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Your guide to drying and curing cannabis buds

August 8, 2016
drying curing cannabis, marijuana, harvesting marijuana

After months of hard work carefully tending your plants, you’ve finally harvested a crop of frosty, fragrant cannabis buds that you just can’t wait to try. But first, they need to be dried. While you may be tempted to dry your cannabis as quickly as possible, curing, a prolonged process of removing moisture from the flowers under controlled environmental conditions, will provide a much better product for multiple reasons.

Proper cannabis curing increases potency

Cannabis plants produce tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and other cannabinoids through a process called biosynthesis, in which certain compounds are gradually converted into new blends. For example, THCA becomes the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, THC.

What is THCA and What are the Benefits of This Cannabinoid?

This process doesn’t completely stop the second you cut down your plant; if you keep freshly harvested cannabis in temperatures between 60 and 70°F and humidity level between 45-55%, the conversion of non-psychoactive cannabinoids to THCA will continue and your buds will gain potency. Quick drying under warm, dry conditions halts this process much faster.

Curing affects flavor and quality of smoke

Many of the aromatic compounds (terpenes) that give cannabis its unique smell and flavor are quite volatile, and can degrade and evaporate at temperatures as low as 70°F. A slow cure at low temperatures will preserve these terpenes better than a quick, hot cannabis drying process.

Infographic: What are Cannabis Terpenes and How Do They Affect You?

These conditions also create an optimal environment for enzymes and aerobic bacteria to break down leftover minerals and the undesirable sugars produced by the decomposition of chlorophyll during the drying process. The presence of these sugars and leftover minerals is what causes the harsh, throat-burning sensation you get from smoking improperly cured cannabis.

Curing preserves your cannabis

A proper cure allows you to store your cannabis for long periods without worrying about mold or the loss of cannabinoid content. Well-cured flowers can be stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place for up to two years without significant loss of potency.

How Long is My Cannabis Good For? Leafly's Guide to Storing Cannabis

How to dry and cure your cannabis

(The Colonel/AdobeStock)

There are many ways to cure cannabis buds, but most people use a variation of one popular method. Although you can freeze dry, water cure, or even dry-ice cure your buds, we are going to focus on the easiest and surest way to get the best results from your harvest.

Initial cannabis drying

How you complete this step will depend on how you harvest your cannabis. The most popular way is to cut 12-16” branches from the plants, remove unwanted leaves, and then hang the branches from string or wire. Some growers cut and hang whole plants, while others will snip buds from branches and place them on cannabis drying racks. You may fully manicure your flowers before drying, or wait until after.

Regardless of which method you prefer, you will need to keep the harvested cannabis in a dark room with temperatures kept within the 60-70°F range and humidity between 45-55%, with a small fan to gently circulate the air. This is crucial to preserving the flavor and aroma of your harvested bud in the finished product, so it’s recommended that you have a dehumidifier, A/C unit, or another method for ensuring that conditions stay in this range.

Factors That Impact Your Cannabis Strain: Part 5, The Curing Process

When the flowers feel a little crunchy on the outside and the smallest branches snap when you bend them rather than fold, you’re ready for the next step. Depending on the density of the flowers and the environmental conditions, it can take anywhere from 5 to 15 days for the initial drying to be complete.

Final cannabis cure

Once you have determined that your cannabis buds are mostly dry, it’s time to cure them.

Step 1: Manicure your buds and separate them from the branches, if you have not done so already.

Growing Organic Cannabis at Home

Step 2: Place the trimmed buds into some type of airtight container. Wide mouth quart-size canning jars are the most commonly used container, but you can use ceramic, metal, wood, or plastic vessels as well. Some people use oven bags, which are perfectly fine, but most plastic bags are unsuitable for curing as they are not impervious to oxygen and can degrade when they come in contact with certain terpenes found in cannabis. Pack the flowers loosely into your containers, filling them all the way to the top without compacting or crushing the buds.

