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Can You Rehydrate Cannabis?

Created by
JoshuaHolt JoshuaHolt
Added 21 January 2021

Rehydrating Cannabis

In some places, the climate is so dry that moisture evaporates from your cannabis buds much faster than it should. When our cannabis becomes too dry, there are some useful tricks we can apply to get it back into shape. This post goes over some the most effective ways to rehydrate your crackly buds. 

Dry Cannabis

Drying Cannabis

Low humidity makes maintaining moisture content in cannabis buds a challenge. If you've ever grown your own cannabis, you may have experienced the difficulty of drying your buds to an adequate level. However, you may also have noticed that drying cannabis buds can reabsorb moisture on a humid day.

If the moisture content inside the bud is higher than it is around it, water gets 'lost'. On the other hand, when the outside relative humidity is high but the bud is dry, moisture can get reabsorbed into the flower as the water in the atmosphere tries to rebalance itself.

Do you need to Rehydrate Your Cannabis?

Moldy Cannabis Is Best Thrown Away

Overly dry cannabis isn't the best but it doesn't mean it's completely ruined. Consider whether it is really worth it for you to try and rehydrate the weed in the first place. If it's just a touch past the optimal point, it may not be worth the risk to reintroduce moisture. You lose a bit of weight when cannabis dries out but that's better than potentially losing everything to mold from improper rehydration techniques. Do it at your own risk and try not to rush by adding more moisture thinking your bud can quickly regain weight.

The problem with cannabis that has dried too much is that it begins to lose a lot of flavour. As cannabis is dried, certain oils can evaporate along with the moisture. 

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Cannabis Terpenes

Another thing that can affect the overall quality of the final product is when the buds dry too quickly. Fast drying doesn't give enough time for certain unwanted chemical compounds to break down, such as chlorophyll. Chlorophyll can give cannabis that green, grassy flavour and by drying the weed to quickly it stays 'locked' in the bud. The smoke becomes harsh and the pleasure from smoking the flower can diminish drastically.

Optimal Moisture Content For Cannabis

Well Cured Cannabis Buds

Drying and curing are the most important parts of any cannabis harvest. Getting it right requires you to carefully control the environment during this time so the buds dry slow and steady to the point where they can be stored for the long term without worry of fungus or loss of flavour and potency.

A well dried and cured cannabis bud should have roughly 15% moisture remaining. Buds should not be too moist for mold reasons and neither should they be too dry, otherwise they crumble into dust and burn extremely hot, creating a harsh, unpleasant smoke.

Monitoring humidity can be done using small hygrometers which can be placed inside the curing jars. If you're unsure about humidity and curing, have a look at the following chart. Bear in mind the density of your buds can also affect how quickly they dry.

Humidity

Curing

Action

<50%

Too Dry

You can try using a humidipack or other hydration method to reestablish moisture in buds. 

50 - 55%

Lack Of Moisture

Keep jars completely closed and check again after 3 days to see if moisture surfaces.

55 - 60%

Buds Dry Faster

Jars should be checked less frequently. Aerate once every day.

60 - 65%

Optimum Level

Open containers 2 - 3 times a day to let air/moisture circulate for 3 - 5 minutes.

65 - 70 %

High Moisture

Leave jars open for a few hours instead of a few minutes.

>70%

Too Wet

Remove buds from jars and allow to dry for another 12 - 24 hours on a rack or screen.

In the event that your weed has gone past it's perfect point of dryness, you can use these 5 methods to get it back into tip top shape.

Humidity Packs

Humidity Packs For Maintaining Moisture

A humidity pack is a package containing mostly natural salts and water, and is designed to keep the RH at a steady level within curing jars or other small containers. There are humidity packs with an RH specifically for cannabis that use reverse osmosis to release water vapor in the right quantity to keep levels at their optimum.

Humidity packs, also known as a humectant, do the opposite to silica gel packs, which are desiccants commonly found used to absorb moisture from a space. Ideal if you are looking for a controlled way to balance the moisture content in your buds.

