Weed in a Dehydrator

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

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Usually, it’s the small details that separate the good from the excellent. And when it comes to cannabis, paying careful attention to every part of the process, from selecting the right strain and seeds to taking good care of the plants during growth, flowering, and everything that happens after harvest, is what creates 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 whether to speed-dry your buds with a home food dehydrator, you need to hear this.

Can You Put Weed in a Dehydrator?

The answer to this question is complex, as there are conflicting opinions among growers on how to dry weed properly. If you have a bunch of freshly harvested, mouth-watering buds, you may have considered drying them in an air fryer, oven, or similar appliance.

Simply put, 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 a prevalent opinion among most growers, some claim that drying your weed in a food dehydrator is possible when done correctly.

Growers who advocate using food dehydrators to dry buds recommend using the lowest heat setting. Let the buds dry overnight, checking and flipping them until they're "crispy."

Thereafter, place them in a zip-lock bag to preserve moisture. The buds may shrink much more than when you air-dry them or use traditional slow-drying and curing techniques. Also, they lose flavor and potency when dried 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. 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, they continue to convert to their active form, increasing their potency.
  • Improved sensory experience: Air drying at low temperatures for a longer time preserves more terpenes, giving the flavor a chance to sharpen and develop better.
  • Smoother smoke: Giving the buds time to dry well allows them to discard the chlorophyll, starches, and sugars that can be sour and scratchy in the throat when smoked. Consequently, proper drying yields 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. Incorrectly drying your buds increases the risk of developing mold and the chances of losing cannabinoids.

The conventional method of slow-drying cannabis involves removing excess moisture from the buds for the first three days to prevent 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, a humidity between 45% and 55%, and a temperature of 60 to 70°F.

Depending on the buds' size and the surrounding environment, 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. If they break and the buds feel crispy on the outside, they are ready for curing.

The curing process often makes many home growers impatient since it is similar to the aging of wine: the longer, the better. After placing the buds in an airtight container in a sunlight-protected place, the ideal time for good curing is two to three weeks. This is accompanied by opening the container daily on the first week and then every two to three days for the subsequent weeks. 

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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