Step 3: Seal the containers and place them in a cool, dry, dark spot to finish the curing process. Within the first day, you will notice that the buds are no longer crunchy and dry on the outside, as moisture from inside the flowers rehydrates the outer portions. If this is not the case, you have over-dried your cannabis.

Step 4: During the first week, open the containers several times per day and let the flowers “breathe” for a few minutes. This allows moisture to escape and replenishes the oxygen inside the container. If you notice the odor of ammonia when opening a container, it means the buds are not dry enough to be cured and anaerobic bacteria are consuming them, which will lead to moldy, rotten cannabis. After the first week, you will only need to open the containers once every few days or so.

Root Rot, Mildew, and Leaf Septoria: How to Deal with These 3 Cannabis Plant Diseases

After 2 to 3 weeks in containers, your cannabis will be cured enough to provide a quality experience, but 4 to 8 weeks of cure time will improve it even more. Some strains benefit from 6 months or more of curing.

The curing process is possibly the most overlooked aspect of cannabis production, one that was all but ignored when the black market was our only option. Due to competition in the medical and recreational cannabis markets, more producers are paying attention to this process that turns a decent product into a truly excellent one, and now you can do the same with your homegrown flowers.

How to Increase Production of Ripe Trichomes on Cannabis

  • Hammybones


  • Kief Preston

    good lookin out Leafly!

  • Chauncey X

    What about using bovida 62% packs to control RH in the curing jar?

    • Closet Grower J

      I’ve heard from a few (mostly reputable) growers that they believe they’ve noticed a loss in terps when CURING with bovedas. Boveda themselves claim a 15% increase in terps when STORING with bovedas as opposed to without, but Boveda has never claimed that CURING with their products is helpful. If you cure properly, bovedas aren’t nessisary for curing. With or without bovedas you should still burp your jars, as it supplies the aerobic bacteria with fresh air.

      • tatu-o

        I agree. Too hi-fi curing is just futile.

    • MacMillerzDed

      Working for us!

      • 42oCloud

        Hopefully it works for me.

    • KirkinDallas

      Trying the Bovida 65% packs for the 1st time. It makes sense that they would improve the curing process. Changed my final 3 weeks of grow prior to harvest. Tried a bud after drying, prior to curing, and already pretty f’ing good. Will let y’all know…

  • Jessica Mae Romero

    Sick. Thank you for this Leafly! Drying and soon to start curing my first ever crop.

  • j James

    Is using a cigar humidor okay?

    • TheGuyWhoCares

      As long as you introduce fresh air daily until the initial cure is done.

      • Maureen Dowd

        NO. Buy jars. You will dry out too quickly. Don’t waste your efforts like that.

    • Maureen Dowd


      • j James


    • krusht2

      For storing cigars? Of course it’s ok! … and why can I not use a dehydrator to dry my buds?

      • TT Underbridge

        dries them too fast and makes it taste/smell like hay

    • KirkinDallas

      Use Mason jars. Open them daily for 30 seconds or so to exchange air. I use 65% Bovida packs to maintain humidity. Take your time. The longer you can resist consuming it, the finer it will become. Almost like a fine whisky.

    • $parkle Puss

      Nope. Use mason jars or baby food jars…any kind of glass jar with a seal-able lid. Drying & curing too fast will leave you with harsh, flavorless buds or weed that tastes like hay. It can even affect the quality of the high.

  • Cid

    When you seal the jars, do you need to vacuum the air out?

    • No. Just burp them regularly for the first week or so in order to exchange the air in the jar.

    • krusht2

      For sure – with your Electrolux! … or maybe a Kirby is better!

      • Dmizzle

        Lol that’s a good one

  • platinumwaite

    I just dry my buds in the oven at 250. Dries them really quick and turns them a really cool brown color. LOL.

    • Troma

      Are you serious? That is as dumb as my girlfriend who used the microwave once.

      • chris Bryson

        I’ve done it both ways, trust me, the microwave is dumber. haha. It works but tastes like shit and you lose some of the high. Nothing compares to a proper cure though, I was just impatient.

