Cannabis enthusiasts are aware of the importance of the impact of its quality, potency, and flavor on the overall experience. Not to mention, these factors work together to create the desired end result.
Do you know how to make your cannabis remain flavorful for longer? You might find your old stash less potent, making you question if cannabis expires or not.
Cannabis doesn’t have an expiry date per se. However, its potency depends on how you store it. If you are a beginner, you might have tried plastic bags, glass jars, or even your refrigerator for weed storage.
With time, cannabis loses its flavor and potency. Although there are no significant side effects of consuming degraded weed, it can prove to be more psychoactive. Moreover, you might even find its taste to be unpleasant.
If you’re someone who treasures their stash of weed, it must be frustrating to lose your hard work because of inadequate storage techniques. Properly storing cannabis plays an integral role in maintaining its quality and potency.
Since the FDA removed CBD from its list of controlled substances, there has been a significant rise in its consumption for medical purposes. CBD products have taken over the market since their legalization. However, if marijuana isn’t stored properly, it doesn’t only pose a risk of drying out and losing potency; it is susceptible to growing mold.
Correspondingly, it becomes hazardous for health, contradicting the purpose of medical ‘marijuana. Therefore, to ensure that you don’t put your health in harm’s way and maintain your weed’s quality, you should learn the proper method to store it.
Keeping a few minor details under consideration and following some simple steps can allow you to keep your cannabis buds flavorful, potent, and fresh for as long as you wish to keep them in store.
How to Store Your Weed Buds
Cured cannabis can have a stable shelf-life of up to one year or longer before it loses potency. However, the first step to preserving its quality long-term is to use an adequate method to store it.
Usually, cannabis consumers focus on the material of the jar or container they use and focus on storage items. Consequently, they tend to overlook other factors that are essential to the storage of cannabis.
While the storage container is important, it might fail to keep the weed from degradation if you don’t consider the corresponding environmental factors as well. Whether you want to store a batch you’ve bought from a local dispensary or homegrown marijuana, maintaining its potency is the fundamental goal.
Mixing different flavors may work well with food and end with exotic results, but it’s not the same with weed, and you should avoid it. Ensure that you separate the cured cultivar and store them in different containers to preserve the individual taste and effect of the strains.
To achieve this goal and store your cannabis, you should regulate these factors:
- Humidity level
- Exposure to air
- Temperature fluctuations
Light plays an integral role in the longevity of cannabis. Exposure to both direct and indirect sunlight leads to the rapid degradation of cannabis. Not to mention, UV light that penetrates walls and windows also leads to the breakdown of terpenes in the weed leaving it less potent. Therefore, you need to keep it in a room with little or no sunlight exposure.
Besides light, the moisture content in the area where you store your weed also affects how long it lasts. High moisture content creates favorable conditions for mold to grow. Consequently, cannabis is no longer fit for consumption as it can lead to medical problems.
On the contrary, the terpenes and cannabinoids in the marijuana buds degrade in dry conditions with low humidity levels. Hence, to avoid either of the situations, it is essential to maintain a moderate level of humidity between 59% and 63% RH.
Exposure to airflow
Exposure to airflow is also a factor that can lead to the degradation of weed, resulting in a loss of flavor. As a result, the best way to store weed is in an airtight container, cutting off its exposure to the outside air.
Lastly, the fluctuating temperature is another cause of the degradation of the chemical components of cannabis. Ideally, you should store it below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Nevertheless, the temperature cannot be too low either.
To maintain the potency of your weed, ensure that you consider the environmental factors you are storing it in. For proper storage, keep the buds in the dark with minimum exposure to UV rays from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.
Moreover, store it in a cool, dry place with humidity between the ideal levels, at the back of a cabinet. You may even use an opaque jar to further prevent light penetration.
Things to Avoid While Storing Weed
Keeping a few minor details under consideration and following some simple steps can allow you to keep your cannabis buds flavorful, potent, and fresh for as long as you wish to keep them in store.
Marijuana is plant material, making its storage a tricky task. However, before diving into the various methods of storing your weed buds, you should also learn a few common mistakes you should avoid.
To keep your weed stash fresh, keep it away from too much moisture and humidity. A damp environment puts your cannabis flowers at risk of growing mold, leaving them useless. Not to mention, consuming mold-infested marijuana leads to health complications.
