Drying and curing take the taste, smell, and overall smoke experience to another level. Curing, in particular, helps to remove harsh molecules and improve the flavour and smoothness of the smoke.
However, some growers simply don’t want to wait several extra weeks before sampling their hard-earned buds. In these instances, water curing serves as a simple shortcut. Although this method cures weed faster, it certainly comes with some downsides.
Find out everything you need to know about the practice below.
What Is Water Cured Weed?
As most cultivators already know, curing involves placing buds in glass jars for several weeks at a time. Although it sounds simple, a lot of important processes happen during this time that vastly improve the quality of the flowers.
When cured buds are kept at an optimal humidity—Moisture Fighters make this process a lot easier—their phytochemical properties change. Much of the chlorophyll, sugars, and other molecules that make weed harsh to smoke begin to break down. With far less of these molecules lingering in the end product, the terpene profile of each strain really begins to shine through.
Water curing achieves a similar outcome to air curing in jars, just through a different mechanism. Instead of waiting weeks for these harsh molecules to degrade, direct contact with water pulls them swiftly out of the flowers.
Although this method works much faster, it comes with some significant trade-offs that growers should be aware of.
It is also frequently mistaken for the bud washing technique, which is a distinct practice (more on this later).
How Water Curing Works
Many of the harsh and undesirable chemical compounds in cannabis flowers are water-soluble. This means that, upon contact, they diffuse out of the resin and plant tissue into the water.
During water curing, cannabis buds are submerged for a relatively short period of time. What starts off as clear drinking water quickly fills up with chlorophyll, sugars, and other potentially irritating chemicals.
Instead of waiting weeks for cannabis buds to digest sugars, and for oxygen in the air to break down these phytochemicals, water curing can achieve a similar result in a matter of days.
But not every water-soluble molecule in cannabis tastes bad. In fact, some of them are very valuable.
Fortunately, cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are fat-soluble and hydrophobic, meaning no amount of contact time with water will remove them from the trichomes.
Terpenes are a different story. These aromatic molecules underpin the signature scent of cannabis, and also contribute a different flavour profile to each individual strain.
Terpenes even dictate how stimulating or couch-locking the psychotropic effects of a strain are by synergising with cannabinoids.
Because terpenes are water-soluble, water curing removes a large quantity of these tasty molecules from cannabis flowers. This brings us to the major trade-off of water curing: flavour for speed.
Some smokers describe the taste of water-cured buds as grassy and flat. However, in times where growers desire a smoother smoke above all else, this method comes into the fore.
What Are the Benefits of Water Curing Cannabis?
Many growers rely on water curing to bring their operations to an end as quickly as possible.
Water curing doesn’t require any specific skills or equipment. A jar, some clean water, and a small amount of patience will get you through the entire process.
Water curing saves time. If you need to get your buds harvested and processed as quickly as possible, you should consider water curing. Whether you want to smoke your stash ASAP or stay as stealthy as possible, water curing will speed things up.
Less Smell, Less Obvious
By pulling terpenes out of your buds, water curing will decrease the aroma and flavour of your harvest. However, a lack of terpenes also means your buds will smell a lot more discreet. Hitting a vape in the city centre or blazing a joint on your lunch break suddenly becomes a lot easier to conceal.
Much like air curing, water curing makes cannabis smoke much more pleasant. After wrapping your water cured buds in a blunt or packing them into a bong, prepare your lungs for a silky smooth hit of smoke.
Water Curing vs Bud Washing: What’s the Difference?
Although they sound similar, water curing and bud washing are different techniques that achieve different goals.
Bud washing simply refers to using water to quickly clean buds after harvest. Unlike water curing, which keeps buds submerged for several days, bud washing takes place over a matter of minutes.
When bud washing, growers dunk their flowers into a series of buckets to clean the debris from their buds and improve their taste. After giving them a quick clean, they move them straight to the drying rack.
When Should You Consider Bud Washing Over Water Curing?
Water curing and bud washing aren’t a replacement for each other, though growers have the choice of bud washing before placing their flowers into jars to water cure them.
Bud washing ultimately helps to remove dust, pesticides, insects, and other unwanted particles from cannabis flowers, leaving them squeaky clean and in better condition. Washing buds before water curing means your flowers won’t be floating around in a bath of nasty chemicals.
Growers that opt for air curing can also use bud washing before drying and curing their stash to remove any chemicals that will impact the taste at the end of the process.
How to Water Cure Weed
You don’t need much to water cure your weed. Tick the items off the equipment list below, and follow the directions to get the job done.
- Mason jars
- Clean water (spring water or reverse osmosis water work best)
- Cannabis flowers
Here’s what you need to do:
After harvesting your flowers, grab your trimming scissors and remove the sugar leaves from each bud. Keep the trimmings to make hash or edibles later on.
Place your manicured buds into your mason jars and cover them with clean, room temperature water.
Give your jars a gentle shake and change the water once per day. A clean batch of water will work more efficiently to continually absorb unwanted phytochemicals. Continue this process for the next 5–7 days.
Strain your buds; place them on your drying rack to remove the rest of the water content before smoking.
Can You Water Cure Already Dried Weed?
You can water cure dried bud to remove particulates and terpenes, but you’ll then have to let it dry once more. Water curing fresh weed will save a lot of time and prevent you from drying your flowers twice.
Should You Try Water Curing Weed?
You should only really water cure your weed if you have to, as doing so will reduce its aroma and flavour. Of course, if you desire a smooth, albeit less-flavourful, smoke in a matter of days, water curing is likely the best avenue for you.