Last Updated on 2 months by Plain Jane
In some states, civilians can freely grow their own hemp subject to unique licenses and permits that vary from place to place. So if you live in a locale that allows people to grow their own hemp, it’s probably high time that you exercise your rights.
But before you get straight to gardening, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the entire process so your harvest doesn’t go to waste. The most technical part of producing your own hemp? That would have to be drying the flowers.
Why Do You Need to Dry Hemp Flower?
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A common question that people ask involves the purpose of drying hemp flowers in the first place. Why can’t we just smoke the stuff fresh off of the stems?
For starters, plucking hemp flower off of the mature plant and stuffing it into a pipe won’t produce a steady burn. Moisture remains in the nugs, and this keeps the flower from properly burning. The resulting smoke might also present some flavor and feel issues, causing scorching friction and pain as it passes through the soft tissues.
Another reason why drying hemp flower is so important is that it allows the cannabinoids and terpenes to stabilize. Drying and curing the nugs initiates a chemical change that makes the organic compounds contained within the flower more potent and lasting.
And then finally, there’s the issue of contamination. When you take the flower off of the plant, it stays moist and prone to degradation. By drying the hemp flower, you effectively get rid of any bacteria, microbes, and adulterants, and help to keep the end product more resilient against contamination.
How to Manually Dry Hemp Flower
Some hemp flower producers have sophisticated drying and curing facilities that allow them to efficiently dry their flowers over short periods of time. But since you’re probably drying your flower in the comfort and simplicity of your home, you can try the manual drying process.
Here’s how to do it:
- Cut and prepare the plant – The first step involves cutting up the plant to prepare it for drying. Once the hemp plant is fully mature, you can cut apart long sections that you can hang upside down to dry.
If your drying room exceeds 55% humidity, you might want to section your plant matter into shorter lengths, about that of your hand. This makes the drying process faster and prevents the opportunity for mold to thrive.
On the other hand, if your drying room touts a relatively low humidity level, then you can keep your stalks long. Longer cuttings allow a slow-drying process that may improve cannabinoid and terpene profiles.
After cutting the plant down to a manageable drying length, you can start taking out the fan leaves and sugar leaves. These leaves can curl up and wrap around your nugs once the plant matter is cured and dried. Taking them out before drying makes the whole process simpler and easier.
- Set your drying room – To properly dry your hemp flower, you’re going to want to keep conditions in your drying room within certain temperature and humidity levels. According to experts, proper drying room temp should sit between 60°F to 70°F. Humidity should stay no higher than 55%.
Contrary to what your logic might tell you, your drying room also needs to be dark. Sunlight and heat can actually damage the plant matter during drying and may cause chemical changes in cannabinoid profiles.
Finally, make sure you have a fan keeping air constantly circulating throughout the duration of the drying process. For larger rooms, set up multiple fans or a dehumidifier to maintain proper conditions.
- Hang and dry the flower – If you’ve got a slightly more developed setup, you can hang the flower upside down to expose every inch to open air. This allows a more consistent, even dryness to occur on every surface of the cuttings.
However, since most people don’t have drying hooks to hang hemp off of, drying racks might work just fine. In this case, you might have to turn the cuttings once a week to make sure every side gets sufficiently exposed to open air.
The drying period varies depending on the conditions of your drying room. The whole process shouldn’t take more than 5-14 days though. Extend beyond that, and you risk the development of mold and other contaminants.
After Drying Hemp Flowers
Once your hemp flower is entirely dry, you can cut up the nugs and place them in a jar for curing. Choose a wide mouth, airtight jar, or canister for the curing process. See to it that you don’t overfill the jars. Keeping the contents to just 75% of the jar’s capacity creates the ideal conditions for curing.
Store the jars in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight, heat, and moisture. Most experts recommend curing your nugs for around 60 to 90 days to encourage the best cannabinoid and terpene expression and stability.
In terms of temperature and humidity conditions, the same applies. Keep temperatures between 60° to 70°F, and humidity levels under 55% for best results.
During the curing process, you’ll want to burp your jars at least once a week. This allows any gas build-up to exit the container so your nugs don’t get exposed for long to potentially damaging degradation byproducts.
Tips for Drying and Curing Hemp Flower
If it’s your first time drying hemp flowers, the whole process won’t come naturally. So to help you achieve the perfect results, here are some tips from the pros that you might want to keep in mind.
- Be patient. It’s tempting to keep checking on your hemp flower as it dries. But constantly opening up your drying room and checking in on the progress can stifle the process. Limit inspections to once every day or two to prevent any contamination and to avoid interrupting the drying process.
- Protect against contamination. Lots of different elements can contaminate your hemp flower and cause problems in the final product. Keep all entry points like windows and doors tightly closed. It also helps to vacate your drying room of things like other plants and biodegradable material.
- Consider your cutting method. If you’re new to the process, wet cutting your hemp flower — that is, while it’s still fresh — might provide better control and less fallout and breakage. However, for hemp producers with more experience, dry cutting can deliver a higher quality product.
Over to You
Drying hemp flowers isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. Requiring a level of skill and expertise, lots of things can go wrong during the process. Fortunately for first-timers, it’s not something you can’t learn online.
If you’re planning to grow, harvest, and process your own hemp flower at home, make sure to keep these nifty tips at the ready. By properly drying your hemp flower, you can guarantee high-quality outcomes that you could even put up for sale.