By Steven Voser

Wet weed sucks. Few things are as frustrating as rolling a nice number, lighting it up, and realizing it won’t burn properly because your buds are too moist. This travesty is most often the result of improperly dried and cured bud, but it can also arise from overly humid storage conditions, accidental spillage, or other issues, such as rain.

In this article, we’ll teach you all there is to know about wet weed; how to identify it, the problems with trying to smoke it, and how to dry/cure your stash properly to ensure you never run into wet weed again.

Wet vs Cured Weed: How to Tell the Difference

To avoid rolling soggy joints in the future, the first thing we want to do is teach you how to identify wet weed. The easiest way to do so is by using your senses (i.e. your hands, eyes, and nose).

  • Touch It

Properly dried and cured weed will feel dry yet sticky to the touch. If your buds still have a small stem on them, you can try bending it to see if it snaps (a telltale sign of properly dried weed). If you gently press a bud between your fingers, you should hear it crinkle and crunch as the leaves and calyxes break apart under the pressure. Wet weed will feel moist to the touch and compress when you press it between your fingers.

Wet vs Cured Weed: How to Tell the Difference
  • Smell It

Smelling weed can also help you tell if it’s been dried and cured properly; well-cured cannabis flowers should have a strong aroma, while wet buds will smell grassier due to the chlorophyll and excess moisture. If your weed has truly gone off and is moldy, it may smell of ammonia, or just generally unpleasant.

Wet vs Cured Weed: How to Tell the Difference
  • Grind It

Another easy way to identify wet weed is to try to cut or grind it. Unlike dry bud, which will break apart easily in a grinder or when cut with scissors, wet weed will stick together as you try to break it apart.

Wet vs Cured Weed: How to Tell the Difference
  • Smoke It

Finally, the ultimate way to determine if your weed hasn’t been dried properly is to smoke it. Because of the high moisture content in the plant material, wet bud won’t burn evenly, or at all in some cases. If you happen to get it to light, you’ll quickly notice that wet weed also tastes bad, as if you were smoking wet lettuce!

Wet vs Cured Weed: How to Tell the Difference

Is It Dangerous to Smoke Wet Weed?

One of the biggest concerns with smoking wet weed is that it could contain mold spores. In addition to tasting absolutely rotten, inhaling spores from moldy weed may cause a bunch of unpleasant symptoms, such as coughing, nausea, and vomiting.

In most cases, if you’re a healthy individual with no predisposition to lung or cardiovascular diseases, you likely won’t experience any serious health problems from accidentally smoking moldy weed.

In some people, however, inhaling mold spores from poorly dried/cured cannabis might cause an allergic reaction characterised by symptoms like coughing, wheezing, congestion, sinus pain, and inflammation of the lungs or other parts of the respiratory tract.

For people with weakened immune systems or more serious preexisting conditions, inhaling mold from cannabis can have even more serious effects. Molds like Aspergillus, Mucor, and Cryptococcus can cause serious infections that target the lungs, respiratory tract, and nervous system. All of these molds have been found[1] in cannabis bought from legal retail dispensaries in the US.

If you have recently smoked cannabis and have concerns about your health, make sure to contact your doctor immediately. The information presented here is designed to be purely informational and should not be taken as medical advice.

  • Will Wet Cannabis Lose Potency?

Anyone who has ever accidentally spilled water on their weed probably wondered whether they deteriorated the potency or flavor of their bud. Fortunately, since cannabinoids and terpenes aren't water-soluble, your buds shouldn't lose any potency if you accidentally get them wet. If you wet your bud and fail to dry it properly, however, you may expose it to mold spores that, as mentioned earlier, can render it unsmokable.

Things to Avoid When Drying Wet Weed

The only way to dry weed without compromising its quality is with patience. If your bud is freshly harvested, you’ll first need to hang it in a cool, dry, and dark place before curing it in airtight Mason jars over a period of several weeks. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to achieving a refined final product—it needs time and specific conditions.

Exposing buds to heat, light, or air (whether in the form of harsh winds, breezes, or high-powered fans) in hope of speeding up the drying process only degrades the terpenes and cannabinoids in your bud, leaving you with a sub-par smoke. For example, baking your buds in the oven or zapping them in the microwave is going to diminish their flavor and potency. That said, we will discuss these methods later on, as desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures…

However, if you need a quick fix, because you spilled water on your bud or accidentally exposed it to rain or high humidity, etc., there are some things you can do to get your stash back to the ideal level of dryness.

