How to Dry Your Buds for Best Results?

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Added 11 March 2022

You have spent an entire season growing a big, healthy cannabis plant. You took great care of it to ensure good health. And you have just finished harvesting it. 

You're probably feeling the urge to taste the buds right away — but this is where you have to be patient. All your efforts may go down the drain if you don't dry and cure the buds properly. So, just like you were patient while growing the plant, show some restraint and wait for the buds to dry at first. 

Many growers hasten the process and use the buds as soon as they feel dry, but it's never a good idea to do it before curing. Now, curing is a topic for another day. For now, let's focus on drying and why it's so important. 

It's understandable — you are excited to use the buds but do not make the same mistake many growers make to dry the cannabis buds too quickly or poorly. Because it can cost you. Drying the buds too quickly or poorly can hamper the profile and potency, and in worst cases, it can completely ruin your buds.

Instead, it's time to be even more patient and dry your buds the right way. In this article, we will show you how you can dry your fresh buds properly for best results while maintaining their flavor and potency.

What is Cannabis Drying?

drying buds

Drying the buds is just a process where you let the buds get rid of excess moisture. Drying makes the buds smoother on the lungs and brings out the flavor and aroma. During the drying process, you are accomplishing two goals:

  1. You reduce the moisture content within the buds, which breaks down the chlorophyll, making the buds easier to store and consume.
  2. You increase their potency and flavor and optimize the cannabinoid profile.

Freshly harvested buds are wet and contain a lot of moisture. This is due to environmental reasons, chlorophyll content, and various other reasons. Unfortunately, wet buds pose a variety of challenges that can ruin your smoking experience, such as the following:

Wet buds are difficult to grind

We love smoking the fine powdery weed rolled up tight in a gorgeous joint, but that is impossible to do with wet buds. You cannot grind wet buds up because they get stuck to the grinder's spokes.

Wet buds do not burn well

The moisture within the wet buds makes them harsh and bitter. They also do not burn well, and it's even more irritating when you inhale the smoke.

Wet buds just taste terrible

The flavor is a vital aspect of smoking cannabis, but smoking wet buds can ruin the experience. Wet buds taste terrible because the moisture mixes with the smoke, ruining the flavor profile. Sure, you can taste the terpene profile, but it won't be the same as smoking well-cured dank cannabis. Needless to say, it's bad for your throat. 

What is the Ideal Drying Environment?

drying cannabis

Drying cannabis is not as simple as leaving the buds out in the sun for a few days. You need to provide the right environment for the buds to dry correctly, and the surrounding area must be clean and sanitized.

First, ensure that you dry the buds in a shaded area devoid of direct sunlight or artificial light. Intense light speeds up the evaporation of the buds' essential oils, which ends up hampering its flavor profile. 

Also, the drying room environment must correlate with your location's climate. For instance, in a humid region, you need to ensure the grow room is slightly less humid. Conversely, you need to adjust the humidity if you reside in a dry region. 

In other words, you need to make sure the buds dry gradually — neither too quick nor too slow. Too fast or too slow drying can kill the terpenes and cannabinoids or lead to mold infestation, respectively.

Ideally, you need to maintain the temperature and humidity at the following levels:

  • 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C)  
  • 45% to 55% of relative humidity

There are several ways to adjust the grow space's climate, like the following:

  • Air conditioner to cool the air and decrease humidity
  • Humidifier to warm the air and raise humidity
  • Dehumidifier to warm the air and lower humidity
  • Evaporative cooler to cool the air and increase humidity
  • Heater to warm the air and lower humidity

Lastly, you must provide ventilation in the drying space. A room with damp air may not let the buds dry efficiently and make them prone to mold and bacteria infestation. And, you don't want to use moldy buds!

We also recommend using an odor-controlling device — think carbon filters — in the drying space to scrub the smell as the terpenes evaporate. Buds smell a lot during the drying process, and it can be annoying for your neighbors or let others know you are growing cannabis. 

How to Dry Cannabis?

Drying cannabis is relatively easy, but you need to start with understanding the scale of your produce. The drying process relies on the yield. For example, you can dry a few buds pretty quickly, but it's different if you have an enormous yield. 

Typically, the drying process for fresh buds involves three steps: wet trimming and drying or dry trimming. 

Step 1: Wet Trimming After Harvest

wet trimming

The first step in drying buds is wet trimming, where you have to cut the excess leaves off the fresh, wet buds before drying.

Your cannabis plants have both sugar and fan leaves. The fan leaves are the primary type of leaves on the plant. They are usually big and look distinct, with five points jutting out — they are the worldwide symbol for weed. 

On the other hand, the sugar leaves are secondary leaves. They are small, protruding out of the cola or buds.

During the wet trimming process, you must trim the fan leaves and bigger sugar leaves, turning the buds semi-naked.

If your region's humidity is low, below 30% RH, do a light trim and leave more leaves on the buds to slow down the drying process, keeping the buds' flavor and potency intact.

On the other hand, if you live in a humid region with over 60% RH, do a thorough trim of the buds and even cut off the branches to speed up the drying process. 

