Through the dry and cure process, we achieve a well-preserved flower bud with a lasting shelf life that safeguards the internal cannabinoid profile while developing the all-important terpenoid profile. It is believed that the unique combination of cannabinoids and terpenes within each plant is what makes the healing power available, delivering the entourage effect. By controlling the humidity and temperature in this 5th stage of cannabis cultivation, we can serve high quality cannabis products to the end users. Interestingly, each plant contains a different genetic makeup of cannabinoids and terpenes that vary by strain, but can also vary by the cultivation environment. Each stage of cannabis cultivation can have an impact on the final product, impacting the potency as well as the number of cannabinoids available and the percentage of terpenes present. At DANK, we strive for maximum potency of delta -9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) while developing a rich terpene profile. Within the Plant, over 70 different cannabinoids have been identified, many effective in small doses. With each hit, we get a rush of cannabinoid rich smoke that seeks out our body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors. When the cannabinoid molecules latch on to our body’s receptors, they release the plant medicine into our body, creating a natural reaction for positive results.
The drying and curing process is very important in developing the final molecular structure of the flower. We accomplish preservation by a quick dry and slow cure, gradually removing moisture from the vegetative matter, leaving a resinous flower bud containing the cannabinoids and terpenes. The process is a two-part process, consisting of (1) drying and (2) curing the trim and flower. Timeframes can vary depending on the time of year and design of the room. At DANK, drying takes about 2 days and curing takes about 14 days.
Throughout time, a variety of methods have been utilized to achieve well-cured cannabis flower. We utilize a system that works well with our facility. In many ways, our facility dictates the way we cultivate and cure cannabis. We grow seed to sale in an old Denver warehouse. Our facility is limited in ceiling height, limited in square footage and contains continual challenges in the indoor environment. Because of limited space, we choose to harvest plants by removing each bud from the stems while wet. We then dry plants on bakers’ racks to fully remove moisture before containerizing buds for cure. At the completion of harvest, flower buds have been removed from stems and leaves have been separated from the bud. The leaves and the buds are captured during the mechanical harvest process and spread separately on drying racks. Over the period of the next two days, the trim and flower buds evaporate as much as 70% water from their content, shrinking in size and weight. Careful attention is paid to the product through quality-control removal of crow’s feet while mixing the product on the trays to avoid deformation of the flower bud. If not attended to, the flower can develop a flat side where the flower rests on the rack, permanently drying in a one-sided shape.
Stoner trivia: What Egyptian goddess is often depicted with cannabis leaf as far back as 1250 BCE?
Back in our drying room, the plants that were spread thinly on baking racks have dried significantly until stems break when bent, usually in about 2 days in our arid Colorado environment. After drying, the plants are relocated to antibacterial food grade containers for a period of 2 weeks. The slowing of the dry and cure process through sealing the flower is what delivers the quality product.
Stoner Trivia: Seshat is the Egyptian Goddess of Wisdom. She if often show with a cannabis leaf overhead, indicating utilization of cannabis to achieve a higher consciousness.
While inside the containers, the plant continues to dry and is off-gassing, reaching a moisture balance for preservation while developing a cannabinoid profile and a “nose.” Over the course of the two-week period, the containers are opened periodically, releasing unwanted gases while revealing the final potency, cannabinoid and terpene profile. Every cannabis plant contains cannabinoids, but not every plant in nature has cannabinoids. This plant is special. Through environmental conditions provided by the grower, the genetics of each strain represent itself uniquely with respect to local growing conditions. Growers connection: like many plants in nature, the cannabis plant wants to provide what is needed to those who grow it. For example, it is believed that an apple tree develops apples that respond to the grower’s specific needs. If he or she suffers from chronic pain, an apple will develop that cures pain disorders. In this same way, cannabis develops an internal healing system with specific attributes designed to heal those who tend to it throughout life. That’s why I recommend you grow at home, so that the Plant may customize itself to your specific needs. In the production grow facility, you may end up with a plant that is suited best for the grower, not to say that you cannot also benefit. Mind blown.
As mentioned, the cure stage is integral to the development of the terpenoid content. Not to be understated, we are finding great healing characteristics of the “nose”. The Plant is made of scented terpenes, much like every plant in nature. Much like essential oils from lavender or vanilla, each plant is rich in oil. Through the curing process, the essential oils are developed, joining to the cannabinoids in providing medical benefits. Cannabis strains develop specific terpenes associated with the genetic origins of the plant. Strains with the landrace Hindu Kush develop a diesel fuel terpene called Caryophyllene, great for sedative effects and treating chronic pain. Stains with origins from Durban, South Africa, develop fruity scented terpenes called Limonene and myrcene, great for lung and breathing disorders. Strains from the tropics develop terpenoids like linalool, beneficial for those suffering PTSD and depression. When combined with the cannabinoids, the power of the entourage effect is evident as each plant contains a unique combination of terpenes and cannabinoids, developed during this dry and cure process.
I hope you learned a something about our dry and cure process at Dank. Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for the next blog post as the flower is sent to an independent laboratory for potency and contaminate testing.