Drying approach prior to extraction

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Eskander

Eskander

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I've been extracting for people for a while now but with my first crop coming in, I'm faced with the question of how to dry it given that the majority will end up going towards extract (in EtOH). I have a tent set up with a dehumidifier and air conditioner so I can essentially hit whatever target I want on that end of things.

As with everything in weed, there is a great deal of information out there but 95% is either bullshit or doesn't really apply. Google searches on this yield stunningly useless results... The "cure it to increase potency" is clearly pants on head retarded but I'm on the fence about "drying too quickly". The logic I see is that a dry outside limits the ability of moisture on the inside to migrate out. That also tickles my BS meter but doesn't quite peg it. Osmosis would dictate movement across a gradient and that the larger the gradient, the faster it would go to dry.

The bud that I've been extracting for people has usually been on the larfy side of things and I've typically just put it in a chamber with desiccant for a few days to get out as much residual as possible but it was always mostly dry already. That might be scalable for runs of a quarter pound but not much more and it doesn't address the initial drying protocol.

My gut is to dry at the lowest temps I can get to help with volatile retention and as dry as I can get the tent to get it ready for extraction. I'll do some basic stripping of fan leaves but leave the sugar leaf in place.

Thoughts?

-Eskander

IMG 3938
 
Eskander

Eskander

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So I ended up having to clear up a bunch of smaller stuff to try and improve airflow. I tossed it all into these boxes with a bed of silica beads, a computer case fan and a hygrometer to measure progress. They are crispy dry (22% RH at 68F) in about a day but had a noticeable hay smell that lasted about a week. The tubs didn't hold much mass in the end so using them from harvest to extraction is impractical but the result was so crunchy dry that it is probably a decent way to get hung dried material ready for QWET or QWISO.

IMG 3970


Had to compress it once to get it all into this jar so you can see the stuff that came out of the desiccation chambers as well as the result of a few seconds of hand crumbling.
IMG 4009


About a minute of crushing the above by hand yielded this. Might be too fine of a grind for some but I'm pretty happy with my filtration set up and I think the result will be crystal clear.
IMG 4011


-Eskander
 
dreamnfox

dreamnfox

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I dont do extraction but slower dry at higher humidity is key to having very tastey smoke. I do humidity 55-60 and temp at 60f for 10-12 days. Then into buckets that a check twice daily. If the humidity in buckets is above 62 then i leave them open till it drops to 60. I do this till the buckets stay at 60-61%. At that point they can stay in the buckets or get trimmed snd put into jars
These were 3 weeks in the bucket thrn trimmed and put into jars
 
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Ponky

Ponky

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We froze it fresh. And ran it frozen. Or it was taken straight from the pack as it was bagged and then ran like that.
 
Eskander

Eskander

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I dont do extraction but slower dry at higher humidity is key to having very tastey smoke. I do humidity 55-60 and temp at 60f for 10-12 days. Then into buckets that a check twice daily. If the humidity in buckets is above 62 then i leave them open till it drops to 60. I do this till the buckets stay at 60-61%. At that point they can stay in the buckets or get trimmed snd put into jars
These were 3 weeks in the bucket thrn trimmed and put into jars
Lol… I think my trimming skills need work looking at that.

I’m in the opposite boat. I don’t smoke and neither do most of my friends. For me at least I am a lightweight and just want the effects to be predictable and smoking doesn’t really give dose control. Can’t speak for them but I’d guess it is a duration thing. The vast majority of people that I’ve offered a choice of bud or a groovy bear to, go for the gummy.

For the bud I’m hanging to dry, I’ve had to dry aggressively because of mold concerns. That stuff has been at 63F and 35 RH for 5 days. I’m sure it is far dryer than ideal for smoking. My plan was to give it another two weeks hanging and the put them into jars. Was thinking I could gently rehydrate them with a piece of sponge and a few drops of water per day until they hit a reasonable target. Any thoughts on that?

-Eskander
 
dreamnfox

dreamnfox

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Drying for extraction does need to be dryer but my guess is your stuff is done. How much are you drying? Do you have a small humidity meter? I buy tiny ones i cam put in the jars. Curing happens because 58 and 62%. Once it falls below 58 its done. Even if you rehydrate it it wont cure anymore. I would through a bunch of bufs in a jar with a sensor and see what the current humidity is
 
Eskander

Eskander

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How much mass? Frankly I have no idea. This is my first grow so it is hard for me to eyeball it. Probably half a pound to a pound if I was forced to guess.

The tent I set up for drying is 35 RH right now and there is a noticeable change in the way it smells from day to day still so I don’t think it has hit any kind of equilibrium yet. The dehumidifier isn’t really collecting much anymore so I assume the changes are more out gassing then drying at this point

Was more wet grass smell earlier and has now given way to a myrcene dominated pot smell.

Ive yet to read a description of what goes on in curing that doesn’t sound like somebodies wild ass guess repeated as gospel. I don’t doubt that there are changes or that the result is better done one way or another, I just don’t buy the explanations I’ve heard. Would love an explanation that made some kind of biochemical sense if someone can offer one.

