your buds, then chances are your buds will already create the perfect humidity when they are placed in the container.
Optimal Curing Environment (in Jars):
Room Temperature – Around 70°F (21°C)
When the humidity is at 60-65%, your buds will feel completely dry on the outside, but won’t crumble or seem dusty in your hands (which usually means the humidity is too low).
During the first week, open the containers several times per day and let the flowers “breathe” for a few minutes. This allows moisture to escape and replenishes the oxygen inside the container. You should be checking on buds to determine the current humidity levels. You may also take this time to shake and move buds around, to ensure there are no moist spots, and buds aren’t sticking together in clumps.
Different Humidity Levels
> 70% humidity
When buds are too wet, your hygrometer will read greater than 70% relative humidity after buds are in their container with the hygrometer for 24 hours. If buds are very wet, you may see the humidity climb up this high within just a couple of hours. If you see the humidity rising on your hygrometer at a rate of 1% per hour or more, you may want open the container early, or at least keep a close eye, as your buds are probably too moist.
What to Do?
If you live in a normal to dry climate, you may be able to get away with just leaving the top off the jars for 1-4 hours. If you live in a humid climate, you may have to take the buds out of the jars and lay them out until the outsides begin to feel dry again. Moist buds should be separated so they are not touching each other. It is very important you react quickly if buds feel damp to the touch. If buds are sticking together in clumps when you try to shake it, this is also an indication that they are too wet. If you notice the odor of ammonia when opening a container, it means the buds are not dry enough to be cured and anaerobic bacteria are consuming them, which will lead to moldy, rotten cannabis.
When buds are slightly moist, your hygrometer will read 65-70% relative humidity after buds are in jars with hygrometer for 24 hours. Keep a close eye and make sure to ventilate often.
When buds are in the cure zone, your hygrometer will read 60-65% relative humidity after buds are in jars with hygrometer for 24 hours. This is where you want to be!
Some growers prefer to keep it a little lower during curing, down to around 55%, because it helps prevent the chance of mold or “moist pockets” in the jars. But just remember to move the buds around every so often for even curing.
At this point, some growers add a Humidipak to their curing containers to help keep the humidity in the correct range during the rest of the cure.
After 1 week
Once you are sure buds have been steadily in the cure zone, you may start opening the jars just once/week or even less.
After 2 to 3 weeks in containers
Your cannabis will be cured enough to provide a quality experience, but 4 to 8 weeks of cure time will improve it even more. Some strains benefit from 6 months of curing.
Step 7: Long-term storage
As long as buds remain consistently in the cure zone humidity levels after several weeks, you can begin to open jars once/month.
Buds will continue to improve from curing for up to 6 months. After 6 months, further curing will not continue to have much effect. At this point, you want to prepare the buds for long-term storage to maintain their potency for as long as possible.
For long-term storage (months), buds should be kept in air-tight containers and placed in a cool, dark environment.
For serious long-term storage (6 months or more), you may want to consider vacuum sealing your buds, or even better, storing them in your freezer in tightly packed mason glass jars. Remember that it will maintain longer if it isn’t exposed to oxygen, heat, or light.
Before you put the buds away and seal them, make sure that they haven’t gotten too dry. It should remain flexible, soft and supple. Without a little moisture, it will crumble into an unpleasant dust.