Curing is Caring
Properly curing your cannabis provides numerous benefits to patients. Properly cured flowers only represent a small fraction of the total. A very small percentage is truly well cured, dried well yes but that’s where most cultivators stop.
From the time a stem is cut from the plant it takes 7-12 days, depending on the density, for it to dry. This is under optimal conditions, which most agree is around 70 degrees and 50-55 percent humidity with constantly circulating air. Now it’s ready to smoke right? Well that depends on what you want from your medicine. Yes, it will combust and burn at this point, but there is still a huge amount of chlorophyll still present in the leaves. This is easily observed by the electric green color of the flowers at this stage. If dried too quickly, the chlorophyll actually gets locked in forever. The process of curing begins at the point when the stem snaps or almost snaps, but before the entire bud is too dry. This is where the art begins. Make no mistake; finishing cannabis correctly is truly an art. Many great growers are mediocre at curing. Our in-house expert on this subject is Jeremy Ramsay, our clone manager. In his opinion it takes an additional 3-6 weeks past when a sample is dry for it to be properly cured.
There are a multitude of different methods of curing, all with their proponents: Glass jars, 5 gallon buckets, plastic lined cardboard boxes. Most connoisseurs tend to view glass jar curing as the best method. This is obviously problematic for larger indoor or almost any sun-grown cultivators. Some have utilized large aquariums but most will use 5 gallon food grade buckets. This method can certainly produce well-cured cannabis. It is an art, no matter what method is employed.
The basic procedures are roughly the same, no matter what vessel is utilized. Dried or almost dried flowers are placed in a container, but not packed too tightly. It is opened at least twice a day and lightly turned or rolled, allowing any gases that have built up to be released. This procedure attempts to achieve is the slow conversion of chlorophyll to sugars, which happens under optimal conditions. An almost magical transformation occurs, turning electric green to a rainbow of hues; a most amazing array of reds, purples, yellows, pinks, and blues. The heightened sugar profile also makes for a much smoother and more complex taste. This is where curing is caring.
Almost anyone familiar with cannabis can recount tales of harsh smoke. Quite often this is chlorophyll. One can grow the finest herb in the world and ruin it in a few days with a quick dry. Well-cured cannabis has been one of my goals from the first day HHC opened. For years, I begged, cajoled, and incentivized cultivators to take the extra step of finishing their world-class medicine. I would love to say I had resounding success. Most people were far more concerned with drying and selling their flowers as fast as possible. Recently however, the amazing Quanta-Cann might be helping to change this. Testing the same flowers at different cure times has shown that potency rises as much as 3 percent. We have seen samples from some of our contractors in the fall that tested at 18 percent rise to over 20 percent by January. Not only does it taste better, but it is more potent. A powerful argument for curing indeed.
Caring, curing, cannabis are, all quite powerful c words, just as cut, color, clarity, and carats are the benchmarks that diamonds are measured by. Harborside’s flowers are truly the diamonds, sans the blood, of the industry.
By Rick Pfrommer Director of Education at Harborside Health Center Oakland