Growing cannabis is a process that requires dedication and, above all, patience. This is well known to experienced cannabicultors since, once they harvest, they must wait for the buds to go through the drying and curing process.
For years, some growers have investigated the possibilities of lyophilisation to dry and cure marijuana flowers without obtaining good results. The first attempts at ‘freeze drying’ were a fiasco because the machines used for it were not designed to dry cannabis buds, but were intended to dehydrate apples or other foods. The conditions offered by these devices were too aggressive for the delicate trichomes, which ended up falling off. In addition, the resulting cannabis was too dry and crushed; and a lot of terpenes and cannabinoids were lost, so the final product had less aroma and flavour than the dried buds with the traditional method. However, some understood that it was a matter of adjusting those parameters that failed to achieve lyophilisation of cannabis flowers while keeping intact their trichomes and terpenes profiles.
Hang dried VS Freeze dried
When you hang-dry a cannabis plant for 18-30 days, the enzymes that cause plant senescence deteriorate as they act on the chlorophyll. That is why it takes so long to get rid of the “green” or grassy taste. In freeze drying, all the cell walls are cracked open so it is easy for the biomass to absorb moisture from the air. When freeze-dried cannabis comes out of the freeze dryer and is in an oxygen-rich atmosphere, the oxygen, moisture, and enzymes (which are still 100% potent) will cause degradation of the chlorophyll in 1-4 hours (depending on humidity) and give you a product that is cured as if it were traditionally dried and cured for 18-30 days.
Advantages to Freeze Drying Cannabis Flowers Preservation
Preserve more cannabinoids and terpenes including THC, CBD, CBN, CBG and CBC than any other drying method.
Stabilize and preserve live biomass and cannabinoids for further refinement.
Prevents oxidation in concentrates through controlled moisture removal while increasing trichome harvest efficiencies. Essential for stabilization and processing of “live” or ”uncured” biomass.
Potency and Added value
More potent than traditionally dried and cured products with enhanced quality distinction, allows for higher retail price point and direct to market benefits vs. traditional practices.
Maintaine potency with no degradation of terpenes (resulting in better fragrance and taste) while seeing an average of 3 to 4% increase in total cannabinoids, allowing for a premium product markup and increased revenue.
Helps to minimize oxidation and eliminates risk of mold/mildew growth while flowers are drying. Mold growth in the drying room is one of the risks of hang drying flowers in the traditional way.
Flowers that come out of the freeze dryer retain their bright and robust look and feel, just like when they were alive.
Production Speed and Consistency
Finished in 16 to 24 hours.
Obtain consistent, reliable results while automating the cannabis drying and curing process.
With testing standards becoming increasingly specific and regulatory, oversights can come into effect in many places. It is vital to mitigate cross-contamination from physical laborersand unnecessary exposures, making freeze drying indispensable.
Flowers are cut away from the branches and placed flat onto trays which slide into the freeze dryer. Traditional drying calls for whole plants to be hung upside down in temperature and humidity-controlled rooms. Freeze dryers take up less of a footprint than full drying rooms.