Redefining the Standard for Quality Cannabis
What does it mean to have a quality product?
Or does quality even matter anymore when there’s a $ store on every corner? I believe that like everything else in the world, the definition of quality is relative and subjective and thus can be mere personal preference.
Yet for those of us who strive to define or redefine quality, the game still rages on. A higher quality product draws a higher monetary value and there is almost always a bidder for every level of quality. So in the world of Cannabis, what makes a quality flower?
In my opinion the four main factors in the creation of Cannabis that directly affect its quality are genetics, growing, trimming/curing, and preservation.
Genetics encompasses so many things, more every day as technology sharpens. Heirloom or GMO? Do you use feminized seeds or do you prefer to play “where’s waldo?” The genetics of a Cannabis strain also identify the expected cannabinoid ratio of the plant as well as the terpene make up if grown to optimum health. A strain’s genetics decides its smell, taste, and potency as well as how it affects you and your biology. It could be argued that genetics are the #1 factor in deciding the quality of Cannabis.
A seed with superior genetics can still rot if left to sweat while germinating. Careful attention to detail is the gardener’s best tool and knowing what to look for takes time and practice. And a bit of failure too. Many a gardening genius has suffered the woes of lost ladies in the throes of flowering. Fertilizing, watering, light distribution, these are all things that must be managed daily or even several times a day. Fans, C02 machines, ladybugs for spider mites! The umbrella of products and techniques that growing Cannabis encompasses is vast to say the least. I believe it could also be argued that how Cannabis is grown has the most effect on its quality.
Trimming and Curing:
How much leaf is too much leaf to hug your glistening nug? For some, trimming means everything and the hours perfecting some trimmers’ techniques leave them with aching hands and sticky fingers. I’d trim all day long for free if I could take the latex gloves home with me! It seems like the trim is all about aesthetics. But it can also be about taste and experience since smoked or vaped flower definitely tastes different than leaf.
A well-cured nug of Cannabis can mean the difference between a head ache and pure herbal bliss. Proper curing is a time-consuming yet crucial oft-skipped step in the creation of quality Cannabis. After proper drying you store your dried and trimmed buds inside an airtight glass jar to allow the sugars and organic terpenes to ripen, ferment, and break down the chlorophyll. This makes for a smoother, sweeter smoking and vaping experience. Further conversion of cannabinoids occurs during this period as well so a good cure most definitely can affect more than just taste, but effect as well. Once again, one could argue that the curing and trimming of the nug is a big part of what makes quality. I’m here to say though, that I see a fourth aspect to add to your arsenal of tools for creating quality Cannabis.
Growers have been judging dryness with such vague measurements as “when the stem easily snaps” for too long. And many have suffered the loss of mold-covered medicine because they jarred it up while it still had too much moisture in it. Now there is a product called Boveda that can control the relative humidity of your medicine for months and months.
Boveda packs work using a reverse-osmosis membrane. Inside is a solution of natural salts and purified water vapor either exudes or absorbs moisture to keep your nugs fresh and free from mold or harmful micro-organisms. Studies have shown that Cannabis flowers can lose up to 15% of their terpene content when they are over-dried. Boveda is now now the trusted product in two-way humidity control used to preserve everything from Humidors to Cannabis to Guitars. They come in various sizes and RH levels which for Cannabis range between 58% and 62% relative humidity.
So since it’s all relative anyways, I’d love to know your opinion of what affects the quality of Cannabis. Either way, we can now agree that the final step is always proper preservation and storage of your nugs. And the best way to do that is with Boveda.
– Dianna Donnelly
Dianna Donnelly is a Cannabis educator, blogger, and free-lance writer living in Kingston, Ontario. She counsels new patients on the safe and effective use of medicinal cannabis and believes that with enough time, cannabis, and coconut oil she can heal the world.
How Does Humidity Affect Your Cannabis?
There are many elements to consider when properly curing and storing your cannabis. One of the most crucial considerations is managing the relative humidity (RH) of the plant while it’s stored in an airtight container. Having too much moisture will increase the risk of contamination by mold or mildew. Having too little moisture will cause the trichomes to dry out. They will become brittle, harsh, and less effective as the essential oils that carry the cannabinoids and terpenes slowly degrade.
Luckily, there’s a solution that avoids the balancing act of monitoring your ambient humidity and maintaining the ideal RH. As well as giving you a powerful tool to give your cannabis the best cure possible.
What is Ambient Humidity?
