Greg’s Guide to Curing Cannabis: Learn From Cryo Cure’s President and Head of Cultivation

Greg’s Guide to Curing Cannabis: Learn From Cryo Cure’s President and Head of Cultivation

You can’t skip the process of cannabis curing, but conventional methods are time consuming and, if performed incorrectly, could result in the growth of mold and mildew. Fortunately, modern approaches and smart solutions have improved the curing process, saving cultivators time and money while reducing the risk of cultivation.

In this guide, Greg Baughman, President and Head of Cultivation for Cryo Cure, talks about the importance of curing, how it’s been done historically, and the more efficient approach now available to cultivators everywhere.

What does curing cannabis do? 

Curing cannabis balances the moisture content across all buds following the drying process and serves to prevent the growth of anaerobic bacteria, as well as the degradation of important compounds. Curing is necessary because smaller buds dry out a lot faster than bigger buds during drying. Curing causes the smaller, dried-out buds to absorb excess moisture from the bigger buds, resulting in finely preserved cannabis that is crisp, ready-to-smoke, and protected from contaminants like mold and mildew.

How has harvesting, drying, and curing been done historically?

There is no one standardized way to harvest, dry, and cure cannabis. Many cultivators use processes they developed themselves, so it’s common to see differing methods from grower to grower. 

Common methods of curing cannabis include curing in jars, wet curing, heat curing. However, each of these have limitations. Improperly curing in jars could actually promote the development of mold and mildew, and it limits how much cannabis can be cured at scale. Wet curing cannabis removes terpenes, reducing the flavors, aromas, and effects associated with those compounds. And heat dehydration curing can cause degradation of cannabinoids and terpenes, resulting in a lower quality final product.

To limit these downsides, Greg developed his own drying and curing method while serving as a caregiver in Michigan’s medical cannabis program, before he designed the Cryo Cure machines.

“I would cut the plants down whole and hang them in a dark room, where I’d keep the temperature at 65℉,” Greg said. “I would keep it at 55% humidity for the first four days, and 40% humidity for the last three days.”

In addition to setting the right temperature and humidity levels, the drying room needs sufficient airflow to keep the room cool. Because hot air rises, Greg would run an air conditioner from the ceiling to keep temperatures at acceptable levels throughout.

After a week, Greg said he would take the plants down and hand trim them before curing. To cure the flower, Greg would place the trimmed buds in airtight turkey bags – the same ones used to cook a turkey in the oven. He would then leave the buds to sit overnight. At this point, the smaller, dried-out buds would absorb moisture from larger buds. 

“Because it’s an airtight container, moisture seeks its own level. If there are smaller buds, that moisture is going to be absorbed from the bigger buds and essentially equal out the product,” explained Greg. 

The goal of curing, he added, is to reach 8% to 12% moisture content and 0.5% to 0.6% water activity (aW) in each bud — any higher risks the development of anaerobic bacteria like mold. Generally, Greg could tell the curing process is complete by feeling the buds. If the buds were crispy, he said, they were ready; if not, he would reseal them in the turkey bags for a few hours before checking again.

How long does curing cannabis take? 

Traditional methods of drying and curing could take anywhere between 10 and 30 days to be completed. That represents a significant loss in potential revenue for commercial cultivators who are growing at scale — a capital-intensive operation — and want to sell their flower as soon after harvest as possible to support their cash flow. While the curing process itself can be done as quickly as one day using Greg’s method, it can’t be done until the flower is properly dried. With Greg’s pre-Cryo Cure method, drying takes a week, but can take even longer depending on the process other cultivators use – some cultivators dry their flower for two weeks or more.

The challenge with lengthy drying periods is that each day cannabis spends drying represents lost potential revenue for a cultivator. In addition, cannabis flower left to dry and cure for more than a week loses significant amounts of terpenes because terpenes degrade naturally over time. This timeline accelerates when cannabis is exposed to oxygen, heat, humidity, and light. Lower terpene content means less product appeal on dispensary shelves, so preserving terpene content after harvest is especially important. 

Thankfully, equipment like Cryo Cure’s is changing the game and speeding up the time required from harvest to sale. 

How Cryo Cure expedites drying and curing cannabis

Cryo Cure simplifies and shortens the traditional drying and curing process by dialing in the precise ratio of time, temperature, and pressure to achieve the perfect moisture levels in the flower. This process can be completed in seven steps that only take one day to complete.

