In the world of cannabis cultivation, curing is the vital final step in the process. After the drying phase is complete, the cannabis curing phase begins. This is an essential step that allows the plant material to go through an enzymatic process of chlorophyll breakdown, resulting in improved flavor, aroma, and overall quality.
To understand the curing phase, let’s recap the drying phase. During drying, the primary goal is to remove all “free water” from the plant as quickly as possible while maintaining low temperatures. Once the drying process is complete, the material is considered dry but is not ready to be sealed for storage.
Enzymatic Breakdown: Chlorophyll Be Gone
During the curing phase, there are a few options for how to proceed. One common method is to leave the flowers in the drying racks for an extended period, typically around 14 days or more. This allows the plant material to continue the enzymatic process of chlorophyll breakdown, leading to a smoother and more flavorful final product.
However, in cases where additional drying space is needed for successive harvests, the cured material can be transferred to secondary conditions. This can include storing the cannabis flowers in cardboard boxes with some airflow or utilizing specialized two-way polymer packaging that regulates the interior relative humidity (RH) below 62% RH.
It’s important to note that cannabis flowers should not be placed in plastic containers until the curing process is complete, as this can hinder the breakdown of chlorophyll and potentially diminish the terpene profile of the cannabis. This phenomenon is known as “haying,” where the flowers, which once had a wonderful aroma, can suddenly start to smell like freshly cut grass.
Monitoring Your Curing Cannabis Closely
Monitoring the conditions of the drying and curing spaces is crucial to ensure the best possible outcome. One unfortunate incident serves as a reminder of the importance of remote monitoring. In July 2021, during an autoflower harvest, an air conditioning unit malfunctioned, causing the temperature inside a rented reefer trailer to skyrocket.
This resulted in extensive damage, and a substantial amount of flowers had to be sold as biomass instead of being processed into machine-trimmed flowers. To prevent such losses in the future, remote monitoring systems were implemented. These systems provide real-time temperature alerts, allowing farmers to take immediate action if any deviations occur.
By paying close attention to the cannabis curing process and ensuring optimal conditions, cannabis farmers can unlock the full potential of their harvest, resulting in high-quality, aromatic buds that are sure to please both connoisseurs and enthusiasts.