The art of the “ripening” of harvested weed is one that has received a lot of attention. Much detail is given on careful drying in special machines, on drying racks, and using other methods. However, how do you ever come across the term “water curing”? Because you are trying to dry the bud, dunking it might sound like a counterproductive move, but as you will see in this article, it actually has a number of benefits.
What is Water Curing?
If you have a significant amount of experience in the growing of weed, you might have heard about, or even practiced “flushing plants”. This is usually done a few weeks before harvest and it typically helps with getting rid of any harsh taste the cannabis might have. It removes impurities and allows for a smoother, more pleasant smoke.
With that in mind, the principle of “flushing” the weed bud itself is one that is gaining quite some popularity and is what is referred to as “water curing”.
Water curing minimizes the time it takes to get rid of substances that are considered to be undesirable such as salts, insecticides, nutrients, sugars, or chlorophyll. When your weed is freshly harvested, it contains these substances in abundance and may lead to an unpleasantly harsh smoke, even if the weed is of high quality. Some of the substances gotten rid of by water curing are harmful, while some, especially if the weed was grown organically, are merely nasty.
In the “classic” methods of curing, the bud is let to dry out very slowly. If kept in a cool, humid, dark place, the cannabis plant continuously breaks down the nutrients and sugars. Some sugars, if left to their own devices, will also break down over time. Curing weed aids in breaking down harsh substances for a better, smoother smoke. Curing usually involves letting the buds sit in empty glass jars until they mature. While this is an effective method and could lead to some great tasting weed, it has several downsides including propensity to mold. This is why jar curing as well as bag curing are widely used methods to reduce the risks of mold developing and increase the quantities of sugars, and nutrients digested.
In water curing, instead of leaving it up to the plant to digest the lingering nutrients, water is used to dissolve them. Though we will look at the process more in-depth later on, the process basically involves soaking your weed in water. Because you are seeking to eliminate nutrients and sugars, as well as other undesirable substances, it is good to consider that nutrients are basically salt, and will dissolve in water, as will most of the other substances including sugars.
Using the process of osmosis, which in this case will facilitate the distribution of soluble substances throughout the solution evenly by exchange through the semi-permeable membranes of the bud, your undesirable substances will get dissolved.
While curing is effective, water curing allows flowers to be processed in a fraction of that time and is beneficial especially for growers who do not have the time to sit out the curing period.
How Does Water Curing Weed Work?
As we have already mentioned, curing involves putting buds in a glass jar for a couple of weeks at a time. Though it sounds very simple, a whole cacophony of important processes takes place at this time, vastly improving the quality of the cannabis flowers.
|When curing buds are maintained at an optimal humidity, sometimes with the use of moisture fighters, the phytochemical properties of the buds change. A lot of the sugars, chlorophyll, and other molecules which end up making weed harsh start to break down. With minimal additional molecules, each strain’s terpene profile can be felt even more.
The curing process also greatly improves the smoke’s quality. Where a smoke would have been harsh and irritating to the throat, it is now turned into rich, creamy, and smooth tokes which are a great treat when used in vapes, bongs, and blunts.
Properly cured bud is a sign of high quality weed and is therefore even priced much higher.
Water curing is similar to jar air curing in that it achieves similar outcomes using different mechanisms. Instead of waiting for weeks on end for the degeneration of these harsh molecules, dissolving them in water allows for a much faster process.
It is important to note that this fast method comes with its own set of drawbacks, which we’ll discuss later.
Water curing weed is also frequently confused with the bud washing technique. This is a very distinctly different practice which we’ll touch on later.
The Process of Water Curing Weed
Many of the undesirable and harsh chemical compounds that are found in cannabis flowers happen to be water-soluble. What this means is that upon contact with water, they diffuse out of the plant tissue and dissolve into the water.
When water curing cannabis buds, the water that started out as pure drinking water becomes quickly saturated with sugars, chlorophyll, and other potentially irritants. This is a relatively quick process and results that one has to wait for weeks in air curing can be seen in days.
Instead of waiting the duration it takes for cannabis the buds to digest their own sugars, and for the oxygen found in the air to have a chance at breaking down the phytochemicals, the process of water curing achieves these results in a few days.
Unfortunately, some water soluble molecules that are pleasant and valuable also end up getting absorbed in the water.
The good news is that the key cannabinoids like THC and CBD are not water soluble and are in fact hydrophobic, as they are fat-soluble. What this means is that no amount of water can extract them from their trichomes.
The bad news is that terpenes are not immune to water, they are actually water-soluble. Terpenes give cannabis its signature scent, contribute to its flavor profile, and add to its potency by synergizing with the cannabinoids. Some effects such as psychotropic events, and couch lock are majorly attributed to terpenes. , are water-soluble.
And thus we arrive at the big trade off of water curing. Exchanging the speed of curing for the loss of important flavor and effects. Water curing removes a huge quantity of the tasty terpene molecules from the weed flowers leaving them grassy and flat. It is thus important to take into consideration whether a smoker is looking for a smooth smoke or a flavorful one, as that would go a long way in determining which method of curation to use.