Ambient humidity is what’s happening outside your container of cannabis. It could be your bedroom, the trunk of your car, or the outdoors. For air conditioned homes, the humidity is usually 20-30% because the AC scrubs moisture out of the air. Inside a heated home, the humidity will often be even lower as the furnace scrubs much of the ambient humidity.
In the time it takes to open and prepare cannabis for consumption, the flower can lose a detectable amount of moisture. Without a proper way to monitor and adjust humidity in your container, the cannabis will dry over time.
Using humidity control products like Boveda 62 in the container allows you to quickly replace the lost moisture both in the air and in the plant. The cannabis is then the same original quality every time. Some would even make the case it gets better with age, like wine or cigars.
The RH “Sweet Spot”
Humidity control packs can monitor ambient humidity and add or remove moisture to deliver a precise RH. This gives your cannabis the optimal moisture content and keeping it true to its original form. For example, the Boveda 62, developed after repeated requests from cannabis aficionados to create a pack that held a lower RH. This Boveda pack keeps your buds at the perfect 62% RH level.
To determine the best RH for cannabis, we hired a third party laboratory to do a moisture sorption isotherm on a single strain of cannabis. A moisture sorption isotherm test applies a wide range of humidity levels to an item. It also determines an RH range in which the properties of the item doesn’t change. For the strain of cannabis the lab tested, 59-63% RH showed to be ideal.
In the same way nature has gifted the world cannabis, it gifts us the natural salts that provide the key to balancing RH levels. Different salt compounds hold a varying range of moisture. Making it crucial to source a salt that stabilizes moisture content at an ideal 62%.
Many who prefer vaporizing their cannabis are finding they favor even lower humidity levels, such as the 54%. Personal preference can also dictate your ideal RH “sweet spot,” with elements like plant density and personal taste being the deciding factors.
How Does RH Affect the Curing, Drying, and Storage of Cannabis?
If you want the best possible cure, you need to store cannabis in an environment with stable RH within the ideal range. The ambient humidity isn’t much of a concern. Boveda responds to conditions inside the container, absorbing or releasing moisture to maintain the ideal 62% inside.
From there, your major concerns are temperature and light. Boveda adjusts the humidity based on temperature changes, but cannabis should always be kept away from high temperatures to avoid decarboxylation or activating the precious cannabinoids. And as widely recommended throughout the cannabis industry, always store you cannabis in a cool dark place.
While Boveda is effective at removing excess moisture, growers should still dry cannabis using their traditional methods. When the branches feel close to their target moisture content, put the buds in containers with Boveda to help adjust the RH to the proper range for cannabis.
Written and Posted by Leafly
Green Flower Media: How To Store Your Cannabis The Right Way
Our friends at Green Flower Media have posted a fantastic article on some of the best practices of storing cannabis.
“How you store your cannabis flower is extremely important. Let’s face it, cannabis can be expensive, so you want to make sure you are storing it in the best way possible to make it last as long as possible.” – Mandee Lee, Green Flower media.
So true, Mandee. So, so true. Below is a fantastic video starring Mandee herself, outlining 3 surprisingly simple ways to drastically improve your cannabis. For further information and a fantastic read, follow the link to go to Green Flower’s website for the full length article.
Native Roots Packaging Cannabis with Boveda
Starting September 29th, flower sold at Native Roots includes a Boveda pack in every container. A new movement in cannabis storage has begun.
Boveda’s patented 2-way precision humidity control adds or removes 100% pure water vapor to maintain the ideal moisture content in cannabis. The result? 15% higher terpene retention, safer, more effective flower and rejection of money lost to evaporation.
Why would a recognized leader do this? Leaders lead. Native Roots felt a duty to provide safer flower at a higher quality by packaging with Boveda. This trusted organization was not satisfied letting their exceptional flower decay on the shelf as it slowly dried out. Boveda in every container means your flower is still curing on the shelf as it patiently waits for you to come grab it.
15% more terpene retention with Boveda.
After 8 years applying our patented 2-way humidity control ability to cannabis, we’re thankful for the countless global fans who trust Boveda for cannabis curing, storage and merchandising.
The world has known that Boveda is fantastic for cannabis, but now we have the first research on why. And it’s exciting.
As the only product that can control a specific humidity level in packaging, it’s Boveda’s duty to initiate research on the effects of different moisture levels for a number of things we protect. We pioneered research in tobacco, wooden instruments, food and now cannabis. We want to help the world determine what chemical changes happen when different humidity levels are applied to various organic materials, especially one as sensitive as cannabis.