Safer Bud Drying Alternatives

Try one of the following methods to speed-dry your weed in a matter of hours. Though not instantaneous fixes, these techniques do their best to retain potency and flavor.

  • Drying Weed in Rice

One efficient way to dry wet weed is in rice (just like you would a wet cell phone or laptop). Rice is great at absorbing moisture and can dry your buds in a matter of hours.

  1. Wrap your buds in paper towel and place them in a container.
  2. Cover the wrapped buds with rice.
  3. Wait at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
Safer Bud Drying Alternatives
  • Drying Weed in a Cardboard Box

Cardboard can also draw moisture out of wet buds and speed up the drying process.

  1. Place your weed in a small cardboard box.
  2. Seal the box, and wait for roughly 8 hours.
Safer Bud Drying Alternatives
  • Drying Weed in Paper Towel or a Brown Paper Bag

Like cardboard and rice, paper towels/bags are also effective at absorbing moisture. If using paper towel:

  1. Wrap your buds in several layers of paper towel.
  2. Place the buds in a bowl or other container, and store in a dark, dry place for 4–8 hours.

If using paper bags:

  1. Place the wet buds inside a paper bag.
  2. Seal the bag lightly, and store in a cool, dry, and dark place for 4–8 hours.
Safer Bud Drying Alternatives
  • Drying Wet Cannabis Using Humidity Packs

Another way to speed-dry wet cannabis is to store it in a curing jar with a humidity pack. These packs are designed to regulate RH levels in a container, and can therefore help your buds reach optimal dryness if they’re too wet. Note that this method only works for buds that have been dried and cured previously.

Safer Bud Drying Alternatives

Some Not-So-Great Ways to Quickly Dry Wet Weed

Need to dry your weed even quicker? Below you'll find a few methods suitable for those desperate times when you just won't wait. Note that all of these methods involve exposing your cannabis to heat, air, and light, which will degrade its quality to some degree.

  • Drying Weed in an Oven or Microwave

Using an oven or microwave to dry your weed is far from ideal, but it can help get you out of a jam if, for example, you accidentally spill water on your weed at a group smoke session.

For the best results, we recommend preheating your oven to 120°C, lining a baking tray with baking paper, spreading your ground bud evenly across the tray, and baking it until fragrant and dry to the touch. To avoid burning your weed, make sure to check on it every 10 minutes or so. Also, don’t let your oven temperature exceed 120°C (don’t let your nerves get the best of you), and stir your bud occasionally.

If you haven’t got an oven, you can try drying wet weed in a microwave. Try lowering the power setting on your appliance, then place your ground weed in a microwave-safe container lined with baking paper. Heat your bud for 20–60 seconds (depending on the power of your appliance), checking on it regularly and stirring occasionally to dry it as evenly as possible.

  • Drying Cannabis With a Blow Dryer

To dry your weed with a blow dryer, set it to a low heat and use it to dry your buds whole (don’t grind them beforehand!) from a distance of roughly 0.5 – 0.7 feet. Move your buds constantly to dry them as evenly as possible.

Extra Tips for Drying and Curing Cannabis Properly

After you harvest your buds, they need to dry sufficiently before being transferred to curing jars. Keeping wet buds in a closed container without humidity packs creates a breeding ground for mold and bacteria that can cause your buds to rot.

While there is no textbook drying time for cannabis (variables include the temperature in your drying room, the size, weight, and density of your buds, and the drying equipment you use), most growers dry their buds for about two weeks before transferring them to airtight glass curing jars.

Once in jars, you’ll want to store your buds in a cool, dry, and dark place. Heat and direct sunlight can degrade the fragile terpenes and cannabinoids in your bud, affecting its potency, aroma, and flavor. During the first 2–4 weeks of curing, you’ll want to regularly “burp” your jars (open them to release and replace the air in the jar). From here, you can leave your buds to cure for another two or more weeks for optimal results.

Remember: Dry Bud Is Good Bud

As we said at the beginning of this post, wet weed sucks; not only because it doesn’t smoke well and tastes horrid, but also because it can expose you to some serious health risks. Remember, if you suspect your bud might be wet, let it dry or cure a little longer, or follow one of the tips in this article.

External Resources:
  1. A microbiome assessment of medical marijuana
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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