Once you have harvested, trimmed, and dried your crop, you are ready for the most important part of post-production: curing. The curing process will ultimately determine potency, aroma and flavors of your finished product. You have made it this far and the way you handle your curing process will make or break the months of hard work you have already put in.
The Best Moisture Range for Marijuana Curing
Once your plants are properly dried, they should have about 20% of their initial wet weight. You’ll want to start your cure before that. The perfect moisture range for marijuana curing is about 30-35%. Excessive moisture will lead to mold and mildew, something you certainly want to avoid. If your flowers are too dry, there are methods you can employ to re-moisturize them before cure. Bend a stalk to see if it breaks. If it does, you should be ready to go. If not, let it dry for another day or two until it does.
The Importance of CBG
The secret to marijuana curing is CBG or cannabergerol. CBG could be considered the primary cannabinoid as it functions as a precursor to all others including THCA and CBDA. CBG is not usually found in high concentrations in finished product as, by that point, most of it has been transformed into other cannabinoids. Much of this metabolic process happens in the curing process.
The Science Behind Curing Cannabis
Curing involves the jarring of cannabis buds in an air tight container, preferably glass mason jars. While the buds are jarred up, the metabolic processes that lead to flavorful buds create a buildup of moisture and carbon dioxide which have to be routinely released from the jar, or “burped.” What is happening is the process of decay. During this process, aerobic bacteria present in the plant begin to consume the chlorophyll. This results in a less harsh taste as the terpenes begin to override the grassy taste of green plants.
Temperature Range for Proper Curing
To properly cure marijuana plants, you want to keep your jars in a cool dark room. Light will interrupt the metabolic processes going on within your curing buds. Temperature should fall between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Too cold and you may have pockets of moisture form which can lead to mold. Too hot and you risk over-evaporation of the flavorful oils that make your finished product great. You will want to regularly monitor your relative humidity in your jars since it will be at its peak just before burping. You want to keep relative humidity at around 55 percent. If you find your relative humidity is reaching levels as high as 70 percent, you need to remove your nugs and let them dry a little longer before continuing the marijuana curing process.
Burping Your Mason Jars
In order to properly burp your jars, you want to open them daily for around 30 minutes. This allows for the moisture and C02 to escape, which will also in turn allow the relative humidity of your jar to return to an acceptable level. Burping is about releasing the built up pressure that results from the metabolic process going on within. Your buds will continue to move toward that 20% optimal water level as you cure them. Once they hit it, you should be ready to go.
Curing is the final, and most important step in the post-harvest processing cycle. It locks in the flavors, taste, and potency that quality marijuana is known for. Growing marijuana and producing a quality finished product isn’t magic. It’s about following already established best practices crafted through decades of marijuana cultivation. Now that you know how to properly cure marijuana, there is no reason your bud can’t hold its own against Cannabis Cup winners from around the world.