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By Ayad Maher
It's the time to harvest your first crop. I know the feel. The sweet scented plant makes you psyched and impatient to try them, but they're not ready yet! Patience is a virtue.
First, they need to be dried and cured. To withdraw all the moisture from the buds can be a lengthy process. You need to make sure the process goes through a controlled climate. Keep in mind, a proper marijuana drying and curing increases its potency; the process will also convert THCA, non-psychoactive compound, into the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, THC.
Related article: What Is THCA and What Are the Benefits of This Cannabinoid?
Also, when it comes to he weed flavor and quality, a proper curing for your harvest will provide a better smoking experience. Furthermore, allows you to store your marijuana for a longer period of time without the worry about the cannabinoid deterioration or mold problems. Believe it or not, a well-cured buds, with an appropriate storage method, can be stored for up to two years without almost no loss to its potency.
There are multiple ways to cure your plant, but we will talk here about the easiest and the most common one.
For the initial drying process may take 7 to 15 days.
The most common way is to cut 12 - 20 inches branches from the marijuana plants, remove unwanted leaves, then, using a string or a wire, hang the branches. Some growers simply cut the whole plant, and hang it (that's my favorite method). Others just cut the buds from the branches and place them somewhere to dry.
Regardless the method you will user, here is the characteristic of the place where you will leave the harvest hanging to dry (the branches, plants or buds):
Those conditions are very to conserve the fragrant and flavor for your final results. You can use a heater, A/C unit, humidifier or a dehumidifier. Whatever helps to ensure stable environment.
As we mentioned early, the process may take 10-15 days, but it's recommended to to start checking your buds on daily bases after day 5. Once the branches snap when bent and flowers are getting firm on the outside, it's time to move to the next step.
Many growers do this process before drying the plant, others do it after. Here is where I personally prefer to trim and manicure my buds. Learn more about How to Trim Your Marijuana Bud here.
Save the dry and trimmed buds in a wide mouth airtight container. Mason Mouth Quart Jars is recommended.
Load the buds in your airtight jar all the way to the top. Make sure not to crush your buds and pack them gently and loosely. Now seal the jar(s) tightly, and leave it where it's pitch dark, dry and cool.
In 24 hours, you will notice that the "dry" flowers are not as dry or firm as before. The moisture that left inside the buds will (re)hydrate the exterior of the bud. If you didn't see this, then you probably over-dried your weed. Don't worry, you still can smoke it, but it will be a learning curve for your next harvest.
Throughout the 1st week, make sure to let the jars "breathe" by opening the lid for 5 minutes at lest 3-4 times a day. This will help to restore the air inside and freshen the oxygen up, also, the extra moisture and humidity inside the jar to flee.
After the first week, you won't need to open the jars everyday, once every other day would be enough; same process, let the jars "breathe" by opening the lid for 5 minutes.
Your weed will be cured and ready for smoking after around 2 to 3 weeks. However, you may improve the quality of your bud by leaving it for 4 to 8 weeks, or in some cases 6 months or more. Personally. Here is what I suggest, wait for 3 weeks then get your first eight, but keep the curing process going.
Edibles, edibles, edibles!
You should keep the the sugar leaves (the leaves trimmed close to the bud covered with the trichomes) and small buds hidden around the lower parts of the marijuana plant, which you still can extract some THC from them - Look carefully before you giving up entirely.
Occasionally newbies think they can get high off of the stems and big leaves, and I have some bad news, they worth absolutely nothing so don't waste your time.
Put the sugar leaves and the small buds around the lower part of the plant in one of this extracting machines (check our marijuana THC extractors here and reach out to me for a discount on your favorite one) and make your favorite marijuana edibles.
More about What To Do With Your Cannabis Fan Leaves here.
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