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Drying Your Weed - A Tutorial

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
Living marijuana leaves are 80 percent water; colas are about 70 percent water.

Marijuana dried for smoking contains only eight to 10 percent water, or about 10 percent of the original amount. There are several methods used to evaporate water; these have little effect on potency, but can affect the taste, bouquet, and smoothness of the smoke. Generally, the slower the dry, the smoother the taste. Excess drying and drying methods that use heat will evaporate some of the volatile oils that give each grass its unique taste and aroma.

Grasses which are dried as part of the curing process usually have a smooth, mild taste, because of the elimination of chlorophyll and various proteins. Cured marijuana may also be a little sweeter than when first picked, because the curing converts some of the plant's starch to simple sugars.

Some grasses are tasty and smooth-smoking when they are dried without curing, especially fresh homegrown buds which retain their volatile oils and sugar. Many homegrowers have acquired a taste for "natural" uncured grass, with its minty chlorophyll flavour; such marijuana is dried directly after harvesting. {Figure 89, Male plants drying on a tree. Cheesecloth holds loose leaf for drying.}

Slow Drying

Slow drying is probably the method most commonly used to dry marijuana. Because of the slowness of the dry, a slight cure takes place, eliminating the bite sometimes associated with quickly dried grass.

There are many variations of the technique, but most commonly whole plants or separated colas are suspended upside down from a drawn string or from pegs on a wall in a cool dark room, closet, or other enclosed space. A large number of plants may take a week or two to dry. The drying time for small numbers of plants can be increased (for a slight cure) by placing the plants in large, open paper sacks that have ventilation holes cut in their sides. The drying room should have no heavy drafts, but mould may form on the plants if the air is stagnant. If weather is rainy or the air humid, increase ventilation and watch for any mould. Plants should be dried quickly under moderate heat if any mould appears.

Many experienced growers prefer slow drying to curing. There is little chance of error with this method, and buds usually smoke smooth and develop a pliable consistency. Slow-dried ripe buds retain their delicious, sweet aroma and taste.

Fast Drying
The fast dry-method produces a harsher smoke than slow drying, but it is often the most convenient method to use. The plants are suspended in the same way as for slow drying, but the temperature in the drying area is increased to between 90 and 115 degrees, often by means of electric or gas heater. The drying area is kept well-ventilated with a fan. As the plants dry, they are removed from the drying area. By this method, plants in a tightly packed room can be dried in less than four days, but the exhaust will contain the deliciously pungent odour of drying marijuana.

Indoor growers often hang plants to dry over radiators or stream pipes. Leaves are dried by placing them on a tray over a radiator or on top of the light fixture.

Marijuana that is fast-dried retains its original green colour and minty taste.

Oven Drying
Oven drying is often used by gardeners to sample their crop. Small quantities of material can be quickly dried by being placed in a 150 to 200 oven for about 10 minutes. Larger quantities can be dried in trays that contain a single layer of material or in a dehydrator. Oven-dried and dehydrator-dried marijuana usually has a harsh taste and bite, and loses much of its bouquet. The method is often used to dry marijuana which has been cured and dried but is too moist to smoke, or to dry marijuana which is to be used for cooking or extractions. It is an adequate method for obtaining dry material for testing and emergencies, but the main harvest should not be dried in this way. Oven drying works best with leaves. When leaves are dried together with buds or shoots, remove the material from the oven periodically, to separate the faster-drying leaf material (before it burns) from the slower drying buds. One way to do this is to place all the material on a wire screen over a tray. Every few minutes rub the material across the screen. Dried material falls unto the tray and is removed from the oven. Repeat until all the material has dried.

Oven curing works well when closely watched. Dried marijuana that is left in the oven will lose potency quickly. Any time the marijuana begins to char, most of the potency will already have been lost. This should not be a problem unless you are careless, or allow the temperature to go above 200 degrees.

Sun Drying
Some growers dry their crops right in the field. There are many methods of sun drying. In Oregon, some growers break the main stem about two feet from the ground. The leaves and buds dry gradually, since they are still partly attached to the plant. Other growers spread burlap and cover it with plants left to dry. Fan leaves are left on the plants to protect the drying buds from the sun. The grass is manicured after drying. Growers in Arizona shade drying plants with cheesecloth.

Sun-dried marijuana usually has a taste similar to that of oven-dried. Often the sun bleaches it slightly but also destroy some of the delicate bouquet. Prolonged exposure to the sun will decrease potency, although there is no noticeable loss if drying is done quickly.

