How to Store and Handle Dry Herbs?

August 03, 2020

Dried marijuana with painted hand print

Dry herbs are going to be just that – dry herbs. This means that they have a lower level of water content to prevent spoiling as well as to making it easier to smoke or vape them. As such, it is probably best to make sure that they stay that way – dry, that is. If not, it is not necessarily the end of the world. Just remember, however, that leaving herb moist or wet or improperly stored otherwise will not make it tastier to smoke or vape and can certainly ruin the experience altogether. As such, learning some of the ‘best practices’ for storing herb is the best way to avoid any problems and make sure that all the handy tips are available at your fingertips.

Storing Dry Herbs

The key to storing anything is knowing what to store it in. While herb can technically be stored anywhere (in a dresser, old sock, plastic bag) there are certainly better options available out there. Namely, picking a container that is airtight will make the biggest difference in storing herb to maintain the level of dryness, prevent smells from escaping out into the world, and to prevent random things from sticking to the herb (drop some in a pile of pet hair and the need for a storage container of any kind becomes clear).

Beyond being airtight, good containers are certainly going to be conspicuous as well – there is no reason to draw any unwanted (and unnecessary) attention. After all, it isn’t the container that should be loud. In addition, think about whether or not having something that is mobile and easy to move around with would be important. It is entirely possible that the needs person A has are nothing like person B and thinking about personal preferences or need is going to be critical in choosing the right container. All that being said, the first step is recognizing the need for a container (and there is always one).

Handling Dry Herbs

Thankfully, handling dry herbs is not going to feel like playing with honey (wax) or dealing with maple syrup (oil). Rather, dry herbs are pretty simple and have a good amount of friction so that they don’t simply fall off ones fingers but they are not sticky (usually). That being said, it is obviously more susceptible to wind so try and be cognizant of that fact when handling it (particularly outdoors). The herb is probably going to stick more if it has not been ground in a grinder (and even then it might still be sticky). This is because the grinder’s teeth typically get the brunt of whatever amount of moisture and stick there might be in the herb. Try to avoid grinding too much at once so that it won’t be near the rim and more likely to be blown out or fall with smaller amounts of pressure or wind.

Breaking Up Dry Herbs with a Grinder

As mentioned above, it is probably going to be best to make sure to grind dry herbs. This is going to be simpler than using fingers because they won’t become sticky and need as much of a washing (it is not a bad idea to wash ones hands before touching eyes, etc). Beyond sticky fingers, grinding herb adds more surface area as opposed to density. This means that the herb is going to burn/vape more smoothly and evenly than if it was a whole, dense piece of a nug.

Certainly, anyone that has had trouble taking a hit from a dense and improperly packed vape or pipe understands the importance of a grinder. Beyond those two main considerations there are also considerations of storage, mobility, and even weight. The grinder will become a secondary (or primary) place to store herb and know that it is in one place.

A grinder is also more mobile than trying to simply walk around with herb because it will help to contain any smells that might be released from the herb. Lastly, sometimes, the weight of a grinder is helpful. Herb is already light enough as it is. Being placed in a light container or even a plastic bag makes it more susceptible to wind and less secure. No one wants to lose their herb to the wind or have it blow away into the water. Grinders, often made from heavier metal parts than most pipes or vapes, will be sure to remain in place in case something unthinkable happens.

Handling Kief

One great thing that grinders do is store and collect kief. Kief can make a more powerful hit if placed on top of herb (or filling the entire bowl or heating chamber). Kief is kind of a pain to move because it moves to the side of herb in being lightweight and not for the better. If ground herb is fine, kief is somehow lighter and thinner than dust. As such, it is extremely annoying to move around from place to place. Nothing is worse than trying to transfer kief only to have it all blow away. Grinders, especially those equipped with special kief collectors, are much better storage devices and are significantly more convenient than trying to put the kief somewhere else.

All that is to say that kief is great. Grinders are what allow someone to harvest and collect a substantial amount of kief. So, if being able to enjoy herb and then collect a more potent form of the powdered herb is of a high priority than obtaining a grinder becomes more essential. This isn’t to say that kief only comes from a grinder – it just works so much better than using fingers and trying to rub the dust off ones sticky fingers onto some herb.

Loading Dry Herbs into a Vape

Loading dry herbs into a vape is not overly difficult. This doesn’t mean that there’s no trick to the activity. Essentially, make sure to pack the heating chamber tightly enough to make sure that there is sufficient contact between the herb. But that contact cannot be too tight or dense, however, otherwise, the airflow necessary to vaporize the herb is not going to be available. Airflow in a vape is essential in securing a steady, even vaporizing of the herb. This leads to smoother and better hits. In addition, just make sure to be careful about the often smaller space available than the average bowl or pipe. This doesn’t mean that all vapes are small but that it might be a tighter and less forgiving space.

Loading Dry Herbs into a Glass Pipe

First and foremost when working with glass make sure to be careful holding it. Sudden movements and other precarious positions glass can be placed in are not conducive to a long life for the glass pipe. This means try to avoid holding too much too high at once. Rather, try to find an additional surface to use to ensure a smaller falling distance (should the worst happen) as well as ensuring that any scraps are in a specific area. Finally, it will reduce the prospects of dropping something. When packing, generally follow the rules of a vape – tightly enough to ensure contact so that the ‘cherry’ of the herb will continue to light it without requiring additional flame. Moreover, don’t pack too tightly because that will reduce the airflow to the point that it is stagnant at worst or simply lead to uneven burning at best.

How to Know When You Have Finished Vaping Your Dry Herbs

Usually, it is when the taste becomes too bad to bear any longer. Otherwise, the best way to tell is to simply check. Placing a finger gently on the (cool) ashes in the pipe or even the heating chamber of the vape will let someone see just how consumed the herb is. The closer to being done the herb is the finer it is. Otherwise, you have finished when you have decided you’ve had enough and are finished.

Dry Herb Handling and Storage Tips

  • Find a reliable container that is airtight and is easily concealable.
  • Find a dry, cool, darker place to store the herb and container
  • Use a grinder to get kief and produce fine herb for packing and smoking
  • Make sure to clean out ones grinder, vape/pipe for the best possible flavor and results

Written By: Robert H. 

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