The process of drying cannabis is an integral part of the weed-growing process. If you get everything right but dry your harvest under improper conditions, you will end up wasting the buds that took you too long to grow. Drying cannabis gets rid of the moisture in the buds allowing you to store them for longer without the risk of mold attacking your juicy buds.
Drying also activates the active compounds in the buds, bringing to life cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that give your weed the wholesome effect when you smoke it. It’s through drying that you strip the water from the buds, leaving behind healthy-looking nugs that you usher into the curing process.
Through drying, THC is converted from its non-psychoactive, acidic form to its psychoactive form that makes smoking the buds worthwhile. However seductive the fresh, wet buds might seem, they are actually less potent. It takes drying—evaporating 75% of the moisture in buds, and a whole level of converting compounds in the buds to make it concentrated, potent enough for use.
If you’ve ever dried weed before, you’ve noticed that the buds become smaller. It is discouraging to see your healthy green buds growing smaller as the drying process continues, but it is for the right reasons.
How Much Do Buds Shrink During Drying?
During the drying process, the buds will lose about 70% of weight due to the evaporation of moisture within the buds. The drying process will cut the weight by more than half. The size of the buds will also decrease a little. Thus, if you start with a whole rack of drying buds, the rack will be half full when the drying process is complete.
The shrinking of the buds doesn’t reduce its richness. It will still contain enough cannabinoids, and the terpenes will be more pronounced after curing.
For most growers, buds shrinking during the drying process is never really an issue. Right from harvesting, you want to remove all that doesn’t count in the buds, including the extra leaves and the moisture. You should expect the buds to shrink, be smaller than they were when wet. The only problem most sellers have with the buds shrinking is the weight.
The buds lose a lot of weight during the drying process, and since sellers sell per gram, losing more than half of the weight of the wet buds means losing half of your earnings from the sale of the buds. It disgusts most sellers, and this is perhaps why some sellers will sell you weed before it dries properly.
Do Smaller Buds Dry Faster?
Smaller buds dry faster than dense buds. Dense buds contain more water in them and require more time for the moisture to dissipate from inside the buds. The duration of drying depends on temperature, the air in circulation, humidity, and bud density. If these factors are kept the same, smaller buds will dry faster.
Ordinarily, most buds will be dry enough for curing after drying for seven days. Stick to seven slow drying days, but if the buds are thick and dense, dry them for four more days just to be sure. You can check on the 10th day by squeezing the buds to check for moisture content in their core. You can also bend the stem; if the stem snaps, then it’s ready for curing. If it bends, add them more days in the dry room.
Another reason why smaller buds dry faster is because of the many spaces between them that enhance airflow. If you spread small buds on a drying film, the moment they begin to dry, the spaces between them grow bigger, exposing the buds on all angles to temperatures and air that dry them faster.
The volume of harvest also matters as much as the size of the buds. A large harvest will require more room to allow for even drying. And if both the volume of the yield and the buds’ size are huge, you need to give them more days to dry properly. While at it, watch out for humidity between 45 and 50 percent. Any more humidity will put your buds at risk of mold.
Do Buds Tighten Up When Drying?
After drying, your buds shall have lost most of the moisture from them. With moisture lost, the buds will seem smaller and feel lighter. However, it is during curing that the buds tighten up. During curing, the conditions in the closed jars call for the release of more moisture from the buds, allowing the trichomes to stick together, making the buds tighter.
Drying, in most cases, won’t leave your buds closely-packed, but rather with airspaces between the particles. Thus, they feel buoyant, not tight. The buds will get smaller through the drying process as they lose more and more moisture, but losing water alone doesn’t make them tight.
Keep the moisture in the jars on check and cure for longer. Burp the jars a few times a day to free the vapor inside. Stretching the curing period tightens the buds and enriches its aroma. Watch the humidity, and when you have to, use Boveda packs to rehydrate the buds so that they don’t become crispy. Tightening isn’t solely about losing water; it also means retaining the right moisture content so that the buds don’t feel like feathers.
Do Buds Lose Weight While Curing?
The buds will continue to lose weight during the curing process. After drying, the buds might seem dry on the outside, but they still pack some moisture in them. Whenever you burp the jars, the moisture is evaporated from the buds, making them lighter.
When well-dried, the weight loss during the curing process will be less significant. For most people, the weight loss will not be noticeable unless the drying process wasn’t complete.
During curing, you’re not only preparing the weed for longer storage but also making it finer. Thus, the moisture loss during the curing process should be welcome if you want the most potent weed with a bold terpene profile.
How Do I Make My Buds Heavier After Harvest?
If you want to have heavier, denser buds after harvest, then you need to begin with the growing. It is only during the growing phase that you can increase the weight of your buds. After harvesting, the buds can only become lighter as the moisture in them evaporates.
Once you have harvested the weed, the best you can do is dry them slowly so that they don’t lose water faster and lose critical components. Hang dry your buds for between 5-7 days. If they’re too dense, dry them for more days so that you don’t begin curing prematurely.
If you’d like your buds healthy and heavy, you can only do so before you harvest. I wrote a lengthy article on how to fatten your buds before harvest. You will find it insightful.
In summary, drying and curing are crucial stages in your weed growing journey. They preserve your buds, improve the taste and aroma of your weed. However, they also reduce the size and weight of your buds considerably as the moisture content is lost in the air. The loss of weight and shrinking is necessary; you shouldn’t worry about it.