Curing Cannabis to Preserve Terpenes and Increase Yields
Curing cannabis may not be as labor-intensive as tending to a hydroponic grow room or as delicate as balancing environmental conditions in your drying room. However, the process of curing is every bit as important to perfecting your final product. Proper curing is the last step in producing award-winning buds and high-quality extracts. And of course, quality buds equate to increased revenue.
Quality Curing Begins Where Drying Ends
If you haven’t already read our article on drying cannabis, we highly recommend you check it out before continuing. Before a cannabis cultivator begins to cure their buds, they must first be properly dried down to about 14% moisture content. If you begin to cure your flower with a higher RH (relative humidity), you may encounter:
- Increased risk of mold
- Longer cure times
- Higher risk of fungus infection
During the curing process, biosynthesis slows. And the remaining plant material, such as chlorophyll and primary metabolites, breaks down. A successful cure will ensure your trichomes have become botanical containers for the cannabinoids and terpenes inside.
Why Do Cultivators Cure Cannabis?
The end game of cannabis cultivation is to produce high-quality buds covered in cannabinoid-rich trichomes. After you trim and dry your flower, curing your cannabis:
- Allows “good” bacteria to break down the remaining plant material
- Facilitates the oxidation of trichome shells, sealing and preserving the resin inside
- Slows and stabilizes the degradation of secondary metabolites, which extends the shelf life of cannabinoids such as THCA and CBDA
Enhances Flavor, Smoother Tokes
When you draw on a cannabis preroll or bowl of freshly ground bud, you can usually tell if the flower wasn’t cured properly or long enough. When you smoke cannabis, you are causing the plant material to combust and then inhaling the smoke and vapors. To feel the effects of cannabis, you inhale the vaporized cannabinoids and terpenes.
However, cannabis that is not properly cured still contains plant materials that have not broken down. This includes the plant’s primary metabolites such as sugar and chlorophyll. When a preroll is lit, these metabolites are ignited. The resulting smoke from the burning plant material causes increased lung irritation and takes away from the strain’s aroma.
When you’ve allowed weed to cure long enough, and in the right environment, then nearly all the plant’s primary metabolites will have broken down. With the exception of a little woody plant material, users will be primarily lighting the THC and terpene-filled trichomes, allowing for a smoother smoking experience.
When you’ve cured your cannabis just right, you’ll have some award winning, dank weed that tokes smooth as silk.
Extends the Shelf Life
As we’ve mentioned, the cannabis plant’s secondary metabolites are still transforming inside the trichomes after harvest. Curing helps stabilize the cannabinoids and terpenes within the cannabis glands, helping to mitigate the oxidation of THC to CBN.
When cured properly, this allows your flower to maintain it’s potency over a longer period of time.
During the curing process, oxidation causes the trichome’s outer shell to become less porous, protecting the valuable resin inside. As the glands become less malleable and more ridged, fewer organisms and chemicals can contaminate your trichome heads. And the more plant material that breaks down during curing, the fewer resources available to fungus and mold.
Properly cured cannabis not only improves the user experience for those grinding buds into preroll fill, but it also produces cleaner extracts. Fewer primary metabolites mean you will have fewer contaminants to filter during winterization.
How to Cure Cannabis
When cannabis cultivators transition their dried buds to the curing phase, they are encouraging aerobic bacteria to continue decomposing plant material. During this process, your curing container or bag will need to be opened at scheduled times to allow excess moisture and carbon dioxide to escape.
The balance is to allow just enough oxygen around your buds to support plant decay, without degrading the cannabinoids or promoting mold.
Although the goal of curing has remained the same through the ages, our methods have advanced. And with advanced curing comes increased revenue for cannabis farmers, processors, and dispensaries.
Cannabis farmers and adult consumers have used creative solutions for curing cannabis. Of these, the most popular have been glass mason jars and turkey bags. Although these products have worked “well enough,” far more advanced solutions have been developed for cannabis cultivators.
