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How to Store Cannabis Long-Term and Preserve the Freshness

If you have a weed stash you haven’t touched for a bit, you may notice the buds getting dryer with time, and smoking them won’t get you as high as it did at first. While ageing is inevitable, it can be slowed down with proper preservation. We’ll teach you what can harm your buds with age, and how you can preserve them from time and the elements.

Keeping cannabis fresh is simple when you’re armed with the right knowledge.

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If you’re the type to buy bud in bulk, or just don’t smoke too often, we can imagine you’ve ended up with old weed on your hands.

You can tell something’s off when you pinch the dried-up, lightweight nugs. You may need something to smoke, but would that old stuff even get you high at all? Even if it did, what would the flavour be like? No matter the answers, you’re most likely wondering how you can stop your weed from getting like that again.

Well, you can’t stop the ageing process, but you can definitely slow it down! Above all, you’ll need to make sure your weed is expertly cured, placed in optimal containers, and stored in a cool room at the proper temperature and humidity.

What Happens When Cannabis Gets Old?

Before we go deeper into that discussion, though, we want to offer you a deeper understanding of what happens when your weed starts to age.

Lost THC

As weed is exposed to heat, oxygen, and UV light, the cannabinoids within, including THC, will begin to break down. It doesn’t happen too quickly, but the change can become noticeable after a few weeks. It won’t leave you sober, but a joint won’t get you as high as the one you rolled when you first got it.

Conversion to CBN

As that THC breaks down, it doesn’t just disappear. In fact, it’s converted into another cannabinoid, known as CBN. This cannabinoid has some mild psychoactive properties, but it doesn’t get you high on its own. This conversion mainly occurs when weed is exposed to oxygen and heat, although the process takes time.

Lost Flavour

Lost THC won’t be the only consequence of keeping your weed in a warm spot. As it gets weaker, it’ll also taste and feel harsher upon smoking. This, of course, is a result of the terpenes drying out over time. Excessive light and moisture will bring about their downfall as well.

Does This Also Happen to CBD-Rich Bud?

If you’re more inclined to smoke CBD-rich strains, you may wonder whether any of this applies to you. Well, since CBD is also a cannabinoid, and since the buds also have terpenes, it too can degrade with age. The high isn’t a factor, but you’ll miss out on the other potential benefits of CBD.

What Causes Weed to Age?

We’ve alluded to certain causes of weed ageing, but let’s go ahead and break the issues down into clear terms.

Humidity

You have to maintain a very precise balance when it comes to humidity and cannabis. If your storage method introduces too much moisture, you run the risk of mould infestation. If it isn’t humid enough, though, the terpenes and cannabinoids will end up withering away. While they’re quite different outcomes, the unpleasantness is equal between them.

Temperature

Often going hand-in-hand with excess humidity, high temperatures can hasten the degradation of cannabinoids and terpenes. Generally, you should make sure your weed storage area doesn’t get hotter than 25.5ºC (78ºF). Simply enough, this is because any environment between 25.5–30ºC (78–86ºF) is prime for mildew and mould growth.

Light

In short, persistent UV light will land a heavy blow on the impact on terpenes, THC, and other cannabinoids. This is especially problematic in tropical areas, where it joins forces with humidity and heat to harm your stash.

Container Materials

Lastly, while many aren’t even aware of this, your container’s base material can have a direct impact on your weed’s ageing process. See, while many place their weed in plastic containers, the material can cause your stash to “sweat”. This means, as with actual sweating, your plant will release its inner moisture. It’ll end up dry and harsh as a result.

Curing Pocket Box

How to Store Your Weed and Keep It Fresh

So, now that you know the enemies, you need to learn how to defend yourself and keep your weed fresh. Thankfully, it’s a fairly simple process, and you may already have everything you need to start storing your weed for a long period of time.

Proper Curing

Really, the journey to proper cannabis storage begins with the post-harvest curing process. And, funnily enough, it involves maintaining the same sort of optimised environment for your flower. You’ll want to find a cool, dark, and moderately dry spot. Separate the buds, trim off the sugar leaves, and sort your stash into mason jars. Also, note that each jar should only be ¾ full.

With a few weeks of patience, you’ll be rewarded with fresh, smokable flowers. If you really want to ensure freshness, though, you’ll want to make sure no excess moisture gets trapped in your curing jars.

To accomplish that, we recommend utilising our specialised RQS Moisture Fighters. These plant-based sachets are designed to rest right in your stash jars, absorbing or releasing moisture according to the conditions. They’ll last up to four months, and just one 8g sachet will keep your personal stash fresh. If your jar’s a little heftier, there are sachets in sizes up to 67g available as well. Either way, you’ll want to select the ones that maintain 58% or 62% humidity. Get the former if you’re in a more humid environment, and the latter if you’re living in a dry climate.

