chemical reaction of THCA-A conversion to THC

Cannabis Curing

Why cure cannabis?

The final phase of cannabis cultivation, curing is a critical step in ensuring a high quality and potent product.

A cannabis harvest that is properly dried and cured has greater potency, increased terpenes, better yield, and consistency.

What happens to cannabis as it dries?

While cannabis dries, a chemical reaction called decarboxylation occurs, which is the removal of the carboxyl group from a compound. As CO2 is released, THCA-A (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A) converts to THC (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Over time, the amount of THCA-A remaining in the cannabis decreases, at a rate which also decreases with temperature.

Source: Can You Pass the Acid Test? Critical Review and Novel Therapeutic Perspectives of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid A

The slower the rate of decarboxylation, the greater quantity of THCA converts to psychoactive THC, which means greater potency.

cannabis bud on transparent background

Why is cannabis curing important?

By curing cannabis efficiently by regulating temperature and relative humidity, the process of decarboxylation occurs at a slower rate, allowing for more THC conversion and terpene preservation.

The alternative to properly curing cannabis is quick-drying, which is a common method of preparing cannabis after harvest by commercial growers. While quick-drying, the decarboxylation process occurs rapidly, resulting in unconverted THCA and lesser potency.

cannabis plant seedling


Increase potency by converting more THCA into THC

Cannabis plants produce tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and other cannabinoids as they dry through a process called decarboxylation. By curing cannabis instead of quick drying, the THCA converts to THC at a slower rate, allowing the process to continue for a longer period of time and increasing potency.

cannabis bud close-up


Slow down terpene degradation

Terpenes, the aromatic compounds of cannabis, also degrade and evaporate at higher temperatures during decarboxylation. Curing cannabis at lower temperatures preserve terpenes better than quick drying.

Source: What Influences Degradation of THC and Other Cannabinoids?
cannabis flower being trimmed


Eliminate waste due to mold

Properly cured cannabis prevents mold growth and preserves for up to two years without a loss of potency. By curing cannabis in an airtight environment and controlling temperature and relative humidity, mold growth is effectively eliminated.

rolling cannabis into a joint


Maintain product consistency

Cannabis consumers highly value product consistency and are willing to pay a premium for higher-quality flower and lab-tested products.

Auto Cure Cloud collects and logs temperature and humidity data so that cures can be repeated exactly.

Curing results with Auto Cure

Lab results testing a control versus cannabis cured using Auto Cure show a 21% average percentage increase in THC, 24% average percentage increase in terpenes, and 20% average percentage increase in total cannabinoids overall.

Charts below show levels of Terpenes, THC, and Total Cannabinoids in mg/g of sample weight. Controlled groups were cured using manual bucket burping methods. Lab results vary by cannabis sample produced by various growers and the labs which tested them.

LK Pure Labs

lab results from LK Pure Labs showing increase in terpenes, THC, and cannabinoids

SC Labs

lab results from SC Labs showing increase in terpenes, THC, and cannabinoids

MM Labs

lab results from MM Labs showing increase in terpenes, THC, and cannabinoids
10 day moisture release graph

10 Day Moisture Release Analysis

During the first 3 days, the flower in a fully loaded Auto Cure unit loses as much as 77.7% of its moisture.

  • 15-25% Faster drying and curing than other post-harvest methods
  • Wet to cured automatically
  • Patent pending moisture release technology
cannabis plant

20-25%average increase in THC, terpenes, and total cannabinoids with Auto Cure.

Ready to learn more?

We'd love to talk to you about our technology and how AutoCure can help you grow your business - literally.

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