Drying your cannabis is probably the one aspect that will have the biggest impact on your overall quality. Properly growing is important; and grow methods and feeding schedules, and environmental conditions certainly affect yield.
But there is not another area of cultivation where you can do as much to either damage the quality, or improve the outcome, as there is with properly drying your cannabis.
For beginners, this is the hardest aspect to dial in. But once you start drying your cannabis properly, you now have good, smokable herb, comparable to basic standards any smoker would expect.
What beginners often find is that they can grow a beautiful looking plant. A plant that is vibrant and stunning, yet they will completely screw it up during the drying process. What should have been luscious, frosty nugs end up being lifeless and odorless. How could something that looked that good before harvest end up being so pathetic once finished?
Improper drying processes. That is how.
We have been there. All of us have. But once you dial in your dry room conditions and processes, you are officially a grower. People will seek out to smoke your herb.
Setting up your Cannabis Drying Room
You will need a space where you can hang your plants to dry. You will want this to be a windowless space, where you can shut the lights off. You will need to be able to control the environmental conditions, such as the temperature and the humidity. And you will need proper air flow, meaning fans or venting.
Part of setting up your dry space is determining how exactly you plant to hang your plants up. Will hang the entire plant? Or will you break it down into small segments, individual branches to be dried? This choice will affect your dry room design and size.
Hanging the whole plant versus hanging branches
How you choose to dry your plants is up to you, but there will be differences in how the environment is impacted. The more plant material you have in a room, the more humidity you will have. So the number of plants you can hang is dependent on the size of your room, and the size of your equipment – Air conditioning and dehumidifier systems.
In addition to the number of plants, the amount of plant material as previously stated will contribute to the moisture in the room. This includes all fan leaves and branches and stems and stalks.
So if you are limited on your equipment’s power, meaning you have limited capability to pull water out of the air, you may want to run as lean a room as possible. And this would mean doing everything short of removing the buds from the plant.
To cut down on excessive moisture, you can cut the branches off the center stalk, and then remove all large fan leaves. You can cut large branches in half, so that you have a series of 12-inch branches, with buds and sugar leaves untouched.
You can then hang these short branches on wire hangers, and hang a series of wire hanging with multiple branches dangling. This method is a good choice if whole plant hanging is not ideal for your space.
Ideal Temperature & Humidity for your Cannabis Drying Room
You will want your space to be dark, cool, and dry. And you will want the capability to adjust your equipment to control and stabilize these conditions.
A good range is 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Your humidity will be high initially from all the wet plant material in the room. But try to keep your humidity below 70 % those first couple days.
How long do you dry cannabis?
You should shoot for a drying period of about 10 to 14 days. Starting with higher humidity due to the fresh plants in the room, you will incrementally remove water from the air over the course of the first few days.
You should be able to set your equipment to 60%, and unless it is very large dehumidifier, it probably wont even be capable of getting the room to 60% for a couple days. Of course, the number of plants will really determine this, and I’m used to putting a 100 plus plants in a room at once, so adjust your controls accordingly.
Start your humidity at around 70% on Day 1, and bring it down below 60% by the end of the week. As you progress into the next week, get it down to around 55%.
A note on drying: this is the hardest part of cultivation to prescribe by written instructions. There are many factors involved, and everyones equipment (including combinations of equipment) is different. You will have to become your own scientist in this department. It may take you several runs before you really start to feel competent at this. That is okay, and is actually quite normal.
Drying cannabis is the hardest part of the job for beginners, but once you start to figure this out, you’ll coast through stress free every time.
How to know if you plants are fully dried and ready to be trimmed
Your plants should be dry enough so that the attached leaves flake off from touching, but the buds still have life in them. Your buds do not need to be super dry, and they should have some give which you pinch them. They should not crumble.
After 14 days, take your plants down and buck the buds off into a separate container. You can start trimming now, or you can leave in this container to further cure, and dry a bit more. This can be ideal when your buds have a bit of moisture still, but not so much you need to leave them exposed hanging up with dehumidifiers blasting. Instead, you can throw the bucked, untrimmed buds into a large storage container, such as a metal c-vault, or a plastic storage bin.
After a week of curing in the bin, you can remove your buds and start trimming them.