“But how will I know if the sachet is still working? Do I need to open up the jar to check?”. Thankfully, no! They each feature a dot that changes colour depending on their condition, so you’ll know exactly when you need to replace them.

Humidity Control Pack

Use Air-Tight Glass/Ceramic Containers or Vacuum Bags

Once your buds have been sufficiently cured, we’d recommend you keep them in their mason jars. Considering how much damage oxygen can do, air-tight containers are the best choice you can make for your weed.

It can’t just be any container, though. As we mentioned before, plastic can actually hasten the ageing process, so Tupperware would be unwise. A glass or ceramic container, however, will keep it safe and fresh.

That being said, vacuum bags are also incredibly effective, as they’re naturally devoid of air.

Keep It Dark

Along with your container of choice being air-tight and glass/ceramic, it should also be opaque. Light can wreak havoc on your cannabis, and blacking out your jars can ensure total safety. Before that, however, you should make sure your curing room is completely dark (with the lights off) to begin with. With blacked-out jars, though, you can turn on the lights to check in without worrying too much.

As it turns out, our specialised RQS Re:stash Jars fulfill every one of the requirements you need your containers to meet. They’re layered with a jet-black silicone sleeve, boast air-tight lids made from hemp, and come in sizes of 4, 8, 12, and 16 ounces.

Maintain Cool Temperatures

Once you’ve got your buds in their containers, you’ll need to make sure the room stays consistently cool: below 25.5ºC (78ºF) to prevent mould from thriving. Turning it down to 21ºC (70ºF) would be optimal.

Ensure Clean Storage

Now, with almost everything in order, you just need to make sure things stay clean. Make sure you dust the shelves and jars, along with vacuuming or mopping the floor when needed. In turn, make sure you don’t spend too much time in there, as any dirt you track in will have to be cleaned up later.

Will Weed Stay Fresh When Frozen?

Through all of this, some of you may have been thinking, “I can keep food in the freezer for months, so why don’t I just freeze my cannabis?”. Others amongst you may hear someone suggest that and gag at the thought, thinking it ruins the flowers.

Those in the latter camp, however, may be surprised to learn that you can effectively store your bud in the freezer for 1–2 years. If you go for it, just make sure you’re very careful to avoid touching the buds, as the trichomes (which contain almost all of the resin) will quickly fall off.

Let them naturally thaw outside the freezer, and note the top layer of the buds may be sub-optimal. The rest of it, however, will be nearly as good as it was one or two years before.

Aged Buds: A New Trend?

To cap off our discussion, we thought we’d take a look at those people fighting against the notion of age being a detriment to cannabis. See, for some people, the curing process is an art form. For lovers of aged weed [1] , the prime flavour of a strain emerges with time, and some consider it necessary to wait at least five months after curing before smoking their stash.

This is still a very new school of thought, though. In general, we wouldn’t recommend trying it unless you have lengthy experience with cannabis. Yet, your journey with weed is your own, and we don’t want to stop you from experimenting!

While wine and cheese benefit from age, weed buds get dry and lose their potency. Here, we'll teach you how to preserve cannabis long-term and keep it fresh.

The Art of Cured Cannabis: Can Pot Be Aged Like Wine and Whiskey?

I’m at the cannabis version of a wine tasting, and 30 seconds into the process I’ve committed a faux pas along the lines of spilling a well-aged Bordeaux all over myself.

–> “I recommend taking a smaller hit,” says one of my colleagues as I expel the ridiculously large cloud of marijuana smoke I just accidentally inhaled through a half-cough, half-snarf.

Often, smoking marijuana involves taking big hits. But here in this slickly appointed downtown apartment in Denver, it’s all about taking small, subtle pulls from the sleek glass pipes arrayed on the coffee table before me, to sample the subtle flavor notes of the offerings without getting way too high. As someone who hardly smokes pot at all, I clearly don’t know how to do that. I better figure out how to do so fast, since I’m here with representatives of Yofumo, a new Colorado marijuana company that claims to have unlocked the secrets of curing cannabis buds, producing pot that has the sort of elite tastes and flavors we normally associate with well-aged wines and cheeses. They’ve offered me a taste test here in their corporate apartment to showcase their results, which they’ve spent the past hour comparing to top-shelf bourbons, Grand Cru Burgundies, and premium Jamón ibérico ham. But now that we’ve started sampling their specially cured buds, it’s obvious that if I don’t get ahold of myself, I’ll soon be so stoned I won’t know the difference if they pass me a pipe filled with oregano.

MORE: Can Pot Make You More Creative?

Yofumo aims to revolutionize the final step of the marijuana cultivation cycle and the part that’s still stuck in the pre-legalization dark ages: Curing, the process of removing all excess moisture from the buds after they’ve been harvested. While marijuana-growing facilities are now packed with cutting-edge cultivation technologies, most commercial and home growers still cure their weed by sticking it in sealed jars or buckets that are aired out every now and then and leaving it there for several weeks or months.

