"The day of fortune is like a harvest day, We must be busy when the weed is ripe." ~ Torquato Tasso
So, you now know how to grow pot, and your marijuana plant is ready for harvest! How exciting!
And yet, now is when this whole growing pot thing gets real serious. The steps you take next will either result with your cabinets overflowing with deliciously dank homegrown buds or, send you crying to the dispensary because you rushed the drying and curing process and now your buds are bunk.
Drying Weed Guide
While many excited pot growers want to know the fastest way to dry weed, it’s important to learn the basics first. And while we give you many options below so that you may pick and choose the method that works best for you, there is no replacing the patient, slow-drying method in terms of final quality.
Here's how you dry cannabis for the best results:
How to Dry Marijuana (Quick Guide)
Harvest and Trim
A way to quicken the drying process is to first remove fan leaves. Fan leaves hold water and will increase the humidity around the drying buds if left on.
Once pre-trimmed by removing fan leaves, harvesting is done by cutting each branch just below the bud. Once cut, the branch is hung to dry.
(Note: Sometimes, the top-most buds are ready before the bottom buds. This is a normal occurrence because of the relative light exposure between the top and bottom of the plant. In these cases, you harvest in stages-- taking the top buds first and then circling back for the bottom buds in a few days.)
You can also directly cut and trim the buds if you are using a drying rack, in a method called wet trimming. This can be useful but can also result in smooshed buds from laying on one side too long.
If you want to avoid lots of time spent trimming the leaves, you could invest in a trimming machine. Trimming machines, however, can shave off trichomes and bruise your final product. This can bruise your feelings too when the product of all your hard work lacks those delicious THC-laden crystals.
Hang your Buds in a Dark Room
After you have harvested your buds, transfer them to a dark room. Ensure that there is no sunlight streaming in. Sunlight will bleach your buds. Your darkroom should have a temperature between 60°F and 70°F and humidity levels of 45-55%.
To maintain your humidity levels, it helps to use a dehumidifier. Use an air conditioner to maintain the temperature if needed. Additionally, you should use a small fan (or multiple fans) to improve ventilation.
Check if the Weed is Dry
Leave your marijuana to dry for 5 to 15 days, checking daily for signs of mold, as well as to avoid overdrying. Rotate the buds daily to ensure they are drying evenly. Handle them by the stem to prevent breakages.
If you are a seasoned grower, you can tell if the weed is dry by just looking at it. However, as a guide, you can touch and tell. If the flowers are a bit crispy, and the thinnest branches snap instead of bend, your buds are dry and ready to be cured.
Cure Your Weed
Curing ensures that your marijuana is completely dry and tastes good. Cannabis is cured by placing it in an airtight container like plastic or glass canning jars.
Open the jar every day for several minutes to let out any remaining moisture. This allows fresh oxygen in and other stuff out. If you are in a hurry and want a quick fix, you can cure it for two days, but if you are not in a rush, cure your weed for 2 to 4 weeks.
If you happen to get a whiff of ammonia smell, it is an indication that your weed did not dry properly before storing it. That ammonia smell means bacteria may have already invaded your buds. This is why you must ensure that they have adequately dried before storing.
Optimal Conditions for Drying Weed
Drying cannabis is essential for great tasting weed. To ensure you are drying correctly follow these steps:
- Dry your weed in a dark, cool, and well-aired room
- Keep the temperature between 60°F and 70°F. High temperatures will reduce the humidity level (below 45%), causing your weed to dry too fast.
- Use a thermometer and hygrometer to measure temperature and humidity and adjust for fluctuations.
- Use air conditioners to manage temperature levels.
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How to Dry Your Weed Fast
Drying correctly can take a long time, which is why, over the years, many marijuana growers have tried experimenting with different ways of shortening the process. Some of these techniques are better than others in terms of final result.
Although drying as fast as possible may seem like what we want, drying fast can cause a harsh taste. On the other hand, lower temperatures will trigger an increase in humidity (above 55%). This makes the drying process take longer than expected, thus increasing the chances of mold infesting your buds.
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Here is a list of what many experienced growers consider to be the fastest way to dry weed:
Best Ways to Dry Your Weed Fast
Hang Your Weed to Dry
Hanging your weed upside down in a dark, well-ventilated room is hands down the best way to dry your weed.
