How Long Does Cannabis Stay Fresh?
Published on June 23, 2017, By Tricia Cleppe
How To’s Marijuana Knowledge Base
Storing your cannabis properly can mean the difference between a nice, fresh nug with a robust flavor profile and a dry, moldy one. Proper storage techniques should be applied to any product that is being consumed by a human, and cannabis is no different.
So, how long does cannabis stay fresh enough to consume? Long story short, there is no hard and fast answer here. Dried herbs, like those you cook with and cannabis, have a pretty long shelf life. When stored correctly, cannabis flower can last up to 2 or 3 years, but degradation can happen very fast if stored improperly.
Much like cigars, cannabis is best when stored in an air-sealed container, at the right humidity level, in a cool, dark place. Let’s walk through why each of these characteristics are so important when considering where to store your cannabis.
Ideal Humidity Level For Storing Cannabis
Keeping humidity at the right level will be a huge factor in keeping mildew or other moldy contaminants from growing on your stored cannabis. If you are serious about storing your herb properly, get familiar with the term “relative humidity” or RH.
Ideally, the RH level in whatever jar or container you are using to store your bud in should remain at about 62-65%, bottoming out at 50%. Any moisture beyond 65% will most likely result in mold growth, and no one wants to smoke mold.
Best Temperature For Storing Cannabis
Mold and mildew love a warm, moist environment. Specifically, mold and mildew thrive in temperatures between 70-90 degrees.
In addition to mold and mildew, temperature is an important consideration in keeping terpenes and cannabinoids from quick degradation. Decarboxylation, or the chemical reaction by which THC-A turns into THC in cannabis, happens faster in hotter temperatures. Once THC-A turns into THC, additional heat can cause THC to turn to CBN, a cannabinoid that can make you drowsy.
Keep your cannabis stored somewhere cool, but not a refrigerator or freezer. Keeping cannabis in an environment that is too cold can also affect its potency.
Lighting Factors For Storing Cannabis
Too many UV rays can mean bad news for your stored cannabis. Trichomes, or resin glands in cannabis that contain THC, are degraded by too much light exposure.
To keep those THC filled trichomes happy, you should always store your cannabis in a dark place. Drawers, cabinets, or basement are great places to store your cannabis to keep it away from direct light.
Best Containers For Storing Cannabis
With access to legal cannabis at an all-time high, there are plenty of companies who know you need reliable products for storing your bud.
Take the guesswork out of keeping your cannabis fresh by using products specifically intended for storing cannabis at the optimal temperature, humidity and light level.
If maintaining a specific RH level seems intimidating to you and you are looking for a cost-effective option, use humidity-controlling packets. Try out Boveda packets, which come in a wide range of sizes. Simply throw them in your container and change them every 60 days.
A cost effective way to block UV light from eroding your cannabis is simply buying opaque containers. Infinity Jars, which are made from violet glass, are air-sealed and will block out all light, making them a perfect container for your cannabis. These jars are also a much better alternative to plastic opaque containers you often get from the dispensary. You can buy plain Infinity Jars on Amazon, or spice it up with some fun ones from Van Der Pop.
(Van der Pop photo)
If you are a true cannabis connoisseur, it may be worth investing in a Cannador. You can store up to 6 strains in their largest boxes, which are guaranteed to be smell proof, air sealed, dark, and set to the perfect RH level. Buying a Cannador will truly take the guess work out of storing your cannabis flower.
This post was originally published on June 23, 2017, it was updated on October 3, 2017.
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How Long Does Cannabis Stay Fresh? Published on June 23, 2017, By Tricia Cleppe How To’s Marijuana Knowledge Base Storing your cannabis properly can mean the difference between a nice,
How to Tell If Cannabis Is Past Its Prime
Weed doesn’t go bad the way a jar of mayo or some other food product might, but it can definitely be “off” or even moldy.
Old weed likely won’t lead to any serious health issues if you don’t have any underlying conditions.
It can, however, have a noticeable drop in potency, which can be a big deal if you’re using it for medical purposes. Older weed can also undergo changes in taste and texture.
When stored properly (more on this later), dried cannabis keeps for 6 months to 1 year. Over time, it begins to lose its aroma and potency.
According to some older research, weed loses roughly 16 percent of its THC after 1 year, and it just keeps dropping from there:
- 26 percent THC lost after 2 years
- 34 percent THC lost after 3 years
- 41 percent THC lost after 4 years
It’s mostly in the smell. Weed that’s past its prime will smell different or lose its aroma entirely. Some weed might even smell and taste harsh when it’s been sitting too long.
Its appearance can also give you a clue as to whether or not it’s old. Fresh weed shouldn’t crumble or feel spongy when you break it off. If it does, it’s old and either too dry or too moist.
Consuming it shouldn’t harm you, but be prepared for changes in texture and potency. The exception is weed that’s grown mold, which could potentially make you sick.
Mold is often hard to see unless you look very closely. It typically looks like white powdery or fuzzy spots, some of which can be pretty small.
Moldy weed usually smells musty, kind of like hay. It also tends to have a bit of an “off” taste.
Even if your weed isn’t super old, it’s best to do a mold inspection. A study by researchers from University of California, Davis found bacteria and mold on 20 cannabis samples bought from dispensaries and pot growers in Northern California.
Mold on weed isn’t likely to cause major health problems, but it can lead to nausea, vomiting, and coughing.
In people with weakened immune systems, inhaling smoke or vapors from weed containing bacteria or fungi could cause serious illness or even death.
If it looks or smells off, then you’re better off tossing it, even if you just bought it.
Light, humidity, temperature, and oxygen can all mess with cannabis and affect its aroma, taste, and potency potential.
Here’s what to consider when storing weed to help keep it fresh and maintain its quality for as long as possible.
Choose the right container
Ditch plastic baggies and containers. Plastic holds static that can affect delicate trichomes — the tiny, crystal-like hairs on flowers that produce cannabinoids and terpenes — and mess with potency.
And forget those funny little tins, too, because they let in too much oxygen.
Glass jars with an airtight seal, like mason jars, are the way to go. They don’t have any static charge and limit oxygen exposure. Plus, they’re inexpensive and easy to find.
Most dispensaries also sell containers designed to keep weed fresh for as long as possible.
If you have kids or pets in your household, invest in a child- and pet-proof container.
Watch the humidity
Weed is best kept at a relative humidity of 59 to 63 percent. Any higher and you run the risk of trapping moisture, which can lead to the growth of mold. Anything lower can cause your weed to dry out.
To help you preserve your stash, you can add humidity packs to your containers if you really want to get fancy. You can also go the extra mile and store your weed in a humidor made specifically for cannabis.
Keep it cool, dark, and dry
Keeping weed in a cool and dry spot away from sunlight is as important as the container you use, if not more so.
Direct sunlight can cause cannabis to break down, and too much heat can hold moisture and lead to mold.
Keeping it somewhere too chilly, on the other hand, could dry it out and lose those precious trichomes, which is why the fridge and freezer aren’t recommended.
Aim to store cannabis in a dark place, like a closet or cabinet, with a temperature below 77°F (25°C).
Weed doesn't go bad in the way perishable food does, but it can definitely degrade over time. Here's what to look for.