    • Doug Joseph St Laurent


    • Abby Hauck

      just described the decarbing process lol. perfect for edibles 🙂

      • Nick Kiefer

        Yeah, he might as well eat those when he’s done, haha.

    • KirkinDallas


  • Jarrett Hobart

    what if you live in New England and have a unheated space for drying, what’s to cold

    • krusht2

      Jarrett, cooler will only mean longer – it might test your patience, but it won’t HARM your bud-wurks!

    • Doug Joseph St Laurent

      if it is too cold and your buds stay wet too long they will mold and can and will harm your buds!!

    • mojo hand

      curing should be done TEMP at 68-70 and humidity 50% NO more COLD IS NO GOOD THEY WILL STOP

  • Joanne Tisei

    Can I put my buds in cigar boxes to dry out?

    • mojo hand

      GLASS no need to vacuum seal you will be oping them daily

    • tatu-o

      IF you are newbie, just dry them. Forget jars. make it as dry as possible an put it in bag or something. It’s enough..

  • sharkbelly

    My plants have very small reddish brown bug or something on the underside of the leaves and some are buried in the flowers that are causing the water leaves and parts of the flowers to brown and die. I am also finding very small web like fibers. Are these spider mites? One plant also had very small, what I think to be snails, because I was finding white foam in between my flowers. Are these things related?

    • Shane

      I don’t really know about the bugs, could be spider mites, but I’m pretty sure the web like fibers you’re talking about (if you’re looking under a microscope) would be the beginning of mold. I’ve had it happen to me before, where under a 500x microscope it looks like a spiderweb, but a few days later there were patches of white fuzz starting to take over the bud. Luckily I caught it early and just cut the moldy bud off and closely inspected all the other buds in my tent, but if you’re not careful the spores will spread and ruin your crop. I’ve only been growing for about a year and am only on my 4th grow, so def not an expert, just letting you know what happened to me.

      • David Marshall

        Spider mites produce webs. Usually you won’t see any until the population is significant. You can see then with the naked eye but a 15-20 X hand lens is best for scouting for insect pests

    • David Marshall

      Most likely Spider mites or possibly Even Worse Russet mites. Both are very difficult to manage. It’s so much easier to prevent these persistent pest than correct the situation. Never take a plant from a “friend ” unless you are qualified to scout it and make sure it is clean. Limit the amount of people with access to the growing areas as they can bring pests from their facility into yours. Tomato growers with burn Sulfur in the greenhouses ti kill russet mite but that probably won’t work with cannabis. Otherwise you can try horticultural oils spray, or whatever is legal in your area. be prepared for a long drawn out battle to save your crop and include some downtime to properly clean up between crops and start off clean

    • Tommy Finnegan

      Spider mites indeed. Tell-tale webs. Probably also have fine lines across surface of affected leaves.

    • Ruby

      Use a magnifying glass. If there are spider mites you will see webs and the mites walking around; they look like tiny spiders. If it’s close to harvest time the easiest thing to do is harvest the plant; the mites will go away during drying. You can clean off the webs or just ignore them; they’re basically dust that vaporizes when smoked. If it isn’t harvest time the best way to get rid of the mites is to get ladybugs; nurseries sell them. Ladybugs love to eat spider mites but they don’t eat plants.

  • Art Martinez III

    Thx for all the good tips

  • 29makessense

    King Harvest has Surely Come. Good song by The Band hopefully a good harvest. THANKS FOR THE INFO LEAFLY!

    • Ava Edilo

      Last year this time it weren’t no joke, my whole farm went up in smoke!

    • dan Tilman

      fuck king harvest they prey on disabled people n fb to sell their cbd shit.

  • Kendrick Williamson

    I’m on my very first plant to make it to the flowering stage and I nearly destroyed it by putting it out in the rain water. The rain beat it down and split it completely in half… I pulled up the damaged section and allowed the other to continue to grow, but now, that it has begun to get cooler, I think it’s time to harvest what can be spared. I’ve been looking all over youtube for videos but this article is all I think I need… I’m gonna try this and see what happens.

    • Nick Kiefer

      Rock on, freaky bro.