To speed up this process, you can raise the temperature above the recommended 60°F to 70°F range. If you choose to do this, keep checking on your weed and make the necessary adjustments to keep the environment working in your favor.
Raising the temperature will lower the humidity so adding a humidifier may help. If the room becomes too humid, increase the airflow and let the temperature stay constant. Ensure that all parts of your harvest are heated in equal measure.
Keep in mind that the hotter the temperature gets, the more you risk your final product losing potency and tasting awful. When it comes to drying weed, “the best things come to those who wait.” 😉
Dry the Buds in a Boiler Room
Similar to the previous method, if your home has a boiler room, it can be a great place to dry your weed. This area is mostly used to supply the house with warm water. When used to dry marijuana, the boiler helps maintain suitable temperature levels. There’s also minimal humidity.
There are two ways to dry marijuana in a boiler room. You could try placing your marijuana in brown bags, then leaving them in the room for 3-4 days.
You could also use strings to hang your buds and leave them up for 3-4 days to dry. The latter method is more suitable for people with a massive amount of marijuana to dry.
The good thing about drying your weed in a boiler room is that your potency will not be affected. However, this method will leave you paying higher utility bills, and the taste of the weed will not be fantastic.
Dry Buds in Brown Bags
If you are running low on weed, or you do not have the patience to slowly dry and cure your cannabis, this method should help shorten the process to a few days, instead of weeks. If your buds are small (popcorn-sized), you can use brown paper bags to dry your weed.
Place two or three newly harvested buds in the bag and leave it in a cool place for three to six days. After the 6th day, remove your weed from the bag, and voilà! It is now ready for consumption!
Your laptop can also be a good source of heat for drying marijuana. Place your weed-filled brown bags on top of the laptop vent where heat is dispensed. After every 10 minutes, turn your bag. Repeat this process several times.
When the weed is ready, you will feel its dryness upon touch. Drying with this method may take close to one hour. Keep in mind, this method may cause your weed to taste a little harsh, but it’s also easy and quick.
Bake the Buds in Oven
Baking your buds, also known as decarboxylation, is possibly the fastest way to dry weed. For this method, you’ll need an oven tray (a cookie sheet works) and buds. Place your buds on the tray and put them in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Set the temperature between 125° and 140°. After five minutes, flip them and return them to the oven. Repeat this once.
This method is great because it will not impact the potency of your buds. Also, it removes the water. However, the taste cannot be compared to that of slowly dried buds, and you will definitely taste the harshness.
Take care not to burn your weed because you can’t smoke it if you burn it. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, never set your oven temperature above 150°F.
Dry Your Weed in the Sun
Also known as the Sun Dry Method, this is one of the more traditional methods for quick drying pot, although it may not be the fastest way or easiest to control. Before placing your cannabis in the sun, put it in a brown bag or a plastic container using a crutch so that it is not touching the plastic. Placing your pot in the sun forcefully removes humidity. The paper bag ensures that your weed dries completely. If you go the plastic container route, the weed must be positioned so that it is not on the plastic-- moisture will pool on the plastic.
The Sun Drying Method is best used when it is hot outside. The pro is that it provides you with a quick fix. Your weed will be ready after two days if the air is not very humid. The downside to this method is that the sun destroys the terpenes that give your weed its scent. It also dissolves the cannabinoids that get you high.
Freeze Drying Weed
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are many companies that are now manufacturing freeze-drying units, to be used by weed growers to dry their cannabis fast. The freezer freezes your weed, turning the moisture into crystals.
The tiny water crystals are sucked from the plant using a low-pressure vacuum. The freezing unit leaves your marijuana without water and full of cannabinoids and terpenes. After 21 hours, your cannabis is more potent and resistant to dreadful conditions.
The freezer will cost you a pretty penny, and chemistry skills are vital to operating the machine. This makes it suitable for commercial marijuana producers and researchers.
Worst Ways to Dry Your Weed Fast
Drying Weed with an Electric or Gas-Powered Heater
This method is suitable for drying large amounts of cannabis. You’ll need either an electric or gas-powered heater. Before you start, make sure that the room you are using is dry and well ventilated. Inspect your buds and confirm that they are not sitting too close together, as this could result in mold growth. Mold spreads very fast, and it spoils the weed, making it nearly unmarketable. A heater can be a method for drying marijuana fast; however, be careful not to go too fast.
