Cannabis buds are the flowers of the cannabis plant and contain the majority of the plant’s active compounds, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (cannabidiol), and terpenes (aromatic oils that give cannabis its distinctive smell and flavor). Properly drying and storing cannabis buds is essential to preserving their potency and freshness.
We’ve put together this ultimate guide to teach you everything you need to know about how to dry and store your cannabis buds.
We’ll cover the importance of using dry buds, the best methods for drying, and how to prevent mold and mildew. By the end of this guide, you’ll be an expert on how to keep your cannabis buds fresh and potent for months (or even years)!
The Importance of Properly Drying Cannabis Buds
One of the most important steps to preserving the quality of your cannabis is to ensure that it is properly dried before storage. If your buds aren’t dried properly, they can develop mold or mildew, which can ruin both their taste and potency. Additionally, poorly dried cannabis is more susceptible to damage from pests and humidity.
When cannabis buds are first harvested, they contain a high moisture content (up to 80%). This high moisture content can cause the buds to degrade quickly, so it is important to dry them as soon as possible.
There are two main methods of drying cannabis: hanging and non-hanging.
Hanging is the preferred method as it helps to preserve the trichomes (the tiny crystals that cover the buds and contain most of the plant’s active compounds). Non-hanging methods, such as using an oven or dehydrator, are more likely to damage the trichomes and should only be used if absolutely necessary.
How to Hang Dry Your Cannabis Buds
Hang drying is the best way to dry your cannabis buds and preserve their quality. When done correctly, hang drying will result in buds that are dry, yet still sticky to the touch.
You will need a dark, dry, and well-ventilated space to hang dry your cannabis. A closet or spare room is ideal. You will also need a clothesline or something similar to hang the buds from.
Hanging upside down: The stem is the strongest part of the plant and will be able to support the weight of the wet buds better than the fragile branches. When hanging your cannabis, it is important to do so upside down by the stem.
Trim the leaves: There really isn’t any need to keep the fan leaves when drying cannabis. Not only do they add weight to the drying line, but they also restrict airflow to the buds. Trim them off and save them for making edibles or other cannabis products.
Keep an eye on the humidity: The goal is to have the humidity in your drying space between 45-55%. Too much humidity will cause mold to form, while too little will make the buds dry out too quickly and become brittle. A hygrometer can be used to monitor the humidity levels.
How to Dry Your Cannabis Buds Without Hanging Them
Not everyone has a spare room or closet that they can use to hang dry their cannabis. If this is the case, there are still several ways that you can dry your buds without hanging them.
In an open area: One way to dry your buds without hanging them is to simply lay them out on a clean surface in a well-ventilated room. A table, countertop, or even a floor will work. Just make sure that the area is dust-free and away from direct sunlight.
In a brown paper bag: Another option is to put your cannabis buds in a brown paper bag. Poke a few holes in the bag for ventilation and leave it in a cool, dark place. Check on the buds every few days to make sure they are not drying out too quickly.
Oven method: If you are in a hurry, you can dry your cannabis buds in the oven. Set the oven to its lowest setting (around 200 degrees Fahrenheit) and put the buds on a baking sheet. Leave the door open a crack to allow for airflow and check on the buds every 15 minutes or so. Be careful not to let the buds get too hot, as this may damage the trichomes.
Food dehydrator: Food dryers or dehydrators are designed to dry fruit and vegetables without damaging them. They work by circulating warm, dry air around the fruit. This same principle can be used to dry cannabis buds. Simply put your buds in the fruit dryer and set it to a low setting. Check on the buds every 30 minutes or so to make sure they are not drying out too quickly.
Preventing Mold and Mildew
Now that you know how to dry your cannabis buds, it is important to also know how to prevent mold and mildew.
Mold and mildew are the biggest threat to your cannabis crop and can ruin months of hard work in just a few days. They are both fungi that thrive in moist environments and can quickly spread through a drying crop.
Below are a few tips to prevent mold and mildew:
Monitor the humidity: The first step is to monitor the humidity levels in your drying space. The ideal humidity level for drying cannabis is 45-55%. Use a high-quality hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels and make adjustments as needed.
You can increase the humidity by adding a bowl of water to the room or using a humidifier. You can decrease the humidity by opening a window or using a dehumidifier.
Check for visual signs and odors: Another way to prevent mold and mildew is to check your cannabis buds for visual signs and odors. The most common signs of mold are:
White powdery mildew: This type of mildew usually starts as small white spots on the buds. It spreads very quickly and can ruin an entire crop in just a few days.
Gray mold: Gray mold is another type of fungi that can quickly destroy a cannabis crop. It usually starts as small gray spots on the buds and spreads quickly in humid environments.
Bud rot: Bud rot is another type of mold that starts as small brown spots on the buds. It quickly spreads and will eventually cause the entire bud to turn brown and mushy.
Musty odors: Everyone knows the distinct smell of mold and mildew. If you notice a musty odor in your drying space, it is likely that mold or mildew is present.
If you see any of these signs, it is important to take action immediately. Remove any affected buds from the drying space and increase the ventilation. You may also want to use a fungicide to prevent the mold from spreading.
Drying and storing your cannabis buds is a crucial step in the cultivation process. If done properly, it will preserve the quality and potency of your buds.
There are several different methods for drying and storing cannabis. The best method for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
No matter which method you choose, it is important to monitor the humidity levels and check for visual signs of mold or mildew. By taking these precautions, you can ensure that your cannabis buds are of the highest quality.