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News and Best Practices

Keep Humidity at the Perfect Level

October 19, 2016

The place where buds dry and or cure is one of the most sensitive. Drying cannabis is fairly straightforward—if that’s all you’re doing. But a cure can take anywhere from two weeks to two months, depending on the strain. The curing step is one of the most sensitive, despite requiring the least amount of hands-on efforts (unlike, say, growing or trimming).

For a proper cure, you’ll need to maintain a specific humidity both inside your containers and outside of them. An excellent cure separates top-shelf buds from the stuff that gets instantly discounted.

The amount of moisture your buds are exposed to can affect how quickly they cure, how well they cure, and whether they retain most of their cannabinoids and terpenes. If your cure room is too moist, you risk a shoddy cure and could potentially infest your product with mildew or mold. If it’s too dry, curing may take too long or may not fully finish. You may also find yourself with pounds of crumbly, powdery buds that smell and taste like lawn clippings.

Keeping an ideal, steady humidity will prevent a lot of headaches. But how do we maintain that perfect humidity range? It’s a lot trickier than you may think, but fortunately today’s humidity control technologies can help us out.

Know your environment

Before you consider dropping heavy investments into humidity equipment, you’ll need to understand your cure environment.

  • Do you conduct business at a high elevation, such as in Colorado? If so, the air tends to be thinner, drier and cooler than at sea level. Or are you located in Washington state—where it’s a bit denser, warmer and moister than Colorado?
  • Is your cure room attached to your grow room? Is the cure room well-ventilated? Can you control the temperatures in your cure room? (If you’re following your state’s laws, you should be curing indoors.)

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ve established your environment. From there, the humidity can be adjusted based on what you need.

In addition, temperature and relative humidity are connected. Fortunately for all of us, scientists figured out their relationships a long time ago. You can find accurate humidity charts online, either to print or to purchase as posters. You’ll want these around for reference.

To increase humidity

Drier spaces need moisture. If you’re carefully monitoring your humidity with hygrometers, you could install humidifiers inside or near your cure room. If you’re introducing humidifiers, be sure you’ve mastered the settings before you perform a cure, since it’s easy to over-humidify.

Larger humidifiers usually hold six or more gallons of water. If you get a smaller model that holds one to two gallons, you’ll waste time filling it up throughout the day.

If you’re dealing with hot temperatures and low humidity, you may want to install an evaporative or “swamp” cooler in or near your cure space. Before performing a cure with a cooler nearby, closely monitor your temperatures and humidity.

To decrease humidity

Just as you can place a humidifier to increase humidity, you can accomplish the opposite effect with a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers suck the moisture out of the air. Just as with any other humidity equipment, make sure you’ve got the settings in place.

If you have higher than desired temperatures and high humidity, sometimes a simple air conditioner will do. As it lowers the temperatures, the humidity will also drop.

Also, air circulation is the key to reducing humidity. If a ventilation system is already operating in your cure area, you may need to tweak the levels on your vents’ controls. Increasing air flow and accelerating air cycles can often resolve high humidity issues.

To balance high and low humidity

Constantly lowering and raising temperatures in a cure can be maddening. But there’s a shortcut: Humidifier packs are becoming more common not just in cure rooms, but in commercial packaging for buds, too. These packs contain specially designed salt mixtures that keep moisture levels balanced in the surrounding air. If you’re curing in containers—which many cultivators would strongly advise—you can drop a couple of humidifier packs in with the buds. Problem solved.

Boveda, a manufacturer of humidifier packs, offers a product that keeps relative humidity in any container at 62%—a sweet spot for most cannabis strains. A study Boveda conducted with Excelsior Analytical Labs measured 15% higher terpene and cannabinoid counts in buds cured and stored with Boveda humidifier packs, compared to controls that didn’t have the packs.

A hygrometer is the key to keeping your humidity right where it needs to be. You can find hygrometer/thermometer combo devices at any number of grow supply stores or online outlets. These tend to be relatively small and affordable, so stock up and place them throughout your cure room. Be sure to place them high and low. Some businesses will even place hygrometers inside the containers holding the cured buds, just to be sure they’re getting the whole picture.

With vigilant monitoring, you’ll know how to quickly respond to any humidity situation.


By Randy Robinson
Cannabis Cultivation Today articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal guidance or advice on grow practices. You should contact an attorney or a qualified cultivation consultant for specific compliance and cultivation advice.
© 2016 CAN Performance Group, LLC. All rights reserved.



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