Drying and for the Most Potent Smoke
What do you do with the trimmings from
manicuring the buds?
Drying and curing cannabis properly
will yield the most THC-potent smoke. When dried and cured
improperly, potency can diminish substantially. The level of THC in
a plant is determined by its genetics. Proper drying and curing will
keep the THC level as high as genetically possible. It does not
Drying evaporates most of the 70-75
percent water content in fresh marijuana. Drying also converts THC
from its non-psychoactive crude acidic form to its psychoactive
pH-neutral form. Once dry, THC-potent marijuana can be smoked and
you will get high. Every THC molecule must shed their moisture
content before they are fully psychoactive.
When you cut a plant or plant part and
hang it to dry, the transport of fluids within the plant continues,
but at a slower rate. The natural plant processes slowly come to an
end as the plant dries. The outer cells are the first to dry, but
fluid still moves from internal cells to supply moisture to the dry
outer cells. Removing leaves and large stems upon harvest speeds
drying, but, moisture content within the “dried” buds, leaves and
stems is uneven. Quick drying traps chlorophylls and other pigments,
starch and nitrates within plant tissue, making it taste “green”
burn unevenly and taste bad.
Taste and aroma improve when these
pigments break down. Slow even drying allows enough time for the
pigments to degrade. Hanging entire plants to dry allows this
process to occur over time, about 3-4 weeks at 50-60 percent relative
humidity and a temperature range of 15-21 degrees C. Large outer
leaves also form a protective sheath around buds and protects resin
Most growers remove large leaves
immediately to save time. This process often causes uneven drying
and keeps moisture inside the foliage. This is why it is important
to “cure” the “dry” marijuana, more on curing next month.
Note: Rough handling and
friction from fondling hands will bruise and knock off resin glands.
Even with proper drying and curing, brutal handling of harvested
marijuana will diminish THC content.
To dry plants and retain the maximum
amount of psychoactive THC, cut the entire ripe plant at the base and
hang it upside down on a line to dry. Try to keep plants from
touching each other to avoid uneven drying and mold. Keep the
humidity between 50-60 percent. Keep the temperature at about 15-21
degrees C. The room should be relatively dark because light,
especially direct sunlight degrades THC.
A circulation and ventilation fan may
be necessary to control heat and humidity. You can also use a
dehumidifier to control humidity or an air conditioner to lower
ambient relative humidity and control room temperature. Do not train
fans directly on drying plants it causes them to dry unevenly.
Depending upon atmospheric conditions
and the size and density of plants and buds, plants should be dry
enough to smoke in about a week. Plants with outer “fan” leaves
intact take longer to dry than if leaves have been removed.
Check for dryness by bending a stem.
It should snap. The bud should be dry to touch, but not brittle.
The bud should burn well enough to smoke now.
Once dry, carefully manicure buds by
cutting large leaves where they attach to the stem. Leaving the
petiole (leaf stem) can cause mold to grow. Snip off smaller leaves
that show little resin so that buds a beautiful bud remains. Make
“water hash” from the trimmings.
Retain all the THC-potent resin in
this beautiful Yumboldt bud by drying it properly.
Remove all signs of mold, light
burn and damage before drying plants because mold loves damaged
Hang entire plants so that the
plant dries evenly. Large outer leaves shield tender resin glands.
This Nevil’s Haze was dried
properly, slowly and the resin glands were well-preserved.
Jorge Cervantes is
the author of the ALL NEW Indoor Marijuana Horticulture: The
Indoor Bible, with 200 ALL NEW color photos, Marijuana
Indoors: Five Easy Gardens, Marijuana Outdoors: Guerrilla
Growing and Jorge’s Rx, and 12 European magazines in 5
languages. Jorge’s books are published in Dutch, English, French,
German and Spanish.
Profile of a Variety
Skunk #1 is the ultimate classic!
Nearly half of Dutch-grown seeds and Canadian varieties today have a
portion Skunk #1 genes. Skunk #1 was developed in 1978 by the
California-based Sacred Seeds. This single strain transformed
marijuana breeding in the Netherlands and the rest of the world.
Winner of numerous harvest festivals including the Cannabis Cup in
Amsterdam, you cannot go wrong with this variety. Sensi registered
the name, but you can find this variety at numerous seed banks and
there is a little bit of skunk in countless other varieties. This
long history has made Skunk #1 and most of the direct derivatives one
of the least expensive varieties available.
Taste – Skunky sweet
High – soaring cerebral
Potency –strong but able to
function on it, low CBD
Columbian sativa/Afgani indica X Acapulco
Gold Mexican Sativa
Culture – Easy to grow, but
sensitive to over-fertilization
Odor – Distinctive skunky and
sweet, strong but not overpowering
Habit – high flower to leaf
ratio, thick long colas, prone to long internode space
Yield – very high
Disease/pest resistance –
Susceptible to mold during flowering
Indoors – 50-70 days – Many
early-flowering varieties are available
Outdoors – mid October –
excellent greenhouse crop
Ease to manicure – very easy
Water hash quality/quantity from
trim – good