  1. Chop down cannabis plants.  
  2. Defoliate the plants and cut to packageable size.
  3. Arrange the buds on baking sheets to be loaded onto carts. 
  4. Place the carts in a -20℉ walk-in freezer for a minimum of 2 hours.
  5. Transfer the carts into a Cryo Cure machine for 12 to 16 hours to dry (rather than a week or more in a drying room).
  6. Remove the buds from the machine for trimming and manicuring.
  7. Place buds into an airtight chamber to cure overnight. 

Using a Cryo Cure vacuum chamber allows cultivators to eliminate the traditional hang drying process, reducing the time frame from up to a month to less than 24 hours. In many cases, the runtime can be reduced to as short as 12 hours. The process results in several benefits to product quality, including:

  • Bigger buds – no shrinkage
  • Vibrant appearance
  • Stellar terpene retention
  • THC-A stabilization – no degradation into CBN

Curing cannabis is critical to preserving flower quality for the long haul, but until now it was a labor intensive and lengthy process. Luckily, with Cryo Cure, curing cannabis is now easier and faster than it’s ever been..

Curing cannabis with confidence 

There will always be debate regarding the best process for drying and curing cannabis. While many people think that slow and low is the way to go for cannabis, Cryo Cure has developed a process to achieve the same results much more quickly and efficiently. In a cannabis industry where time is money and quality is on every consumer’s mind, the Cryo Cure method offers a better way to get your flower market-ready. Visit our website or speak with one of our experts today for more information on our patented technology and methodology

5 Common Cannabis Drying Room Issues and How to Avoid Them

5 Common Cannabis Drying Room Issues and How to Avoid Them

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.

Cannabis and Humidity: Challenges and How To Overcome Them

Cannabis and Humidity: Challenges and How To Overcome Them

Cannabis and humidity do not get along. Moisture is one of the biggest downfalls of any size grow, from small craft farms to large-scale operations, but it’s also an unavoidable part of the experience. Fresh cannabis typically clocks in at around 75 percent moisture, but it’s a double-edged sword: a humidity problem or flower with too-high moisture content can easily tank product quality, leaving you with subpar flower and even a completely unusable crop. As a commercial cannabis or hemp grower, what can you do to better control humidity and your flower’s moisture content?

Humidity and moisture: What problems do they cause?

There are two main ways humidity comes into play in a commercial cannabis grow: the environment in which the cannabis or hemp is grown, and the moisture content of the plant material itself. If your grow room is too wet or humid or the plant material itself is too wet, your cannabis or hemp flower is at risk for developing harmful mold and mildew. These contaminants are easy to develop, and once they take hold, they are nearly impossible to remove.

Flower contaminated with mold cannot be smoked. It is important to note, however, that trace amounts of mold and mildew are not necessarily harmful and flower can pass lab tests showing what’s considered “acceptable” amounts by the requirements outlined by a particular regulatory body. However, medical cannabis patients need to be particularly careful, as they may be particularly susceptible or sensitive to mold.

Cannabis grows with too high humidity or moisture can also exhibit signs of a condition called “bud rot.” Bud rot is a type of fungus called botrytis cinerea that develops inside flower early on and appears closer to the harvesting stage. This highly contagious fungus spreads easily throughout the entire plant and can quickly leap to other plants.

A key way to keep these harmful growths at bay is to tightly control wetness, humidity, and moisture conditions during the growing, cannabis drying, and cannabis curing process. But there is such a thing as cannabis that’s too dry. Too little humidity or moisture content can make smokable cannabis and hemp flower brittle, where it crumbles in your hand instead of grinding up nicely. There is a common misconception that cannabis can be “rehydrated,” but this process can damage trichomes and subsequently plummet the cannabinoid content of your flower. Notably, though, extractors benefit from ultra-low flower moisture levels, as this results in higher cannabinoid and terpene yields.

What’s the ideal moisture content for cannabis and hemp flower?

If both too wet and too dry conditions have undesirable results for smokable cannabis and hemp flower, is there such as thing as ideal moisture and humidity levels?

When it comes to controlling the growing environment, humidity needs vary depending on the growth stage. The humidity level in the grow facility changes depending on whether your crop is at the seedling stage, vegetation stage, or flowering stage. A humidity level between 65 percent and 70 percent is recommended for the seedling stage, while this figure should be lowered during vegetation. Generally, the flowering period can thrive in humidity levels between 40 percent and 50 percent. Some may choose to lower humidity once more during the last flowering stage.