“It’s like someone spent an entire growing season making these amazing grapes and then tossed them into a toilet tank to make prison wine,” says Jake Browne, a marijuana critic for the Denver Post’s Cannabist site and co-founder of Grow-Off cannabis growing competition. The result isn’t simply improperly dried pot; experts say curing helps preserve your cannabis, increases its potency, and improves its smell and flavor.

While Browne is skeptical of most products and services these days that claim to produce better pot, he attended a recent Yofumo taste test and came back a true believer. “It’s no exaggeration to say I have smoked hundreds of different marijuana strains, and this was some of the best-tasting pot I had ever smoked,” he says.

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How exactly does Yofumo (derived from yo fumo, or “I smoke” in Spanish) produce perfectly cured cannabis? At the Yofumo apartment, before we begin the taste test, company CEO Alfonso Campalans shows me a $5,000 “Yofumo Pro” curing unit, which resembles a small pizza oven that’s been fashioned from metal and mahogany and painted black. According to Campalans, the unit uses gaseous ozone emitters, humidity and temperature sensors, and other environmental controls to dial in and speed up the curing process, plus prevent mold and microbial contamination. While the company’s current product line, launched earlier this year, is geared toward commercial growers, Yofumo plans to soon launch consumer versions of its devices, including a $360 tabletop unit and a $60 “MyPro” unit, a specially treated mahogany box the size and shape of a box of cigarettes.

“We have been able to control, calibrate, and fine-tune the curing process,” says Campalans, who hails from the financial world but speaks with the excitement and energy of a gourmand. “We can focus on what parts of the plant need to be eradicated and what parts need to be preserved.”

Yofumo isn’t just trying to bring out the natural terpenes, or flavor components, of different marijuana strains. Their units are designed so users can add additional terpenes during the curing process, producing entirely new flavor profiles. To figure out what profiles work best, the company turns to Joe Edwards, Yofumo’s award-winning “cure master,” a very intense goateed fellow who rattles on before the taste test about aroma spectrums and terpene mapping in a way that makes me feel like I’m already high.

Edwards tells me he helped one client concoct a line of buds that smelled and tasted just like a gin and tonic. He also has jars upon jars of marijuana rejects, featuring experimental flavors that didn’t turn out well. The worst of the bunch, says Edwards, “smelled like death.”

I ask Edwards how home growers who don’t want to invest in a $5,000 Yofumo Pro should cure their weed. He looks at me like I’ve just asked a Michelin star chef on how to best use a microwave. But still, he graces me with an answer. According to Edwards, first you need to dry your cannabis: Cut the branches from your plant, remove excess leaves and hang them in a dark environment that’s not prone to temperature or humidity fluctuations. Leave them there for three to 21 days, until the buds feel slightly crunchy in your fingertips. Then you need to cure your trimmed buds. Place them in a sterilized, airtight glass jar that you agitate and open for a few minutes every two days or so. After about 20 days, the buds should break apart into pieces the size and shape of popcorn, which means they’re ready to smoke. If the buds don’t break apart, that means they’re not yet fully cured. If they collapse into dust, you went overboard and the results are too dry.

But are all these devices and effort really worth it? “The proof is in the pudding,” says Campalans as we prepare the taste test. To begin, one of his colleagues hands me a jar of Cherry Lemon Haze they purchased from a local pot shop and asks me to smell and handle it. It smells okay, and the buds feel dry and crumbly. Then they hand me a jar of the same strain that’s spent time in Campalans’ personal Yofumo unit. The difference is striking: the aroma of fresh lemons washes over me, the buds feel soft and supple under my fingers.

Now it’s time to actually smoke it. After my first disastrous hit, I ease up on my technique, and soon I’m taking small pulls from the various pipes being handed to me, some filled with regular cannabis, some with Yofumo-cured marijuana. But while company reps sitting around me are soon talking about the hints of mint and shades of nectarine they discern from the Yofumo-cured strains, I don’t taste much difference between the various options. That is, until they pass me a pipe filled with a strain they purchased called Grape Stomper. Despite the name, when I take a hit, I don’t taste any grapes. Then they hand me a pipe with Grape Stomper that had been cured in a Yofumo unit and enhanced with natural grape flavors. This time, there it is: the clear, sweet flavor of grape on my tongue, but it doesn’t taste fake or overpowering. It’s like the chocolatey notes of a great single-origin cup of coffee, versus a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino.

I’m impressed — and also pretty high. Still, am I about to invest in a $5,000 Yofumo Pro or even a $60 MyPro? Unlikely. But then again, I haven’t yet smoked that gin and tonic.

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Why age your weed? Because otherwise “it’s like someone spent a season making amazing grapes and then tossed them into a toilet tank to make prison wine." ]]>