It doesn’t matter how well you grow weed if it’s improperly dried or cured. A bad cure can lead to low-quality buds that are harsh on the throat, unpleasant to smoke, and might even contain potentially harmful contaminants like mold.
For better bud, it’s imperative that you have the right equipment to finish your weed the right way. Below, learn how to properly cure your cannabis and explore a few curing options.
What is curing and why is it important for cannabis?
Curing cannabis is the post-harvest process of storing weed as it releases excess moisture, breaks down chlorophyll, and locks in its final chemical profile. “This is where you make or break the quality of your entire harvest,” explained Ryley Leech, who does Global Business Development for Fluence and has been home-growing cannabis for 14 years. “You can grow the best weed in the world, and if you don’t dry or cure it well, it really doesn’t matter. It’s not going to smoke well, it’s not going to taste how you want it to, and it will be an undesirable product.”
Typical curing should be at least two weeks — longer if possible. The longer a weed cures, the more time it gets to hit its maximum quality level. Time is an advantage for people who home grow for personal consumption. “In terms of curing, with a home grow you can do things that you can’t do at a commercial scale. The ability to cure it for as long as you want is something that doesn’t happen in commercial facilities. They have to dry and essentially go into packaging,” said Leech.
Drying cannabis versus curing cannabis
Drying and curing cannabis are packaged together as a process, but they are two different stages.
Drying is when all of the cannabis is hung upside down, or laid across drying racks, to let excess moisture drain from inside the plant. Once plants are dry enough, they’re transferred to jars, bags, totes, etc. for curing. When curing, plants lock in their cannabinoid and terpene profiles.
“The interesting thing about curing, as an organic material, is it changes over time. You’ll get different chemicals at different times,” Leech explained. “Two weeks is considered the minimum for what curing is supposed to do, but as you continue to cure over time, some of the flavors will change. Some will get stronger. You can smoke something two weeks out, then smoke it again four months later, and get a different experience with the plant.”
To know plants are properly dry, growers bend the stems. When the stems break, they are dry enough to toss into whatever curing system you prefer. “Optimal moisture content is somewhere between 12 and 15% before it goes in the jar. When you’re hang-drying your plant, when you touch the flower and bend the stem, once they start to snap, you’ve gotten enough water out of the plant.”
What are curing jars?
Curing jars are exactly what they sound like: jars that you use for curing cannabis. Other options include specialized cure bags, plastic bins or totes, steel tins, and big plastic turkey bags.
Without a proper cure, cannabis ends up tasting like grass with a harsh smoke during consumption. And throughout the curing process, you want to make sure to “burp” your jars. Burping is the process of opening your jars periodically so that moisture doesn’t get trapped inside and create moldy weed. It also releases Co2 gasses that build up during the cure.
How to use your curing jars
When you’re buying jars for curing, you want something airtight with a wide mouth. Getting something that blocks out light is also a plus. “The jar is an old-school method that’s been around for a long time. When I read some of the literature about post-harvest and dry cure, it was always pointing you in the direction [of doing] some sort of dry, glass cure,” said Leech.
Past jar selection, the most important thing is the environment where you cure your cannabis. It doesn’t matter how great your glass jar is if you’re not setting the right temperatures and levels of humidity.
The optimal temperature for curing cannabis plants is between 60 – 70°F with a relative humidity of around 60 – 65%. They should also be stored in a dark room/closet where light can’t degrade your weed’s quality and terpenes.
Glass vs. plastic: which is better for curing?
There’s some debate around if plastic is good or bad for your weed when it’s curing. Some say you should avoid it because, as the weed cures, the plastic’s chemicals will seep into it and distort the flower’s taste and effects. That’s because terpenes are volatile chemicals that may react with certain plastics.
According to Leech, “Terpenes on their own are very volatile. Like limonene, for example, is a great cleaning agent, but if you put [isolated] limonene in a plastic bag, it will eat through the plastic bag, and a lot of that plastic will come into the [plant material].”
For this reason, some advise avoiding Tupperware, freezer bags, and turkey bags. While this is worth mentioning, truthfully, people have been curing weed in plastic bags for decades, and the flower has been just fine. There are just better options.
The most important thing to avoid when curing your weed is heat and light. Always keep your weed in a cool, dark environment to preserve its quality.
The best cannabis curing jars (and bags)
Here are a few curing jars and bags that growers hold in high regard. The choices you make will be based on the amount of weed you’re curing and the amount of space you have available.
Ball Mason Jars
Ball Mason Jars are the most popular suggestion for curing. They’re simple and classic, proven effective, can be bought in bulk, and can be easily cleaned between harvests so that you can reuse them over and over.
You can also buy Ball Mason Jars from any department store. On its website, there are 12 packs of 8oz, 16oz, and 32oz jars. However, for a lot of weed, the best option will be the ½ gallon jar.
While Ball Mason Jars are great for their value and practicality, their limited sizes compared to other options make them a tough option for people growing weed for business purposes.
CVault Stainless Steel container
The CVault Stainless Steel Container is a popular option for curing a lot of weed at once. It has an airtight locking mechanism, and the steel (versus clear glass) helps block out light and maintain a cool temperature inside the container.
Many of the containers on this list are designed for multiple uses, but the CVault is specifically for curing and storing dried cannabis. You can purchase them in sizes from the small 7-gram twist can to the 21-liter unit. If you’re curing a lot of weed, these may be ideal for your operation.
Grove Bags are specifically made for curing large amounts of cannabis at one time. Many successful, big-time cannabis brands use Grove Bags to cure weed.
Grove Bags use TerpLoc Technology to maintain the humidity levels of the curing environment. According to the company’s website, TerpLoc packaging targets specific gas and water vapor permeability properties to reduce oxidation while curing while also removing the need to burp the product.
Grove Bags come in various types and quantities, including Wicket bags and blacked-out Opaque Pouches. Grove Bags are purchased in bulk, so if you’re working on a commercial scale, these are some great options for bags that won’t taint your cannabis.
Onyx Stainless Steel Containers
Onyx Stainless Steel Containers are another stainless steel option for curing and storing dried cannabis buds. The airtight, leakproof designs come in the widest range of sizes that you’ll see, from 8 – 33 centimeters in diameter.
Anchor Hocking Montana Glass Jars
Anchor Hocking Montana Glass Jars are huge glass containers that work well for curing in bulk since they come in 1.5 and 2.5-gallon sizes.
However, they aren’t airtight, so it’s best to only use them if you’re curing and storing your weed for a short amount of time. But in terms of affordability and volume, they are a good buy.
The CureTube is a newer technology that would make sense for large operations with a lot of storage space. The tubes themselves are pretty big, and the room will also need height for the rack they’ll go on. You can buy both small and large CureTubes that hold 2 – 4 pounds and 5 – 10 pounds of dried flower.
CureTubes lay on their side so that you may easily roll them and redistribute the flower inside. The lids are hygrometers that help monitor temperature and humidity and have a compartment for adding humidity and oxygen packs to help rehydrate over-dried flower. CureTube’s lids make burping easy too. All in all, if you have the space and funds to use CureTubes, they should do your weed well.