During the critical cannabis drying stage, moisture content is brought down from the plant’s natural levels. As the cannabis dries, the moisture comes off the plants and lingers in the air, making managing humidity in the drying room of utmost importance. Generally, growers try to keep humidity levels at around 50 percent in the drying room.

As for the moisture content of the flower itself, cannabis growers typically strive for no more than 15 percent moisture content once the cannabis drying and curing process is complete. Cryo Cure’s patented cannabis drying and curing processes stabilize flower at between 8 percent and 12 percent moisture content– just enough to keep it fresh while lowering the chances that mold, mildew, and fungus thrive.

What other environmental factors impact cannabis quality?

While humidity and moisture content are significant issues for cannabis growers, this is far from the only factor that needs to be monitored and carefully controlled. Temperature, air, and light also play a role in cultivating, drying, and curing quality cannabis that does not suffer from issues with quality like moisture-driven problems and THC degradation.

  • Temperature: Not only do too-warm temperatures kickstart decarboxylation and boil off precious cannabinoids and terpenes, but they impact humidity, too. Moisture has the chance to thrive when coupled with higher temperatures.
  • Air: Exposure to oxygen drives the degradation of THC and other cannabinoids and terpenes, resulting in a less potent consumption experience. Circulation and ventilation in the growing and drying environment are also of vital importance, as they help mitigate humidity and control moisture levels.
  • UV rays: Dark rooms and containers are best during the cannabis drying and curing process. Exposure to UV rays accelerates the breakdown of all organic matter, cannabis included, and this decay can contribute to fungus growth.

How Cryo Cure helps you control moisture levels

As we established in this blog, humidity and moisture content are crucial to a successful cannabis harvest. Cryo Cure is an important tool to help you mitigate these factors before they become a problem in your cannabis or industrial hemp growing facility.

Cryo Cure’s patented technology preserves that “fresh from the farm” feeling without any of the moisture levels prevalent in live plants. By freeze drying wet cannabis, THC levels are stabilized as the cannabinoid and terpene-rich trichomes are perfectly preserved in a way that no other cannabis drying or curing process can achieve.

By skipping the hanging phase of drying, Cryo Cure mitigates one of the most volatile variables in the cannabis drying and curing process: time. Not only does this get your products onto the shelf faster, but shortening the window can help you avoid many of the problems triggered by prolonged exposure to the elements, including moisture-related bud rot and mildew growth.

Our machines are tuned to preserve between 8 percent and 12 percent of your flower’s moisture content, but you can customize the settings for strain-specific outcomes or any other desired end. This includes extraction specific settings that can bring down moisture content as low as 1 percent, preferred for maximum cannabinoid and terpene yield.

As you plan out your cannabis or industrial hemp grow operation or explore ways to upgrade your facilities, keep humidity and moisture content control central to your strategy. View the Cryo Cure models page to review your options, and contact Cryo Cure to discuss how to bring our machines to your facility.

THC Degradation: What it is and how to avoid it

THC Degradation: What it is and how to avoid it

You may have noticed that older or improperly stored cannabis is not as potent and fragrant as a fresh purchase. That’s because cannabis drying and curing doesn’t stop the many processes that cause Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to break down, called THC degradation. What is THC degradation, what speeds it up, and most importantly, is there a way to stop it?

What is THC degradation?

THC degradation refers to the reduced quality and quantity of THC in your cannabis flower. You may assume that THC degradation is an indicator that your flower is “bad” or it wasn’t grown in optimal conditions, but that’s no the case. It’s a natural and expected process once cannabis is harvested, one that continues even as cannabis dries, cures, and makes its way to the dispensary.

What is CBN and how does it connect to THC degradation?

Unlike terpenes, THC doesn’t evaporate when it degrades. It transforms into another phytocannabinoid altogether, called Cannabinol (CBN). CBN is known for its relaxing properties. It’s theorized that CBN is responsible for causing what you may have heard called the “couch lock” effect when your high is not an energetic one, but a deeply sedating one. Unsurprisingly, CBN is being explored by researchers for its potential as a sleep aid.

How can you tell if THC has degraded?

Take a close look at your bud next time you go to grind it up. Notice the white-ish coating on the outside of the bud. Those are trichomes, which are near-microscopic structures that house the majority of your flower’s phytocannabinoid content — including THC — and its terpene content. When the trichomes are milky white, that’s a sign that they are rich in THC. If the trichomes have turned from milky white to golden amber, that’s a sign that THC degradation is significant and CBN is now present in high amounts. If you’re still in doubt, smoke a little bit and see how you feel. If the effect is not as strong as you typically expect it to be, or if you feel a little sleepier than normal after consuming, it’s likely that THC degradation has occurred.

