Niek Abbingh, Cannabis-drying

"Drying process influences the concentration of cannabinoids, that's why controlling it is critical"

If one had to list all the processes, operations, procedures of large-scale cannabis cultivation, a whole day would probably not be enough to get to the bottom of it. At the same time, even though the majority of growers is aware of what is necessary to grow the best cannabis crop, there are some steps of that list that tend to be overlooked, the more we approach the end of it. “Some growers think they have the whole cultivation process nailed down, from 1 to 10,” Nick Abbigh with Cannabis-drying says. “Yet, they forget step 11.” Nick is specifically referring to the drying part of cultivation.

The importance of the last sprint
“You can be the best grower ever, but if you don’t focus on the drying and curing processes in the same way that you focus on cultivation, then the fruit of your labor would not fully express your grower’s skills,” Nick points out. One of the main challenges that growers encounter has to do with the way the facility is designed. There is the tendency of not optimizing the space enough to fit all the harvest: this is a consequence of the mentality that the bigger the yield, the bigger the profit, but it doesn’t always necessarily come down to that. “If you focus solely on canopy size without optimizing the workspace and the workflow,” Nick says, “then you might find yourself with too much-harvested cannabis and no space to let it dry. Eventually, this seriously affects the end quality of said product, to the point that it might be necessary to dispose of it.”

But even when the space optimization issue is solved, there are some things to take into consideration when it comes to the drying process itself. “First and foremost, there is one thing that needs the utmost control,” Nick says. “Drying needs to happen evenly, or else there is the risk of mold emerging. Drying has an influence on the concentration and profile of pharmaceutically active ingredients of the cannabis, that is why control over the process is so important.”

Drying cannabis properly
In an industry where there is a desperate need for experts, has gained 45 years of experience and knowledge in the horticulture and agrarian industry and has been applying that expertise to the cannabis world. “ offers a Top-down controlled drying process where the temperature, humidity and amount of airflow can be controlled,” Nick says. “We offer tray drying systems where the cannabis is placed in Canna-trays. The Canna-trays are made out of antistatic ABS thermoplastic and have small holes in the bottom for ventilation. The Canna-trays are ‘sandwiched’ between two HEPA-filters, the whole is called a sandwich unit. The filters filter out mold, mildew, bacteria, pests, viruses, etc. and make sure that the cannabis stays in a cleanroom environment.”

“The Sandwich units are implemented in various drying systems, for small and large scale. Because of the filters, all of the cannabis resin stays in the sandwich unit, making the rest of the installation easily cleanable. All of the drying systems can be used for curing as well. A drying cabinet is capable of drying 7 or 14kg (dried product) in each drying cycle, and is perfect for small batches.”

“A drying cart is capable of drying 25 kg in each drying cycle, dozens of drying carts can be placed in one drying room. The difference with existing drying carts, is that the air goes Top-down through the product. In a drying cell, 1 to 5 special ventilation pallets are placed to dry large quantities of cannabis. The drying cells are capable of drying 20-85 kilos in each drying cycle. Multiple drying cells can be placed next to each other and can be connected to the same switchboard and cooling/heating system.”

“All of our drying systems are operated with our ABC processor. The ABC processor allows you to control the humidity, temperature, and amount of airflow in multiple phases. In the first phase, a lot of moisture is extracted from the cannabis, to make sure mold won’t emerge. In the second to fifth phase, a lower humidity is set in each phase to dry slowly and controlled. The ABC-processor allows you to dry in 2.5 to 15 days, this fully depends on the chosen settings.”

Always room for improvement
Thanks to companies like Cannabis-drying, every aspect of cannabis cultivation can be safe in the hands of experts that will keep improving cultivation practices. “I think that we can get to a point where there are best practices,” Nick says. “At the same time, I think that achieving best practices would mean that there’s no room for improvement. But I believe that there will always be ways to get the cultivation better, especially with regards to the medical market: the level of science and technology that goes into such operations is so high, that I do believe that not even the sky would be the limit.”

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