Harvest time is a very satisfying occasion for marijuana growers. After carefully tending to and cultivating their crop, they finally have the opportunity to cut it down. However, it is unwise to try and use it immediately. Proper drying and curing are crucial if you want the highest quality cannabis.
A lot of growers like to ‘flush’ their plants in the final week or two before harvest. This process should remove the final traces of nutrients, and ensure their weed doesn’t taste odd. However, there is still the possibility that nutrients remain in the bud, along with sugars. If you are an organic grower, this stuff shouldn’t be harmful. Even so, it has a negative impact on the bud’s taste.
When you dry and cure your weed, the plants continue to digest the nutrients and sugars; some sugars also break down over time. After drying your bud for up to a week, traditional curing (which involves placing the weed in airtight jars) begins. The curing process can take several weeks; but when you do it properly, it is well worth the wait as you end up with potent and great-tasting cannabis.
If you don’t want to wait that long, water curing is a viable alternative. As the name suggests, the process involves submerging your buds in water for a certain period. Water curing does an excellent job of removing unwanted substances and ‘purifying’ your marijuana. Overall, it is a faster method than traditional curing, but does have a few side effects.
How Water Curing Works
In many ways, water curing works like traditional curing, primarily because you can still use glass Mason jars. However, you submerge the buds in water for around a week. When you use air curing, you need to wait longer for the residual substances to break down.
Once water gets involved, the process is accelerated because water-soluble substances in the weed, such as insecticides, salts, sugars, and chlorophyll, diffuse in the water. It is a much more effective method than merely allowing the buds to digest their own sugars. While salt and sugar dissolve in water, the THC in marijuana and the resin glands do not.
As you may know, the cannabinoids in weed, such as THC and CBD, are fat-soluble. As a result, water alone isn’t enough to remove them from the plant matter. Therefore, you can use water to get rid of any nasty chemicals from your buds without negatively impacting the potency.
Although you can safely use tap water, reverse osmosis water can complete the task more quickly because faster osmosis means faster dissolution. If you use reverse osmosis water, five days may be enough.
It isn’t all good news, though. Marijuana buds contain water-soluble compounds that could get washed out. Therefore, you may lose some of the aromas and flavors of the weed. On the plus side, it means that when you light up, your joint won’t have the tell-tale smell of marijuana. Also, water-cured cannabis isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as air-cured cannabis. This is primarily an issue if you plan to sell the product.
Otherwise, you’ll enjoy the smooth smoking experience. Also, as many unwanted solids are removed from the equation, the weed is more potent on a ‘per gram’ basis.
How to Water Cure Your Marijuana
First and foremost, you don’t need to dry the weed first. All you need are newly harvested buds, reverse osmosis water, and enough jars for all the cannabis you intend to water cure. Typically, the entire process shouldn’t take more than 7-8 days.
Here is a quick overview of water curing your marijuana:
- Trim your buds, and remove the stems and fan leaves. This isn’t a necessary step, and it is worth remembering that when these trimmings are cured, they are ideal for making cannabutter.
- Fill the glass jars with water and submerge your buds. Make sure the jars remain closed and, if necessary, use a weight to keep the weed submerged 24/7.
- The ideal water temperature is between 65- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit.
- Change the water once a day. If you tend to forget things, set the alarm each morning! As the process of osmosis takes place, the water becomes filled with sugars and salts so needs regular changing. Fresh water ensures faster osmosis. Some growers change the water several times each day.
- Monitor the water each day. After 5-7 days, you should notice the water becoming clearer; a sure sign that there are few solids to extract.
- Once you are satisfied that virtually all solids have been removed, hang your buds out to dry in the standard fashion.
You can even expedite the drying process with water-cured weed without risking the usual side effects such as headaches and harsh smoking experience. Please note that when you water cure your buds; the end weight will be lower than if you use the traditional curing method because it extracts more solids.
There is also a rapid-fire method of water curing that can complete the process in under 10 hours. It involves the use of running water. The main downside is that you use lots of water. Here’s a quick guide on how to do it:
- Fill a large bowl with the bud and run a thin stream of water over it.
- Use water that’s cool enough to avoid wilting the leaves, but not so cold that you damage the trichomes.
- After 8-10 hours, your bud is ready to dry!
Final Thoughts on Water Curing Weed
Ultimately, water curing is a method that seems to make little sense at first. However, many experienced marijuana growers swear by it and love the smoothness of the smoking experience. Incidentally, you can also ‘save’ cannabis infested with bud rot by water curing it. The process helps remove the rot and turns weed you would normally throw away into something usable.
It is an incredibly easy method of curing marijuana. All you need are enough glass jars for your harvest, water, and the bud. Within a few days, your cannabis should be ‘clean’ enough to dry. Rather than waiting a month to use your harvested weed, you can get ready to sample it within two weeks, once it has fully dried. Let’s conclude by looking at the advantages and disadvantages of this form of curing.
Water Curing – Pros
- It is a simple method that requires nothing more than jars, water, weed, and a little bit of patience.
- There is no technical skill required; just change the water regularly.
- Water curing enables you to use marijuana with bud rot.
- The process is much faster than air drying and removes more unwanted solids.
- Ultimately, you end up with a smoother smoke. The lack of aroma means water-cured cannabis is better for secret smoking sessions.
Water Curing – Cons
- It is not a good option if the aroma and flavor of weed are important to you.
- Water curing also reduces the aesthetic appeal of the herb.
- It is probably not your best choice if you intend to sell the weed commercially: It lacks the smell and taste of premium-grade weed, has less ‘bag appeal,’ and crucially, weighs less.
- Unscrupulous individuals sometimes use water curing to sell contaminated marijuana.