When does THC degradation begin?

THC degradation begins at harvest. The moment cannabis flower no longer draws nutrients from the roots, the THC destabilizes and begins to turn into CBN. This is also related to the disruption of something called the cannabinoid biosynthetic pathways, which is the process during which phytocannabinoids and terpenes transform into other compounds.

What accelerates THC degradation to CBN?

Even if you store your cannabis flower perfectly, the THC content will eventually degrade into CBN. It’s an unavoidable process, but it can be slowed through proper management of four environmental factors: temperature, humidity, air, and light. Here’s how each factor influences THC degradation.

THC degradation and temperature

Cannabis needs to be dried, cured, and stored at ideal temperatures to prevent THC degradation (and for terpene preservation). That’s because THC begins to decarboxylate at high temperatures. This process converts THC-A, or the acidic, non-intoxicating form of THC found in cannabis flower – into the intoxicating THC.

Heating your cannabis in a vaporizer or by lighting a joint kick-starts this process, which is how the temperature threshold is much lower than a flame’s. Cannabis flower only needs to be exposed to temperatures around 110°F for 30 minutes for decarboxylation to kick in and THC to begin degrading.

THC degradation and humidity

After putting all that time and work into drying your cannabis flower, it’s no surprise to learn that introducing humidity back into the plant can be harmful to its quality. Drying and curing cannabis flower to the right humidity levels is crucial for stabilizing THC content. However, it’s important that flower isn’t too dry – extracting too much moisture can make the flower too brittle and crumbly to consume.

THC degradation and air

Air may seem harmless, but oxygen is one of the most significant contributors to THC degradation. Cannabis exposed to oxygen will degrade faster than it would in other environments. High levels of CBN can indicate that the cannabis was exposed to too much oxygen during the drying and curing process, or it may be an indicator that the cannabis was improperly stored.

THC degradation and light

Exposure to light, specifically UV rays, contributes to THC degradation. These rays contribute to the breakdown of organic matter, including plant matter like cannabis. That’s why it’s so important to store your cannabis in dark places where they won’t be exposed to sunlight.

Why should cannabis companies care about THC degradation?

Certainly, cannabis needs to be stored correctly at home – away from light, oxygen, and humidity at the correct temperatures – to extend its longevity. But THC degradation should be a concern for dispensaries and other cannabis purveyors, too. Here’s why cannabis companies need to be concerned about THC degradation:

  • Time to sale: The longer cannabis sits unsold, the more time THC has to degrade into CBN. This limits flower’s ideal freshness window, and in turn, how long product can sit on the dispensary shelf before flower is no longer of quality.
  • Brand reputation: Stale flower or old flower can earn a brand a bad rap. Although there’s nothing to do to stop time, it is in a brand’s interest to preserve freshness as best as they can to ensure a positive experience once the customer takes it home.
  • Cannabinoid harvesting: For extractors and manufacturers of infused products, maximizing THC extract is of utmost importance. Flower that’s been exposed to higher temperatures, non-ideal humidity levels, oxygen, and UV rays will degrade into CBN faster, producing a smaller yield of THC content.

How Cryo Cure prevents THC degradation

Cryo Cure is celebrated for its “feast of the senses,” preserving cannabis flower’s color and aroma as if the flower was just picked from the plant. Those same patent-pending preservation techniques take hold on the molecular level, resulting in a euphoric experience without the “couch lock” effect.

As we discussed earlier in this article, time is the enemy of fresh cannabis, and THC degradation begins the moment the flower comes off the plant. Cryo Cure’s patent-pending technology trims down time spent drying and curing cannabis from weeks to as little as 13 hours, shaving THC-killing time off a lengthy process. Cutting down this time preserves the THC-A content of the plant, preventing it from degrading into THC and eventually CBN before the product even makes it to the shelf.

Additionally, Cryo Cure’s drying and curing process is conducted at subzero temperatures. This freeze drying technique means that too-high temperatures aren’t even a possibility in the Cryo Cure process. Cryo Cure machines are also tuned for ideal moisture levels in cannabis flower, around 8 to 12 percent, so too-high humidity levels won’t be a factor, either.

