Drying weed can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks, plus another two weeks to a month (sometimes longer) for curing. But if you don’t have the time or space to wait that long—or if you simply want to get your cannabis plants out to market sooner—knowing how to dry weed fast is essential.
When trying to speed up the natural drying and curing process, it’s important not to sacrifice the potency of the cannabinoids, the preservation of the terpenes, or the flavor and smoothness of the smoke. Fortunately, there is a better way to dry cannabis fast that delivers equal—if not superior—results as conventional controlled drying.
Industrial Solution for Drying Weed Fast
The best way to dry weed fast in a commercial setting is by using a programmable or scientific freeze dryer with a Digivac vacuum bleeder. While these machines do require an up-front financial investment, freeze-drying (lyophilization) is the most efficient method for drying weed in bulk while preserving the terpenes, cannabinoids, and total volume of each bud. Not only does this process occur overnight, but the genuine quality that results in a premium Live Dried inflorescence is a game changer.
To freeze-dry cannabis:
- Place the frozen or freshly harvested buds on the racks in the freeze dryer.
Pro tip: The fan leaves should be discarded before freeze-drying, but the sugar leaves can be dried alongside the buds. Refer to the many things you can do with wet trim.
- Set your parameters using precise computerized controls. It’s very important to optimize your time, temperature, and vacuum pressure settings for each stage of the process, otherwise you’ll ruin your product. The vacuum pressure, or millitorr reading, is particularly important to get right because it plays a key role in terpene preservation. Under deep vacuum (below 500 millitorr), terpenes become volatile. That’s why it’s so important to use a scientific freeze dryer for buds.
- Let the marijuana plants dry for about 16 to 24 hours to achieve the ideal ~11% moisture content.
- Remove them from the freeze dryer and place them in a dark room to cure for one to four hours. The chlorophyll and sugar in the buds will degrade at an accelerated pace because the freeze-drying process opens the cell walls.
- Package the cured buds for sale.
Accessible Methods for Drying Weed Fast at Home
Let’s say you’re a home grower who wants to speed up the drying and curing process. Now, freeze-drying is still the best method, but you can get decent results with a controlled setup and constant monitoring to ensure that your buds don’t get moldy or over dried. Note that some of these methods are definitely better than others, so we’re listing them in order from best to most ridiculous (none of which we really recommend.) Some methods include a mixture of different tools and techniques, and sometimes it is really just what suits the situation or setup.
Whatever the case, speed can often be a tradeoff for quality when you’re not using scientific freeze dry technology. Check out our article on The Best & Worst Cannabis Drying Methods for optimum drying and curing techniques.
Brown Paper Bag
Drying buds in brown paper bags is similar to drying weed normally in a dark room, except that it takes six to seven days instead of one to two weeks.
- Set up a dark room with an air conditioner, fans, a dehumidifier, and instruments to monitor the temperature and humidity. The temperature should be between 64°F (18°C) and 70°F (21°C) with 50 to 55% relative humidity.
- Place very small buds—known as popcorn buds—in brown paper bags to around one-third to half full.
- Partially close the brown paper bags and either place them flat on drying racks or peg them up with clothespins.
- If placed flat, turn the paper bags over every couple of days to ensure the buds dry evenly.
- Monitor the temperature and humidity of the air around the buds.
- When the stems snap rather than bend, jar your buds for curing.
Boiler rooms are typically full of warm air, making them suitable as drying rooms. Cannabis dried using this method usually has the same taste as cannabis dried conventionally.
To dry cannabis in a boiler room:
- Hang large buds from strings, or place smaller buds in paper bags.
- Leave the hot water heater turned on to keep generating warm air.
- Monitor the temperature and humidity.
- After three to five days (for smaller buds) or around one week (for larger buds), the buds should be ready to jar and cure.
Water curing is an effective way to cure cannabis quickly without compromising cannabinoids (since they’re not water-soluble). This is a simple method that’s also great for removing chlorophyll, salts, and other desirable compounds. It would be higher on our list, but unfortunately you do lose some water-soluble terpenes as a result of the process. The good news is that the curing process can be completed in as little as 5 to 10 days.
To water-cure cannabis:
- Fill a mason jar with perfectly trimmed buds.
- Fill the jar with distilled water and close the lid. Make sure the buds are 100% submerged.
- Replace the water once a day until the buds cure.
Cannabis dehydrators are like regular food dehydrators except that you can often remove the drying trays and stand the cannabis buds up vertically inside the machine. These machines can dry cannabis in two to four days and are most effective in humid climates (in dry climates, buds often over-dry in a cannabis dehydrator).
- Remove the fan leaves from the plants and the sugar leaves, if desired.
- Stand the buds up “Christmas-tree style” inside the cannabis dryer/dehydrator.
- Turn on the machine.
- Check the buds after two days to see if they’re ready.
