Curing is about more than just drying out the fresh marijuana buds. It also stabilizes the terpenes, reduces the chlorophyll levels that can make marijuana harsh to smoke, and ensures bacteria don’t grow in the plant material. Uncured weed can have low THC levels as it dries unevenly or grow mold. The traditional method for curing was once to hang the fresh buds in a dark room, but this method can lead to mold. Today most people use air-tight mason jars to cure their weed after drying it.
Preparing Buds for Curing
Drying marijuana usually takes only three days to one week, depending on the temperature and humidity levels of the room. Curing begins after that and aims to keep the marijuana from completely drying out. It can last up to 16 weeks, depending on the desired finished product. Trim the buds of all leaves and cut them down to a single strong stem connecting each cluster. Complete the drying stage in a room or container that is kept around 70 degrees F and 45% to 50% humidity. This will keep the drying from going too quickly and damaging terpenes, yet prevent mold growth.
Moving to the Curing Stage
For the long-term 2-16 week curing stage, you want to keep the buds at around 70 degrees F still. However, you want to raise the humidity a little to 55% to 65%. Instead of trying to maintain that in an open room, pack your buds in air-tight containers like mason jars. Use digital thermometers with humidity sensors in each container to ensure you’re staying in the right range. Humidity packs are available to help gently raise moisture levels without risking mold growth, while silica gel packs drop the moisture levels when they’re too high. Keeping an eye on the readings inside the jars and changing out the packs if needed is all you mainly need to do to cure weed for a smoother smoke and better high.
Keeping Heat and Light Levels Low
While marijuana needs warmth during both the drying and curing stages, temperatures shouldn’t rise about 75 degrees F if possible. Terpenes in particular are sensitive to heat degradation, but even THC can be lost from high-temperature drying. That’s why it’s not recommended you use any kind of direct heater or dehydrator to speed up the drying process. A space heater can be used to keep the room warm and air circulating if it can be set low enough to not overheat the room and it doesn’t point directly at the buds. Minimize light exposure, even artificial lighting, or use mason jars made from brown glass to protect what’s stored inside them.
Check the buds once a week to see how the texture and scent are changing as they cure. Once anywhere from 2 to 16 weeks has passed, give it a try. You’ll notice that the aromas become more pronounced and the smoke becomes smoother to inhale as the buds cure.