-Eskander
 
Eskander

Eskander

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This article goes over some of it. I honestly believe good curing is better for quality smoking but the drying processs affects the quality of the weed itself. I have been learning to dry slower and slower every year and it has greatly improved my herb https://www.greenhousegrower.com/production/why-curing-cannabis-is-critical-to-plant-quality/
These are the buckets i use, after its been hung dry for about 10-12 days
First and foremost. Jesus titty fucking christ, that is a shitload of weed. It's like seeing a prepper who has decided that they will endure the soul crushing boredom of being in a box for several years by ensuring that they can be stoned off their ass for 100% of it...

That link's explanation is essentially one line:
"Curing is a process that involves aging/drying harvested plant material to fine-tune the moisture content and allow for the decay of sugars and chlorophyll before consumption."

So this is what I've seen again and again. FWIW, chlorophyl itself tastes slightly minty so everything you think of as green flavors isn't chlorophyl. From the charts I've seen, even drying at 60%, the plant looses the majority of the weight it will on the first day. At that point, nearly ever cell in the plant has been torn open by the drying process and all metabolic activity from the plant essentially stops. What cells don't lyse are still at a metabolic standstill because the enzymes within the cells require an aqueous environment within narrow constraints to work. I can buy into sugars and glycoproteins degrading over time but only if the driving force is either bacterial or yeast. This would play reasonably well into why water curing works because all that stuff is water soluble and once the cells lyse that crap can simply go into solution and be washed away rather than digested by microbes. Wild yeast and bacteria are HIGHLY regional though and often impart distinct flavors and I've never seen people say that weed cured in X region is better than Y region. Nor have I heard "weed from Z region tastes like sourdough or blue cheese or my ex girlfriends crotch..." This sort of leaves oxidative decay as the major force left that makes any sense. Sugars are pretty stable though so I have a hard time buying that explanation too. Plus, if you have ever smoked hookah you'll know that sugars are stable enough at the temps we burn stuff at to carry over as a sweet rather than acrid smoke.

As a scientist my first reaction is to call bullshit on the standard explanation. There is very likely a good explanation out there, I just think this one is wrong.

-Eskander
 
dreamnfox

dreamnfox

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Lol, i even kept myself under my legal limit this year, 11 plants. They just ended up being huge. I wish i knew more of the science behind it but i know for sure thar my weed tastes best after 3-6 months in the jars. For extraction i dont think curing makes any difference. The freezing method serms to be the favorite for my friends that extract
 
tobh

tobh

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First and foremost. Jesus titty fucking christ, that is a shitload of weed. It's like seeing a prepper who has decided that they will endure the soul crushing boredom of being in a box for several years by ensuring that they can be stoned off their ass for 100% of it...

That link's explanation is essentially one line:
"Curing is a process that involves aging/drying harvested plant material to fine-tune the moisture content and allow for the decay of sugars and chlorophyll before consumption."

So this is what I've seen again and again. FWIW, chlorophyl itself tastes slightly minty so everything you think of as green flavors isn't chlorophyl. From the charts I've seen, even drying at 60%, the plant looses the majority of the weight it will on the first day. At that point, nearly ever cell in the plant has been torn open by the drying process and all metabolic activity from the plant essentially stops. What cells don't lyse are still at a metabolic standstill because the enzymes within the cells require an aqueous environment within narrow constraints to work. I can buy into sugars and glycoproteins degrading over time but only if the driving force is either bacterial or yeast. This would play reasonably well into why water curing works because all that stuff is water soluble and once the cells lyse that crap can simply go into solution and be washed away rather than digested by microbes. Wild yeast and bacteria are HIGHLY regional though and often impart distinct flavors and I've never seen people say that weed cured in X region is better than Y region. Nor have I heard "weed from Z region tastes like sourdough or blue cheese or my ex girlfriends crotch..." This sort of leaves oxidative decay as the major force left that makes any sense. Sugars are pretty stable though so I have a hard time buying that explanation too. Plus, if you have ever smoked hookah you'll know that sugars are stable enough at the temps we burn stuff at to carry over as a sweet rather than acrid smoke.

As a scientist my first reaction is to call bullshit on the standard explanation. There is very likely a good explanation out there, I just think this one is wrong.

-Eskander
I like the way you think, and haven't ever really found a solid explanation for why the slow dry does what it does. I know first hand that too fast of a dry results in product that smells like hay and tastes like fresh cut grass when smoked. I also know first hand that weed allowed to hang dry for 10 days in 60F @ 60% RH, then progressively dried to being smokeable, and further, six months in a sealed jar, retains many more of the terpenes that make weed so good.

That brings me to the conclusion that it's not necessarily to do with the plant cells or degradation of sugars or offgassing. It has to do with preventing the more volatile terpenes from doing what volatile things do. That's likely why freeze drying is so effective, or processing frozen product is something some do. Volatility tends to drop with temperature, and if the product being processed was cut then immediately dumped into a sub-zero F environment, theoretically more of the terpenes are retained, then when processed, so long the temperature differential isn't significant, or by using solvents of comparable temperature, all those terpenes could be captured, concentrated, and you make some fuckin good concentrate.