Cryo Cure prevents THC degradation

Drying and curing cannabis are essential processes for preserving your flower for the long haul, but they fail to capture the plant at just-harvested freshness levels. Even if you dry, cure and store cannabis properly and perfectly, THC degradation will begin the moment the plant is harvested. The question is not if you can prevent THC degradation altogether, but how you can slow down the process. Storing cannabis away from light and oxygen at the right temperature and humidity levels can extend the life of your flower’s THC content, or you can opt for Cryo Cure, which mitigates the major actors that accelerate THC degradation in the first place.

Why Traditional Freeze Dryers Shouldn’t Be Used for Drying and Curing Cannabis

Why Traditional Freeze Dryers Shouldn’t Be Used for Drying and Curing Cannabis

Drying and curing cannabis, while two separate steps, are often executed together and are closely linked. These two steps can be a make-or-break moment for your run: when the right choices aren’t made during drying and curing, you’re left with subpar product that cannot be sold or consumed – not to mention all the time and money lost.

Many of the issues stem from uncontrolled moisture levels. In the quest to avoid these issues, cannabis cultivators have recently turned to freeze dryers. A method promoted by cannabis grower Ed Rosenthal, freeze drying gained a following for its ability to bring moisture content to ultra-low levels, a great asset for extractors. Plus, freeze drying shaved days and even weeks off the drying process.

Unfortunately, though, the same freeze dryers that make banana chips and preserve wedding bouquets aren’t exactly equipped to handle the intricacies of a plant as complicated as cannabis. How can cannabis get the freeze drying treatment without giving up quality and experience? Here, we’ll briefly go through the cannabis drying and cannabis curing process and break down how a new generation of cannabis pioneers has unlocked the key to preserving cannabis at its freshest.

How does the commercial cannabis curing and drying process work?

The drying process is crucial to removing excess moisture that could cause bud rot, mold, or mildew. The cannabis curing process is key for concentrating flavors, increasing potency, and for the flower’s long-term preservation.

Just like any craft, there are varying opinions between cannabis enthusiasts as to which methods are best for drying and curing cannabis. Keep that in mind as you read the steps outlined below, which are designed to be a general guideline of how the cannabis drying and cannabis curing process works.

  • Cannabis is harvested and trimmed: At the end of the growing season, the cannabis is collected and prepared for drying. Depending on the processor, the small sugar leaves emerging from the bud may be manicured before or after drying. (Cryo Cure can handle your flower both ways!)
  • Cannabis is hung to dry: The most common way to dry cannabis is to cut stems from your cannabis plant and hang them upside-down. Some will also trim bud from the plant and lay them on drying racks. Light, temperature, and humidity play a big role here, so keeping an eye on those two factors is key for a successful drying process. Drying typically takes a few days up to two weeks or more.
  • Cannabis is cured: The dried buds are then put in an air-tight container. One of the most popular cannabis curing methods involves jars, but some cannabis advocates call for containers made of wood, ceramic, or other materials. These jars are opened frequently or “burped” to let in fresh air. Depending on your desired outcome, cannabis can be cured for weeks or even months before it’s ready for consumption.

Expediting cannabis drying and curing: How freeze dryers came to be

Time is a significant pitfall of the traditional cannabis drying and curing process. Waiting for weeks or months to gift or enjoy your cannabis is certainly a test of patience. This prolonged period presents practical challenges for industrial cannabis cultivators, too, as weeks and even months go by before a harvest is brought to market, particularly in a cost-effective manner.

Time also creates room for error. The cannabis curing and drying processes are so precise and sensitive that even the slightest changes in temperature, airflow, humidity, time, and light can put an entire harvest at risk. Once damaging moisture gets in, there’s no way to mitigate it: flower with traces of mold, mildew, and bud rot must be destroyed and can never be sold to the consumer. You could incur regulatory fines if your flower doesn’t pass inspection, not to mention the public relations nightmare if a consumer finds moldy bud in their purchase. By shortening time spent drying and curing, you reduce opportunities for moisture to creep in and wreak havoc on your crop.

Reducing moisture is one of the reasons why freeze dryers gained popularity in the first place. On the surface, freeze dryers for cannabis drying and curing makes total sense. If moisture is the enemy, then a machine designed to zap plant matter of its dampness is the ideal solution. Not only do freeze dryers extract maximum moisture, but they also do so in a fraction of the time – a win-win for the long traditional drying and curing process! However, as we learn more about the science of cannabis and further refine drying and curing best practices, the shortcomings of traditional freeze dryers are coming to light as new technologies emerge to improve the practice.

