A deep dive into the cannabis drying and curing industries – which, by the way, includes hemp – reveals a rich world filled with differing strategies and practices for producing the perfect buds. As you research different methodologies and decide what’s best for your business, you’ll stumble upon some important terminology and information that can help shape your decision. This Cryo Cure guide to drying and curing terminology can help you learn why these terms are important and how they impact your final product.

Cannabis Drying and Curing: The Basics

No matter which methodology is most appealing, you’ll see cannabis drying and curing discussed separated and together on occasion. That’s because the two processes are often executed together, although cannabis curing is an optionable (but preferable) step compared to the necessary cannabis drying process. Here is the difference between cannabis drying and curing.

What is cannabis drying?

Cannabis drying is the process of removing moisture from cannabis (and hemp) after harvest. This is a crucial step in the process for preparing cannabis for sale, as moisture is a harmful element that can cause crop-ruining molds and mildews. To dry cannabis or hemp, the branches are hung upside-down on wire or string to dry, or they may be laid flat on trays. The drying process typically lasts for a few days to two or three weeks, depending on the grower’s preference.

What is cannabis curing?

Closely related to cannabis drying, the cannabis curing process allows the dried flowers to further intensify their flavors. Lasting anywhere from a few days to a few weeks or more, this process places dried cannabis in a dark environment closed off to oxygen, allowing grassy chlorophyll to degrade and phytocannabinoid content to stabilize and intensify. This process also allows your cannabis to be stored for longer without risking molds or mildews from developing. The result is a smoother, more flavorful, and more potent cannabis or hemp flower.

Common cannabis drying and cannabis curing terms

As you dive further into the world of drying and curing, you’ll find differences in technique, procedure, and preferences between growers. 

  • Drying room: This is the dedicated area in a grow facility just for drying cannabis. 
  • Hanging: This is when cannabis branches are hung upside-down to dry. This is typically done with wires or a special hanger.
  • Drying tray: This is an alternative to hanging cannabis upside-down to dry. Drying trays are space-saving mechanisms that allow the cannabis to lie flat while drying.
  • Climate control: This can be any suite of tools used to ensure the proper temperature, ventilation, and humidity of a drying room. Climate control tools may include fans, thermometers, HVAC systems, and controllers.
  • PPE: Personal protective equipment is a must for any employee entering the drying area. Masks, hair nets, gloves, and protective clothing are all common to ensure minimum contact between the cannabis and the person handling it, reducing the chance of bacteria and other contamination.
  • Bud rot: Also called botrytis, bud rot is a mold that can form in cannabis when it’s not properly dried. This mold is tough to spot because it forms in the center of the bud, where plant material is most dense and retains the most moisture.

  • Humidity: This is the amount of water vapor present in the air. While humidity and cannabis are often discussed, it is not as crucial a factor as relative humidity.
  • Relative humidity: This is the amount of humidity that’s actually present in the air. This figure changes depending on the temperature of the room. This is also commonly called water activity. This can be measured with a water activity meter. 
  • Trimming: This refers to removing the large fan leaves and the tiny sugar leaves from cannabis, leaving behind the phytocannabinoid and terpene-rich flower for consumption.
  • Wet trim: The harvested cannabis’s fan leaves and sugar leaves are trimmed before the drying process.
  • Wet weight: This is the weight of the cannabis before it goes through the drying process. Not surprisingly, cannabis weighs significantly less once the moisture content has been removed.

  • Chlorophyll: A pigment in plants, chlorophyll breaks down during the cannabis drying and curing process. If there is too much chlorophyll in the final product, the cannabis or hemp may taste too grassy.
  • Dry trim: The plant’s fan leaves and sugar leaves are trimmed after the cannabis goes through the drying process.
  • Burping: Also called “breathing,” this is the part of the cannabis curing process where fresh air is introduced back to the cannabis. This process typically takes place once a day during the curing process.

  • Oxidation: If cannabis is exposed to air (specifically oxygen) during the curing process, it may oxidate. With cannabis, oxidation results in the degradation of THC, transforming into the Cannabinol (CBN) that causes “couch lock.”

Dry and cure cannabis in 24 hours with Cryo Cure

Moisture and time are the enemies of cannabis. Too much moisture, and dangerous molds and mildews can form. Too little moisture, and the hemp or cannabis flower becomes brittle and quite literally crumbles. This makes cannabis drying vital to get perfect, even if that’s at the sacrifice of taking extra time to do so. But time is a problem, too: The more days pass, the more opportunity for the flower to form problems, not to mention lose the valuable and fragile terpenes that make the consumption experience truly unique.

Enter Cryo Cure. This patent-pending cannabis drying and curing system reduces the multi-week process to as little as 13 hours. This machine skips the hanging phase of drying altogether, accelerating the process by deep freezing the hemp or cannabis flower before undergoing a specially formulated set of time, pressure, and temperature to cure the cannabis. Instead of obliterating your cannabis’ moisture content to ultra-low levels like a regular freeze dryer would, Cryo Cure reduces moisture content to 8 percent to 12 percent, dry enough to keep mold and mildew at bay. 

Cryo Cure is uniquely designed to preserve terpenes normally lost during the cannabis drying and curing process. Our machines have three separate ways to preserve and collect terpenes: stabilizing terpene content from the onset (what we call “live resin” flower), recapturing terpenes lost during extraction, and settings on the machine specifically for terpene extraction. Whichever way is best for your business goals, you can recoup thousands – and even millions – in lost revenue potential that literally evaporate into thin air during the cannabis or hemp drying process.

The result is a hemp or cannabis flower preserved at the height of its freshness, with vibrant colors, an unforgettable aroma, and an outstanding flavor no standard dry or cure can match. The differences are clear – by smell, vision, taste, or touch. To explore your options, contact Cryo Cure today.