A mistake cannabis users commonly commit is storing their stash in the refrigerator. Cannabis buds are at a greater risk of mold in the fridge, irrespective of whether you keep them in an airtight glass jar, because of the constantly fluctuating humidity and temperature.
On the other hand, you should also avoid a drastic rise in temperature as it leaves your cannabis flowers prone to bacterial growth. Furthermore, temperatures above 70 degrees can also lead to the development of an environment conducive to mold. Hence, it is best to maintain a stable, moderate temperature for your cannabis.
If cannabis has exposure to air, the process of its degradation speeds up. Therefore, use airtight containers for cannabis storage to keep it from drying and readily losing its organic content, compromising its quality and potency.
Another common blunder people make is that they freeze weed. This storage method is the most controversial as many people testify to its efficacy. Nevertheless, the shallow temperature decreases the potency of the cannabis.
Keeping cannabis in a freezer results in its trichomes freezing and falling off. Trichomes are part of the cannabis flower containing the highest concentration of terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids. Therefore, it is a loss cannabis enthusiasts should not risk.
Apart from temperature, air, and moisture, the silliest mistake for anyone to make is to store cannabis in a dirty container. Storing away your weed in an unclean, airtight jar is an invitation for bacteria to grow.
Improperly storing anything you intend to consume is bound to impact your health negatively. Long-term storage of cured flowers is fine, but you should not expect ground flowers to last equally long even when you store them properly.
Your weed stash can last longer if you keep it away from air, humidity, and temperature changes. Moreover, avoid exposure to factors that can contaminate or speed its degradation process to keep it fresh and potent.
Airtight Mason Jars
Many cannabis consumers rely on plastic containers for storage. On the other extreme, people use metal containers to keep their cannabis. Contrarily, you should avoid both types of containers even for short-term storage.
Plastic containers are ineffective as they allow too much air, failing to provide the vacuum seal that can keep the weed from degradation. Furthermore, it leaches the building block of epoxy resins and polycarbonates, leaving the weed flavorless.
To add to these problems, plastic also generates static electricity. As a result, cannabinoid-rich trichomes of the weed stick to the sides. On the other hand, metal affects the flavor and aroma of the weed. Therefore, compromising the quality of your experience.
To avoid these problems, you should choose a neutral material such as glass. For marijuana consumers, the general rule of thumb is: that glass is the best for storage.
Your weed will stay fresh and potent if you keep the airtight glass container out of the way of light in a cool, dark, and dry place. Among the different types of glass containers available, mason jars are the best option.
Apart from being sturdier and minimizing the chances of the cannabis flowers crushing, glass jars keep the marijuana buds free from exposure to the outside air. Also, they are non-porous and help preserve the potency of cannabis.
The Perfect Container
The perfect container for weed storage will have a few or all of these qualities:
- Perfect size with respect to the quantity
- Airtight seal
- Humidification pod
- UV-proof exterior
- Odor protection
To further eliminate the chances of trapping excess air, you should fill 3/4th of your jar. However, if you don’t have enough cannabis, you should use a jar size more appropriate to the quantity of weed you possess.
Glass containers are the best for long-term storage as they give a higher degree of control over the surrounding factors. Using humidifiers can help you maintain the relative humidity that is ideal for cannabis storage.
If you intend to store the marijuana flower for an extensive period, it is best to buy a vacuum sealer or UV-proof glass. These containers are designed to keep UV rays and excess air out.
For regular storage, simple screw jars can do the job. Furthermore, storing different strains in separate jars is essential to ensure that you can enjoy them individually.
Specially Made Containers for Weed Storage
With the rapid rise in the consumption of cannabis, there has been a steady growth in the industry. The evolving industry has become the center of attention for many businesses and investors.
While many companies focus on producing cannabis products, some manufacture materials that make consumption and storage easier. The specifically made containers for marijuana storage are a prime example.
Many companies have designed storage containers of different materials for both long-term and short-term cannabis storage. Being commercial products, these containers are extremely stylish.
These are available in various materials, including glass, wood, and stainless steel. As they are specifically built to keep the cannabis fresh and flavorful, these containers have in-built humidors.
