Cannabis Business Times: 4 Questions with Cann Drying Systems’ Sam Ouellette: Drying Solutions

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July 6, 2022

1. Of all the steps involved in cannabis production, what makes drying and curing so important?

Drying and curing can truly make or break the quality of your product. An operation may do a terrific job of feeding, watering, and ensuring your plants grow to their absolute healthiest during cultivation, harvesting, and trimming – but if the drying and curing environmental conditions are not precise and consistent, then your end-product can fall short of expectations or flat out be ruined.

2. What are the differences between drying for flower compared to drying for extraction?

In general, the difference is often quite minimal. The main concern in standard setups is largely to achieve a target moisture % within the flower (typically anywhere between 9% to 12% moisture content is common). A secondary concern in a standard dry room setup is maintaining terpene content on flower.

With Cann Drying Systems’ heat-pump-based sealed chamber systems, we are providing a closed-loop system environment to control environmental conditions precisely. This provides our customers with the tools and ability to dry utilizing “low and slow” conditions for high-quality flower. Additionally, we can reclaim a portion of typical terpene loss and collect it for use in vape pens and other high-value extract products. If the customer is primarily producing for extraction purposes, they can dry at higher temperatures and slightly lower relative humidity levels to speed up the process and utilize our terpene collection system to capture those terpenes coming off the flower. The customer can then extract the cannabinoids from the flower and reintroduce them to the captured terpenes from the heat-pump system to create the same high-terpene content extract products on the backend, all while saving precious time in the process.

3. What are the ideal conditions for drying cannabis?

Maintaining consistent environmental conditions (temperature, relative humidity, & evenly distributed gentle airflow) is the key to drying top-quality cannabis. When it comes to producing top-quality flower, 60F-67F and anywhere between 55%-60% relative humidity is what we typically hear from our customers works best for them.

Now when it comes to extraction as an end-product for flower, when utilizing our drying chamber system, our customers have begun utilizing our system in new, innovative ways, that the industry is probably not used to seeing. Knowing that our system can capture typical terpene loss by removing the moisture from the air coming out of the drying chamber and converting that into a captured liquid, our customers have told us that they have started drying at much higher temps and lower humidity than they typically would for high-quality flower. This allows them to speed up their drying dwell times quite significantly and then recreate those same high-terpene content extract products on the backend after extracting the cannabinoids from the flower and combining that with the captured terpenes from our heat-pump dehumidification system.

4. How can my operation be most energy-efficient and eco-friendly when it comes to drying cannabis?

Traditional dehumidification and HVAC systems use a tremendous amount of energy to maintain a consistent temperature and relative humidity in a typical dry room that often has small cracks in windows, ceiling tiles, vents, doorways, etc. It’s often a constant battle for cultivators to maintain ideal drying conditions when the ambient environment around that room fluctuates significantly.

Cann Drying Systems’ sealed chamber platform for environmental control removes those added variables and allows the heat-pump-based dehumidification system to maintain precise environmental conditions while using a minimal amount of energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heat-pump systems reduce your electricity usage for heating/cooling by approximately 50% compared to other climate control systems because they heat and cool an area by moving heat rather than converting it using another fuel/energy source. When you combine that with our sealed chamber, you are greatly minimizing the amount of energy it takes to create ideal conditions for cannabis drying.