This method is challenging because it is tricky to get an even temperature. The weed close to the heater gets too hot and the weed far away doesn’t get hot enough and molds. And the taste is always lost.
Dry Weed with a Hair Dryer
This is similar to using a heater-- just smaller and with way more wind. Some who utilize this method will use a shoebox, put the weed inside, cut a hole for the nozzle of the hairdryer, stick it in and let it blow for about an hour. You will want to check on it periodically to rotate and make sure it is not getting too dry.
A tip for having any success with this method is to start with only a few buds. Downside is that this, like running a heater, will increase your utility bill at the end of the month.
Drying Weed in the Microwave
This method is only appropriate for small amounts of weed. Set your microwave at 50% full power and place your marijuana inside. Turn it every 15 seconds and leave it to cool for a minute. Repeat the process until your weed is dry.
Your weed will get dry, but like trying to reheat french fries in a microwave, the final product is just a bit off.
The Benefits of Drying Your Weed
Whether you use the fast or regular method, drying your weed thoroughly has some definite benefits. If you take your time with it, you could eliminate the harshness, eliminating that cough when smoking, or headaches after smoking your marijuana.
Here are more of the benefits of properly dried weed:
- The unique smell of cannabis is present
- Drying helps eliminate the unpleasant smell of cut grass- the trademark of newly harvested marijuana.
- Fast-drying weed helps break down chlorophyll and improve the texture of the buds.
- When cannabis is dried and cured correctly, the potency of the buds is brought out.
- Thoroughly dried marijuana reduces the chances of the user experiencing paranoia, racing thoughts, or anxiety.
The Curing Process
Curing weed is a way of fully drying your cannabis by allowing the trapped moisture inside the buds to be drawn to the surface. You will need airtight containers and jars, and avoid zip lock bags as moisture can get in.
Step by Step Process of Curing Your Weed
- After your weed is dry enough, cut off the buds from the stalk, trim off sugar leaves to your liking, and place the manicured buds in airtight jars. Make sure the humidity within the jars is between 60-65%.
- Gently shake the jar a little to ensure the buds are loosely packed and are not sticking together.
- Open the jar after every couple of days to let the moisture out for the first two weeks. This is referred to as burping. It allows the buds to breathe and let out moisture and prevents the formation of mold. It’s also a great time to inspect your dried flowers.
- To check if your weed is cured correctly, sample it by smoking some. By this time, your marijuana should have 5 to 10% of the initial 80% moisture present before it was dried.
The process of curing cannabis can take up to six months if you are not in a hurry, but if you need a quick fix, you can cure your weed for one or two weeks.
Curing weed helps in retaining the nutrients, flavors, and cannabinoids found in each unique cannabis plant. It also helps in stopping the degradation process of compounds such as terpenes and cannabinoids so your weed lasts longer!
After it is cured, you should store your weed in a dark room, as light aids in breaking down cannabinoids. A refrigerator can be a good option, as the cool temperature helps in slowing down THC degradation but use airtight containers to ensure the moisture within the refrigerator does not spoil your weed through mold formation.
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Related: The best way to store your weed
If you are looking for the fastest way to dry weed, the methods above will work. However, your weed may turn out tasting harsh. And after spending the time and care growing your plant, why waste all your hard work on bad weed? For quality weed, be prepared to have the patience for a slow dry and cure.
Outside of growing, this step has a substantial impact on the potency, taste, and aroma of your final product.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Dry Weed
Does dry weed lose potency?
It depends, it's all about the drying, curing and storing process. Properly dried and cured marijuana will not lose potency over a long period of life if kept in an airtight container (preferably, in a cool dark place). Cannabis is best stored in a glass jar at a cool temperature out of the reach of light rays.
Is dry weed better than moist weed?
Less it weighs, the more you get. If your weed is wet, it's not cured out properly and you should dry it out following one of the methods above.
Why is dispensary weed so dry?
Because it goes through a proper curing process. Have you ever thought about how old the weed is that you get from the dispensary? The answer may surprise you.