  • mojo hand
    • Karen Riley Donaldson

      That’s an auto strain?

      • mojo hand

        yes ak-48 auto

        • mojo hand

          no sorry not auto, its fem

          • tatu-o

            Auto seeds are no good. Use just feminized seeds and mostly sativa strain and you’re on!

          • Troy Hendrickson

            Other than a crap shoot on sex, nuttin wrong with easter eggs.

      • mojo hand

        600 wat led

        • tatu-o

          Led never beats HPS ligth. and HPS never beats sun.

          • itsjbro

            Clearly you’re an idiot. It goes Sun > QB > Cob > HPS > Blurple LED > CFL

          • Nick Kiefer

            dyuh. he didn’t say anything that deviated from that and you call him an idiot. clearly *you’re* an idiot.

          • NotAFanboyy

            Clearly you haven’t seen an HLG board.

    • chris Bryson

      Its…. its…. its just so beautiful

    • Jake Flynn

      Sell it and buy a new TV bud

      • mojo hand

        i have a 75 in and a 65 in k-4 do i need more this room is just a room i have 6 bedrooms BUD!!!!

        • KirkinDallas

          you mean 4K, right?

          • Ant

            i think he’s smoking K2

      • Tony M


      • terry208

        Too funny!

      • James Jeffery

        Or … sell the TV and don’t buy another. TV is junk food for the mind.

        • Mark Stonebraker

          Amen to that. It’s called programming for a reason.

        • Chris Winter

          Unless your watching hockey!

          • Otto

            Spot on brotha!

          • Blake Shortreed

            And football and baseball!!

      • Willie McPhee

        LOL 🙂

      • ciel
      • claudio pollero


    • KirkinDallas


    • Doge of Doom

      How long did it take from seed to that glorious thing we see here?

    • AK Guide

      Fine looking plant. What strain I wonder.

      • mojo hand


        • AK Guide

          Very nice. Thank you.

        • AK Guide

          Greetings mojo, I found AK 47 in Amdam. My guys in Amdam are Greenhouse Strain Hunters. Had the pleasure of spending time with Franco and crew. They have a strain called Kalishnakov which looks really good.

    • Wyatt Calton


    • Toledo Window Box

      Cactus Ganja

  • KirkinDallas

    I would recommend when curing in jars. This is the most amazing shit, it keeps humidity constant regardless, in your jars. I’m using them now.

  • John the Revelator

    Curing some now, I have learned to be patient. Toke on…

  • AK Guide

    Harvest day for Gorilla Glue, a very special day. Trics milky, with only a few amber. No bugs as winter indoor grow in Michigan completely successful. Recreational cannabis use in Michigan will be on the ballet during the next voting cycle. Happy days.

    • Jerry Martinez

      GG apparently is a very popular strain this season.i highly recommend green crack and sour diesel haze.

      • AK Guide

        Greetings Jerry,
        While I prefer sativa dominate strains, I am familiar with both the strains you mention. I am harvesting my 3rd indoor crop of GG and remain very impressed with the results. I go for the laughing, cerebral, above the shoulders experience. My patients seem to prefer GG as well. Timing of harvest includes milky trichoms, as when I see amber trics, it is time to harvest. GG is a cup winner, and winner in my book.

        • Nick Kiefer

          GG is definitely up there. Nice, uplifting cerebral high that coasts gradually into an indica-type sleepy-time feel. Perfect for your last toke of the evening…

      • AK Guide

        Greetings Jerry. I know both strains very well. I was a judge at cannabis cup in Amsterdam 3 times, which was a great adventure. Happy to report that Alaska went rec legal quite some time ago, and that Michigan went rec legal as of Dec 6th this year. Happy that both my home States are now rec legal.
        Chow for now,

  • tatu-o

    Sounds hard business. I just dry my buds in ~21 degrees of celsius with small fan goin on there. Before that i cut any leaves from buds. I dry them and smoke at first when they are dry. After buds have dried, not like pipe totabacco, but dry as dry, it take them down and sell & smoke. That’s best.

