How to Get Rid of, and Avoid "Hay Smell" When Drying Cannabis

As cannabis growers, connoiseurs, and enthusiasts, we understand the importance and appeal that cannabis aroma brings to the table. It often is a reflection of the flavor, affect, and overall quality of the cannabis flower!

Despite meticulous care, attention, and love put into the amazing plant, one common challenge during the cannabis drying process is the lingering hay-like aroma. This undesirable smell can detract from the desired flavor profile of the prized flowers. 

While drying is essential for removing moisture and preserving potency, flavor, and overall quality, a distinct hay smell can be off-putting to growers and users! In this article, we'll discuss the causes, and how to get rid of the hay smell during the weed drying process. 

Why Does My Weed Smell Like Hay?

why does my weed smell like hay

If you're asking yourself, "why do my buds smell like hay?" the answer is cholorphyll. Chlorophyll is the phytochemical (internal plant chemical) that keeps the cannabis plant green, and helps convert light into energy.

Think about when grass is cut, I'm sure you have that grassy smell coming to mind; that is actually the cholorphyl from the grass being released. Improperly dried buds can resemble this smell. 

Although it's crucial to have high levels of chlorophyll during the plant's growth, you want quite the opposite once it has been harvested

harvested cannabis buds

harvested cannabis buds_image via Hey abby grower@ChrisMafia

During the drying process, more is happening at a chemical level than just moisture removal. Chlorophyll is breaking down and degrading. If chlorophyll isn't allowed to break down enough, or properly, the flowers will retain that grassy or hay-like smell. 

Improperly dried flowers can also burn much hotter and create harsher smoke, dramatically affecting the overall quality and enjoyment of your harvest. No one wants to spend 14+ tedious weeks growing and caring for the weed plant only to have it ruined in a few days. 

How to Prevent Buds from the Hay Smell While Drying & Curing?

It's all about the environment and time! To prevent or get rid of the hay smell during drying, you need to have proper drying conditions, and patience. 

I like to think of drying in a different way: try to view drying as a process where you are preserving the plants' flavor and quality, while moisture is being released, rather than just drying the plant! 

how to get rid of hay smell during drying

Temperature and Humidity

You want to keep the drying area at 60°F (15 °C), with 60% humidity, or as close as possible to those conditions, and completely dark! 

A dark space with a consistent humidity level of around 60% will allow the plants to release water in the plant gradually, and aid in the breakdown of chloropyll. As the plants and flowers dry, the humidity will naturally decrease, usually within about 3 days.

Keeping the area at or around 60°F will also help moisture to slowly release, preserving terpenes, flavanoids, and cannabinoids! After the first 4 days, you can raise the temperature slightly by 5°-7°F. This helps the plant release more moisture from the center of the flowers, which is crucial for preventing mold growth on the buds.

Airflow

Some airflow around the drying plant is good, but try to keep it minimal. You don't want air or fans blowing directly on the weed plant, as this can wick moisture out and cause it to dry much too quickly. 

If moisture is removed too fast, the chlorophyll won't fully and properly break down and that hay smell will remain. Ideally, it should take about 7-10 days to dry the plant properly. 

drying cannabis on a drying rack

Hey abby grower using a drying rack to dry buds

For those using drying racks or shelves, determining dryness can be trickier since the buds are typically removed from the branches. In this case, you'll need to assess the buds directly. Pick up a medium-sized bud and give it a gentle squeeze. The exterior should feel dry and firm, yet still retain a slight spongy texture. If the bud crumbles or breaks apart when squeezed, it's too dry. Conversely, if the bud feels very spongy or compresses without regaining its shape, it's still too moist and needs more drying time.

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Dryness Test

avoiding cannabis hay smell through snap test

There are different methods to test the dryness of your plant. If you are hang-drying your plant, the "snap test" is a reliable method. Select a branch of medium thickness, and bend it to a 90° angle. If you hear an audible "snap" from the branch instead of a bend, the plant is dry and ready to be trimmed and moved into a container for curing

If you are using a drying rack or shelves, it can be a bit more difficult to determine the dryness, since you will typically remove the buds from the branches to dry them. In this case, you'll have to feel the buds directly. Pick up a medium-sized bud and give it a slight squeeze. The outside of the bud should feed dry and firm, yet still retain a slight spongey texture, or sponge-like rebound. 

If the buds crumbles or breaks apart when squeezed, it's too dry. Conversely, if the bud feels very spongy, or compresses without regaining its shape, it's still too moist inside and needs more time to dry! 

Grow with Hey abby for Top Flavor & Quality

Avoiding the hay smell during drying can be achieved by following the right advice above, but it requires time and care. For those who can't dedicate so much time to their cannabis plants, there's an easier solution.

hang drying cannabis buds in the Hey abby_@SilverFox
drying cannabis without hay smell

Image via Hey abby growers

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How to Store Weed Properly Without Smelling?

how to store weed without it smelling

Once you have your buds properly dried and trimmed, they should have the pleasant aroma all growers and enthusiasts look for in quality cannabis! However, this delightful scent can attract unwanted attention. Well, then how do you store your weed without it smelling? 

Although the odor is pungent, there are ways to mitigate it! Here's how:

Use Quality Containers

The most important thing to focus on is using quality containers, like:

  • mason jars
  • vacuum bags
  • storage containers with a rubber seal
  • high quality bags with a strong zipper seal

Ideally, you want to use a container that does let any light in, as light can quickly degrade the flavor and potency of cannabis over time.

Burp the Buds

For the initial 2 weeks of storage, you will need to "burp" the buds daily. 

Burping is the main process of curing. To burp, toss the buds around gently in your container, then open the container up for about 10 minutes to release any excess moisture. This will help get rid of any possibility of hay smell showing up! 

Long-Term Storage

If you plan on storing your weed buds for a prolonged period of time, consider a vacuum sealed container or bag. Vacuum sealing helps maintain freshness by reducing oxygen exposure, which in turn slows down the oxidation and degradation of cannabinoids and terpenes.

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