What is “Burping?”
Regardless of how you cure your flower, it’s important to “burp” your container. Whether you are using glass jars or turkey bags, allowing an exchange of air is important to permit small amounts of oxygen to fuel the aerobic bacteria that plays its part in curing. “Burping” also allows the release of excess moisture, which helps prevent mold from taking hold within your curing buds.
It’s common to “burp” your cannabis bag or container more frequently when you begin curing. Some open their containers for about 30 minutes, 4 times a day when they start curing. However, there are many variations in the burping process, and you’ll need to use a cadence that best fits your business and environment.
Curing Cannabis in Glass Jars
Curing with mason jars or glass jars is effective and still used today. The benefits of using glass containers for curing include:
- Glass is naturally non-toxic
- Containers manufactured with glass are less permeable than plastic
- Glass jars allow a farmer to visually inspect buds as they cure
- It’s easy to clean and sterilize glass jars in a commercial dishwasher or sonic dishwasher
There are several challenges accompanied by exclusively using glass jars to cure cannabis. When curing in a large-scale cultivation business, glass jars:
- Take up more storage space than bags.
- Are heavy, requiring load bearing, commercial shelving.
- Often require additional supplies such as oxygen absorbers and humidity packs to ensure your buds are curing properly.
You want a little oxygen in the jars, but it’s a delicate balancing act. Too much oxygen will cause your cannabinoids to degrade quicker. Too little oxygen and you starve the aerobic bacteria, bringing the curing process to a halt.
And although it can be tricky to maintain the perfect environment within your glass jars, they remain a very popular method for curing cannabis for many growers.
Advanced Curing Using Wicket Bags
The cannabis industry has been very fortunate to have horticultural innovators like Grove Bags bring science to the art of cannabis cultivation. As we’ve mentioned, glass jars are heavy. And turkey bags were never designed to preserve terpenes while curing. And in either case, additional accessories and supplies are needed to maintain the perfect curing environment inside the jars and bags.
Enter the Wicket Bag.
Grove Bags integrates their Terploc film into the manufacturing of each storage bag. Wicket bags are specifically engineered from the ground up to give your premium buds the perfect environment to finish drying and curing to perfection.
Wicket Bags’ TerpLoc Tech Explained
This is accomplished by several material and design elements including:
- Oxygen and humidity stabilization – this ensures the cannabis storage environment remains between 58% – 62% moisture content. Maintaining the proper humidity prevents over-drying during curing and storage. Remember, loss in water weight equates to a loss in profits.
- UV protection – Damaging UV light expedites the degradation of THC into CBN. This in turn lowers your product potency, decreasing your flower’s resale value.
- Anti-static properties – Turkey bags are notorious for stripping trichomes from your buds as they collect a static charge during handling. Grove Bags designed their wicket bags to be anti-static, ensuring more trichomes stay on your buds and not the bag.
- Odor sealing – Wicket bags ensure the odor of your cannabis, along with the terpenes, stay in the bag and on the flower where it belongs.
Wicket bags combine the best of both worlds when it comes to curing your dank buds. They offer the protection of glass jars, with the lightweight versatility of turkey bags. Be sure your prized strains arrive to the customer just as they were trimmed and dried – with their terpenes and cannabinoids intact.
Need More Help?
We hope you found this article on curing helpful and informative. Always remember that properly curing your cannabis will result in higher yields and increased sales. Preparing your buds for long-term storage while preserving terpenes is an important, final step for cannabis cultivators. Sometimes curing at scale can be challenging – and we’re here to help.
If you have questions about our selection of cannabis curing jars and wicket bags, feel free to reach out to our team. We’re happy to help and provide additional resources and answer any other questions you may have.
2 thoughts on “Curing Cannabis to Preserve Terpenes and Increase Yields”
Great blog! Thanks for educating us and sharing this amazing piece of information. Marketing itself is tough but with marijuana and its stigmatized view, it is even harder to do marketing.