Cultivating cannabis is not easy. The plant relies on very specific conditions to not only grow and thrive, but to ensure that the result is potent, fragrant, and free of contaminants and pests. These hurdles continue after harvest, with drying and curing presenting its own set of challenges to product quality, including potential for contamination, loss of terpenes, and degradation of valuable phytocannabinoids like THC.
With so many potential avenues for failure, it’s important to identify problem areas and address them before things go awry. Knowing your proverbial enemy as a cultivator can end up saving you time and money that you can leverage in other aspects of your operation.
Five cannabis drying room issues to avoid
Your drying room is one of the final stops in your cannabis’ journey from seed to shelf. While it may be tempting to rest on your laurels this far into the process, failing to properly maintain your drying room can cause major problems with the final product. To help address these problems before they wreck your next yield, the following are six drying room issues you should actively work to mitigate.
#1: Incorrect humidity levels
- What’s the issue? Humidity is the amount of water vapor that’s present in the air. Too high humidity levels can prevent your cannabis from drying just enough to reach the proper moisture content before it makes its way to the consumer. Too much moisture (or water activity), and the whole harvest risks developing mold and mildew, which renders the cannabis unusable. Too little, and the flower is less flavorful and brittle. The right humidity levels ensure that the cannabis dries precisely how it’s supposed to.
- How to solve the issue: First and foremost, it’s important for cultivators to keep an eye on relative humidity, not just humidity. Relative humidity measures the water vapor that’s actually in the air, whereas humidity calculates the maximum amount of water that could be in the air. This reading gives cultivators a more precise look into their drying room conditions.
When measuring the relative humidity in your drying room, it’s ideal to keep the levels at around 55%. As the temperature drops a few degrees, the relative humidity can drop as well, but according to cultivation guru Ed Rosenthal, it should never dip below 50% relative humidity in your drying environment.
#2: The temperature is off
- What’s the issue? Just like the humidity levels need to be just right in your grow room, the temperature needs to be at ideal levels as well. The temperature has an influence on humidity levels in the room, further exacerbating issues if the cannabis drying room is too hot (drives contaminant-causing humidity) or too cold (results in too-brittle cannabis).
- How to solve the issue: Look into factors that are influencing your drying room’s temperatures. One common culprit is drying room lighting: the lights can give off enough heat to swap the temperature, particularly if you’re using heat-generating HPS lighting. Consider switching to cool-to-the-touch LED lighting if this remains an issue.You can also rely on your cannabis drying room’s climate control system to keep the temperature steady. A well-functioning HVAC system can keep the temperature steady all year round in all conditions.
#3: The airflow is poor
- What’s the issue? Airflow and ventilation are incredibly important to the operation of a good drying and curing room. Not only does proper airflow help maintain the temperature and humidity levels within the room, but it also keeps the air from growing too stagnant. When air in your drying room sits still, pockets of heat and moisture can linger in your buds, impacting the quality of the final product and resulting in inconsistently finished buds.
- How to solve the issue: Start with the size of your drying room and the size of your equipment. A room too small, drying racks too crowded, or both, will prevent proper airflow. Consider cutting down on the amount of buds on each drying rack or expanding your space. You may also want to consider trimming your cannabis after harvest to make more space on each tray. Called “wet trimming,” this process removes the fan leaves, and sugar leaves prior to drying, so there’s less overall plant material to dry and allows for more space (and airflow) between plants.
Proper ventilation is also important for drying rooms of any size. Fans can be a tremendous help for this, or you can double down on your HVAC system and rely on its fans to help keep things moving along.
#4: Harvesting the plant too early
- What’s the issue? If you harvest your cannabis while it’s still relying on nutrients from the substrate, you’re cutting down the plant when it’s at its highest water content. That will prolong the already-lengthy traditional drying and curing process by several days.
- How to solve the issue: Have a little more patience. Even if the pressure of time is weighing on your mind (and your production schedule), you, your harvest, and your customers will benefit in the long run. Wait for the substrate to dry up, as this will reduce overall water content and keep the drying time at its expected schedule.
#5: Rushing the process
- What’s the issue? Drying and curing cannabis takes time, with some cultivators swearing by months of carefully watched curing time once cannabis is dry. How much time you commit o the process directly affects the quality of the cannabis, the flavors it develops, and the overall experience it creates once it gets into the hands of patients and customers. Pulling out plants too early, and it can result in mediocre flower at best and contaminated flower at worst.
- How to solve the issue: In general, you want to leave your cannabis to dry for at least two weeks, though that time may be shortened if your buds are smaller or were wet trimmed. After that time, your cannabis should be hard to the touch but not so dry that the twigs and branches become brittle.
There’s an alternative to cannabis drying rooms: Cryo Cure
As we’ve highlighted here, a lot can go wrong in the cannabis drying room. Conditions can be thrown off, timelines may get crunched, and the lengthy drying and curing period only invites more opportunities for things to go wrong. With Cryo Cure, skipping the entire process is now possible – and with stellar results.
Our patent-pending Cryo Cure machines trim down the drying and curing process to as little as 13 hours. Our machines take up little room when compared to the real estate and infrastructure necessary to dry cannabis the traditional way. One machine – which can be maintained by any HVAC maintenance professional – takes up a fraction of the square footage, and one of our models is on wheels so it can be moved from place to place as needed. Talk about a time-saver and a space-saver!
By applying a precise calculation of time, temperature, and pressured to freshly harvested cannabis, Cryo Cure produces smokable flower with stabilized phytocannabinoid content and a preserved terpene profile that retains up to 95% of terpenes. The result is an unforgettable customer experience that dispensaries have labeled “platinum tier” – one that simply cannot be replicated by any other traditional dry and cure or cannabis freeze drying technology.
Learn more about how Cryo Cure works – contact our leadership team today to learn how Cryo Cured cannabis can change your operations.