When you’re in a hurry, there’s usually a shortcut. But it’s often risky.
You can watch the movie instead of reading the book and hope the teacher doesn’t notice.
You can buy a fake ID and hope it’s good enough to get past the bouncer.
You can go the wrong way down a one-way street and hope you won’t get caught by the cops.
When you grow your own weed, it normally takes 7-10 days to dry it, and another few weeks to cure it properly.
But what if you’re in a hurry to fire it up and enjoy the fruits of your labor? Isn’t there an acceptable shortcut?
Shortcut? Yes. Acceptable? That depends on how picky you are.
There’s a very good reason why commercial growers spend a month or longer drying (and curing) their crop before it’s ready to sell: the process preserves – and sometimes improves – the weed’s potency, flavor, and aroma.
You’re really in a hurry, though, and you don’t mind smoking lower-quality flowers? There are ways to avoid the long wait.
We’ll have some tips on how to dry weed quickly after we make that you fully understand the risk of doing it.
Why Weed Is Usually Dried Slowly
Commercial producers and careful home growers spend months tending their plants. But they don’t just sell their crop or load up their bongs right after the flower’s been picked. There’s still a lot of work to do. Here’s why.
When cannabis is harvested, the plants are full of water. A lot of it.
Marijuana plants absorb enormous amounts of water while they’re growing, which is why as much as 75-90% of each plant’s weight is just water.
Until the crop is given at least a week to dry out on racks, ideally in an environment controlled for temperature and humidity, the weed is unusable and subject to the rapid growth of fungus and mold. And it should be “cured” in airtight containers for another 2-4 weeks after it’s dry, to allow more moisture to evaporate and the bud to mature.
Skipping those steps can do big damage to the weed that’s been growing for months because cannabis is a very delicate plant.
A long drying and curing process eliminates most of the plant’s chlorophyll, making it taste less like a plant and more like marijuana. More importantly, it protects the buds’ cannabinoids and terpenes, which are essential for potency, flavor, and aroma. In many cases, proper drying and curing allow the flower to increase in potency and taste while reducing harshness.
When you fast-dry weed, though, the delicate terpenes are bombarded with way too much heat. Terpenes can evaporate at temperatures as low as 70°, leaving the buds with (to put it mildly) sub-optimal flavor and aroma. High temperatures cause THC and other cannabinoids to degrade, drastically affecting the weed’s potency. And the heat that’s much too high can completely dry out or even burn the buds.
All of this means two things. First, you’re risking your crop if you try to find a shortcut for drying and curing it properly. And second, if you are going to fast-dry weed, you’d better do it very, very carefully.
Here are some methods you can use if you simply can’t wait.
How To Dry Weed Fast: Three Methods
Brown Bag It
No, we’re not suggesting smoking a joint for lunch, although we wouldn’t be opposed.
Small “popcorn” buds can be dried much more quickly than normal by simply putting them into a brown paper bag. Don’t fill up the bag; there should be room for air to circulate. Leave the bag somewhere cool and dry that’s out of the way, and your pot should be dry in 3-4 days or so.
Some people use a small fan (like the ones in computers) to speed up the process considerably, or they put the brown bag on top of their laptop so the ambient heat the machine releases will dry the buds in just hours. That’s likely to harm the terpenes, though, so the weed may lose some of its taste and perhaps some of its potency. If you’re going to try this, be sure to flip the bag every ten minutes, to even the heat exposure out somewhat.
Find A Hot Room
Large buildings often have a “boiler room” where their heating equipment is located. Homes may have an enclosed area surrounding the furnace. The beauty of these rooms: they get much hotter than everywhere else in the building. And they get even hotter if you let the hot water heater run continuously.
You can set up a drying rack for larger buds, and/or put your brown paper bags with smaller ones on a table or on the floor. If you simply use the ambient heat from the furnace, it will take about three days to dry the small buds and a week for the large ones. The flower probably won’t retain its full potency and taste, but the “damage” should be minimal.
The extra heat contributed by a water heater may let you dry out a full crop in just three days and the weed in the bags in a day or less. However, using the water heater will drive up your gas or electric bill, and the buds’ quality will definitely be degraded.
Bake Before Getting Baked
You decarb (decarboxylated) weed in the oven before making edibles; what could go wrong by just drying it out in the oven? As it turns out, a lot.
Decarbing cannabis is very different than drying it because the flower has already been dried and cured before you decarb it. Decarboxylating dry weed simply “activates” the plant’s THCA, which turns into THC when it’s heated. Very little damage can be done to the terpenes and cannabinoids if the decarbing is done properly.
But marijuana is much more fragile before it’s been dried and cured, and just sticking it into the oven to dry it can considerably degrade all of its components. It’s a delicate process, and even if it’s managed carefully, the weed will still wind up being less potent and harsher than it should be.
Here’s how to do it, though.
Line a cookie sheet or baking tray with tin foil, and spread the buds out into a single layer. Bake at 120°-125° for ten minutes (that’s about half the temperature you’d use for decarbing). After ten minutes, turn the buds over and bake for another five. If the flower still isn’t dry, carefully bake for just a couple of additional minutes at a time until it’s ready.
Now that your cannabis is baked, it’s your turn. But if you’re disappointed with the smoke – don’t say we didn’t warn you.
How To Dry Weed Fast FAQ
Q: I’ve seen people say you can just put it out in the sun and let it dry naturally. Is that a good way to do it?
A: Sorry, no. The weed will dry, but it will also become so brittle that you may want to just throw it out instead of trying to smoke it. The sunlight will also cause the THC to degrade and destroy most of the flower’s terpenes, so if you do smoke it, you’ll be sorry you gave this method a try.
Q: Since a microwave doesn’t expose the weed to prolonged heat, is that a better choice?
A: Maybe a little better, but the quicker blasts of heat will still do damage to the buds. Make sure to keep the heat at 20%-30% and only run the microwave for 10-15 seconds; even so, you probably won’t be happy with the taste, aroma, or potency.
Q: Don’t some producers quick-dry their weed?
A: Not the reputable ones. They take all the time that’s needed to produce a quality product. The only time they’ll use a fast-drying method is to sample a small amount of their crop, just to make sure it’s ready for harvest.