How to tell if your cannabis buds are cured enough to smoke

Published Oct 9, 2020 11:00 a.m. ET
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Once you’re asking yourself this question, you’ve managed to successfully grow and harvest a cannabis plant which is an amazing feat, and that means that you’ve almost made it to the end of the line where you can enjoy smoking weed as much as you like because your crop is finally ready. It might seem like the hardest work is already behind you, leading to a bit of celebration as you wait for your spoils to cure, but curing weed is not a precise process.

How long cannabis flower should be cured, will depend on several things, like the environment it's slowly drying in, or the amount of moisture that was in the buds when they were first picked. This usually means that small-time growers work according to certain signs or lengths of time based on the process they’ve chosen for curing, but it’s almost never exact, and that leaves many growers waiting for the ideal moment to arrive when it is finally safe to dig in.

A quick visual inspection is not enough, on its own, to tell if your cannabis flower is ready or not, and timelines are great for guides, but not a perfect solution. That is why most small growers that are curing weed will rely on simple tests that can be performed with no fancy gear on hand. If you’ve found yourself in this position, and you’re wondering if you’ve waited long enough, then these five easy tests may be able to help.

1. Squish the cannabis flower between your fingers

Take a larger cannabis flower out of the jar or off the rack it’s drying on and press it between your fingers to see what happens. Is it bouncing right back with a bit of a crunch, or is it staying molded into a strange shape like playdoh? Does it feel wet at all? If you find that the cannabis flower either doesn’t change at all or bounces right back, then this can be a good indication of dryness which could mean that it's ready to smoke, but if the bud is squishy, feels wet, or stays molded into a crushed shape, then it probably needs to spend a bit more time curing.

2. Toss it into a sealed plastic bag for 24 hours

If the pressure test doesn’t leave you absolutely certain that the cannabis flower is ready to be smoked, then this one is a great second step that can reveal what may be hidden inside. Toss a bud or two into a plastic baggie and then seal it and leave it to sit for 24 hours. After that time is up, return to the cannabis flower and look at the sides of the bag. If there is too much moisture left, there will likely be small droplets of water that form scattered across the plastic, and if there is none, then your crop might just be ready for you to enjoy.

3. Bend the main stem


How much stem is still attached to the cannabis flower will depend on the method that you’ve chosen for curing weed, and in this case, any old stem just won’t do. What you’ll need to do is grab one of the largest colas and make sure that it’s separated from the main stem. Now grasp the cola with both hands and bend the bud in half. There should be a small amount of resistance, but ultimately, if it’s completely dry, the stem should break cleanly, splitting the bud into two pieces. If it bends instead of cracking, then there is still far too much moisture left behind for your crop to be ready.

4. Smell the cannabis flower

Curing weed takes quite a while, and during that time, the smell changes significantly. When the cannabis flower is freshly picked, it will boast the typical notes that you’d expect from the strain, but it will also have a really strong green scent that is often compared to fresh-cut grass. As it ages and cures, the stronger aromas come out, and the fresh-cut grass smell slowly fades away. One good sniff should tell you how fresh cannabis flower is, especially once you’ve experienced the two to compare side by side, and if it still smells the same as the day that you picked it, then it probably needs more time to cure.

5. Test its ability to burn

Sometimes it’s really hard to tell when your buds are finally finished curing, and no matter how many tests you perform, the only way to know for certain is to try it out. The biggest thing to remember is that when cannabis flower is fresh, it may need to be ground up to burn evenly, so get out a grinder and bust that bud apart. Does it come apart well, or does it gunk up your grinder? If it’s the latter, then this may be as far as you make it, but if it comes through in a nice fine grind, then spin it up or pack a bowl and give it a light. It will only take one good haul to know for certain if it’s ready to burn, but if you’re finding that you have to relight it frequently, then you might still want to wait a while before smoking the rest.

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