During harvesting, when branches are removed from the cannabis plant, the stomata on the surface of the leaves close up, preventing the loss of water vapor from the buds. For this reason, harvested cannabis must be dried before users can smoke or vaporize it.
Trimming is the process of removing excess leaves from cannabis buds and colas. The leaves are removed because they contain chlorophyll, which negatively alters the taste of cannabis when dried. The removal of excess leaves is easiest when the plant is still moist and sharp scissors must be used and cleaned many times during the process, since excess trichomes and resin can “gunk” them up, so to speak.
The harvested portions of the cannabis plant attempts to retain as must moisture as they can, once removed. This excess water must be removed before the cannabis can be cured (the final step of production). Growers employ various methods of drying with differing results.
Large cannabis colas are often hung upside down in dry rooms without moisture. This causes moisture to move down and out of the plant. Growers may dry cannabis for differing amounts of time, depending on the density of the cannabis colas, the temperature and size of the room and available airflow. However, 5-10 days is a good estimate.
Other growers employ paper bags, the sun’s rays, dry ice and water to varying results.
Slow cure, smooth flavour
It is very important to mention that the longer cannabis is dried, the smoother the taste will be when cured. If growers attempt to dry cannabis quickly (for example, to quickly recoup investments) it can result in poorer quality cannabis with a harsh taste. A slower cure ensures the overall moisture in the buds of the plant is released at the same time as the moisture deep in the stomata. If dried quickly, moisture still exists in the stomata, giving cannabis a much harsher “plant-matter” taste.
Finally, the cure! Curing is the process of placing dried cannabis in air-tight, usually glass jar, so it can marinate in its own essence and strengthen it’s flavour.
To put it simply, the reasons for curing are two-fold:
- To ensure that chlorophyll, pigments and other substances that negatively affect taste are removed.
- To allow the cannabis to marinate, achieving complex aromas and a deeper, sweeter taste
The longer a grower spends curing cannabis, the more robust and sweet the end flavour will be, ensuring a much higher quality product. During initial period of curing, cultivators usually open the jar for 30 minutes every 24 hours. After the first week, cultivators open the jar twice a week for about two weeks. After that the jar may be opened once a month and then stored.
So there you have it! The final product is robust, flavourful high-quality cannabis with the least amount of chlorophyll and other pigments!