Why commercial freeze dryers are a bad idea for cannabis drying and curing

While apple rings may turn out delicious and roses may be beautifully preserved in time, those same systems are literally not built to preserve cannabis and hemp flower’s best qualities in the same way. As a result, cannabis and hemp flower sent through a traditional freeze dryer turns out brittle, dry, and less potent. Why is that?

  • Commercial freeze dryers make cannabis too dry. Yes, that’s possible! Overdried flower burns too fast, creating a less-than-ideal smoking experience for both cannabis and hemp. It’s extremely fragile, too: one touch, and cannabis from a commercial freeze dryer can quite literally turn to dust.
  • Commercial freeze dryers zap aroma and flavor. Taste and smell from terpenes are a big part of the consumption and medicinal experience. After all that hard work growing and processing your cannabis, the last thing you want is for a customer to turn away, longing for the flavors and smells that come with a traditional cure.
  • Commercial freeze dryers make trichomes too brittle. Trichomes are the most important component of cannabis flower. These ultra-small structures coat the outside of the bud, containing most of its cannabinoid and terpene content. Freeze dryer settings make these trichomes too brittle and they often break off, reducing flower’s overall potency.

That all being said, it doesn’t mean that cannabis shouldn’t be freeze dried. It just needs to be done so correctly – and that’s where Cryo Cure comes in.

The Cryo Cure difference: our system for drying and curing cannabis

Cryo Cure’s main objective isn’t to remove all moisture from smokable flower – it’s to bring your cannabis down to ideal moisture levels. Our patented process applies a proven range of time, temperatures and pressure to properly preserve cannabis and hemp at the height of freshness, preserving flavor, color, and aroma. This “live resin” flower preserves trichomes at their peak, preventing degradation of THC into CBN.

Cryo Curing shaves weeks off the time typically spent drying and curing cannabis and hemp. Cryo Cure skips the hanging phase of drying, accelerating the process by deep freezing the cannabis for at least 1 hour at -20°F before Cryo Curing. Once the frozen cannabis is placed in the machine, let it run for 12 to 13 hours. With Cryo Cure, you only need to “burp” the cannabis once during the curing process to even out moisture. Moisture settings in the finished product are at an ideal 8 to 12 percent.

Cryo Cure also works magic on the fragile terpenes often lost in the cannabis drying and curing process. Terpenes often evaporate naturally during traditional cannabis drying. Not so with Cryo Cure – this system has a method for collecting trace amounts of terpenes that may be lost during the Cryo Cure process, an excellent feature for extractors and manufactures of products like edibles and vape cartridges. There’s also a dedicated setting for pulling all terpenes from the flower, an extremely valuable process for compounds that are notoriously difficult to harvest.

Cryo Cure has been tested and proven to avoid the pitfalls of commercial freeze dryers designed for other products but have been marketed toward, or informally adopted by, the hemp and cannabis communities. Here’s a quick breakdown of what Cryo Cure can do for your cannabis or hemp, and where other freeze dryers and commercial drying and cannabis curing processes fall short:

Feature Cryo Cure Other freeze dryers Traditional method
Drying and curing time As little as 11 to 14 hours 24 hours to a few days Weeks or months
Trichome preservation Yes, not brittle Yes, but very brittle Yes, but warped and shrunken
Cannabinoid and terpene preservation Yes Yes, but diminished Yes, but diminished
Terpene collection Yes Varies No
Programmed specifically for cannabis and hemp Yes No No
Patent pending process Yes No No
Fresh “live resin” flower Yes No No

Cannabis drying and curing: choose Cryo Cure

At first, freeze dryers may seem like the right answer for cannabis drying and curing woes. However, cannabis and hemp has commanding needs that cannot be met by machines designed for food and flowers. Buying a freeze dryer meant for apples is a costly mistake for your facility. The bottom line: if your freeze dryer isn’t built to handle cannabis, proceed with extreme caution.

With multiple programmable settings, Cryo Cure lets you cut right to the chase and have a top shelf-ready or processor-ready product in just a day’s time, revolutionizing when and how cannabis companies deliver their products to eager dispensaries. We’ve been endorsed by the world’s leading cannabis experts, too, with Ed Rosenthal, Dan Vinkovetsky, Rick Naya, Tony Verzura, and many more experiencing the Cryo Cure difference for themselves.

Want to learn more about how Cryo Cure can work for you? Explore our models, learn more about our process, and check out our FAQ.