Dry Ice
Many homegrowers have written to us that the dry-ice cure increases the potency of marijuana considerably, and we would be remiss not to mention it.

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. When it melts (sublimates), it turns from a solid directly into a gas. This gas absorbs some moisture from the frozen marijuana and partially dries it.

There are many variations of the dry-ice method. Fresh or partially dried material is usually used, although some enthusiasts claim that the cure also works with dried material. The marijuana is placed in a coffee can or similar container with a lid, along with at least an equal volume of dry ice. Puncture the lid so that the gas can escape as it evaporates. Place the can in a freezer to prolong the evaporation process. When the dry ice is gone, the grass is dried, but still moist.

Some growers claim that simply freezing the grass increases potency. They often freeze fan leaves or other less-potent material for a couple of months before smoking it. This is said to work only with fresh (wet or dried) grass.
 

RooRman

Well-Known Member
Re: Drying your weed - a tutorial.

In my eyes there is one and only one way to dry yor buds, and that is the slow drying mentioned above.

Fast drying will ruin the taste entirely and the smoke will be harsh. Oven drying (or dare I say microwave) is about the worst thing you could do because you have accelerated the drying process to such a degree. A fast dry does not allow chlorophyll to break down and instead preserves it. An oven only makes this increase tenfold. If you fast dry and dislike the taste, you had better learn to like it, because no amount of time will make that "planty" taste or harsh smoke go away, the ship has sailed at that point and theres no going back.

Sun drying is another method I disapprove of. Ultra-violet light (sunlight) degrades THC content and decreases potency. Also, the idea that if done quickly the potency will be untouched doesn't fly with me either. Fast drying is bad, remember?

I have never heard of the dry ice method, but something tells me that a substance that cold would not be good for trichomes at all.

I have no idea why growers get so impaitient at this point. They complete months of hard work in order to make the best possible buds and then throw it all away because they are too impaitient to wait another week for it to dry properly. Furthurmore, drying samples in the oven, for the reasons I have stated, will taste horrible and will not be a reflection of what you grew in anyway. So why bother? In closing, I would like to say I myself have been guilty of trying some of this in the past, which is exactly why you should heed my words of wisdom.

Paitience grasshopper! Dry you buds slow, dry your buds well! :peace:
 

WildWonda

New Member
Re: Drying your weed - a tutorial.

My best harvest to date! All Connoisseurs I know, say it's the best they have ever had. This please's me to no end!! The buds are similar, as one patient described as, (Caramelized sugar balls served "you know" w/ gourmet desert's.) I can Thank in part to 420! Thanks! By the way, I used a new Hydro-system setup, and General Hydroponic nutrients, the whole kit & kabootal.
 

FreakNature

New Member
Re: Drying your weed - a tutorial.

Here's more detail on the freeze-dry (dry ice) method. Kind of intriguing.

Contributed by: Doctor Dangerous

What is the "Dry Ice Cure" (Freeze drying )?

What is Dry Ice?
"Dry Ice" is frozen Carbon Dioxide. CO2 will change from its solid, frozen state to its gaseous state without passing through a liquid state - hence it's name 'dry ice'. This process of solid changing to gas is known as sublimation.

What is Sublimation?
Sublimation is a simple process which depends on the fact that the surface of a frozen solid is actually quite active at the molecular level. In the case of water ice, water molecules are constantly leaving and binding to the frozen surface. In a moist atmosphere, more water molecules bind to the surface than leave, and ice grows on the surface (e.g frost inside your freezer). In a dry atmosphere however, more water molecules leave the frozen surface than adhere, so the solid dries out.
The same process occurs with Dry Ice. As there is a fairly low CO2 content in air, the dry ice sublimes away completely, leaving no residue or liquid - hence its name.

What is Freeze Drying?
Freeze drying (scientific name: Lyophilization) depends upon the process of sublimation (explained below), and on the fact that like CO2, frozen water at low temperature will go through the process of sublimation under the right conditions.
Dry ice has a very low water content, as it is made up of almost pure CO2. In theory it IS pure, but even from a lab suppliers, it will have a small amount of impurities - these do not matter for our purposes. In effect the dry ice vapour has near zero relative humidity.

Now: (this is the important bit)
When material containing water is placed into this almost zero humidity environment, the water molecules are drawn out of the material and into the CO2, raising the relative humidity of the CO2 and lowering the water content of the material. If the CO2 around the material is steadily replenished then the process will continue until all moisture has been removed from the material. All this happens at low temperatures, below the freezing point of water, which means that the material is preserved in a totally 'fresh' state.

