Why Does My Pot Taste Harsh?

Photo by Justin Cannabis
Dear Dan,
Hey, so I have a few questions about some things because my buddy is too big of a wuss to ask himself. He has a tent set up and does pretty well with everything. The end product is always dense, stinky, does the trick and looks great, but the downfall of it is that it smokes like shit—too harsh and burns the throat and lungs. So with this little bit of info, if you could please give me a few reasons as to why this is happening that would be awesome! — JonJon

Dear JonJon,

A variety of factors can cause weed to burn  your throat. Overfeeding plants with nutrients is the biggest culprit. No amount of flushing with plain water can remove excess minerals and salts if you’ve been pouring on too much for months. Pesticides, neem oil and any number of other sprays used during the growing process can also cause your cannabis to taste harsh (and aren’t healthy to comsume). Plants can also get fried with too much light and heat which will certainly make the flowers taste awful. The problem could even be genetic, meaning your friend is growing from bunk seeds.

Sounds like your buddy is having post-harvest problems. Somewhere along the line between flushing, drying and curing, things are going wrong. These are the factors that you need to master to eliminate any harsh tastes and crappy burning buds.

Flushing is accomplished within the last two weeks of flowering by using plain pH balanced water instead of nutrient solution in order to leach out any remaining minerals such as salts from your growing medium and your plants. Pour the water until it flows heavily out of the bottom of your container during this time. You may see some yellowing of the leaves or other fall colors developing but don’t be alarmed. This is a good thing and simply means that your quest to reduce chlorophyll and other elements trapped within your buds is successful.

Drying requires hanging your harvested buds until they are bone dry to the touch on the outside. Slow drying is essential, so don’t try to get it done quickly with fans blowing on the buds or any other method to quicken the amount of time it takes to dry.

After at least a week of hanging dry (depending on your ambient humidity and temperatures where you live), the branches should snap instead of bending. Now is the time to remove the individual buds and begin the curing process in sealed glass jars. Open the jars at least once a day early on to remove moist air and replenish it with dryer fresh air. After two weeks of curing, or “sweating” out the remaining moisture within the center of your buds, they should be ready to grind up and smoke without any harshness or difficulty burning.

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  1. The cannabis from my medical dispensary is often harsh. Is it maybe the temps I store it 60-65 degrees ? Can storing temperatures cause harsh cannabis?

    Thank you

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