Curing a cannabis harvest is an important process for anyone who wants to create the highest quality weed they can. It is a fine art that takes a lot of practice and patience to get right, but once you have mastered it, you will always have the best possible weed at your disposal.
If you have only bought commercially grown cannabis, it is unlikely you have ever encountered cured weed - unless you are particularly lucky. Most people who grow to sell will dry their harvests quickly without any curing involved so as to achieve the fastest turn around possible. They do this to maximize profit – which is fair enough if you are trying to run a business. There are a few commercial growers who do cure, but it is a rare thing. The end result of the quick turn round process can be a product that is quite harsh to smoke and has a reduced potency (fast drying techniques often leave the inner part of the bud overly damp and hard to burn). A real connoisseur always chooses cured weed for personal use- it has been created for their ultimate enjoyment.
The curing process takes place after drying and allows a few further things to happen that increase the quality of the bud. Firstly, it gives bacteria time to break down the remaining chlorophyll in the plant matter. Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in pretty much any plant and is a vital component for photosynthesis – the means by which plants create food for themselves. However, chlorophyll contains magnesium which, when burnt in a joint causes the smoke to be sharp and harsh. By curing the weed you remove a lot of this and dramatically increase the overall quality of the smoking experience.
The second advantage of curing is that it allows further control of the moisture level of your bud. Drying bud removes water, resulting in a stronger and easier to burn product. However, the drier the bud gets, the more it loses its taste and aroma – you need to strike a balance and assess where your priorities lie. By moving your harvest from drying to curing just at the point when it is dry enough to burn, but not very well, you gain some control over just how much moisture is retained.
There are quite a few curing techniques out there, but it is generally agreed that the following one yields the best overall results. The bud is placed in airtight glass jars and kept in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. When packing the bud make sure not to compact it. If the THC particles become bunched it will result in a much harder to burn weed. The jars should be opened in the first week every day for a short checkup and a bit of bud rotation. After the first week, open the jars for 30 minutes per day for about 3-4 weeks. This allows excess moisture to escape and supplies the bacteria breaking down the chlorophyll with more air to use in the process.
As previously mentioned, curing is seen as quite a fine art. It can be quite easy to accidentally remove too much moisture from your weed or have it so damp to begin with that the curing process is hindered and rendered useless. Should you over-dry your bud, it is possible to add in newer bud that will eventually moisten the rest of the jar to reach equilibrium. Some cultivators also add in slices of fruit, such as oranges to increase the levels of moisture in the jar. This will also give the bud its own unique taste.
This whole process tends to take a total of four to eight weeks. You will know when it is done when the jars stop “burping” as you open them. (This means that the bacteria have stopped dismantling the accessible chlorophyll). After this, the bud can be pretty much stored indefinitely, but it will tend to slowly loose THC potency after the eight-week mark. However, to minimize this, the bud can be stored in a cool, dark, dry place to slow down the degeneration. Warmth, light, moisture and air flow are the buds enemies.
This whole process is not technically necessary and can be quite hard to master. Drying is enough to obtain a great smoke, but if you can master curing, you will take your weed to the next level - it just takes a bit of experimentation and patience. The important thing is to enjoy it and take pride in the end result.
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