- Keep checking the buds and remove them when the stems snap rather than bend, usually in two to four days.
Electric or Gas Heater
An electric or gas heater can function a bit like a water boiler for drying cannabis except that the process is faster thanks to the higher temperatures near the heater. It’s important to get the distance, temperature, and humidity right—and to check the buds frequently—to prevent them from over-drying or burning.
- Place an electric heater in the center of a dark room, or darken a room with an existing permanent electric or gas heater.
- Turn the heater on at the lowest setting.
- When the room is at a maximum of 70°F (21°C), hang your buds from lines of string at a distance of one meter from the heater.
- Check the buds every hour and day. They should be ready in a few days.
Sun-drying cannabis plants is faster than using a dark room or boiler room, but you will sacrifice cannabinoids and terpenes. You also take the risk of spoiling your buds if it rains, so it’s important to stay close to your buds so that you can bring them inside the moment the weather turns wet.
- Place popcorn buds in brown paper bags, filling the bags to one-third to half full to give the buds space to dry.
- Peg the paper bags to the clothesline or place them flat on drying racks, flipping the bags over every few hours. If you can, cover the area with a tarp to reduce the amount of direct sunlight that reaches the buds, as light is one of the key contributors to cannabinoid degradation.
- After one to two days, check to see if the stems snap rather than bend.
- When they’re ready, jar your dried buds for curing.
Laptop Computer Fan
Now, we’re getting into some really fast methods. Please note that buds dried using this method and those that follow are likely to taste harsh when consumed.
- Place a laptop computer in a dark room and turn it on.
- Place small buds (popcorn buds) on a piece of paper towel directly over the laptop’s air vents or in a brown paper bag right next to the air vents (without covering the vents).
- Turn the buds over every few minutes.
- When the stems snap (after one or two hours), your buds are ready to cure.
Drying cannabis buds with a hair dryer is extremely quick but is likely to result in a very harsh flavor and potentially burnt buds.
- Place popcorn-size buds in a shoebox, making sure that none of them touch.
- Secure the shoebox lid with a couple of pieces of tape (don’t seal the lid completely).
- Cut a hole in the top of the lid and place the nozzle of the hair dryer in the hole.
- Set the hair dryer to the lowest heat setting.
- Check and flip the buds every 20 to 30 minutes.
- The buds should be dry in one to two hours.
Drying weed in the oven is NOT recommended because an oven is way too hot—even on the lowest setting—and you’ll likely end up with low-potency, harsh cannabis buds that taste like dry lettuce.
- Preheat the oven to 98°F (37°C) if you have an oven that goes that low or 125 to 140°F (52 to 60°C) for a standard oven.
- Place a small number of popcorn buds on a baking sheet on an oven tray, leaving plenty of space around each bud.
- Bake the buds for ten minutes, flipping the buds over after five minutes.
- Use a cooking timer to ensure that you flip the buds and take them out of the oven on time.
Drying weed in a microwave oven is probably the worst possible method, but if you have a few spare buds and a lot of spare time, you could try this method for fun.
- Place small buds on a plate with plenty of space between them.
- Give the buds 10-second blasts at half strength until the stems snap rather than bend.
After drying your cannabis buds, it’s important to cure them so that the hay-smelling chlorophyll and sugar can degrade and the cannabinoid and terpene profiles can reach their full expression.
Usually, the curing process takes between 2 to 6 weeks when the buds are placed in airtight jars (such as mason jars). The jars should be “burped” every couple of days to allow any excess moisture to escape. Often jars are too tedious and not very scalable for larger grows, so large bins or bucket systems are implemented to achieve a similar environment that a jar cure enables.
Choose Quality Over Speed—Unless You Can Have Both!
In all seriousness, cutting corners is never a recommended way to get quality results. With speed there’s always a trade-off, and it’s better to wait for cannabis buds to dry slowly rather than speed up the process and risk burnt, flavorless, or crumbly buds. However, if you can’t wait a whole two weeks, you can speed up the process without sacrificing flavor by using brown paper bags, a boiler room, or a cannabis dehydrator.
For commercial operations and connoisseurs, the best solution by a mile is a scientific or industrial cannabis freeze dryer. Not only will you lock in all of the goodness in the buds, but your buds will be dried and cured in as little as 24 hours.
When it comes to using freeze dryer technology, the only con or tradeoff for both quality and speed is the cost of entry. But the savings associated with increased quality, labor cost reduction, and optimized and repeatable results (among the many other benefits) can quickly justify the investment and pay for itself in no time.
After all your hard work growing cannabis and waiting out the flowering stage, dedicating just as much attention to the drying and curing process will ensure the smoothest and most flavorful results. And whether you plan to consume your buds yourself or sell them to dispensaries, producing top-notch cannabis flowers will ensure complete satisfaction and the best return on your investment.