How to do it correctly and why it is important
Growing cannabis takes time and care. However, once we have reached the stage of harvesting the buds, we may be under the illusion that we have reached the end of the process and are finally ready to taste the fruit of our labour. Unfortunately, or fortunately, this is not the case. The phase following the harvest is very important, as it can either enhance the qualities of the plant or compromise the whole batch.
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Therefore, correct tanning and drying of cannabis are essential to avoid wasting weeks and ruining everything just before the end. Let’s look at how to tan and dry cannabis properly and how best to store it.
What is meant by tanning and drying?
The term “drying”, as you can easily guess, refers to the process of removing moisture from the cannabis buds. This process results in buds that are dry enough to be burned or vaporised effectively. On the other hand, Tanning is the process of storing the buds in airtight jars for a variable length of time, usually no less than two weeks.
During this phase, the trichomes complete their maturation, facilitating the development of certain substances such as cannabinoids and terpenes. The result is a better flavour and a stronger, more pleasant aroma. Tanning is therefore essential to obtain cannabis that is fragrant, flavoursome and at the peak of its potential.
Why is curing so important?
The inflorescences are moist and rich in starches and sugars as soon as they are harvested. Drying solves the problem of humidity, but it is not enough to guarantee the success of the process. The sugars it contains are the main targets of bacteria, which, if they were to attack the cannabis, would force us to throw it all away. And this is where the tanning process comes into its own. This process favours the gradual deterioration of sugars and starches, preventing the action of bacteria.
Read also: Cannabis legalisation
How to dry and tan cannabis correctly
The first thing to do is cut the plants and decide whether we want to dry the whole branches, which we will hang upside down, or just the tops, which can be placed on drying trays. In both cases, we need a dark (light degrades the THC), cool (between 15 and 20° C) and humid (the optimum humidity level is around 50%) space to ensure correct drying. While it is very easy to deprive a room of light, controlling the humidity level can create a few more difficulties. This can be done with the help of instruments such as dehumidifiers or air conditioners and a simple hygrometer to measure it. In addition, a small amount of air circulation (a standard fan is sufficient) will be essential. This will preserve the terpenes, which are directly responsible for the taste and aroma of cannabis. When the outside of the inflorescences is slightly crumbly, and the twigs break easily rather than flex, it is time to proceed with the tanning, which will take 2 and 8 weeks. The longer it takes, the better the result. First, we select the inflorescences and seal them in suitable jars, which we do not fill. The ideal amount of cannabis should not be more than ¾ full so that the cannabis has enough air and space. We then store our jars in a cool, dry place away from light. It is essential to check the jars regularly and open them to air out the cannabis for a few minutes. It should be repeated several times a day during the first week, paying attention to the smell that escapes. A smell of ammonia denotes the degrading action of bacteria and almost always means that the marijuana is rotting. It is just as important to check that no mould is developing. It is enough to remove the compromised buds before the mould infects the others in this unfortunate case. After the first week, it is sufficient to air the jars every couple of days. As mentioned above, by prolonging the curing process, we increase the properties and quality of the cannabis, which reaches its optimum state when it contains between 8 and 10% humidity. Not all varieties need the same amount of time. Some give their best after up to 6 months of curing. But be careful. After this period, the quality will gradually decrease, and so will the flavour, aroma and effect of the cannabis. Once the curing process has been completed, the danger of bacteria and mould forming in the cannabis will be significantly reduced, allowing it to be stored for up to two years. After that, simply store it in an airtight container away from light.
Cannabis tanning is, therefore, a fundamental process for obtaining a quality end product. Although it has been neglected for a long time, this step will be able to make the difference between mediocre and superior quality cannabis, offering more satisfying sensory experiences and also reducing the headache that often follows marijuana consumption.
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