Citrus Peel & Lettuce

Citrus Peel Or Lettuce Can Be Used To Rehydrate Cannabis

For a super natural way to add a touch more moisture to your cannabis buds, why not try adding some orange or lemon peel to your airtight jars? Although this method can affect the flavour of the bud, it doesn't have a negative impact and can actually add some tasty zest.

Lettuce, on the other hand, does not add flavour and simply provides the moisture we need to rehydrate our buds. Lettuce is made up of about 95% water so it works efficiently for the job.

For either of these methods it is best to place the peel or lettuce in a plastic zip-lock bag (closed but not all the way or closed but with a few pin holes in the bag) and leave it on top of the weed inside the closed airtight jar for a day. To avoid mold problems, check the weed and replace with a fresh bag and piece of fruit or vegetable peel. Do this daily until you're happy with the moisture content.

Spongy & Sterile Objects

Spongy And Sterile Objects For Rehydration

You can use the method we mentioned above, but instead of fruit peel or lettuce use spongy and sterile materials that hold moisture and air. There are lots of household items to use in this case, such as cotton balls, q-tips (cotton buds), cigarette filters, sponges, kitchen roll, and many others. Just wet the object (make sure it's not sodden and dripping, just moist), and place it in the plastic zip-lock bag and seal in the jar with the weed. Check it daily and moisten the object with more water if necessary.

Humidors

Humidor For Cannabis

There are also fancy, expensive products on the market designed specifically for curing and storing cannabis at the perfect RH for the longer term. Humidors we're often used back in the day to keep cigars from drying out too much but they work very well for cannabis too.

A humidor is a wooden box or container, with an interior usually made from cedar wood. They have a built in hygrometer to regulate RH and use a distilled water system with a sponge to keep the moisture levels in check.

Add Fresh Flowers/Stems

Adding Fresher Flowers To Curing Jars

Adding cannabis that still has enough moisture content to your jars can help to redistribute the water across the buds without using any other material but weed. It helps if it's the same strain so you don't end up mixing the weed but you can also use the technique mentioned above by placing the weed in a separate plastic zip-lock and inside the jar with the buds you want to hydrate.

Monitoring humidity in curing jars by Mrg7667 from GrowDiaries.

You can also use stems if you have some fresh ones on hand. Stems and stalks hold a lot of moisture and increase the humidity in your jars when placed alongside bone dry buds. Again, an effective way of rehydrating without adding anything but the raw ingredient.

Tips for Avoiding Overly Dry Cannabis

Dark Glass Can Help To Preserve Cannabis By Blocking Out UV

Let's end with some useful prevention techniques so hopefully you can avoid dry weed altogether.

  • If you live in a climate with very low humidity, you may want to opt for dry timming instead of wet trimming.
  • To avoid drying your weed too quickly, keep the room temperature between 16-21°C and the relative humidity between 45-55%. When they're ready, the buds should have a slightly crisp touch to them and stems should snap.
  • During drying, avoid pointing fans directly at the buds as it could dry them out too fast. It's best to have ambient fans gently moving the air around your drying space.
  • Store your weed in air tight jars (dark glass if possible) in a cool, dark location. Light and heat both degrade cannabis. Plastic does not efficiently contain moisture so it is only best stored there for the short term and only once it has been dried and cured correctly.
  • When purchasing large amounts of weed, keep the majority of the buds fresh by storing them in a separate jar so you are not constantly opening the same jar.

If you found this article useful, please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts about rehydrating weed! Did any of these rehydrating techniques work for you or have another recommendation? We'd love to hear from you.

External References

The effect of cannabis dry flower irradiation on the level of cannabinoids, terpenes and anti-cancer properties of the extracts. - Kovalchuk, Olga & Li, Dongping & Rodriguez-Juarez, Rocio & Golubov, Andrey & Hudson, Darryl & Kovalchuk, Igor. (2020).

Drying of cannabis—state of the practices and future needs. - Challa, Sai & Misra, N.N. & Martynenko, Alex. (2020).

The Cannabis Terpenes. - Sommano, Sarana & Chittasupho, Chuda & Ruksiriwanich, Warintorn & Jantrawut, Pensak. (2020).






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