By Justin Allec

It was satisfying. After years of reading, researching, and talking with growers I had finally committed to growing my own plants, and ended up with two healthy females. Once the intensive, exhaustive, never-ending job of harvesting was done, I found I had an impressive pile of cannabis to move through the curing process.

Curing is one of the most overlooked steps in growing cannabis. It’s the slow process of removing moisture from cannabis buds while avoiding mould to maximize potency and flavour. Properly cured cannabis pushes terpenes to the front for a flavourful and smooth smoke, without harshness or a cut-grass taste. Patience is key, but the payoff means a supply of organic, carbon-neutral cannabis.

Following other people’s scientific methods, I trimmed as much leafy material as possible before putting about an ounce’s worth in one-litre mason jars with plastic sealer lids. The jars then lived in a closed cupboard in the pantry along with my onions and potatoes—appropriate since these are all staples at my house. The pantry was the best room I had for the process: dry, not too cool, but with a stable temperature throughout the day.

Initially I kept my jars upright, but I didn’t like how the buds looked squished. Instead, I turned the jars on their sides to give the cannabis more room to breathe. Ideally, I should’ve been using a hygrometer to measure the moisture in each jar—experts recommend around 55–65% humidity—but those kinds of tools seemed a bit overkill for my first attempt. Each day, for the first 20 days, I “burped” the jars by removing the lids to allow an oxygen exchange. Moisture (along with chlorophyll) goes out, oxygen goes in.

After forgetting to burp my buds for the first day or two, I set an alarm on my phone as a reminder. Then I’d leave the lids off the jars for about 10 minutes for the first week, and gradually reduce the time over the weeks. After about three weeks, I was only opening the jars once every few days and the buds were achieving that kinda-dry/kinda-sticky texture that your store-bought buds have.

The one day I did forget to burp the jars did end up costing me a few buds, as some white mould had spiderwebbed itself into existence. Thankfully I was able to remove the offending bud and gave that jar some extra breathing time—leaving the lid off overnight seemed to fix the issue, at least to my naked eyes.

While I still wouldn’t call myself a grower, I really enjoyed raising some plants this year. Curing was especially fun because I could start counting down the days to consuming. If you’ve been wondering about the harvesting process but think it’s too much work (well, the trimming part is) curing is a perfect denouement to the season.