Drying and Curing Techniques for Cannabis

Cannabis production encompasses various stages, including propagation, cultivation, harvesting, drying, and curing. Each of these steps is crucial to the final quality of the cannabis product. This article focuses on the latter two processes: drying and curing, both of which play a vital role in optimizing the potency, aroma, flavor, and overall quality of cannabis.

Drying Process


Drying is the initial post-harvest process involving the removal of the majority of water content from the harvested cannabis plant. This process typically begins immediately after harvest and may last between 5 to 15 days depending on the environmental conditions and the specifics of the grower’s process.


There are various techniques to dry cannabis, and while the specifics might vary, a few principles are generally agreed upon. The harvested plants are usually hung upside down in a controlled environment, with ideal conditions being a relative humidity of about 45-55% and a temperature between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit (15-21 degrees Celsius). These conditions are aimed at slowing down the drying process, which helps in preserving terpenes and preventing the degradation of THC into CBN (a process known as decarboxylation).

One common technique involves drying entire plants, while others prefer to dry individual branches or even separate buds. While drying the whole plant can potentially result in more evenly dried buds and a more complex flavor profile, it requires more space and may not be practical in larger commercial operations. Conversely, drying individual branches or buds allows for greater throughput and potentially faster drying times, but it may result in a less complex final product.

Curing Process


Curing is the subsequent process that follows drying. While drying removes the majority of the water content, curing allows for the slow release of the remaining moisture. Additionally, it encourages the continued breakdown of sugars and residual chlorophyll, which can affect the flavor if left unchecked. Proper curing can improve the flavor profile of cannabis, as well as potentially enhancing its potency and shelf-life. The curing process can last from a few weeks to several months.


Curing typically involves storing the dried cannabis in airtight containers, often glass jars, which are then kept in a cool, dark environment. During the early stages of curing, the jars should be opened regularly, a process known as burping, to allow for the exchange of air and the release of moisture. As the curing process progresses, the frequency of burping can be decreased.

It’s essential to monitor the humidity levels within the curing containers. The ideal relative humidity range within the curing jar is between 58-62%. Hygrometers, which measure humidity levels, can be used to help monitor these conditions. Overly high humidity can encourage the growth of mold, while too low can lead to overly dry cannabis and the loss of essential terpenes and cannabinoids.

A more modern and commercially scalable curing technique involves the use of specialized curing machines. These machines control temperature, humidity, and air exchange, thus providing a more consistent and controlled curing process, which can be particularly beneficial for large scale producers.

The Role of Drying and Curing in Cannabis Quality

The drying and curing processes are crucial for several reasons. Firstly, they help in the degradation of chlorophyll and the conversion of non-psychoactive cannabinoids to their psychoactive forms, which can increase the overall potency of the cannabis.

Secondly, the processes contribute to the development of the cannabis’s flavor and aroma profile. During drying and curing, the cannabis’s terpenes, which are responsible for the plant’s unique aroma, are preserved and allowed to fully express themselves.

Lastly, properly dried and cured cannabis has a significantly longer shelf-life and is less likely to develop mold or other pathogens that could present health risks.


Drying and curing are often underappreciated aspects of cannabis production but are key determinants of the final product’s quality. Both the drying and curing processes require a careful balance of environmental conditions to optimize the cannabis plant’s chemical composition and flavor profile. Advancements in technology are continually improving these processes, resulting in higher-quality, safer, and more consistent cannabis products for both medical and recreational use. It’s worth noting that these processes, like many aspects of cannabis cultivation, are as much art as they are science, often requiring experience and intuition in addition to rigorous scientific understanding.