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Nico’s Nuggets: Harvesting, Drying & Curing for Beginners

Hello, Nico! Thanks for your weekly column on HighTimes.com! Love reading it.
I recently harvested one of my girls and I have two questions: First, will an extra week of flower blow up my buds? Secondly, I read a High Times article once that mentioned drying the buds in the sun gave them a more “stoney” effect. I was considering drying in the sun (not directly), but I currently dry them in the jars for a slow cure. Is this something you would recommend? – El Choppo via NicosNuggets@hightimes.com

Hey there, Mr. Choppo… Thanks for writing in!
Your questions are some of the best, as they pertain to the most enjoyable part of cannabis cultivation – the harvest and the ensuing smoke!

To begin with, your first question asks whether or not an extra week of flower will help pack weight onto your yields. The answer really depends on the strain being grown and which week of flowering you are talking about. Most cannabis strains flower between 7-9 weeks. Sativas, of course, can go longer, as well as certain hybrids. The best indicators of when to harvest are the trichomes. When the trichomes – or resin glands – on the outside of the buds begin to turn from clear to milky white, or amber, it is close to harvest time. Once about 25 percent of the trichomes are amber, your buds are ready. Adding more time to the flowering period won’t necessarily add weight and may, in fact, be detrimental to the potency of your flowers (more on this below).

As for drying and curing, this is probably more important for the quality of your nugs than is the duration of your flower cycle. Drying and curing is really just the process of removing moisture from the flowers. This will determine how well your buds burn – and taste. Curing is just another way of saying, “very slow drying.” We first dry our flowers by hanging them for a week to 10 days, thereby removing a bulk of the moisture. After this, we do exactly as you stated, we place them into jars for a slow cure for another week to ten days. These jars should be opened once or twice daily to “burp,” or whisk away the evaporated moisture.

As far as drying in the sun, I would not recommend this. The sun can be very powerful and impossible to regulate, even if you shade the buds. I’m not sure why someone would say it creates a more “stoney” effect, but my best guess is because when buds get very dried out, the trichomes begin to wilt and oxidize. This turns THC into CBN, another active cannabinoid that some attribute to a more “stoned” effect, though I have never seen any real evidence in this regard. If you are looking for a “stonier” high, I recommend finding a nice indica variety to grow out, something along the lines of an Afghani or Blueberry.

Thanks for reading everyone and remember: Grow… And help the world grow, too!

Got questions? Email ’em over to Nico at NicosNuggets@hightimes.com and be sure to put “Nico’s Nuggets” in the subject line!

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