What Are the Benefits of Water Curing Cannabis?
As we have seen, water curing marijuana using clean water has a host of both advantages and disadvantages, which you should consider before choosing the method you want to use.
As compared to traditional weed curing, water curing is faster by far, removes a bulk of unwanted solids and provides for a smoother, and in most cases healthier smoke. The removal of undesirable substances also makes for a more potent product.
In a nutshell, the benefits of water curing weed are:
- Simplicity: In order to water cure your weed; you do not need any special skills or equipment. A jar, some clean water and a serving of patience will see you through the whole process.
- Speed: Water curing saves a whole lot of time. If you require your buds to get harvested, and processed in the shortest time possible, this is a great option for you. Whatever your reasons for having a short window of time, water curing your weed will get you to the final product faster.
- Less Smell, therefore less Obvious: Though the removal of terpenes from your weed is generally disadvantageous, removing them from your weed has the hidden advantage of making your bud a lot more discreet. Where the smell of your cannabis would inform all and sundry of your activity, water cured bud has much more decreased flavor and aroma, and therefore you can take it undetected.
- Smooth Smoke: In the same manner as air curing, using water curing methodology makes for a much more pleasant cannabis smoke. Trust me, your lungs will thank you.
What are the Disadvantages of Curing Weed?
The biggest downside of water curing as we have seen is the removal of terpenes. Without terpenes, the weed loses most of its flavor and aroma. As well as some of the potentiating qualities of the terpenes give. In the same breadth, the removal of impurities and other substances increases the potency of the weed as the cannabinoids are able to shine through. Though losing terpenes might be a disadvantage with some strains, in strains where the weed smells unpleasant or has a harsh taste, the loss of flavor could actually be welcome.
Water Curing vs Bud Washing: What's the Difference?
Although one might be forgiven if they confused these two, they could not be more different.
While bud washing refers to quickly washing buds to clean them after harvest, the process of water curing involves keeping the buds submerged for a couple of days with the goal of dissolving impurities and other substances.
When bud washing, the grower will typically dunk the buds into a “series of buckets” to clean off the debris they might have accumulated, and improve their taste. After this quick clean, they are moved straight to a drying rack.
Can bud washing be substituted for water Curing?
As we have discussed, bud washing and water curing are very processes, aimed at achieving very different results. Though a grower can choose to bud wash before he places the flowers into jars for curing, it certainly does not serve the same purpose.
Bud washing is beneficial in removing dust, insects, pesticides, and other undesirable particles from weed flowers, which leaves them squeaky clean and it makes it even easier to water cure. Washing your buds before-hand means your flowers will not be floating around a bath of “nasty chemicals”.
It is important to note that growers who opt to air cure their bud also apply bud washing before at the start of their process to remove any chemicals and impurities, which also improves the eventual taste.
How to Water Cure Weed
As you might have already gathered, the process of water curing weed is actually quite simple. You don’t need a lot of water to cure your weed. Simply check off the items on the equipment list provided below, and follow the simple directions and you will have water cured weed in no time.
- Clean, fresh water. Distilled, spring or reverse osmosis water would be best.
- Cannabis flowers
- Mason jars, Bowl, or tub (depending on the amount of bud you intend to cure
- After your flowers are harvested, trim the sugar leaves from each bud. You can keep the trimmings to later use in the making of hash or edibles. If you intend to make a hash, trim your bud even further to improve the quality of your hash.
- Place your trimmed buds in a jar or bowl with water. Place the manicured buds into a jar or bowl depending on your quantities. Cover them with clean water that is at a temperature of between 18-24C . You can also consider weighing your bud down as it usually has the tendency to float.
- Every day, give your buds a very gentle shake and change the water. Changing the water ensures efficiency as once the water gets saturated with dissolved substances it can no longer efficiently get more substances, and phytochemicals out. Continue the process for between 3–7 days.
- After you have finished curing your weed in the 3-7 days, you will then strain your buds and place them out on a rack to dry so that the moisture can be eliminated from it. Properly curing your weed not only makes for a good smoke, it also prevents mold from developing.
Bud Rot Water Cure
Moreover if you have a case of the rot, you could manage to salvage a good portion of the bud by water curing it. Just dunk it into water and let it sit while regularly changing it. In a few days, you will have buds with good potency and no nasty after taste.
Can Already dried weed be water cured?
Though water curing fresh weed is the best option as it saves on lots of time, if you find that your air cured weed is still too strong and contains unwanted particles, you can water cure it and dry it again.
Should You Try Water Curing Weed?
Though it sounds like a great option, you should only take the option of water curing your weed if you absolutely have to. This is because the aroma, flavor, and effects you might lose with water curing might be quite a high price to pay. However, if you desire a smooth, even flavorless smoke that you can achieve in a matter of days, this would be the best option for you.