    I dont understand people wanting to get most potent (indica kush) weed. Sativas like Strawberry Kush and Durban Poison are the best. And don’t need any special curing at all. Just 20-24 degrees of celsius and humidity around 35-45 %. that’s all. and how good stufff it is! ah!

    • D Harlo

      it doesn’t only make it more potent, it makes the smoke less harsh and better tasting. It’s like aged wine

  • Tom Emery

    How is the process different if I plan to use the canabis for edibles?

  • Casey Daniels

    Very wise and very important in the taste and the high .

  • Michael Villalobos

    I think I may have over dried my flower. Is there anthing i can do?

    • BeastmOn

      toss a piece of apple or potatoe or the likes in the bag till rehydration

  • Anthony Davis

    Hoping two more wks. Til harvest

  • skull man

    My pineapple express is so bomb this year! Get your shine on!

    • Nick Kiefer

      That’s what I’m growing! First time, but there is *so* much info on the Net that I kind of feel like I know what i’m doing. It’s just hard to keep the costs down. But it is pretty darn fun, and the anticipation is way fun, too. 🙂 I bought 10 seeds and have only used 3 – they all sprouted. So far so good in the veg stage for like 40 days for the big one (they are staggered because I realized I could easily grow more than one… then more than two… haha… I didn’t have much faith that they would all sprout… I’m about to flower the bigger 2)

      • danvail

        Those look pretty big – once the flowering stretch comes in it will fill that tent to bursting

  • HillStreeter

    Hello, I am seeking help as this is my first grow. I harvested two plants today and hung them on lines in the shed. It’s southern Maine and getting into low 40s at night, high 50s during the day. I have a fan running.

    I trimmed one plant today while it was fresh harvested. I placed the buds in a hanging dryer unit (made for this purpose). It’s cool but should be okay. I’m a little concerned because it rained yesterday and the plants were wet when harvested. My other option is to place them in the basement (new house, good area and dry) where the temp stays about 60F.

    My next question is about making canna butter. I saved the sugar leaves and small buds. Do I need to dry it, or can I just decarb it and then put it in the crock pot with butter?

  • Rob

    Its tough to sit and watch your beautiful buds just sit there in mason jars curing.

  • Zig Zag Man

    I have 7 of 8 plants that made it. This is my 1st grow, I started with a mix of strains (Not again) They were juvenal clones and I only had a King 1,500w and now I have a 600w for veg/flower dual switch for a few weeks until I move them under my 1.500w. I have one that the branches/limbs are growing long and the flowers/buds are pulling them down and one branch broke off w/flowers on it and it didn’t get 48hr darkness but after the 1st day I moved it to my bedroom were it’s dark blacked out windows, only tv light at night, Is that ok for drying the rest if I keep the temp. hum. 70degrees 50% moister Ok? Thank You for the Info. 😉

  • Daniel

    First time grower. I’m excited. My first crop is from seeds out of a friend’s bag of weed. They’re about two, to three feet tall now. Second crop is just now sprouting – $12 per seed.
    Anyhow question is about the drying process. I got the portion of putting buds in airtight containers, but what of the rest of the plant – big leaves, stems?

    • D Harlo

      You paid 12$ per seed from a friends bag of weed?

  • Rob

    Curing is difficult not because its hard to fill Mason Jars and open them a few times a day but because I want at those buds.

  • Nick Kiefer

    Why did you remove all my posts?

  • Chrissyboi Back

    Time for the cure thank you leafy

  • Michel

    i used to dry hanging upside down for many years .
    if i used my tent , its a waist of time about 10-14 days i could not use my tent .
    so i start hanging it in the room , but the smell was so strong .
    i started looking for a solution on the web and asked friend .
    there is a new product from japan that dry the canabis in a container , but the price is around 4k usd – no way .
    there is a machine called *wedryer* , cost around 100$ . you can find it at
    it free my tent an prevent mold spreading .
    ordered it and got it just in time to dry my GG#4 .
    i was able to squize inside about 3.2 pound
    it has a special replaceble filter that filter all the odor .
    so i just hang it in my leaving room – man there was no odor .
    just took out the dry weed and the batch dryed evenly .
    now my new clones are already 1 week old inside my tent .
    will let you know in a 2 weeks after curing the taste .

