Ever lose those precious smells and flavors after sealing up your dried cannabis? There’s a pretty basic reason why … it was too (possibly unevenly) moist. It also has to do with moisture equalization/equilibrium. I have added a step when I am drying cannabis, and to this end, using some easy to get little net bags that I will tell you about later in this article. Let me run you through a pretty foolproof way to dry your cannabis and seal it up, keeping those wonderful terpenes perfectly poignant, every time.
There are large variables when it comes to each of us drying cannabis. Different genetics can hold on to more water, longer, when drying. Large dense buds on larger branches hold water longer than smaller buds on smaller diameter branches. Jars full of your larger buds may have lost their pungency compared to jars of smaller buds. Drying temperatures, air movement, and humidity, are all huge cannabis drying factors; additionally.
Drying Cannabis – The Hang
I am always slowly evolving when it comes to drying cannabis. I do things a bit differently now since last I wrote about this subject, and since you can wreck an otherwise primo harvest by messing up your drying and sealing dynamic, I deem it of uber high importance. Since I can’t give you all a universal table of time, regarding cannabis hang-time, due to all the variables I listed above in the intro, I will just give you a benchmark example, and you can easily extrapolate from there.
No longer do I trim my plants right at harvest, before hanging. I have come to prefer hanging my plants with zero trimming. Also, I prefer it to be very dim where they hang, or dark. Brightly light cannabis drying zones seem to encourage chlorophyll production in the plants even after chopping them, and this can add an unwanted “green” facet to the smells and flavors. Leaving the leaves on also shields the inner buds well against dim lighting. In a dim room untrimmed plants basically keep everything extra shielded, (buds) in the dark.
Letting plants hang until the stems snap when you bend them (the largest stems), is a good metric to go by. My temps where I am drying cannabis are about mid to high 70’s at right around 50% humidity average, good air movement and air exchange. I hang whole plants about 2’ to 3’ in height for right around 25 days. In hotter and/or dryer environments these times can go down to 15 days; or less.
I would always try and make it so my plants took at least 2 weeks hanging, before my cannabis was dry. Shorter hanging times result in underdeveloped flavors, in my opinion. Raising humidity, a little bit, or lowering temperatures, or lessening air movement, are all good ways to add some hang-time when drying cannabis. Alternately, adding heat, air movement, or reducing humidity—like via increased air exchange, are all ways to speed drying times along.
The Trimming to Create Similarity of Nugget Size
After you have reached the point where the stems snap when you bend them. It is time to do the trimming, and take down overall bud size, making them all more equal in size, rather than some really big buds and some smaller buds. The reason for this, is to equalize the moisture content in the buds as a group. I normally take my buds down to about 3- or 4-gram size, as a maximum.
Now you can alternately keep larger buds, but you must separate them so that they can all stay together in their own bag(s) throughout the net bag stage that follows. So, you would have some net bags full of smaller buds (3-grams or less) and some net bags filled with exclusively larger buds. The bags with the larger buds will need to hang longer in the net bags than the smaller buds, obviously. Keep buds the closest in size each, in their own net bags.
Drying Cannabis – The Net Bags
Here’s the twist, amigos. You will need some nylon net bags here for this next step, and here’s where I got mine on Amazon: Nylon Net Bags. These bags hold around 2.5 ounces each, easily, and up to 3 ounces completely filled. You don’t want or need to compact the buds into the bags much, just fill the bags as shown in the photo below. This allows all the moisture remaining to equalize throughout all the buds in the bags while they hang, and further use aerobic methodology to dehydrate buds at a constant.
Now it only takes about a week or 10 days hanging in the bags in my cannabis drying environment. At mid to high 70’s, about 50% relative humidity, with mild air movement, and good air exchange. You can easily test to see if they are ready by simply grabbing a bud from the center of the bag and sealing it up overnight in a small airtight container. Simply check the moisture levels in the morning—Boom! Your bag-time hanging will vary with environment and bud size.
This method using the net bags really made a difference for me, because no matter how skilled I am, I would still have issues from time to time, sealing up buds that had “hidden” moisture levels that would negatively effect my terpenes from fully expressing in the final dried, and cured product. Using the net bags this no longer happens, like ever. Try it out, and work out your own timetables when it comes to hanging, and bagging, before you seal them up for the cure, and you’ll have a good benchmark for the future.
Some genetics are just bomber for terpenes, and they will be uber stinky and tasty even if you mess up somewhat when you are drying cannabis of your own. Most plants though, need to be treated right to enhance all those terpenes to the very end. The net bag cannabis drying twist adds a very important step, the equalization of the moisture levels in all the buds, as a whole, per bag. While keeping high air exposure.
You can dial in your own times easily, always error on the side of too dry if you have doubt, at first. Having some control over the cannabis drying environment is vital. Dehumidifiers, humidifiers, heaters, portable A/C units, circulation fans, and venting (air exchange), are all tools at your disposal to dial in a small area for perfect drying before the sealed cure.
Check out this other article about Fading Your Cannabis for Top Shelf Smoke – w/Rev here at SKUNK. If you are in doubt along the way during this process above when drying cannabis, remember you can always just seal up a little nugget overnight and check its moisture levels in the morning. This way you don’t risk sealing up your buds too early, and this is a critical thang homeskillets! Easy to get it perfect this way. Until next week baybee, L8r G8rs.
- REvski ????
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.