We recommend using a spring-loaded trimming scissor to cut the leaves for wet trimming. They are cheap and make the process much easier. You should also wear disposable gloves — fresh buds are covered in sticky resin, and your hands can get messy. 

Step 2: Drying the Buds

Once you have wet trimmed the buds, they are ready for drying. And there are multiple ways you can dry your buds:

Hang the Buds Upside Down

hang buds upside down

Hanging the buds upside down using cloth hangers or laundry ropes is the most common drying method for cannabis buds, especially when you have a significant yield. Just ensure that you hang the buds in a shaded area so no direct light falls on them, which can evaporate the terpenes too quickly. 

When hanging the buds upside down, ensure they are adequately spaced, so there's ample airflow. Doing so would ensure efficient drying and prevent mold. You can also install oscillating fans to enhance air circulation further. 

Also, ensure the drying space is well-ventilated. Stale air can damage your buds' flavor and cause mold or bacteria infestation.

Typically, five days are enough for the buds to dry appropriately using this method. However, depending on your region and strain genetics, your buds may dry within three days or take a couple of extra days to dry.

You must keep the buds away from pests and other environmental contaminants — they may hamper the flavor and smell and even kill the buds. 

For the best results, try maintaining the drying space's environment at around 75°F (23°C) and 45% to 50% RH of humidity.

You will know the buds have dried out when they feel crispy to touch but spring back when pressed gently. You can also snap the stems to check if they have dried properly. If they snap easily, you're done. If not, wait for another 24 hours and check again. 

When drying using this method, do not under-dry the buds. Over-drying can be a better option comparatively because it drives out all the excess moisture and prepares them for storing.

Rice Drying

Ever dropped your phone in water and placed it in a bag of rice for a couple of days to fix it? The same principle is used in this drying method. But instead of your phone, you have to place your buds in the rice.

Rice is known for sucking moisture out of its surroundings, and you can use this for your benefit when drying cannabis buds. 

The only downside with this method is that it requires patience as rice is slow to extract moisture compared to other drying methods. So, this method is only recommended for smaller yields. 

All you need is a container, like a mason jar, and rice for this method. Just follow these steps:

Get a mason jar or container

mason jar

Place the buds in the container

Place buds in container

Next, pour some rice into the container. You can also pour some rice first and then place the buds on them. Whatever you do, ensure the rice covers the buds. 

Pour rice

Keep the container (uncovered) in a dark room with good ventilation and airflow

Keep in a ventilated area

Check the buds every day

check buds

Typically, rice can dry smaller buds within 4 to 5 days. Just ensure the container is uncovered and there's proper ventilation and airflow within the drying room to prevent mold and maintain the buds' flavor.

Paper Towel

Another common and cheap way to dry cannabis in smaller batches is using paper towels. Paper towels effectively absorb moisture from the buds, just like rice, and they don't require any equipment or tools. 

Just follow these steps to dry your cannabis buds using paper towels:

Get your hands on some eco-friendly, inert, fragrance-less paper towels.

get paper towels

Wrap the cannabis buds in paper towels.

wrap the buds in the towels

Then, place the towel in a dark room near a fan and keep the room ventilated to prevent mold infestation on the buds.

place buds in ventilated room

Rewrap the buds in new paper towels every couple of hours.

change towels frequently

Paper towels can help you dry your small batch of buds within 3 to 4 days. However, since the buds do not get direct airflow in the paper towels, always check the buds for mold before smoking them.

That is also why we recommend using paper towels to dry buds only for smaller batches. The only con with this method is that you may get tired of changing the towels constantly. 

Drying Racks

drying rack

Using drying racks is a standard method to dry buds faster than upside-down drying. Here, all you need to get are drying racks from your nearest gardening store.

Wet-trim the buds and place them on the drying racks in a dark room.

Since this method dries the buds faster, we don't recommend using this in low-humidity climates or if you have a smaller yield. This method works best for drying buds in a small space or if you have big, bushy buds. Also, you can use this method if you live in a humid region where mold is a common problem.

Air Drying

air drying

Maybe, you don't mind waiting for a little while for your buds to dry and want to take the simplest option. In that case, you can dry your buds with air drying.

Just pick a room with a lot of shade and good ventilation, and leave your wet trimmed buds in that room to dry out. You can even place a fan near the buds to quicken the process. 

The process is quite simple, but we don't recommend using this method if you live in a humid region or have a larger yield. Many things can go wrong with air-drying — mold, hampered taste, under-drying of the buds, etc. 

Step 3: Dry Trimming

dry trimming buds

Once your buds are adequately dried, it's time to trim the buds thoroughly to remove the unnecessary components like sugar leaves from the buds. Think of this process as more like manicuring your buds and giving them a final look. 

Unlike wet trimming, where you trim the buds immediately after harvest, dry trimming involves trimming them after they are dry. 

Start by cutting off the stems of the buds first using the spring-loaded trimming scissor. We don't recommend smoking stems as they can make the smoking experience harsh and even induce headaches and other side effects.