  • bob habanai

    i dry with “werdyer” – i stoped thinking about the process its so simple , just trim your bud , insert into the wedryer and wait . no mold , no smell , no fear.

  • D Harlo

    Uhhhm that’s exactly what the article above just explained

  • Adam

    6 month cure time LOL, ya right.

  • Awesome read, thanks for all the info! I wasn’t sure if over 50% RH during the initial dry was acceptable but this cleared any uncertainties up. I have a 4x4x7 grow tent that’s properly built, but my RH readings were higher than usual because of spring rain outdoors and the bud. Happy because this means that I will not have any issues. 5-15 days is a good estimate as I notice within 5 days my buds are getting crunchy.

    Good stuff guys!


  • Jeffersonian

    You definitely do not want the stems to snap when you bend them, that means they got too dry and there’s no real fix. They should bend at one point like an elbow. If they arch over in a ‘U’ shape, they need more time. Seven days of drying on the line, then in to a plastic bag. Once in the bag, residual stem moisture will travel back into the buds, you can feel the remoistened bud thru the plastic. At this point you reopen the bag in your dry room (70f, 50% humidity), for a few hours to let them burp, then close the bag back up. Do this several times until you no longer feel the bud remoistening. It is good to go. Now put those bags in a cool dark dry space and wait 2 months, they are now properly cured and will last for years and stay green if properly stored.

  • Zig Zag Man

    I’m on my third grow/harvest and they came out better then I though because I had no experience except some friends giving me advice. I’m going to try a three step grow from growing/rooting clones, moving them under two 600W led lights for Bloom. After going from 18/6 to 12/12 to get the flowering/budding, I moved them again under a 1,500W led light. Full Rotation but I don’t have enough indoor room to grow enough were I wouldn’t have to buy anymore. 6 Months to Grow for about 6 weeks of smoke. 😉

  • Douglas

    I grew up in the 60s-70s and we had no knowledge of growing etc. along came this stuff called sensamilla and it was mind bogglingly good. I am now in my mid 60s and started growing after 30 years of no cannabis got some super lemon haze and it is amazing. Aches and pains melt away and I love the sensamilla, seperating females and males but the super lemon haze is my favorite so far. My wife had a insomnia problem and I made some coconut oil with a medium grade indica and she sleeps thru the night. She never took any drugs her entire life but this is the perfect remedy for her sleep problem. Big Pharma has to be hating this!

  • SJ Long

    great article, Leafly. thanks for sharing

  • 13thgeneration13

    Thanks for the advice. I”m ready to harvest some 15 foot monsters grown outdoor with only rain and sunshine.

  • F2JP

    LOL, well maybe a few.

  • PatrickMonkRn

    Along with Mason Jars I also have sturdy containers, not bags, for vacuum sealing food. I aasume they will also do the job. Stackable and take up less room.

    • Lastly Firstly

      Properly washed Coffee containers work great….:>)

  • Xai Avalon

    Idk what you mean, all the legal market weed is cured terribly in plastic containers.. most of the black market dealers are the ones who passed these techniques you mention, down.

  • Jay Grisafi
    • Lastly Firstly


  • Mel issa


  • Mel issa

    My husband planted a seed and passed away 🙁 So and im trying my best i think i uprooted to soon , but it was turning brown in spots . So i clipped the leaves and hung the whole plant root and all upside down in the closet .

    • Lastly Firstly


  • Grace Eunice

    New here..

  • Liberals are funny Looking

    That’s white widow

  • Rob Roy

    Don’t I know it and it’s sad but slowly and surely more ppl are coming around to the many positive health aspects of MJ Patty.

  • Desiree Kinsley

    Just planted 5 seeds. Not totally sure what I’m doing but 😎 we shall see
    How long does it take for a seed to sprout on average??