The full text of the cannabis study can be found here, but here’s a summary:
Two identical jars of cannabis, one with Boveda, one without. After 6 weeks they tested the terpenes. The cannabis with Boveda had 15% more terpene retention than the jar without Boveda. That’s a very big deal. That means that even in great packaging/containers which hold in moisture, the indispensable therapeutic terpenes are micro-evaporating into the container’s head space (the air inside) faster if Boveda isn’t in there providing precision, active humidity control and slowing their loss.
This is just the first of more world’s-first testing. Evaluations are under way to discover so much more about how Boveda improves the safety, quality, smell and flavor of cannabis.
Thank you for making us the Global Leader in 2-way Humidity Control!
Charlie Rutherford, Business Development Director
What makes Boveda’s Calibration Kit our most important product?
Boveda fans occasionally ask, “What’s your most important product?” I think the Calibration Kit is our most important product because it’s objective proof that only Boveda can precisely control moisture. No sponge, gel, bead or imitation product marketing themselves as “2-way humidity control” make a Calibration Kit, because their contents don’t have the ability to control moisture.
The science community recognizes a saturated salt solution as the only way to control moisture in a chamber, package or container because it’s the only way to add and/or remove moisture and maintain a precise humidity level. That’s 2-way humidity control. 19 years ago, Boveda patented the way to package 2-way humidity control and we still hold those patents today. But that hasn’t stopped imitation products from making Boveda-level claims.
Why should you care about the “science community” when you’re storing cigars, guitars or herbal medicine? Because the science community doesn’t deal in marketing. They deal in repeatable results through rigorous testing.
The same technology we use in the Calibration Kit is used in all Boveda products – a salt solution – meaning the patents that protect our technology for Calibration Kits protect us in the effortless aging of cigars, proper guitar storage, the curing/storage of cannabis and all the other industries we operate.
Can you get by with “competing” products? Sure, in the same way you can get away without a seat belt. By the time you wish you were using Boveda or a seat belt, it’ll be too late.
Business Development Director, Boveda
5 Common Questions About Boveda for Herbal Medicine
How does Boveda work?
Science has known for over 100 years that certain salts mixed with water will naturally regulate humidity to a specific RH (relative humidity). We just patented the way to make it practical for packaging herbal medicine. Boveda only releases and absorbs 100% pure water vapor.
Why the different sized Boveda?
Boveda is available in 8gram, (2.5×2.75″) and 60gram (3.5×5.5″) sizes. The grams refer to the amount of liquid inside the Boveda. The size of the storage container and the amount of cannabis will influence how many and what size Boveda you need.
How many and what size do I need for my container?
Because Boveda knows when to stop adding moisture, it’s impossible for them to humidify beyond the RH on the pack. Your only concern is using “enough”, so we recommend using the largest Boveda that will fit into a given container. Although you could get by with less, using more than the minimum will work more efficiently and last longer. For extra large containers, plan on using one 60g per pound.
Can I use Boveda to cure?
Absolutely. We still recommend you dry the plants with your normal method to a moisture content just below where you’d like them to cure. As a result, your normal method does the heavy lifting and Boveda will fine-tune it.
Can Boveda touch the medicine?
Absolutely. Boveda won’t damage anything through direct contact. Bury it at the bottom, set it on top, or hide it in the middle, the Boveda is keeping the proper moisture content in the plant to maximize color, aroma, flavor and strength.
When do I replace the Boveda?
The life of any Boveda depends on how quickly it need to give up water vapor. It could be anywhere from weeks in a frequently opened container, to months if rarely opened. When a Boveda is completely dead, it will turn into a solid wafer. It’s just short of that, when there are few spots left, that you’ll want to replace.
What’s the shelf life on unused Boveda?
Left tightly closed in the original packaging, Boveda will have a 2 year shelf life, even if you’ve removed some from the original package. This is due to Boveda’s packaging having a very high moisture barrier and you’re only making the Boveda “work” for the small amount of time the package has been opened.
Does Boveda make a storage container?
Boveda only makes moisture control packs, but there’s a growing number of container companies making containers specifically for use with Boveda.
Even after giving Boveda ample time in my container, I feel the plant is a little too moist.
There are some plants that respond better to a lower RH. As a result, we’ll be releasing a lower RH version by November. So based on plant type and personal preference, you might find our lower RH for cannabis even more to your liking.
Learn more about Boveda for herbal medicine: