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Drying Methods
Grow Guide: Drying Methods Category: Harvesting & Curing
Author: web420 Post Date: 05-13-2006
Rating: 4.60/5 (5 votes) Views: 4846
Drying
Living marijuana leaves are 80 percent water; colas are about 70 percent water. Marijuana dried for smoking contains only eight to 10 percent water, or about 10 percent of the original amount. There are several methods used to evaporate water; these have little effect on potency, but can affect the taste, bouquet, and smoothness of the smoke. Generally, the slower the dry, the smoother the taste. Excess drying and drying methods that use heat will evaporate some of the volatile oils that give each grass its unique taste and aroma.

Grasses which are dried as part of the curing process usually have a smooth, mild taste, because of the elimination of chlorophyll and various proteins. Cured marijuana may also be a little sweeter than when first picked, because the curing converts some of the plant's starch to simple sugars.

Some grasses are tasty and smooth-smoking when they are dried without curing, especially fresh homegrown buds which retain their volatile oils and sugar. Many homegrowers have acquired a taste for "natural" uncured grass, with its minty chlorophyll flavour; such marijuana is dried directly after harvesting. {Figure 89, Male plants drying on a tree. Cheesecloth holds loose leaf for drying.}

Slow Drying
Slow drying is probably the method most commonly used to dry marijuana. Because of the slowness of the dry, a slight cure takes place, eliminating the bite sometimes associated with quickly dried grass.

There are many variations of the technique, but most commonly whole plants or separated colas are suspended upside down from a drawn string or from pegs on a wall in a cool dark room, closet, or other enclosed space. A large number of plants may take a week or two to dry. The drying time for small numbers of plants can be increased (for a slight cure) by placing the plants in large, open paper sacks that have ventilation holes cut in their sides. The drying room should have no heavy drafts, but mould may form on the plants if the air is stagnant. If weather is rainy or the air humid, increase ventilation and watch for any mould. Plants should be dried quickly under moderate heat if any mould appears.

Many experienced growers prefer slow drying to curing. There is little chance of error with this method, and buds usually smoke smooth and develop a pliable consistency. Slow-dried ripe buds retain their delicious, sweet aroma and taste.

Fast Drying
The fast dry-method produces a harsher smoke than slow drying, but it is often the most convenient method to use. The plants are suspended in the same way as for slow drying, but the temperature in the drying area is increased to between 90 and 115 degrees, often by means of electric or gas heater. The drying area is kept well-ventilated with a fan. As the plants dry, they are removed from the drying area. By this method, plants in a tightly packed room can be dried in less than four days, but the exhaust will contain the deliciously pungent odour of drying marijuana.

Indoor growers often hang plants to dry over radiators or stream pipes. Leaves are dried by placing them on a tray over a radiator or on top of the light fixture.

Marijuana that is fast-dried retains its original green colour and minty taste.

Oven Drying
Oven drying is often used by gardeners to sample their crop. Small quantities of material can be quickly dried by being placed in a 150 to 200 oven for about 10 minutes. Larger quantities can be dried in trays that contain a single layer of material or in a dehydrator. Oven-dried and dehydrator-dried marijuana usually has a harsh taste and bite, and loses much of its bouquet. The method is often used to dry marijuana which has been cured and dried but is too moist to smoke, or to dry marijuana which is to be used for cooking or extractions. It is an adequate method for obtaining dry material for testing and emergencies, but the main harvest should not be dried in this way. Oven drying works best with leaves. When leaves are dried together with buds or shoots, remove the material from the oven periodically, to separate the faster-drying leaf material (before it burns) from the slower drying buds. One way to do this is to place all the material on a wire screen over a tray. Every few minutes rub the material across the screen. Dried material falls unto the tray and is removed from the oven. Repeat until all the material has dried.

Oven curing works well when closely watched. Dried marijuana that is left in the oven will lose potency quickly. Any time the marijuana begins to char, most of the potency will already have been lost. This should not be a problem unless you are careless, or allow the temperature to go above 200 degrees.

Sun Drying
Some growers dry their crops right in the field. There are many methods of sun drying. In Oregon, some growers break the main stem about two feet from the ground. The leaves and buds dry gradually, since they are still partly attached to the plant. Other growers spread burlap and cover it with plants left to dry. Fan leaves are left on the plants to protect the drying buds from the sun. The grass is manicured after drying. Growers in Arizona shade drying plants with cheesecloth.

Sun-dried marijuana usually has a taste similar to that of oven-dried. Often the sun bleaches it slightly but also destroy some of the delicate bouquet. Prolonged exposure to the sun will decrease potency, although there is no noticeable loss if drying is done quickly.

Dry Ice
Many homegrowers have written to us that the dry-ice cure increases the potency of marijuana considerably, and we would be remiss not to mention it.

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. When it melts (sublimates), it turns from a solid directly into a gas. This gas absorbs some moisture from the frozen marijuana and partially dries it.

There are many variations of the dry-ice method. Fresh or partially dried material is usually used, although some enthusiasts claim that the cure also works with dried material. The marijuana is placed in a coffee can or similar container with a lid, along with at least an equal volume of dry ice. Puncture the lid so that the gas can escape as it evaporates. Place the can in a freezer to prolong the evaporation process. When the dry ice is gone, the grass is dried, but still moist.

Some growers claim that simply freezing the grass increases potency. They often freeze fan leaves or other less-potent material for a couple of months before smoking it. This is said to work only with fresh (wet or dried) grass.

This info was copied from THE MARIJUANA GROWER'S GUIDE by Mel Frank and Ed Rosenthal


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