Curing Cannabis with TerpLoc
Cultivators all around the world know the importance of cannabis curing, and entrepreneurs in the industry are always learning how to cure cannabis more effectively. The post-harvest process is just as vital as the growing process itself. Cutting corners at any stage can cause flower to diminish in potency, quality, and value.
If a plant is not sufficiently dried before its buds are cured, the integrity of the flower can be compromised. Starting the curing process once buds have dried to an ideal moisture level is just as important as the curing process. Drying also involves removing chlorophyll within the buds. This allows for key chemical reactions to take place, helping the flower to reach its full potential.
Growers work hard to create crops with quality genetics, and the preservation of organic chemicals is key for successful cultivation. Knowing how long to cure cannabis, the controlled environment best suited for curing, and the nuances of curing different strains can help brands stand out among competitors. With the right technology, cultivators can optimize their curing process and create consistent results.
TerpLoc technology creates the perfect environment for maintaining quality and consistency in flower from packaging to purchase. Its biggest attribute comes during curing. Unlike past methods of curing where the flowers would be agitated and ‘burped’ on a daily basis, TerpLoc automatically pushes out excess moisture and unwanted oxygen. This creates the perfect environment for allowing both the cannabinoids and terpenes to mature.
After the cannabis plant is cut from its roots, cultivators begin the post-harvest process. Before curing takes place, the plant must be placed in a drying room. During both the drying and curing processes, excess moisture is removed from the buds. This discourages anaerobic bacteria and microbial growth while lengthening the product’s shelf life.
Simply place the properly dried flower into the bag, seal it, and allow the magic to happen from two weeks to as much as two months for optimal potency. It’s that simple. Properly dried and cured cannabis showcases the cultivar’s best qualities, helping brands and home growers alike make the most of their harvest.
Just like any other plant, when cannabis is freshly harvested it is filled with moisture. The buds on the plant are too wet to provide a quality smoking experience until they are dried. Many cultivators choose to hang the cannabis stalks on drying racks and trim the leaves from the buds after the drying process is complete. This method is known as dry trimming.
Whether buds are wet or dry trimmed, they need a cool dark space for the best post-harvest process. A dry room should be 60 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain a 60-percent relative humidity level. Not only must the temperature and humidity be controlled, but air flow also impacts the quality of the buds. During the drying process, plants should never be in the line of direct airflow.
Most seasoned cultivators recommend a 10 to 14 day drying period, letting denser and larger buds dry for a few more days than looser buds. When a plant has appropriate time to dry, it retains a more robust terpene profile, preserves strain-specific aromas, and enhances its medicinal benefits.
Why curing cannabis matters
When a cannabis plant is freshly harvested, it contains all the bitter-tasting sugars and starches stored by plants to fuel growth. Uncured buds are often described as “fresh-cut grass,” and smoking uncured flower will likely be an unsavory and unpleasant experience. Curing strengthens the bud’s aroma and medicinal benefits, as well as improves the burn when it’s consumed. Curing cannabis is akin to aging wine, the organic chemicals in the product need time to develop.
The molecular makeup of buds changes significantly in the curing stage, but it is one of the most overlooked aspects of the post-harvest process. Curing is the chemical process that breaks down chlorophyll and magnesium in cannabis buds which directly develops the flower’s smoke quality, flavor, and potency.
When a curing environment encourages the formation of organic acids, valuable molecular reactions take place producing more THC, CBD, and CBGA. Some of the THC cannabinoids in the buds will convert to CBN, which is an important characteristic of high-quality flower.
When it comes to dried and cured cannabis, patience equates to potency. A proper cure means buds have reached a full terpene and trichome profile, along with moisture levels that resist the formation of mold. During the curing process, the terpenes that give strains their key characteristics are preserved and valuable cannabinoids are enriched rather than diminished. When cured in optimal conditions, cannabis flower can last for an entire year without diminishing in quality.
Traditional curing methods are labor intensive, prone to human error, and often result in lost terpenes and cannabinoids. In the past, cultivators would place flower in large mason jars after the buds were dried over a long period of time. These mason jars had to be placed in a dark cupboard. They also had to be manually opened or “burped” multiple times per day to release excess moisture and introduce fresh air for the proper dry and cure.
Cultivators running larger-scale operations frequently opt for the auto-curing buckets, which can be complicated to assemble. Auto-curing buckets require a number of materials: BPA-free five-gallon buckets with gamma seal lids, humidity packs, silicone tubing, check valves, and connected air pumps. The air pumps and valves eliminate the need to open the containers manually. But buds still lose a lot of valuable terpenes with auto-curing buckets each time their environment is altered.
Tips for curing with TerpLoc
- Invest in a moisture meter: for an accurate moisture reading during the dry process, stick the stainless steel pins into the flower stem. Watch tutorial here.
- Keep an eye on moisture content: for an optimal cure, cannabis should be dried to at least a 10-12% moisture content.
- Patience is a virtue: Akin to a good wine, the taste of cannabis improves with age and the longer you cure your buds, the more effective the process will be.