Avoid buying cigar humidors for your cannabis for the sake of humidity regulation. To properly store, look for humidors built specifically to store weed. A tobacco humidor is designed for storing cigars and usually comes in cedar wood and contains oil to preserve the tobacco paper. In cannabis, it has a counteracting effect.
The oils transfer to the marijuana, changing its original flavor profile and smell. Not to mention, the ideal humidity level is not the same for tobacco and cannabis. Hence, using a cigar humidor can lead to over-saturation of your cannabis, leading to mold growth.
Odor-Blocking Storage Bags
Odor-blocking storage bags are another product designed specifically for cannabis users. Generally, a fragrant strain doesn’t need you to announce its presence. However, it is not a quality that users always appreciate.
In situations where you want to stay on the low, the aroma of your weed stash doesn’t smell as appealing. Therefore, to help consumers be more discreet while on the go, companies have come up with bags that control the odor of the strains you’re carrying.
Apart from being useful in containing the fragrance of the weed, these bags are available in various sizes, making them efficient for multiple uses that fit your lifestyle and needs.
These bags have the following qualities:
Twill Lining: Other than being efficient in keeping your weed stash away from the public eye, these bags have a lining that prevents wear and tear in their filter system, making the bag long-lasting.
Carbon filter system: To add to the odor-blocking properties of the bag, it has a filter system containing two outer layers of synthetic filters and a middle layer of active charcoal. This three-layer filter system prevents the odor from escaping the bag.
Rubber-backed exterior: Primarily, the function of the bag is to contain the odor of the cannabis, preventing it from escaping. For this purpose, this heavy-duty bag has a nylon or cotton exterior with rubber backing. The rubber doesn’t allow the fragrance of the weed to leave the bag.
Things to Know About Storing Weed
The factors you should always keep in mind to store weed properly are:
- Maintain proper humidity levels and ideal temperature, and reduce light exposure
- For proper cannabis storage, use containers with a neutral charge like glass
- Monitor the relative humidity level
- Fill your jar to 3/4th of its capacity to minimize oxygen exposure
- Keep different strains separately
- Use special products like humidity packs
- Avoid storing grinders, or pipes with the weed
- Keep the mason jar away from electrical outlets, or areas with extreme heat
- Make sure the weed is properly cured
Storing Cannabis Products
The storage method for other cannabis-containing products is not the same as that for dry weed. Similar to dried flowers, joints can also go bad. Not to mention, oils/tinctures and edibles also have their unique storage method.
Joints, like flowers, are prone to degradation. They can degrade in quality, flavor, and potency without adequate storage. However, the factors causing the breakdown of their organic components are the same. Both pre-rolled joints and those you roll at home are prone to the problem. You can now easily buy CBD oils, CBD gummies, and other various CBD products at your local store and online.
Given that the factors to avoid are the same, the optimal storage for joints aligns with the storage method for dry weed.
Among the different cannabis-containing products, oils and tinctures have the most stable shelf life. There is a lower risk of degradation when you keep these products in their original container in a cool, dark environment. Moreover, they degrade rather slowly, even in light and high temperatures.
Edibles and Beverages
The storage of cannabis-containing foods and beverages depends on the product you buy and the other ingredients it contains. For instance, you should keep products containing milk or other perishable ingredients in the fridge. Edibles like gummies, cookies, and brownies retain most of their potency when kept in a cool, dark place.
The proper storage of concentrates is different from dry flowers and joints. It is best to keep cannabis concentrates in an airtight glass jar. Additionally, you should store them in a refrigerator to preserve the flavor, potency, and consistency when they are not in use. However, another option is to keep them in an airtight container in a dark, cool environment.
How Long Does Weed Last?
There is no set time that marijuana can last without spoiling. Eventually, weed degrades as its terpenes and essential oils dry out. Furthermore, THC degrades into a less potent and non-psychoactive cannabinoid, ie. CBN.
Fresh weed has hundreds of cannabinoids like CBD, CBC, and THC. All it takes is leaving your weed for a bit in the ultraviolet light for its THC to break down into CBN.
Over time, weed loses its THC concentration. Therefore, eventually, it loses its potency. After one year, 16% of its THC content is lost. Similarly, after two years, weed loses 26% of its THC. Moving on to the third year, the THC content is less than 34%.
As weed goes stale, it loses its potency. With time, the flavor, texture, and fragrance also deteriorate until there is nothing left of it but useless dust.