How Do I Freeze Dry Grass?
Use a container (I use a Tupperware box) that is twice as big as the volume of grass you wish to dry. Make a few small holes in the lid, to allow the gas to escape.
Put equal volumes of bud and dry ice inside, loosely packed, with the dry ice underneath the bud. Put the lid on and make sure it is properly sealed so that the only way for gas to escape is through the holes in the lid. Put the box into a freezer, lid upwards. This is to keep the material as cold as possible, prolonging the sublimation process for as long as possible. The dry ice will begin to sublime pushing all air out of the box and surrounding your buds with bone dry co2. The totally dry atmosphere will begin drawing water molecules out of the plant material.
Check the tub after 24 hours and then every 24 hours until the dry ice has all gone. When the ice is all gone -the buds should be completely dry and smokeable. If you find that they are not quite dry then put some more dry ice into the box, place the lot back in the freezer and wait until they are done.

Can I use a fridge?
You could use a fridge instead of a freezer, but the dry ice would evaporate very quickly so you'd need a lot more of it to dry the buds, hence the expense would rise rapidly. Better would be to use a 'cool box' - one of the plastic insulated boxes for food storage when camping. Again - make sure that there are holes so that the gas can escape.

Do I need to prepare the buds?
It's better to partially dry the buds so that they are nearly dry, then finish them off with dry ice. If you use fresh, wet grass then you can expect the process to take much longer and to use more dry ice, pushing the cost up. I find that using partially dry buds in a freezer the dry ice has gone after about 48 hrs.
What I do is give them a week of slow dry, then manicure, THEN freeze dry them.

What are the advantages?
The advantages of this method are increased potency and a 'fresher' taste.
As the material is preserved in a totally 'fresh' state, the THC glands suffer as little degredation from heat, light and air as is possible. No other drying process preserves the resin glands is such a fresh state as can be achieved with freeze drying.

Why should I freeze dry?
Freeze drying is good if you plan to freeze your bud anyway. If you don't want to keep it in the freezer then there isn't a lot to be gained by using the technique, as the 'fresh' thc will rapidly degrade as usual once outside the freezer.

Where Can I get Dry Ice?
You can get dry ice from most lab suppliers (expensive) but many industrial ice houses or ice cream suppliers sell it for considerably less (preferred option)
Just try the yellow pages.

My Opinion Based on Experience
To be honest, In my experience the dry ice cure is a lot of trouble for little benefit, as the final taste isn't as good as you can get by slow drying and glass jar curing. Generally it's greener tasting and somewhat 'minty' due to the remaining chlorophyll. Strangely enough, some people like this minty taste and associate it with strength. (weird, I know - but they do.)

Does it really increase potency?
I have tried comparison by using a control sample, and freeze drying definitely seems to give you a slightly 'higher' hit with a 'mintier' taste than the jar cure, but the overall strength didn't seem hugely different. It's a connoisseur smoke, perhaps. In a blind test at a party with about thirty people involved it came out about evenly split as to which was the strongest, but that was a subjective test, and was only conducted in a very stoned manner! According to The Frank & Rosenthal Guide, anecdotal evidence suggests that freezing improves potency, which is why I got into the process in the first place. I'm not convinced either way, but it was a fun technique to play with for a while.
 

FreakNature

New Member
Re: Drying your weed - a tutorial.

Right on FreakNature, +rep for a great tutorial.

The freeze-drying info was from "Doctor Dangerous" quoted at the beginning of the article, pulled off of the internet. I'm just passing the info along. Thank you, though! :smoke2:
 

zolar

New Member
Re: Drying your weed - a tutorial.

my usual quick dry for a small amount finger to about 7-8 inch long
single

big manila envelope put bud in envelope and put in toaster oven set at 140 or warm setting check every 5 min
make sure paper doesnot touch heat element....

burned up a sample and the envelope while testing a different sample forgot aboutit paper must of been touchi ng element
first toaster fire of sample in over a year i guesasthe first sample is passable wanna be couchlock encourages burned food....

but my fast dry in envelope seems to keep better flavor perhaps heatingin envelope keeps more volitiles near the bud and
they migrate back in to replace the water vapor that was driven out
as it was heated in envelope not sure how to explain it but flavor is real different than drying fast in open bowl same plant and same time in oven ...
 

Retired Three

New Member
Re: Drying your weed - a tutorial.

I am currently drying some buds from my first crop. How long does it take in the curing process before the buds get that real nice smell to them? When they do get that nice smell to them are they ready to smoke.
 
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