Properly drying cannabis is critical for safe storage and consumption. There are two standard drying methods: Hang drying and rack storage. The size of your operation and your budget determine which drying method is right for you.
Cannabis plants require a lot of time and space to be properly dried. Humidity, airflow, and temperature are a few of the factors that go into successful cannabis drying. The potency and safety of your final product depend on successfully drying cannabis.
Drying is Necessary for Safety, Storage, and Potency
Allowing cannabis to dry is necessary for several reasons. Drying marijuana makes it safe for long-term storage. Once the flowering part of the cannabis plant is removed from the stalk, it starts to degrade.
Marijuana degradation eliminates terpenes and cannabinoids. These phytochemicals are responsible for the plant’s flavor and psychoactive properties.
Without proper drying, the marijuana risks growing mold. Mold releases mycotoxins which are toxic if consumed.
How Long Does Cannabis Need to Be Dried?
The process can take up to 15 days on average. The extent that cannabis needs to be dried depends on its intended use. If the product is grown to be smoked, then 10%-12% water content is ideal.
If the marijuana is intended to be used in a vaporizer, 12% to 15% water content is appropriate. Cannabis should be dried to 8% water content when its flavor is the primary concern.
Hang Drying vs. Storage Racking
The two methods of drying, hang drying and racking, offer unique advantages. Hang drying is a cost-effective drying method. Storage rack drying is labor-intensive and requires a higher initial investment, but it optimizes storage space. Storage racking also dries marijuana slightly faster than hang drying does.
Hang drying marijuana is a relatively simple process. You hang fully intact plants upside down from an elevated position. This increases the airflow through the plant and takes advantage of vertical drying space. The plants must have adequate space between them for air to evaporate the moisture.
Hang drying cannabis requires about 7 to 10 days of drying. Drying should be done in a dark area with a humidity of 55% and a temperature close to 65°F.
The positives of hang drying weed include less labor and less money spent on equipment. Also, some people report that the plant holds its aroma longer compared to storage rack drying. The positives of this method make it ideal for small marijuana operations.
Some negatives of hang drying include the low upper limit of weed that can be dried and the smell of the drying room. While hang drying does take advantage of the vertical storage space available, it does so inefficiently compared to the drying rack method.
Equipment for hang drying
Quantum Storage Systems’ Chrome Wire Shelving optimizes vertical space for hang drying operations. You can easily connect plants to any part of the unit, and the open wire shelving increases airflow through the shelving levels, which is ideal for fanning leaves and buds. The chrome finish is made for produce storage and decreases the risk of microorganism growth.
Wire shelving is easily customized, so it is appropriate for nearly any hang drying operation. The starter units come in a variety of heights and shelf dimensions. The casters make the storage system mobile, and the add-on units easily connect with the initial wire shelves.
The smell of the drying marijuana is potent enough that the drying room should not be used for anything else. This means you will need to dedicate a room or storage space to the drying and curing process.
Modular Storage Buildings by Vestil are a storage solution if you do not already have a room to dry your buds. It is 7’ tall and up to 12.5’ deep. The wooden floor is 5” off the ground, which keeps products dry.
These storage buildings are secure and easy to assemble due to their modular design. Equip them with a fan and humidity controls to make storage buildings perfect for your hang drying needs.
Storage Rack Drying
Large cannabis producers should use the storage rack drying method. It keeps large amounts of bud organized, minimizes the risk of mold contamination, and dries more cannabis per square foot than hang drying.
The bud must first be separated from the rest of the plant. This is more labor-intensive than the hanging method. The bud is placed on drying trays and stored in drying racks for 5-7 days. Constant inspection is necessary to ensure no mold was transferred from the growing cannabis plants to the drying bud.
Equipment for rack drying
Durham MFG Slide Racks offer efficient rack storage for large quantities of cannabis drying. The open-air design ensures airflow to all the drying plants. The roll-out shelves make for easy access to the bud, which is necessary for frequent inspections. You will need to purchase produce-safe trays to insert into the sliding shelves.
The load capacity per shelf is 45 lbs. or 75 lbs. for the heavy-duty option. These slide racks’ lighter load capacity make them an inexpensive drying solution. The racks come with 2, 4, or 6 shelves that are either small or large-sized. The different sizes and storage options offer your operation inexpensive storage scalability.
Durham MFG also makes the Pan & Tray Truck for increased mobility while supplying airflow and multi-level storage. The truck can come with 9 or 14 tray slots and has a unit load capacity of 1,200 lbs. The Pan & Tray Truck ships fully assembled.
The four wheels all swivel, and the open design creates many handhold locations for easy handling. The truck comes with side brakes.
The trays are sold separately and come in two sizes. Optional perforated trays would allow airflow to the bottom of the drying cannabis.
Curing is the Final Step
Cannabis producers must cure their products to ensure quality buds. Curing gets the innermost moisture out of the weed. It also kills bacteria and enzymes that would otherwise decrease the potency of marijuana.
To cure cannabis, you will need to store it in airtight containers for up to a month. The humidity in the container should be about 60%. If your containers are more humid than that, the drying process needs to be longer.
To decrease the humidity level during curing, you must burp the container by opening it momentarily to release built-up gas. This also replenishes the oxygen levels in the container. You must burp curing containers multiple times a day to effectively manage humidity levels.
A properly dried and cured bud feels dry to the touch but does not crumble easily. It will smell but not be overpowering because bacteria and enzymes in the weed have been killed in the curing process. The color will be brown and dull green.
Storage for the Curing Process
The Lyon Beaded Post Industrial Clip Shelving unit offers customizable storage for buds in the curing phase of production. The posts have connecting points for the shelves at 1.5” intervals. This shelving unit will accommodate the size of your specific curing containers.
Its boltless design makes for easy assembly without sacrificing load capacity. Each shelf can handle from 500 lbs. to 800 lbs. depending on its size. The enclosed model increases the security of the curing product, while the open design allows for easy access to the product. This also enables you to easily burp the containers multiple times each day.
Find the Right Equipment for Your Drying Needs
Large cannabis productions need to take advantage of their storage space with a shelving rack system to dry and cure their cannabis efficiently.
Smaller cannabis producers can save money and dry their products effectively with hanging drying racks and storage buildings. Wire shelving is a cost-effective way to utilize storage space with the hang drying method.
Contact Shelving + Rack Systems Inc. at (800) 589-7225 for more information about cannabis drying equipment. Our team can help you design, plan, and implement the ideal layout for your drying and curing room.