Just a thought though. I write software, this organic chemistry shit is near greek to me, though I'm also a hobbiest and want to learn more.
 
Eskander

Eskander

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I like the way you think, and haven't ever really found a solid explanation for why the slow dry does what it does. I know first hand that too fast of a dry results in product that smells like hay and tastes like fresh cut grass when smoked. I also know first hand that weed allowed to hang dry for 10 days in 60F @ 60% RH, then progressively dried to being smokeable, and further, six months in a sealed jar, retains many more of the terpenes that make weed so good.

That brings me to the conclusion that it's not necessarily to do with the plant cells or degradation of sugars or offgassing. It has to do with preventing the more volatile terpenes from doing what volatile things do. That's likely why freeze drying is so effective, or processing frozen product is something some do. Volatility tends to drop with temperature, and if the product being processed was cut then immediately dumped into a sub-zero F environment, theoretically more of the terpenes are retained, then when processed, so long the temperature differential isn't significant, or by using solvents of comparable temperature, all those terpenes could be captured, concentrated, and you make some fuckin good concentrate.

Just a thought though. I write software, this organic chemistry shit is near greek to me, though I'm also a hobbiest and want to learn more.
Yeah, I froze more than half to do extraction fresh. It will be interesting to see what the results are and how they compare to the dried stuff.

Low temps for terpene retention makes all kinds of sense but if that was the majority of it then drying fast and cold would preserve more than slow and cold. I guess what throws it for a loop is the freeze drying which is colder, faster and drier than anything else and yet is relatively smokable as I understand it. So that eliminates every aspect of metabolic, microbial or oxidative decay being critical. It pretty much means outgassing is the bigger part of it. Unless of course freeze drying bypasses something like reactive phenolic release and the subsequent pile of random organic compounds they would create. But those are also stable enough that time wouldn’t change their concentration that much after they’d formed… sorta leaves outgassing or ???

I’ll toss some dry stuff in a vacuum chamber tomorrow and see what it does. Who knows…

-Eskander
 
tobh

tobh

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Yeah, I froze more than half to do extraction fresh. It will be interesting to see what the results are and how they compare to the dried stuff.

Low temps for terpene retention makes all kinds of sense but if that was the majority of it then drying fast and cold would preserve more than slow and cold. I guess what throws it for a loop is the freeze drying which is colder, faster and drier than anything else and yet is relatively smokable as I understand it. So that eliminates every aspect of metabolic, microbial or oxidative decay being critical. It pretty much means outgassing is the bigger part of it. Unless of course freeze drying bypasses something like reactive phenolic release and the subsequent pile of random organic compounds they would create. But those are also stable enough that time wouldn’t change their concentration that much after they’d formed… sorta leaves outgassing or ???

I’ll toss some dry stuff in a vacuum chamber tomorrow and see what it does. Who knows…

-Eskander
That's an excellent point. There are some rather stubborn organic compounds that require ridiculously high temperatures to disperse, and perhaps there's some oxidative process that occurs helping them breakdown. Which lends some credence to the low and slow method of drying, where obviously oxidation is going to occur, ripping at some of those carbon bonds of the more stubborn compounds, while retaining the more stable volatile terpenes. Now, if one introduces a vacuum and dries in similar conditions, it would be quite interesting to know what happens across temperature grades. f temperature at r humidity over t time under v mmhg vacuum by starting plant mass should yield some interesting results. even better would be setting a baseline of a lab tested compounds at the time of cut compared to post dry process. Then we might be able to identify what exactly is happening when drying in traditional fashion.
 
Eskander

Eskander

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Would be good to do comparison and testing of different drying methods. You could see things like terpene retention easily enough. How something smokes is going to be pretty subjective though.

Unless you know what contributes to harsh vs smooth smoke, you can’t really test for it.

If we look at what is usually regarded as the smoothest cure, it is water cured. It is sometimes regarded as smooth to the point of being anonymous. It also has the highest terpene loss as I understand it.

Freeze drying on the other hand has the highest terpene retention but I don’t see it regarded as a particularly harsh smoke.

So from these extremes I think it is fair to conclude that terpenes or lack of aren’t what makes something harsh. It is also reasonable to say sugars aren’t it cause they aren’t going anywhere in a freeze drier. That would seem to point towards something that is relatively volatile and at least partially soluble in water. Either that or there are multiple things that contribute and the approaches to curing that work remove enough of some of them to get harshness under control.

So from my (presumably) harshest possible dry and cure I can take a portion and go a few different directions:

1. as is in the cold dry tent
2. In jars returned to 62% RH
3. water cure and redry to 62%RH
4. Vacuum chamber at 0C and 100 microns for a day.

I only know a couple stoners that could try them all back to back but I’ll give it a run and report back what they think.

-Eskander
 

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