Before storing weed, you should ensure that it has been dried and cured.
There are various ways to dry marijuana, including:
- Hang-drying the whole plant.
- Wet-bucking flowers off the plant.
- Drying plants on food-grade drying racks.
Mechanized drying drastically reduces the drying time, cutting it from weeks to hours. Unlike popular beliefs, traditional hang-drying is not necessarily cheaper and has many risks. Other than being labor-intensive, it can potentially cause crop damages or losses.
The curing process is a crucial postharvest step for the production of smokable flowers. This step adds to the value of the quality of the end product. An adequately cured flower is more smokable as it maintains and enhances its flavor while preserving the natural color and moisture levels.
Even though curing is a time-consuming and laborious process, it pays off by creating quality smokable flowers sold for a greater value.
Is a Ziploc Bag Good For Storage?
Temporarily, a Ziploc bag is good enough. However, it is by no means an alternative to glass jars. If a Ziploc bag is your only option, don’t expect it to work for extended periods.
Realistically, there are situations when a tight-sealing plastic bag is your only option. In contrast, it may not be optimal for storage in any way. Nevertheless, it is much better than leaving the weed in complete exposure to the elements.
For temporary storage of your cannabis in plastic bags, ensure that the seal is tight. Also, avoid moving the bag’s contents to minimize the risk of static electricity accumulating and destroying your buds. Among other issues, storing cannabis in a plastic bag also makes it prone to developing mold problems.
You might choose vacuum sealing the plastic bag. Nonetheless, ensure that the plastic does not contain BPA. Also, store the bag in a cool, dark environment and arrange a permanent storage medium as soon as possible.
How to Tell If the Weed Is Bad?
It is your responsibility to ensure that you protect your cannabis from the adverse effects of environmental factors like temperature, humidity, light, and too much air, as all of these can negatively impact the quality, flavor, and potency of your buds.
If you follow the correct storage practices, your weed can last up to two years. However, most consumers have a distinct perception of what bad weed is. While some consider it goes bad the moment it starts the degradation process, others look for some signs.
There are some telling factors to identify if the weed is bad.
Appearance: If your weed stash looks like dry, powdery leaves, chances are you won’t enjoy the smoke. Moreover, your weed has become moldy if something white is growing on it. Therefore, you need to pay attention to what it looks like.
Sound: When your weed makes the sound of snapping instead of crackling when you pull it apart, it signifies that your weed has become too dry. Contrarily, if your weed does not make any sound, it means that it has high moisture content and probably mold.
Smell: Even when weed turns old, it retains its fragrance if nothing is wrong with it. However, if it has a chemical smell, it signifies poor storage. Also, if it smells musty, mold is most likely growing on it.
Stale weed doesn’t produce satisfying results, tastes terrible, and has a putrid smell. However, if you come across moldy weed, don’t smoke it and properly discard it.
Conclusion: How Should You Store Weed?
Properly storing your weed plays an integral part in your overall smoking experience. As a beginner, the task may seem very daunting. In contrast, it becomes easy once you keep the basic factors in mind.
To ensure that your stash remains in optimum condition, preserves its original flavor and aroma, and doesn’t lose its potency, you need to ensure that you protect it from environmental factors.
Excess exposure to air and light speed up the degradation of the cannabinoids in the weed, leaving them less potent. Also, changes in humidity and temperature have a negative impact on the weed.
Low humidity levels and high temperature break down the chemical compounds of the weed and make it less flavorful and fragrant. On the contrary, high levels of humidity create an ideal environment for mold to grow, while low temperature leads the trichomes to freeze and fall off.
Try to keep the weed in a cool, dry, and dark environment. Reduce its exposure to light and atmospheric air. In addition, regulate humidity and temperature levels at which the weed is stored.
In today’s market, there are various storage materials for you to choose from. Mostly, people prefer an airtight jar. However, there are specialized containers and odor-blocking bags that are stylish and conveniently fit into everyone’s lifetime.
Before you consume the weed, check for signs of mold growth which can potentially cause health problems. Not to forget, other than the basic factors, ensure that the container you use for storage is clean to avoid the cultivation of a bacterial colony.
Use cured buds if you are looking for a premium smoking experience, as they have an enhanced flavor and relatively higher quality.