Then, trim the remaining sugar leaves. You can leave some sugar leaves on the buds to make them look more appealing or get a smoother smoking experience. In addition, the sugar leaves reduce the buds' harshness and intensity, making them more approachable for novice smokers. However, don't leave too many sugar leaves as they can do the opposite. 

If you choose to cut the sugar leaves, you can save them for later, too, to make cannabutter or other cannabis extracts.

Once you have thoroughly dry trimmed the buds, you should be left with only the flower with some sugar leaves. That's it. That's the cannabis drying process summed up in three steps.

How Long Does It Take to Dry Cannabis?

Generally, cannabis buds take anywhere from 2 to 14 days to dry properly. However, this period largely depends on your strain genetics, temperature, relative humidity, room condition, and light. Sometimes, the bud or yield size can also affect the drying time.

Regardless of the method you use, you must check the buds every day. 

Press the bud with your finger to check if the buds are dry. They are dry and ready for curing if they feel crispy to touch but spring back once you lift your finger. 

As mentioned earlier, you can try snapping the stem to see if it's dry. However, if they bend instead of snapping, you'll have to wait at least 24 hours. 

Lastly, don't dry the buds too quickly or too slowly. Drying the buds too quickly can evaporate all the terpenes and cannabinoids, reducing the buds' potency, flavor, and fragrance.

On the other hand, drying too slowly makes your buds prone to mold and bacteria infestation, which will render your buds useless. 

What Are the Common Drying Mistakes?

Being impatient is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when drying cannabis, but it isn't the only mistake. There are some more. Let's take a look at the common drying mistakes in detail.

Drying the Buds Too Quickly

The #1 mistake you can make when drying cannabis is drying the buds too quickly. It's understandable, you have spent months growing your cannabis, and you can't wait to smoke them. But you must be patient. 

The drying process must be slow and gradual, so the buds' flavor and potency are maintained. 

Crowding the Buds Together

When drying, you must also ensure the buds are spaced apart from each other. Crowding or staking the buds together reduces the air circulation between them, leading to mold infestation. 

Remember, the buds are wet, and without the plant's immune system protecting them, they are more prone to mold than ever. So now it's your turn to protect them.

Not Maintaining the Drying Environment

On the same lines, you must give your buds the right environment to dry in. As mentioned earlier, you need to maintain the right temperature and humidity levels to ensure a gradual drying process.

You also need to keep the space well ventilated and shaded from intense light.

Maintaining the drying space's environment preserves the buds' terpenes and cannabinoids, further maintaining their potency and flavor.

Using the Wrong Drying Method

The internet is full of hundreds of drying methods, but only some of them work. Others merely claim to work. Therefore, you must only use tried and tested methods — like the ones mentioned above — and stay away from others. Below are some of the practices you must always avoid.

a) Setting the Buds in Front of the Dehumidifier

Do not place in front of humidifier

Using a dehumidifier to dry your buds seems like a quick and effective way to dry cannabis buds, but the truth is somewhat contrary. 

If you place the buds in front of the device, you will essentially be killing the buds. In addition, the dehumidifier can dry out your buds within a couple of hours, which is not healthy for the buds. 

Quick-drying evaporates the terpenes and cannabinoids. Instead, your buds need gradual drying to preserve terpenes and cannabinoids and develop their flavor profile.

b) Using a Blow Dryer or Microwave

do not use a blow dryer

Similarly, many growers use a blow drier or microwave to dry the buds. Unfortunately, these devices dry the buds in an unnaturally quick way, resulting in over-dried buds. Fast overdrying can degrade the trichomes, reduce THC levels, and hamper the buds' flavor and fragrance.

c) Placing the Buds Out in the Sun

do not place buds in hot sun

Lastly, many growers place the buds in the sun for quick drying. Unfortunately, this is perhaps the worst method you can use to dry your buds.

The intense light and heat of the sun will ruin the flavor and fragrance of your buds and nullify their potency by evaporating the terpenes and cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

What To Do After the Drying Process?

The drying process is followed by the curing process. Here, you have to place the dried buds in an airtight container, like a mason jar, and let it cure for a month or two. 

This process should occur in a cool, dry space with 55% to 65% RH for the best results. And you must also let the buds burp for 20 min for a few times a day. Leave the container open for 20 min to allow the buds to burp. 

Summary: How to Dry Your Buds for Best Results?

Once you have dried your buds, the moisture content will go from 80% to 15%. As a result, your buds will lose up to 75% of their weight during this process. 

Just remember a few tips when drying your cannabis buds:

  • Be patient during the drying process to ensure the flavor and potency of the buds stay intact.
  • Your priority should be to grow high-quality buds. No amount of drying can improve your buds. It only brings out the flavor and potency.
  • Use spring-loaded trimming scissors and disposable gloves to make the process easier and less messy.
  • Ensure adequate air circulation and the buds are not touching each other to prevent mold and make the drying more efficient. 
  • If you live in a dry region, trim fewer leaves, and if you live in a humid area, trim as many leaves as possible during the wet trimming process.

Follow the steps mentioned above and tips to dry your cannabis the right way. Be patient and be thoughtful, and you will be rewarded with potent, flavorful buds that will take you to the clouds!


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Very good summary! 👍