Modified on: 30/04/2021
What is the tanning of cannabis flowers and why it is a fundamental process for growers.
In countries where cannabis seeds can be grown at home for personal use, for therapeutic and/or recreational purposes, growers must necessarily know a process called tanning of marijuana, which immediately follows the drying phase of the buds.
In fact, after harvesting, the flowers cannot be consumed fresh and, in order to preserve their aromas and qualities, it is essential to know how to dry and tant them.
Let’s see below, for informational purposes only, how the drying and tanning process of cannabis flowers takes place (we strongly advise against replicating what you find in this article, since growing cannabis in many countries is an administrative or criminal offense depending on the case) .
Why are drying and tanning of cannabis essential?
As we have anticipated, growers harvest cannabis buds once they are ripe but cannot be used immediately. They must first undergo drying and tanning, for several very specific reasons:
- Fresh buds are very vulnerable, since the water and resin they contain can easily generate mold and make all the farmer’s efforts useless.
- These processes, if carried out to perfection, tend to improve both the scent and the taste of marijuana flowers, thanks to the progressive decomposition of chlorophyll (a peculiarity that makes the flavor of the inflorescences less acidic).
- The perfect drying and tanning of marijuana can increase the potency of the active ingredients of the flowers, namely cannabinoids, and reduce the risk of side effects such as anxiety and depression.
Last but not least, preventing buds from moldy means extending their life and avoiding wasting months of careful work! For example, normal plants are born from feminized seeds, which develop over an entire season (late ones can take up to 6 months from germination to maturation), auto flower seeds give life to plants that develop in about 3-4 months and fast flowering seeds give birth to plants that develop in about 1 and a half or 2 months.
Let’s see now how expert growers dry the inflorescences.
Drying of the cannabis flowers, which precedes the tanning phase.
After pruning the hemp buds, growers should immediately start the drying phase as this is when the buds are more humid (and at risk for mold and bacteria).
The drying phase depends mainly on pruning. Specifically, we can distinguish two particular techniques:
- Wet pruning: in this case the grower cuts the individual branches of mature plants and places the flowers to dry horizontally on a very spacious surface, usually on a large grid, in order to ensure good ventilation (and prevent the flowers mold or spoil).
- Dry pruning: this is the least used technique as it is less precise than wet pruning (specifically, there is the risk to lose a good part of the resin or to leave annoying leaves at the base of the flowers). In this case, after cutting the branches, the grower does not separate them from the flowers, but puts them to dry hanging by a thread. Once dry, it can proceed with pruning and tanning.
Both techniques involve drying the buds in a dark and cool room at a temperature of about 15-22 °C. Humidity is also very important for the flowers to preserve their characteristics; precisely, the relative humidity should remain at 50% for the first 3 days of drying and at about 60% in the following days.
The essential phase of tanning of marijuana.
As we told you, marijuana growers first dry the flowers and then tan them. The latter is a process aimed at the perfect preservation of vegetable products and at the increase of their unique characteristics.
Marijuana tanning is essential for those who want to get quality buds; in fact, it offers two very important advantages:
- It allows to preserve taste, smell, nutrients and cannabinoids of marijuana flowers.
- Allows sugars, starches and chlorophyll to downgrade. It is very important that these substances are eliminated as they are responsible for the burning in the throat during the consumption of improperly tanned cannabis.
The processing techniques most used by marijuana growers are basically glass tanning and water tanning.
Tanning of marijuana in glass jars
The method of tanning buds in glass jars involves the treatment through the use of sterilized glass jars and, once filled with cannabis, stored in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight.
The inflorescences must not be pressed. Furthermore, the producer, during the first week of tanning, must open the jars several times a day to change the position of the flowers (thus preventing them from sticking to each other and losing their shape).
Subsequently, and for at least 20-30 days, the grower can only open the jars once a day for 30 minutes.
In this way it allows the excess water to evaporate and the flowers to obtain enough oxygen necessary for the degradation of chlorophyll.
Tanning of marijuana in water
In this case too, growers use sterilized glass jars, which they then fill with water (also sterile, in order to avoid the proliferation of bacteria) and, of course, cannabis flowers.
Buds must be immersed in water for at least a week, in order to eliminate water-soluble substances such as sugars, salts and chlorophyll. THC, CBD and other cannabinoids, on the other hand, are fat-soluble, so they do not disperse in the water during treatment.
Now you know the drying and tanning processes of cannabis flowers … But remember that, in some countries, it is not allowed to grow this plant, unless it is light hemp with a THC lower than 0.2%.