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How to Trim, Dry, & Cure Cannabis

Published: September 1, 2021

Drying and curing cannabis doesn’t need to be difficult. We’re sure you have questions about how to trim cannabis, what some of the terms mean, and where to get started. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you learn how to properly cut, dry, and cure cannabis with our comprehensive guide. Let us teach you how to get better cannabis.

Why Is Trimming Cannabis Important?

Trimming cannabis helps it take on a more uniform appearance and make it more aesthetically pleasing. Trimming is also important for curing. During the curing process, trimmed buds have a more uniform moisture content, creating a much more even and flavorful smoking experience.

Wet Trimming vs Dry Trimming

Wet trimming

Wet trimming happens all in one sitting: You cut down the plant, buck buds off branches, trim the buds, and place them on a drying rack for a few days. Some of the pros of wet trimming include:

  • Easier access and removal of sugar and fan leaves that tend to get dry and shriveled up during dry trimming
  • Quicker drying, which is especially helpful in humid climates where mold can be a concern
  • Trichomes remain intact, which preserves terpenes and flavors in the final product
  • A more aesthetically pleasing final product

Some of the cons of wet trimming are that it’s very sticky, and you can end up with trichomes on your fingers, shears, body, etc.

Dry trimming

Dry trimming happens after plants are dried, right before they’re hung on a line or hanger. Hanging plants prevents buds from becoming misshapen. Once the plants are fully dry, you’ll be able to buck the buds off branches and trim them.

Some of the pros of dry trimming include:

  • Preventing excess terpne loss during a quick dry. Keeping leaves on in the beginning increases humidity around the buds and slows down drying, which is great in arid climates
  • Less messy than wet trimming since trichomes will harden and won’t get on everythings

Some of the cons of dry trimming include:

  • Potential breakage due to drier trichomes
  • More care needed to preserve trichomes and THC levels
  • Takes up more space due to the plants needing to be hung in an adequate drying space

Drying Cannabis

Drying cannabis involves hanging plants in a controlled environment so they lose most of their moisture.

There are a few different methods people use when learning how to dry cannabis, including:

  • Hang-drying the plant
  • Wet-bucking flowers off the plant
  • Drying plants on food-grade drying racks or by using industrial drying chambers

Tools for Trimming Cannabis

  • A clean surface, like a table
  • Tray/bowl and a clean surface
  • Comfortable chair and area
  • Proper clothes (ones that can get sticky)
  • Pruners (helpful for big branches)
  • Scissors (for trimming buds)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Rags
  • Entertainment (optional, but always a good idea)

How to Trim Cannabis 

Step 1: Cut down the plant and cut off branches

Cut the main stalk of the plant using a solid pair of pruning shears. Make sure you’re close to the soil! Next, cut off branches, and break the plant into smaller pieces.

If you’re dry trimming, you’ll hang the plant to dry first before moving on to step 2. This process can take about 3-7 days, and you’ll know your plants are ready once the stems snap.

Step 2: Remove fan leaves

Do you know the popular cannabis leaf picture with five or seven points? Those are the fan leaves. They don’t have trichomes so you can cut and get rid of them.

If you’re wet trimming, you may be able to pull them off with your fingers but do so gently. If dry trimming, grab those scissors because you’ll need to snip them off.

Step 3: Cut buds from the branch

This process is called bucking, and it involves snipping individual buds from branches. This is where your bowl will come in handy, so you can have a pile of buds to work on.

Keep separate piles for branches, stems, and fan leaves so you can compost them later!

Step 4: Start trimming

Trim the stem as close as you can without causing the bud to break down. Keep in mind, you don’t want the stem exposed anywhere but the bottom of the bud.

Make sure to remove the little branches that stem up from the bottom aka the crow’s feet, and trim off any extra plant matter. Your goal here is to get rid of everything that isn’t fully covered in trichomes. You want to make sure your buds look uniform and are just the right size so they dry properly and don’t get moldy.

There you have it, all your buds in one place!

Curing Cannabis

Curing refers to further drying of cannabis buds, however in this case the plants are stored in containers. This helps them lose moisture more slowly than the first drying process.

How to Cure Cannabis

After plants are trimmed, buds are loosely packed in glass jars such as mason jars, or glass-lined vessels depending on the size of the match. This is where the process is mostly up to the individual curing of the cannabis and their preference of using paper bags, airtight vessels, wooden boxes, etc.
Typical conditions for curing cannabis include having the temperature, humidity, and light-controlled with between 55-65 percent humidity and a temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Plants will be stored in a controlled environment for a few weeks, to allow additional time for the moisture to rebalance and spread throughout the bud evenly.

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