Weed in a Dehydrator

A bottom-up view of freshly harvested cannabis buds hanging to dry.

In life it’s the small details that separate the good from the excellent. And especially when it comes to cannabis, paying careful attention to every part of the process, from selecting the right strain and seeds, taking good care of the plants during veg, flowering, and everything that happens after harvest, is what creates outstanding or award-winning buds. A good drying technique can make a big difference in the quality level of your buds. Nonetheless, we know that sometimes we just don’t have the time or the tools to do everything as painstakingly as we’d like. If you have been wondering if you can speed up the drying process of your buds with your home food dehydrator, we’re here to answer those questions.

Can you put weed in a dehydrator?

The answer to this question can get a bit complex to answer as there are conflicting opinions among growers on how to dry weed properly. Suppose you have a bunch of freshly harvested mouth-watering buds, you can’t wait to try them, and you’ve been wondering if you can dehydrate weed in an air fryer, oven, or another similar appliance. The most honest and direct answer is that it is not the best thing to do. Rapid drying in a food dehydrator could negatively affect your precious buds’ flavor quality and potency. Although this is the most prevalent opinion among most growers, but some claim that drying your weed in a food dehydrator can be done as long as you know how to do it.

Some users who advocate using food dehydrators to dry your buds say just use the lowest heat setting, let the buds dry overnight, if possible, check and flip the nugs until they’re “crispy,” and then place them in a zip bag until the moisture levels. The thing is that you will see the buds shrink much more compared to when you air dry them or use traditional slow drying and curing techniques. Also, the buds will lose flavor and potency when drying the weed in a dehydrator.

Best way to dry weed

If the goal is to get the most out of the natural compounds in cannabis, slow drying and curing are the best choices, as weed is like wine in this regard: under the right conditions, it gets better over time. A good slow dry can bring a variety of benefits such as:

  • Enhanced Potency: Cannabinoid biosynthesis continues after cutting. Cannabinoids are sensitive to light, oxygen, and heat. But, under the right conditions, the cannabinoids in the buds will continue to convert to their active form, increasing their potency.
  • Improved sensory experience: air drying and low temperatures for a longer time allows preserving more terpenes, giving the flavor a chance to sharpen and develop better.
  • Smoother smoke: giving the buds time to dry well gives them time to discard the chlorophyll, starches, and sugars that can be sour and scratchy in the throat when smoked. Consequently, proper drying gives buds that are smoother and more pleasant to smoke.
  • Longer Shelf Life: You can store appropriately dried and cured cannabis for up to two years without degrading. Not correctly drying your buds increases the risk of developing mold and increases the chances of losing cannabinoids.

The conventional way of slow-drying cannabis involves removing excess moisture from the buds for the first three days to prevent it from starting to spoilage. Then you have to slow down the drying rhythm to prevent the buds from drying out too much. It is best to hang the cannabis clippings upside down to stimulate circulation to the smaller branches and thus ensure even drying. Ideally, keep the product in a dark room with good air circulation, with a humidity between 45% to 55% and a temperature of 60 to 70°F. Depending on the buds’ size and the environment surrounding them, conventional hang drying can take between 5 to 15 days. Usually, to determine if drying is complete, growers test the brittleness of smaller branches by bending them to check if they break. If they break when bent and the buds feel crispy on the outside, they are ready to move on to the curing process.

The curing process is precisely what often makes many home growers impatient since this process is similar to the aging of wine: the longer, the better. After placing the buds in an airtight container and a sunlight-protected place, the ideal minimum time for good curing is two to three weeks, opening the container daily on the first week and then every two to three days for the time left. Nevertheless, it gets better if you wait longer. Waiting four to eight weeks is excellent for most cannabis and hemp strains.

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